I’m excited about this fresh company called N3L Optics, a sunglass store which specializes in sport performance sunglasses. It’s about time somebody narrowed the niche. Best part is, they divide their sport line into categories, including sunglasses made specifically for motorcyclists. Not only will N3L help customers find the right frame, shape and lenses depending on your sport of preference, but their stores offer cool in-store technology like an N3L Explorer Chamber and Smart Mirror. They are the only store I know of which offers an environmental simulator that enables customers to test sunglasses under varying light and airflow conditions. The N3L Explorer Chamber can give motorcyclists a good feel of how their sunglasses will fit while riding because it can simulate wind speeds up to 35 mph. The N3L Smart Mirror identifies what pair of sunglasses a customer is wearing and displays product specs and performance benefits on a computer screen. The Smart Mirror can also snap a photo and send an HTML email of the selected eyewear to your significant other in case they’re not there to tell you whether you look like a dork or not.
I mention N3L because despite living in a small market without an N3L store close by, the company sent us over some Oakley Ducati Wind Jacket Sunglasses for review. The sunglasses are part of the Oakley Signature Series and are made with motorcyclists in mind, with interchangeable lenses and a strap to secure them on riders’ heads. The lenses have a grey-green tint designed for bright light conditions, which riders are subjected to constantly. According to N3L, the neutral tint of the shades has been developed to allow colors to be seen in their natural state. This fact eluded me until deliberately taking the sunglasses off and on proved the claim as although they cut down glare, the lenses do actually allow most natural colors to shine through. The grey-green lenses provide great clarity, something that’s synonymous with just about all Oakley products I’ve worn.
Initial inspection reveals they weigh a tad more than my old Oakley Monster Dog’s I’ve been rocking forever. We credit the difference to the small metal hinges of the Switchlocks which allow the lenses to be swapped out. But don’t get us wrong. They are by no means heavy, and once on they are virtually unnoticeable.
The Oakley Ducati Wind Jackets feature a removable rubber-lined insert to protect riders’ eyes from excessive wind. It snaps into small grooves at the hinges on the arms of the sunglasses. Two small nodules on the nosepiece also helps keep it in place. We tested their capacity to keep hot wind off our eyeballs on our multi-state journey to Sturgis and found out that they seal up well. They definitely help combat eye fatigue on long rides. The only demerit we found was the rubber guard seals up so well it will make your face sweat where it comes in contact with the rubber rings. But we were still impressed with how well they sit on your face wearing an open face helmet even at highway speeds. We’ve had problems with wind getting underneath other sunglasses and trying to lift them off our face when wearing a half shell in the past, but the rubber guard eliminates that problem. Credit the strap which helps keep them in place, too. Speaking of the strap, it was a little tricky to get off the first time because you have to twist slightly to pop it out. At first we were worried that the nylon arm of the sunglasses might snap, but since learning the twisting trick it’s no longer a concern.
Oakley’s Switchlock Technology makes the process of swapping out lenses as easy as possible. Grab the nose pad near the bottom, swing it up, the lower jaw of the rim rotates down and you can slide the tinted lens right out. The Wind Jackets come with a clear set of lenses for night driving which slide right into the grooves. Snap the nose pad back into place and you’re good to go. The process can be done in less than a minute. This is especially convenient for full face helmet wearers because changing out lenses is much easier and quicker than swapping out shields. Carrying a couple of replacement lenses also takes up much less space than an extra shield and Oakley provides a sunglass bag conveniently stitched with a small pocket to store the extra lenses in. It’s the traditional Oakley bag which doubles as a lens wipe, only with a small pocket so the extra lenses don’t get scuffed up in transit.
The Ducati Wind Jackets sport a two-tone frame, dark grey on top and black on the bottom jaws which hold the lenses. The cloth headstrap is black and adjustable. Ducati’s influences include the Duc logo stamped succinctly on the left lens and Ducati red on the hinges and Oakley “O” on the arms. The Wind Jackets lens area isn’t overly large, but fortunately the sunglasses are wide enough to fit on my face without putting excessive pressure on my temples, a problem I’ve had with other glasses. Styling is very modern and sporty. Though we opted for the Wind Jackets in Dark Grey, they’re also available in Matte Black and come with a one-year warranty at a retail price of $250.
The Oakley Ducati Wind Jackets get high marks for comfort, convenience, and practicality. They seal up well and shield a rider’s eyes from excessive wind. The lenses swap out quick and easy. They’re practical for half-shell and full-face riders. And they look freakin’ cool. They’re on the spendy side, but you get a sweet hardcase to store them in, a strap to keep them on even when you’re barreling down the highway at break-neck speeds, it comes with extra lenses, a removable rubber guard and a bag that does double duty as a lens wipe. Plus they are styled with the class of a Ducati. And when it comes time to protect your eyesight, $250 suddenly becomes a small investment considering if you take care of them, the Wind Jackets will last you for years.
Check out what N3L Optics has to offer online or phone 866-621-7646 to talk to a rep.
Let's block ads! (Why?)