Free Shipping & Returns in the USA

Oakley Radar: A Comparison of Generations

By Kirsti Smouse

July 25, 2016

Oakley Radar: A Comparison of Generations

By Kirsti Smouse

July 25, 2016

Oakley Radar sunglasses have been knocking around the sports world for a decade now, and their popularity shows no signs of diminishing. Unlike other generational products that get phased out once a new version comes along, you can still purchase all three versions of the Radars on Oakley’s site (as of the date of this publication) and on marketplaces such as Amazon.

If you’re trying to decide which frame is best for you, this comparison will hopefully guide you in the right direction.

Just so we’re all clear right from the start, “Radar” (or Radarlock or Radar EV) is the name of the frame. Path, Pitch, Range, etc. are the names of the lens styles. These lenses are all interchangeable within their respective frame (e.g., Radarlock Pitch lenses and Radarlock Path lenses both fit the Radarlock frames).

OAKLEY RADAR

2006

Oakley first introduced the Radars in 2006. In keeping with heritage style characteristics of the M Frames, the Radars feature hammer stem profiles, a brow that dips slightly in the center, and a single shield lens.

The stems feature round holes, which Oakley calls “surge ports,” designed to help improve airflow. The earsocks run almost to the end of the stems, and the tips of the stems flare slightly (almost imperceptibly) outward. If you run your fingers along the ends, you’ll notice the shift. In theory, these flared tips should assist with putting the sunglasses on — especially one-handed while riding a bicycle.

Oakley Radar rotating gif

There are 4 Oakley lens shapes available for the Radars (8 if you count the vented versions of each). In order of smallest to largest they are:

  • Edge
  • Path
  • Pitch
  • Range

Oakley marketed the Edge within the women’s line, but there’s nothing markedly feminine about the shape. I’m not going to pitch any “Pink it and Shrink it” theories here, but needless to say, the Edge is just as unisex as the other options.

Ultimately, it comes down to which shape you like best.

Front and side view of Oakley Radar sunglasses
Specs: Frame Width: 133mm | Temple Arm Length: 130 mm | Lens Height: 44 mm
Oakley Radar lenses
Lens Height: Edge: 42 mm | Path: 44 mm | Pitch: 46 mm | Range: 49 mm

Need replacement lenses for your Oakley Radar? Check out our selection.

OAKLEY RADAR XL

2006

More or less the exact same frame as the Radar, the Radar XL features added length between the nose bridge and brow. This extra 7 mm provides more vertical coverage, which is especially helpful for cyclists riding in the attack position.

Unlike the standard Radar however, the XL version only has one lens — the Blade.

Although that was the name when first released, the lens is often marketed simply as “Radar XL.”

If you have the parts, you can change the nose piece to convert a standard Radar to a Radar XL (and vice versa), but there is always the risk of damaging the frames. If you’re interested in that process, you can check out this video.

Oakley Radar XL rotating gif

Tip: For a larger view, right click on image and open in a new tab.

 front and side pictures of Oakley Radar XL
Specs: Frame Width: 133mm | Temple Arm Length: 130 mm | Lens Height: 50 mm
Oakley Radar XL lens
Lens Height: Blade: 50 mm
Oakley Radar vs Oakley Radar XL nosebridge comparison
Radar: 11 mm | Radar XL: 18 mm

OAKLEY RADARLOCK

2012

In 2012, Oakley released the Radarlock. This generation has the same look and feel as the first — similar size and the same lens shapes, but there are enough distinct differences to set it apart.

The main difference being Oakley’s patented “Switchlock” technology. Instead of a press and pop method, the left temple features a locking mechanism. When unlatched, the temple swings open, allowing for an easier lens removal/installation process.

Oakley Radarlock Switchlock open
Oakley Radarlock open position
Oakley Radarlock Switchlock lever
Oakley Radarlock latch on inside left temple

Ironically, this is how Oakley has positioned this technology:

  • “If you haven’t heard about Oakley Switchlock Technology, you’re wasting too much time fumbling with the outdated designs of ordinary interchangeable lens systems. Our simple switch mechanism makes the process quick and easy, and the lens is held securely in place without uneven pressures that can bend it and distort your vision. Somebody finally got it right, and did so with a vengeance against conventional technology.”

