Oakley launch new Encoder frames

Oakley Encoder

Launched without the usual blaze of publicity and razmatazz that you would expect from Oakley these beauts landed in online stores a couple of weeks ago without too much press.

The ever reliable Oakley Forum has run a review which you can read here.

The likely retail price is going to be high on these as there is no ability to lens swap meaning there is no after sales market for upgrades and spares.

The lack of a frame is boosted in stability and strength by a strip of aluminium across the top. Cyclingtips got a pair to review and give good detail on that here.

I have to say that compared to the Kato frames we saw briefly on the face of Sam Bennett and Chris Froome in the autumn of 2020, these look much better and less of a leap from traditional to modern.

As you will all know from the sunglasses history post from this time last year, I’d had a clear out of Oakley products.

That list is now horribly in need of an update with some Sutros and M2’s now having arrived at my house!

It will be interesting to see if this frames is the long term successor to the Radar and Radar EV and my eyes will be peeled to GCN+ to see if I can see them on any pro faces sooner rather than later.

Rapha launches new eyewear

I am up and down when it comes to Rapha I have to say.

I have a 2013 Team Sky jersey my kids bought me for Fathers Day which I love but aside from that their products have left me a bit meh.

However this could be able to change with the launch of their new eyewear range (and regular Fendrien readers will know I like a pair of cycling specs).

All of the current trend bases are covered.

We have a large full framed set (a la 100% speedcraft or Oakley Jawbreakers).

We have a no framed version (Covering the Oakley Ev Zero).

An off bike pair (think Oakley Frogskins or 100% speedcoupe)

And a ‘Sutro’esque pair with a drilled lens and top frame.

They are all utterly stunning and if Rapha want to send me some to review I will happily break the rule about me paying for all products I review !

See the range by clicking here.

The company was supplying AquaBlue when they went bust mid season and haven’t been seen on pro faces since, so it will be interesting to see if they pay to have this range in a teams kit for next season.

Let’s wait and see.

Bolle Vortex – still the business (Product Review)

As with all product reviews on this website, the products are bought and paid for out of my own money so I can be objective and honest in my appraisal of them.

Today we are looking at Bolle Vortex sunglasses that I picked up second hand for just over £10 on Ebay.

I picked up a couple of pairs at that price based on some historic affection I have for the brand.

My first years of bike racing back in the early 1990s saw their Edge and Micro Edge models as dominant in the peloton as Oakley radars were.

Miguel Indurain, Laurent Jalabert, names that evoke a time when the drugs arms race was starting but when cycling was still a mystical and wonderful sport for a lad in his late teens.

My Micro Edge cost me £29 back then and had a gold mirrored lens. They had black frames with yellow arms and I loved them.

Since then Bolle has had an up and down time on the faces of pro cyclists.

Jalabert stuck with them the longest during his Once and CSC years but after that it was Orica who next took them on before their current position on the face of Romain Bardet at Ag2r.

I was excited to get the winning bid on these pairs and was keen to get out on the road and test them.

The reviews I had seen on the internet were positive. The frames and lenses both scoring well when compared to other brands.

It was a grim morning when I first headed out with the white frames and purple multi light lenses in. They were really comfortable and despite not being the size of some of the modern glasses the coverage was perfect for me, and I do have a bit of a beachball head.

They didn’t slip or move about on my face and despite it being a damp winter morning there was no fogging or misting. i suppose that should be expected as at full price back in the day these were priced at over £100.

For me I wanted a pair of glasses for October to March with no need to change and I got exactly that. They are utterly brilliant.

The other pair performed as well on warmer days and had the addition of a bright red/gold mirrored lens. The sort of glasses you want to look pro by turning them upside down in your helmet vents on a tough climb. You know the drill!

It’s fair to say that Bolle are back at the head of my affections and that I prefer them to a certain American brand that are omnipresent. I go through a lot of glasses as this article testifies but these are about as perfect as you can get.

They ooze retro cool and evoke memories of a period when I was just getting into the sport. But they are also modern enough to wear now and performance is best in class.

Get out there are shop a bargain people!

Does my sunglasses history show I have a problem?

