Review: Oakley Encoder Sunglasses | route.cc

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The Oakley Encoder Sunglasses look absolutely epic with their flared edge lens – there to add rigidity – and fit securely and comfortably over a wide range of helmets. Lens clarity is up to Oakley’s usual high standards, but that flared edge causes distortion that’s been “resolved” with a sizable nose rubber. And then there’s the price, you’ll have to really like the look…

The Oakley Encoder is designed for “multiple sport categories” that may involve helmets, comes in eight lens/color combinations, and borrows some design cues from the Kato – albeit a bit toned down so they don’t seem so radical.

Rimless glasses can be beneficial for cycling. For example, Oakley Flight Jackets remove the upper part of the frame to provide an unobstructed view when looking up, which is useful in an aero position with your head down. Other goggles such as the Oakley EVZero Blades remove almost all of the frame, but this can make the goggles feel flimsy and flimsy; not great for head retention.

The encoder solution is the flared top edge, and as far as stiffness goes, it’s a great solution. The encoders don’t feel flimsy at all and hold their heads well.

However, when it comes to visibility, it’s like having a frame, which kind of makes it useless (other than for aesthetics, which I’m a big fan of). This actually results in a similar field of view (at least upwards) to the ever-popular Oakley radars. Don’t expect the usual benefits of rimless glasses in this area.


The rubbery nosepiece and ear cups are made of ‘Unobtainium’ and keep the goggles in place even in the wettest conditions. I found the low profile temple areas work well with a variety of helmets, while the arms are shorter than some and less likely to collide with helmets behind the ears.


Oakley 2022 encoder - arm.jpg

Although it curves into the sides of your face, the lens barely distorts in the field of view. and where the arm mounts are very tall, so you have to really strain your eyes to even see them.

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The flared edge around the nose would create distortion, but was blocked by the larger than usual nose rubber. It doesn’t impact visibility too much, but it’s definitely not a positive as it encroaches on the center of vision.


Oakley 2022 encoder - inner frame.jpg

The optics themselves are up to Oakley’s usual high standards. Prizm lenses enhance contrast and color and, as mentioned, there are eight to choose from, each with a different light transmission profile to suit a wide range of conditions.


Oakley 2022 encoder - open case.jpg

We tested Prizm Sapphire glass which has a 12% VLT (Visible Light Transmission) tint – actually quite dark for typical UK driving with our abundance of shaded hedges – so I would personally opt for Prizm Road or even Prizm Trail with 20% or 35% VLT respectively. None of the lens options change the price.

Value

At £204 they’re more expensive than many alternatives, including other goggles from Oakley. For example, all the Oakleys I mentioned earlier are cheaper: the Flight Jackets are £194, the EVZero Blades are £149, the Radar EVs are £167 and the Sutros are £140. The fact is that, from a functional point of view, encoders offer no real advantage over any of them.

However, they are certainly not alone at this price. The Roka GP-1Xs are now £210, while the Roka Matadors that our tester George really liked are £215. As with these, the encoders don’t include a spare lens, but you do at least get a hard case with the Oakleys.

Globally

This is an interesting set of sunglasses and the flared lens edge is absolutely brilliant while stiffening them – but that also goes against their framelessness. The cost is also quite hard to swallow, as while the clarity, fit and comfort of the lenses are excellent, they’re not much better than with cheaper rivals, even from Oakley itself.

Verdict

Striking looks, great lenses and very comfortable with helmets, but expensive – and no better than their own cheaper stable mates

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Brand and model : Oakley encoder

Tell us what the product is for and who it is for. What are the builders saying? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Oakley says, “Designed for use in multiple sport categories, Encoder is a sport performance style designed with hat and helmet fit functionality in mind. The progressive wraparound design creates a unique look with superior coverage and an improved field of vision.

I was impressed with their helmet compatibility and found them to be very comfortable, but the field of vision is no better than much cheaper goggles.

Tell us a bit more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Oakley:

MULTI-SPORTS DESIGN – Functional sports design with optimized coverage, wider field of vision, frame retention and impact protection.

* REVOLUTIONARY LENS DESIGN – Advances in optical design have allowed the lens to be designed with extended wrap and stiffness in key areas that mimics the structural properties of a frame.

* HAT AND HELMET TEMPLES – O-Matter temples have been designed to be low profile to fit hats and helmets.

* NON-SLIP GRIP – Unobtainium earmuffs and nose pads help maintain athletic level with a non-slip grip and all-day comfort.

* 8 Colors/Lenses – Available with Prizm lenses designed to enhance color and contrast so you can see more detail.

Lens Width: 36mm

Lens Height: 36mm

Frame bridge height: 136mm

Frame arm length: 123 mm

Rate the product for build quality:

9/10

Rate the product for its performance:

7/10

Rate the product for durability:

8/10

They feel really sturdy and should last, although the lens is not replaceable.

Rate the product by weight (if applicable)

8/10

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

9/10

Evaluate the product for its value:

3/10

Very expensive and only one objective…

Tell us how the product performed overall when used as intended

They work well, but are not without flaws. The clarity of the lenses is excellent and they fit a wide variety of helmets very well, although the nose rubber restricts vision slightly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The looks.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The big nose.

How does the price compare to similar products on the market, including those recently tested on road.cc?

These are some of the most expensive sunglasses we’ve ever tested, and while they’re innovative, they offer no functional advantage over much cheaper alternatives.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider purchasing the product? Yes…I’m a sucker for expensive sunglasses, especially when they look this good

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Sadly I can’t rely entirely on appearance…yes the lens clarity is fantastic but you can get it at Oakleys for almost half the price plus these lenses are not replaceable and nose rubber is noticeable in your vision. The flared edges of the lens look great and stiffen it up, but they also impinge on vision in the same way a traditional frame would. These are really good, but only as good as considerably cheaper glasses or those with regular frames, which lowers the overall score.

Age: 23 Height: 6 feet Mass: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized revenge pro 2019 My best bike is:

I have been riding since: Under 5 years old I ride: Every day I would classify myself as: Expert

I regularly practice the following types of riding: road racing, time trial, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, athletics, general fitness riding, mountain biking,

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