Why is it ironic?

Because in the 3rd iteration of the Radar family, Oakley returned to the “outdated design” of a pressure click-in system for Radar EV.

Not saying there’s anything wrong with the Switchlock technology (I quite prefer it), just noting the irony. Oakley might want to consider updating the copy on their site — and also possibly not bagging on their own designs in the future.

Oakley Radarlock rotating gif

In addition to the new technology, the temple featured a more angular surge port and a slightly larger icon. This design change also pushed the hinge a little further down the temple — a seemingly insignificant adjustment, but one which causes the ends of the temples to hit the back of the lenses when the frame is folded.

There’s also less Unobtainium on the earsocks — about two inches of length along the back of the ear stem compared to Radar’s three inches of Unobtainium. This could be seen as either a pro or a con depending on your needs.

  • Pro: Unobtainium becomes sticky when wet, so the more there is, the better the sunglasses may lock to your head and not shift around while moving.
  • Con: That added stickiness can also make it more difficult to put the sunglasses on one-handed.

Some other added features include perforations on the ends of the stems to accommodate a retention strap and spring hinges. The tips of the stems also don’t flare out much.

front and side pictures of Oakley Radarlock Path
Specs: Frame Width: 138mm | Temple Arm Length: 131 mm | Lens Height: 44 mm
Oakley Radarlock lenses
Lens Height: Edge: 42 mm | Path: 44 mm | Pitch: 46 mm | Range: 49 mm

The Radarlock XLs are the exact same frame as the Radarlocks, but with an added 7 mm between the nose bridge and top of the frame (same concept as the Radars vs the Radar XL frames).

OAKLEY RADAR EV

2015

A modern twist on the previous generations, the Radar EV is still easily identifiable as part of the Radar family but departs from the curving sweep of the brow to a more angular look. Instead of dipping above the nose bridge, the brow of the Radar EV is straight across the middle before angling downward into 2 sloping steps about two-thirds of the way to the temples.

Oakley Radar EV Path rotating gif

Returning to what worked in the original Radar frame, Oakley ditched its Switchlock technology for the 3rd generation of the Radars, favoring instead the pressure click-in system. The hinges are pulled closer in so that the tips don't hit the lens when folded. And the surge ports are much smaller — more rectangular and positioned closer to the hinge.

The Unobtanium earsocks cover almost the entire length of the stems, with only the flared ends and the areas around the surge ports left untouched.

front and side pictures of Oakley Radar EV Path
Specs: Frame Width: 138 mm | Temple Arm Length: 128 mm |Lens Height: 50 mm
Oakley Radar EV lenses
Lens Height: Path: 50 mm | Pitch: 50 mm

But what most sets the Radar EV apart from its predecessors in terms of function has to be its lens design.

The “EV” stands for “extended vision” and for obvious reasons. The lenses feature an added 5 mm above the nose bridge, extending the upper field of view. As with the XL versions of previous generations, this taller lens keeps the brow out of sight (or nearly so) when in a head down, eyes up position (such as the aero position while cycling).

Although still available in the Path and Pitch styles, the Radar EV only comes with vented versions of these lenses.

If you'd prefer a non-vented Path lens for your Radar EV, check out our selection here.

Unlike previous versions of vents, which were cone-shaped and positioned at a diagonal from the outer top corners of the lenses pointed inward towards the nose bridge, the vents on the lenses for Radar EV are subtly placed horizontally against the brow. These low profile vents were designed to still allow optimum airflow while staying out of the path of the wearer’s line of sight.

lens height comparison Oakley Radar Path vs Oakley Radar EV Path
Oakley Radar Path (left) vs Oakley Radar EV Path (right)
Oakley Radar vented lens vs Oakley Radar EV Path lens
Oakley Radar vented lens vs Oakley Radar EV vented lens

LENS COMPATABILITY

Are these lenses interchangeable across generations?

Short answer: no

Complicated answer: sort-of

The lenses for Radar EV are a definite no across the board – those lenses won’t fit in Radars or Radarlocks (or their XL counterparts), and the lenses for Radar and Radarlock won’t fit in the Radar EVs.

