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REVIEW

Oakley EV Zero Eyewear

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae (unless noted)
Date Jun 17, 2016

I shunned covering my eyes for rides for a long time. My first forway was wearing goggles on the DH bike. Initially I didn’t like it. It seemed to take something away from the experience; wind in your face, mud under your eyelids, a stick scratching your cornea etc. Now I often wear goggles when it’s cold out and I wear some sort of eye protection for every ride. It can be a hassle  dealing with fogging and keeping them clean and scratch free, but it’s safer and faster. Gradually I have come to trust having my eyes covered and it allows me to direct more focus to the trail.

photochromic

There is no completely clear version of the EVZero but the photochromic version lightens up well in low light zones.

Recently, I’ve started noticing what my eyes are doing as I ride in aggressive situations and it’s quite intense. I strain to widen my lids for more light entry and peripheral vision and my focus alternates between scanning the trail generally and attending to specific objects to avoid or treat carefully (that slippery root or jagged rock, your fallen buddy’s cranium). Blinking happens quickly and at moments of relative calm but not at all when things get hairy.

prizm_trail2

Prizm technology is Oakley’s effort to add more contrast to your life so you can distinguish between a nice hard corner and a sandy wheel grabber.

Without eyewear, our eyes learn to protect themselves and close reflexively. And, if you are a sensitive lad like me, you may have to deal with your eyes tearing up. This makes keeping up with your loud-mouthed goggle-wearing riding pal almost impossible. At least you can say, “you dropped me when I started tearing up.” That’s always a winner.

prizm_trail

Oakleys distinctive wavy lower lens shape may not look clean and tidy but it provides excellent coverage.

Goggles are sort of a blunt instrument in that they generally stay in place and do the job asked of them, if we remove fogging from the equation that is. With only three points of contact, keeping performance eyewear in the right place is a trickier proposition. Getting the right amount of coverage is also important. Too much wrap and fogging becomes an issue. Too little and you don’t get the protection you need.

lance

I didn’t even want to resemble Lance Armstrong before his fall from grace (I know, I know… he’s better looking). But it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Photo – Cristina Piccone

With this background, I was a captive audience when I was introduced to Oakley’s new EVZero model. Rimless optics make you look like an extra from a 90s sci-fi flick, or worse, like a triathlete, but they work very well. Airflow seems better than rimmed models, keeping the fog down, and of course, peripheral vision is excellent. Beyond that the EVZeros are incredibly light at only 24 grams. This is the sort of gram counting that actually means something because less mass means less bounce when things get rough.

24_grams

Legit. Oddly the photochromic version measured 25 grams.

Coverage-wise these are excellent riding glasses. The characteristic M shape keeps airflow and debris out of your eye balls. The fit is also close to the forehead, which again protects and keeps air out. The cost of this solid coverage is that fogging can be an issue. I generally remove any eyewear when there is a pause in the ride, and I like to stop and smell the loam quite often, and this is enough to keep the fog at bay with EVZeros. I wore them the other day on a rainy cold June adventure and I was surprised that in this worst case scenario I had minimal issues with condensation.

photochromic_prizm

I first rode with the Prizm lens (right) and the lens was so distinct that I had trouble recognizing the trail I was on in the dark forest. The Photochromic model, on the other hand, was perfect in low light.

The two models I’ve been using are the photochromic and Prizm Trail. The latter is the big push for Oakley right now because they are said to aid contrast between the colours you normally see on the trail, helping you notice the important details, like moisture, soil type and hazards. Unfortunately, I’ve been riding in thick forests and even minimal blockage of light transition can be a deal-breaker in our Mirkwood-like woods. I gave them a shot though and the lens contrast was so distinct that I had a hard time recognizing where I was on a trail I have ridden hundreds of times. I’m looking forward to trying these in appropriate conditions, but the photochromic lenses were perfect in low light situations.

Unlikely Smith’s excellent Pivloc models (which are only slightly heavier at 29g), these lenses are not interchangeable. If you scratch them or break them it doesn’t appear that you can swap out parts.

