Oakley Radar EV Advancer: Fog-free vision

Oakley launched the Advancer nose piece a few years ago on the Flight Jacket and Field Jac…

Oakley launched the Advancer nose piece a few years ago on the Flight Jacket and Field Jacket, and now has adapted the technology to one of its best selling platforms, the Radar EV.

Words and photography: Colin Levitch

When it comes to sunglasses, everybody has their own preference. For some, the bug-eyed robot sent back from the future to kill Sarah Conner is the look they’re after, while others are keen for something a bit more subdued.

Oakley’s Radar EV finds itself on the more conservative aesthetic and with that, you’ll find them attached to the face of riders across the spectrum. I’ve worn the original Radar and Radar EV’s over the years and they have been sunnies I continually return to because they fit nicely, offer a wide field of view and look pretty good too. Is the Advancer version a worthwhile upgrade or is this new adaptation a take it or leave it offering?

What’s new

First and foremost, Oakley has adapted the Advancer nosepiece to the Radar EV frame. Using a flip switch situated over the bridge of your nose, it moves the entire frame ~5mm farther away from your face. The idea is to allow a bit of additional airflow behind the lens to de-mist your vision. Where it’s placed, you can’t actually see the switch – unless you’re cross-eyed after one sprint effort too many.

Oakley has also added a broader lens, which extends further down and around your face and eliminates the edge you could see with the Radar EV when looking over your shoulder for cars.

Beyond that, they are just about identical. It still comes with a vented lens, long arms with replaceable Unobtanium pads and Oakley’s Prizm lenses. This time around, we’re looking at the Prizm Road Black and Prizm Trail Torch lenses but more on that later.

Turn on the aircon

By design, the Advancer nose piece promotes airflow by pushing the sunnies away from your face and allowing more air to flow behind them. While the Radar EV’s have always treated me pretty well at fighting fog, certain conditions would be more challenging. Long fire road climbs or slow-moving high-intensity stretches through a temperature gradient like The Gorges in Sydney would often cause them to mist up.

It’s in these situations where I would usually chuck my sunnies in the vents of my helmet and give them some breathing space. However, helmet designers seemed to have done away with perfectly placed vents of yesteryear so that’s not always an option. The Advancer, through its movable nose piece, allows enough air to flow to pass behind the lens. So far, they have stayed fog-free during my test period.

Your face is highly sensitive to temperature change and the skin around your eyes is quite thin – with plenty of capillaries traversing the area. So, it’s no surprise covering the area with a shield can make you feel hot. A trick I learned from an old crusty mountain biker is that if you feel yourself beginning to overheat, take your sunnies off for a moment and you will feel cooler. Though it doesn’t actually do a whole lot to reduce body temperature, it makes your body think it’s not boiling.

I’ve found that when I hit that point on a climb and I feel my face begin to go flush. Flipping the Advancer switch is a bit like turning on the aircon. It seems to be provide instant relief but it’s still winter right now so realistically I won’t know the full effect until I get caught on a scorching Queensland summer day.

With the Advancer nose piece, you do lose some of the adjustability of the standard nose piece but it’s a compromise many would be happy to accept. When you do flip the switch, the mechanism can put uncomfortable pressure on the bridge of your nose however, this can be solved by pushing the sunnies down your nose a touch. It’s still made from the ultra-grippy Unobantium rubber and is extra sticky when sweaty.

Oakley Prizm

Oakley Prizm technology has been around for a few years and the lenses are designed to increase contrast and detail recognition in a given environment. Basically, ultra-specific dyes are added to the tint to filter out individual colour wavelengths so your eyes can identify hazards. It sounds like marketing hype but ask anyone who has compared Prizm lenses to others and they’ll attest to the effectiveness.

Oakley sent both the Prizm Road Black and Prizm Trail Torch lens for us to put through the paces.

Prizm Road

The Prizm Road lens is designed to help you spot changes in the road surface and spot hazards while making road signs and lines more visible. The Prizm Road Black version is darker than the standard Road Prizm, only allowing for 11 percent light transmission (vs 20 percent) and trades a purple base lens for rose.

The lens works as advertised, cutting glare from the road surfaces, almost to what you’d expect from a polarised lens, allowing my eyes to pick out granular details of the blacktop. When you leave the pavement however, dirt roads and single track can feel a little cold, and I wasn’t able to pick rocks and roots quite as far off. With only 11 percent light transmission, these are most definitely lenses for full sun, travelling on gravel roads with overhead canopy left me feeling blind. As you can expect, the Road Prizm is best for, ah… the road.

Prizm Trail Torch

Also changing from a purple base lens to rose, the Prizm Trail Torch lens goes from 36 percent light transmission to 35 percent — groundbreaking, we know. It seems with the Trail Torch lens, Oakley has dialled the contrast from 24 back to 11 and in bright conditions didn’t leave me quite as dazzled. The rose base lens allows colours to come through more true to life and avoids the orange tint of the standard Prizm Trail lens. Off the beaten track, the lens boosts red and brown wavelets, helping your eyes to see ruts and roots.

Long arms…

With the arms on Oakley sunnies being long and straight, historically they can cause some issues with retention systems on the back of helmets. I tested them with lids from Scott, Bontrager, POC, Lazer and MET. The only helmet that presented problems was the MET Strale, with the ear socks sighing over or tucking under the cradle.

Overall, I think Oakley’s Radar EV Advancer is a winner. Like most, I thought the movable nose piece was just hype but I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve taken advantage of the switch. Given these frames are pretty good at resisting the mist in the first place, it’s a nice addition.

Comparing apples to apples, the Radar EV Advancer is about $10 more than the equivalent Radar EV and for the money, you get slightly more coverage and a built-in defroster — well worth it in my book.

Oakley Radar EV advancer

  • Price: $264.95
  • Available Lenses: Prizm Road, Prizm Sapphire, Prizm Road Black, Prizm Trail Torch, Photochromic, Prizm Golf, Black Polarized
  • Weight: 33g