The Oakley Portal sunglasses caught my eye in the shop because of new styling but also as they have traits similar to the popular Sutro design.
Here is a quick first look at the Portal range, on sale in Australia but not often seen in cycling bunches even they match mosts helmets very well and a particularly suitable for riding.
Words and video by Rob Arnold
The shape stood out while I walked by. Similar, but different. The Portal sunglasses from Oakley look great for cycling. Would they be suitable? I’d soon find out. Into the shop I went to investigate a little further. Off the display rack, and onto my head they went. Into the mirror I glanced, then I nodded. Yes indeed. Nice.
So, the Portal. Did you know about these sunglasses? It snuck up on me without any fanfare and yet I was curious as soon as I saw them.
It’s early days. A review pair arrived yesterday morning. Today I went for a ride. You can soon see that #StoryOfMyRide on RIDE Media’s YouTube channel. But the upshot is this: they are great for cycling. And they might even suit your style when you’re off the bike.
With ‘Prizm’ optics and the variety of colours we’ve come to expect from Oakley, they are likely to suit the helmet you’re wearing right now. Not all sunglasses match the sizing of the vents of every helmet brand, but the Sutro range (which I know well) have arms that neatly slot into most ‘storage’ compartments. And the arms on the Portal are much the same, but the double lens design isn’t quite as significant (ie. large) as other sunnies that are more common for cyclists.
Before getting on the bike, I did a quick check with some of the helmets in my collection and I can say that, in my opinion at least, the Portal style goes well – both while on your face and when slotted into the helmet above.
I’ll update this post as time progresses and include shots (and videos) of the Portal with Kask, POC, and Bontrager helmets… but for now, here are a few different angles of a new-style offering from Oakley.
See more about Sutro styles of recent years: MVDP special-edition
At 132mm they are a similar size to the ‘Sutro S’ (ie. smaller frame) which, from my experience suits the Kask Protone and POC Ventral better because the standard Sutro (can be a bit of a squeeze (in the medium-sized helmets). It’s a little detail but one that you may not discover until after you leave the mall.
Weight is relevant for sunglasses, not because of the watts you might save for shaving off a few grams, but because it is something that is meant to sit stable on your face in all manner of conditions. A little extra weight in the wrong places and they simply don’t function how they ought to when you’re on the bike.
These are 27 grams of blue goodness, slightly lighter than the Sutro S (30g) but not quite POC Elicit territory (23gm, and still the lightest sunnies I’ve ridden with).
The length and shape of the arms means they slip neatly into the straps of all my preferred helmet options, something I have documented in a pre-ride video (so let me know if you are interested in seeing that overview).
Oakley has a huge collection of sporting eyewear but there has never been a strong push to the cycling market. Maybe it’s because the company believes the single-lens of Sutro etc matches helmets a little better. But from the experience of my first ride, I can say that they are certainly great for riding… they just might not match the brim of your helmet quite as neatly as other sunglass options on the market.
What do you think? Does the Portal shape suit you and your cycling requirements?