It makes sense to put substance over style for riding eye covers, and I have to say that I don’t really like the aesthetics of the odd, wavy EVZero lens shape. Protection was excellent though and I was unable to detect any distortion and I keep reaching for them when I head out the door. The paltry 24-gram weight keeps them from banging around and clarity is excellent. Oakley optics aren’t cheap of course but the price includes a nice hard case, a spare Unobtainium nose-piece and a soft lens case/cleaner.

CDN#215/US$170/ £140 / AU$220 for the Prizm lens
CDN$235/US$190 / £170 / AU$270 for the photochromic lens


Do you cover your eye holes?

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Comments

ben
0
Ben  - June 18, 2016, 8:33 p.m.

Just ordered Ryders to replace my oakleys. They're Less sporty and more style..

Reply

dorse
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The Big Picture  - June 17, 2016, 9:18 a.m.

Ryder have clear and yellow lenses that are anti fog. At a fraction of the cost.

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blake
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blake  - June 17, 2016, 9:46 a.m.

Sure do! Andddd they don't fog like these

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esteban
0
Esteban  - June 17, 2016, 11:38 a.m.

Yes! And they're anti-fog!

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awesterner
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awesterner  - June 17, 2016, 9:16 p.m.

Unfortunately not for their nice looking rimless VIA. What's the point of Anti-fog grey anyway, unless we're skiing?

I'm sold on rimless specs. I grab them before googles 90% of the time with the half lid:-)

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dorse
0
The Big Picture  - June 17, 2016, 9:02 a.m.

I'm a pilot by profession . I was told by my doctor that lenses that change tint will weaken my eyes. Your eyes are a muscle that needs exercise like all muscle. If the lenses are doing it your eye muscles will not..

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - June 17, 2016, 11:18 a.m.

That's interesting. I wonder if there is evidence to back that up elsewhere? My optometrist didn't say anything about progressive lenses weakening my eyes - or wearing corrective lenses in general - in fact he said that isn't the case - but he was maybe just trying to sell glasses.

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dorse
0
The Big Picture  - June 19, 2016, 10:33 p.m.

just the lenses that change or darken the tint.

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slyfink
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slyfink  - June 17, 2016, 6:17 a.m.

How timely was this review?! I was in a shop yesterday and was tempted to drop the coin on them… figured I should do a little searching for reviews first. I had a pair of Oakley's that lasted from 1994 until I lost them in 2015. Granted they'd been warrantied a couple of times and a few new lenses fitted too, but Oakley make a solid product. I was tempted by the Prizm lens, but most of my riding is mostly through dense forest too, so perhaps I'll look for something more clear. thanks!

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 17, 2016, 7:55 a.m.

Consider the photochromics for sure SF. I was worried they wouldn't be reactive enough but even on dark days they allow enough light transmission.

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blake
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blake  - June 17, 2016, 9:47 a.m.

Go with ryder - lighter, don't fog, and fraction of cost. Same lenses too!

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slyfink
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slyfink  - June 17, 2016, 11:31 a.m.

I did. that's what I bought to replace my Oakley's when I lost mine. So far they've been ok. They don't seem to stay put as well. And the lenses aren't replaceable. Wasn't aware they're the same lenses as Oakley… source?

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - June 17, 2016, 11:49 a.m.

Oakley distinguishes themselves on their lens quality and clarity. You got a source on that? I have a pair of glasses from each company and IMO, would say they are not of the same lens quality.

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blake
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blake  - June 17, 2016, 11:51 a.m.

Most Oakley lenses are Essilor. About 2 years ago, Essilor bought Ryder

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blake
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blake  - June 17, 2016, 12:23 p.m.

Well your ryder is likely an old model. They have only transitioned to essilor lenses recently.Buy a new photochromic antifog model from them and you will see what I am talking about. If oakley were to offer essilor antifog, the glasses would cost $400+ minimum. Same lens tech, MUCH lower cost

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