Oakley Echelon Radar

Jul 5, 2011

When I saw the Oakley Limited Edition Echelon Radar Path Photochromic sunglasses announced I knew I wanted them. I tried to resist for a while, but when I could see I had more money than expected and Challenge Aarhus was drawing near, and it was about the last chance I had to get them for the race, I caved in and ordered them directly from Oakley.

Oakley Limited Edition Echelon Radar Path Photochromic

I've wanted a pair of Radars instead of my aging M Frames for — years I think. So I was very happy when I received the package the friday before the race.

And now, having raced and trained with them, I can only say “Wow!” They are absolutely the closest thing to perfection for a pair of do-everything sunglasses for a triathlete or cyclist.

The lens is photochromic, meaning it gets darker as the (UV) light intensity goes up, and vice versa. It takes about 30 seconds to go from the lightest to the darkest tint.

In Challenge Aarhus I had the chance to try them out in both overcast weather and bright sun, and running from bright sun to an underground parking lot and out again, and I was very impressed with their performance. I never thought about it, they just adjusted to the light conditions and didn't make themselves felt otherwise, except for the short period of time they used to change tint. Perfect.

It is sunglasses you just put on when you go for a run or a ride, and then you just forget about them. I think that's the highest possible praise for a piece of equipment, that it just disappear in use.

The color of the lens is very close to neutral, with only a very slight contrast enhancing redish tint. Closer to an Oakley “Grey” (neutral) than a “G30” (redish brown) tint, if that helps. From the outside the lens look almost like a ”Fire Iridium” mirrored lens, a golden red fire-like color. Very cool I think.

The frame is a standard Radar frame, but with a carbon fiber print on it. It's my least favourite part of the glasses. It would be OK if it really was carbon fiber, but it's not, and I dislike fake finishes like that. But I mostly look out through the glasses, not at them, so I'm not too bothered by it.

The fit is excellent, and they rest securely on my head. And contrary to my M Frames they don't interfere with my helmet's retention system and straps, and are worn comfortably under the straps. This seems like a small thing, until you try and race a triathlon and need to take your helmet off quickly in the transition from cycling to running. Just think about it.

And if you need it, you can buy 76 different spare lenses in various shapes, tints and colors, with or without vents (yes, I went and counted them...). This particular one is a Vented Path lens, the smallest lens shape they make, and it will be fine for most people. But you can get more coverage if you need it from either Pitch or Range lenses.

And let me spend a little time on those vents in the lens. I guess the idea is to get a little air circulation behind the lens and avoid fogging. I can't tell if it works, but I can say that on the vented lenses I have for my M Frame the vents are located just where I look out, just under the top of the frame, when I ride in the aero position. Not so on the Radars, the vents are located in the middle and at the sides, not just above my eyes. So, in stark contrast to the M Frames, they don't bother me at all, and they might help in some conditions.

And there are plenty of color combinations to get if you happen to not like this particular one, even though I think this “Ruby VR50 Photochromic” lens, which is not sold seperately, is the best I've ever tried. And there's always Custom Radars if you want.

Pros: Perfect.

Cons: Bloody expensive (269 EUR, 250 USD, or 2250 DKK).

Overall: Highly recommended.

Get them while supplies last, they're a limited edition, so they will not be available forever.


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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