If you compare the notches on the lenses of the Radars and the Radarlocks, you’ll notice a difference.

Oakley Radar lens notches vs Oakley Radarlock notches
Oakley Radarlock lens has a sharper hook than the notch in the Oakley Radar lens

When I attempt to install a Radar lens into the Radarlock, I can make it fit—however, the latch won’t completely lock flush against the lens. I can also see a slight gap on the right temple (but not on the left where the switchlock is located), and the lens definitely doesn’t align perfectly with the nose bridge.

lens height comparison Oakley Radar Path vs Oakley Radar EV Path
Oakley Radar vented lens vs Oakley Radar EV Path lens

The lens seems to be pretty well seated within the top groove of the frame though, and it likely won’t pop out since it’s being held in place by the pressure of the nose bridge and top of the frame.

If you’re looking for a perfect fit, then technically these aren’t interchangeable, but if you’re in a pinch and need to use a Radar lens in a Radarlock, it will work.

Since the Radarlock lenses are a good 5 mm wider than the Radar lenses, these are definitely not backward compatible with the Radars. If you attempt to install them, you can get the hooks in there, but the lens bows out quite a bit from the frame.

OTHER NOTES

There are XL subsets and straight stem versions for the Radar and Radarlock, and Asian Fit frames available in all 3 generations so there’s technically ten frames within the Radar family.

The XL frames are no longer sold by Oakley, but you can still find replacement lenses and parts on their website and floating around the internet.

The straight stems are the same as the standard versions, simply with straight stems (and no surge ports). This design is to accommodate a better fit with helmets.

The Asian Fit frames have the same specs as the standard frames. The only difference is the size of the nose pad, which can easily be swapped out. These really aren't different frames at all, but they are marketed as "Radar Asian Fit" and have a specific SKU, so I'm counting them in the 10.

You might also like . . .

Blog Post: Introducing Something Different
Blog Post: M Frames Through the Ages
Blog Post: How to Spot Fake Oakleys
Google+ Pinterest
  • Fedor Tikhonov

    the great article, thank you, Kirsti

  • Darren Casey

    I have a pair of oakleys and need the lenses replaced but i cant find out which radar lense it takes bc all it says on the glasses is radar. It doesnt say radar path or xl or any other names just radar. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5a4ea43c81441843174d707431754c89fa2243d086ced32e63dca445b1331d8.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6544a1f7c4150fdc03460e0c15616e31f2fa3c2ca9b8faf29304906cf351f5b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a1bdebc1aa176f6568bdbf986d88ba0d5132d5ec97b72bedf2f3dcbe0cd0d6f4.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ebc870d3c44b10a8ca5d1b347eb15f3615e80d8a7f8fbc9824b84bc5ab08d35f.jpg

  • Antonello Buonanotte

    Hello Miss Kirsty.I am with Oakley since1981.I went through all Ther single Lenses shades....(from Eyeshades to Radar EV.Nothing fits better than an Oakley.What I (Sorry)don't like are the poor quality rubbers(earsocks,nosepiece )and the fragility of lenses "skin" coatings:especially of clear lenses and Photocromic ones:the inside peels away with time.Also,(I am in Italy)I note the poor spare parts service from the factory.(I returned them a defective Lenses and it went lost!!!)Question:New sunglasses mean no more replacement parts of the old One!!!I will go on with Oakley,but I am forced to get spare parts from abroad!It is a non sense(to me)to discontinue something good(read: Radarlock technology )for something "behind"(_read:Radar Range.)I Hope I didn't disturbo You,but I'd love to go on with"older"models....
    Sincerely,Antonello (Genova,Italy)

  • DJT

    Brilliant article, really helpful. Thanks a lot, Kirsti!

Most Recent Articles

Subscribe

Join our mailing list

We do not sell or trade contact information to anyone for any reason.

To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Subscription Successful!

We will send you an email to confirm your subscription.

Look for exclusive discounts and the latest Revant news coming your way!

Subscription Error

There was a problem with the subscription: This email address is already assigned to another user.

Outdoors for All

The mission of Outdoors for All is to enrich the quality of life for children and adults with disability through outdoor recreation. 100% of this donation will be transfered to the Outdoors for All Foundation.

See more at: https://outdoorsforall.org