ModelYear boughtYear Sold
Bloc Titan (Orange, 4 lens system)2020 (£45 using -20% voucher) 
Bolle Vortex (white, purple all conditions lens)2019 (£10 Ebay find)
2nd hand
Bolle Vortex (red with gold mirrored lens)2019 (£10 Ebay find)
2nd Hand
Galibier Surveillance Optics (Tortoise shell with gold lenses)2019 (£35 full price !!) 
100% Speedcoupe (White with black mirrored lens and additional low light and purple mirrored)2019 (£40 60% off deal on Wiggle2019 – They didn’t quite fit as I wanted.
Oakley Jawbreaker2017 Wiggle (£100 on deal) 
Oakley Radarlock XL2015 (£45 Ebay)
2nd Hand
2019 as retro to a collector
Nike Roadmachine2016 (£30 online)2018 sold
Oakley Fast Jacket X2015 (£35 Ebay)
2nd Hand
2019 as retro to a collector
BBB Select2014 (£35 online)2017 sold
BBB Adapt2014 (£45 from Bristows cycles2017 sold
Oakley Jawbone2010 (free after Oakley website glitch)2012 sold to pay for new helmet after accident
Oakley Radar2008 (£120)2012 sold to pay for new helmet after accident.
Tifosi Q32004 product for reviewnot sure!

So there it is…

Since the turn of the century I have had more pairs of sunglasses for cycling than I have had bikes.

I suppose we all have our weaknesses.

My obsession started as I started watching the sport in the late 1980’s. I saved hard with paper round money for a pair of the original Bolle micro edge. Maybe its part of a mid-life crisis that I am returning to that brand after all this time!

My first Oakley’s came in 1994 with some M-frames that I used up until I had my bad back injury in 1999.

When I started riding seriously again in 2004 I seemed to start regularly collecting glasses whilst trading them online so I could keep my wardrobe looking fresh!

I will try and hide this post from my wife…

Don’t tell her please.

Galibier Surveillance Optics on review

I think its always useful at the start of a review to point out the source of the product on test.

It’s been a while since the last round of product reviews on Fendrien and some of those items were supplied by companies who wanted my opinion.

For the Galibier sunglasses I am scribing about here, there is no discount, no freebies no incentive. I saw these glasses online and fell in love with the design and and frames before buying with my own hard earned cash!

They weren’t the first Galibier product I have owned though. The eagle eyed amongst you will have seen me scaling the Alps this summer in their leather retro look track mitts, an amazing buy.

Sunglasses though are an altogether different thing and something cyclists are very particular about.

I see myself as somewhat of a connoisseur, but mainly having stuck to Oakley over my lifetime in cycling. However there is a bit of chatter online (and its building) that “they aren’t as good as they were”. Now I don’t know about that but I have now used other brands.

For example in 2015 when I rode the Tour of Flanders Sportive I chose BBB products were did the job in a really effective way.

However we are here to talk Galibier and what a find these specs were! I love all things to do with retro cycling and the tortoise shell frames were the first thing that attracted me to the glasses when I saw them on a peruse of their website.

They are stunning although my photo above doesn’t do them any sort of justice at all. You will put these on and look every inch a Fausto Coppi or even a Jan Janssen. They ooze 50’s and 60s chic and once I’d put them on I instantly knew I’d made a good choice.

The lens option in the tortoise shell frames is a gold mirrored lens which works brilliant on those low sun days we are getting at the moment. However even though they are more for use as the light gets brighter, I am using them on every ride.

Whilst the finish on the frames are getting lots of attention, the real work here is in those lenses which offer great clarity and little if no misting.

The price of these glasses is under £45 and I did wonder if that fact they don’t come with a silly price tag might put people off. I hope it doesn’t as you need to get some of these on your face. They are a bargain (based on the pricing of other brands) and I would thoroughly recommend them to you.

A link to the page on Galibier’s website is here.

It is worth mentioning that since I purchased and started riding in these glasses, they have brought out a new frame called “Ardennes” with a number of lens and frame options (ain’t that always the way!!), but I can’t see Mrs Fendrien agreeing to another package arriving with them in!