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Carbon Blade Review


I am Jim Jannard...
Premium Member
Lifetime Member
Here we go…

Let me start by stating the obvious - most of you probably care less about what I have to say and more about what I have to show. That said I am going to post the link to the pics first so you can browse through them - if you like what you see maybe you'll come back and read what I have to say ;)

Note: I used the matte grey '01' for the detail pics. It is not the shiniest of the bunch, but it was the one I grabbed. Hopefully the pictures speak for themselves, but if you are curious and want a picture of a certain pair or part in a particular way PM me and I'll be happy to elaborate.

Oakley Carbon Fiber Blades - a set on Flickr

And now for the Ferrari's @

Ferrari Carbon Blades - a set on Flickr

Now, let's get on with the review!

For those of you who do not know me (or don't read signature lines) I am not a big Oakley fan. They do not impress me in general. I am not an Oakley collector. However, I am a big X-Metal fan - since my first Juliet in 1999. I have 30+ pairs, at least one of every X-Metal with the majority being Juliets. More than half m pieces are custom and I wear them all. Also, I generally do not wear plastic. The closest I have gotten is an RB4034 and a couple of pairs of Maui Jim's I can tolerate for yard work and what not, but I digress… One may say "Carbon is the new metal", as I just did. We see it in a lot of things and there have been enough threads here of late recapping the successes and failures of CF eyewear. I am not going to rehash any of that - we have a search function for that. But the question to me remains, after so much time loyal to X-Metal - Can I accept CF as a replacement. Can it sit next to my IH Juliet or R1 without me thinking :errwhat: I was skeptical to say the least, yet hopeful that Oakley would do something they have not done in a long time - impress me!

For me this is not just about sharing my initial impressions with Oakley Carbon Blades, but crossing into new territory in terms of reevaluating what I like and why, what I wear and when - it borders on crossing a line that could ultimately get me kicked out of, or at least temporarily suspended from, the No Shelf Whores club :) It challenges things that I am familiar with, routines, preferences. I won't get any deeper into the psychological and philosophical ramifications of my experience as they are clearly off topic with regards to this review. Suffice to say that the relationship I have with my sunglasses is special, as I am sure many of you can relate.

Since most of you have probably looked at the pictures already - and if you're still reading along, you have seen that I had ordered one of each 'standard' style. [I also ordered the -06, but that will be a little late to the party]. The 5 pieces together shipped showed 3.9 lbs tracking, which I thought might be a bit heavy. I was wondering before they arrived… Will the weight be sufficient? Is there going to be 'too much' in the design for me? I am a thin frame kind of guy. its not that I don't like larger arms and frames, well… actually it is exactly that :) Take the C-Six for example - that was, and still is, one of the most classy CF pieces to date, Elite no doubt, but the size put me off - it was too big in all the wrong places. On the other hand I wondered would these be too small, not enough there in terms of mass, not just the weight itself, but the coverage and contact throughout the glasses as a whole. The answers to these questions were key to me. These had to be in my range - arms no bigger than your average X-Metal, but not much smaller either, but with ample weight and balance. I opened the box up and found that in this package that weighed almost 4 lbs there were sunnies that weighed just 0.75 oz - that's right - less than 1 oz! That is a good thing, because the case they come with weighs in at about half a pound. The glasses in the box with the case weigh in at just under 10 oz. Looking at the size of the glasses combined with the standard MF bag just over 1 oz is a nice weight. Not too heavy for your head or your pocket. I was amazed at how light these were. I have ultra-thin reading glasses with lenses half the size that weigh about the same as these. How could these have any 'weight' to them? Is .75 oz heavy enough to stay put? As it turns out, they pull it off very easily.

Before I get ahead of myself - what's in the box, dude? really nothing special aside from the case and sunnies. The only other pieces included are the paperwork. no spare anything. Nothing more to see here...

So let's try them on! As soon as I put them on the gently landed into place. Not just even, but also with excellent coverage - some of the best periphery coverage I had ever seen [from the inside]. The top of the frame and bottoms of the lenses sat approximately 1/8" off my brow and cheekbones, respectively. I took a look in the mirror, shook my head back and forth, then up and down… Hmmmm… no movement at all - they did not budge. I shook my head harder, until I got dizzy - the glasses remained in the same place. i adjusted them at the nose and tried again with the nose bridge lower and the top of the frame, a fingertip or so away - maybe 3/8" - rinse, repeat - with the same result.

1st conclusion - these are a solid fit. i'm already confident that i could wear a pair of these mountain biking with no worries. And I mean like real mountains - not trails and flats. This made me very happy.

Becoming comfortable with the fit I began the detailed visual inspection. I looked closer at the lenses. Not being a full frame around the lenses I seem to feel like they are more vulnerable to damage. How serviceable would these be? What I saw made me smile - two small screws on the back end of each lens, nothing more. This is a good thing. I am not sure if there is any notching or other unique features as I have not disassembled one yet (yet…), but on the surface the lenses appear to be relatively easy to service.

2nd conclusion - the lens design is stable without being too complex or proprietary, at least from what I can see. This may open the door to custom lenses - imagine the possibilities with these frames...

So far on the fit and lenses we are 2 for 2… :dance:

I looked closer at the nosepiece. Having already adjusted it during the initial fit I really like the air-filled nose pads. They were easy to adjust and you can barely feel them, but they do not move - at all. And even with the air-filled nose pads appearing to be easily replaced the entire nose piece assembly is held on by two crews at the top center of the frame. That entire assembly could be replaced easily if needed.

Conclusion 3: I like the nose pads and they have enough room for adjustment that they should fit most folks well.

Keeping score… 3 for 3 :dance2:

Being pleased with the front of the frame, the lenses, and nose pads I looked at the hinges. These are a little 'different' from the top, but from the bottom it appears to be one very tiny screw that holds it all together, with each side of the hinge appearing to be molded into its respective area. The hinge seems strong - it should, it is Titanium - with enough mass to hold its own. Time will tell, but no immediate concerns here. There is ample Titanium here and a design that distributes the pressure and flex to the entire frame, not just the hinges.

Conclusion 4: The hinges seem sufficiently strong for what they are holding together, especially considering the weight of the parts they are holding together.

4 for 4, still trying to find something I don't like about these… :neo:

Not much else to say - The arms are slim and comfortably padded. They fold evenly and do not come close to touching the inside of the lenses as has been the case with too many sunnies in the past. I began to accessorize. I tried on a few hats, even a winter cap - there was little if any interference with the glasses while wearing the hats, no excessive pinching with the skull cap. This hat/cap issue has bothered me often in the past and is one of the major reasons I dislike larger frames, especially on the sides and around the ears. I really like the extension of the fit with other stuff on my head :cool-20:

Stepping back and looking at them the finish is flawless. It should be considering the asking price, but it delivers. The matte pairs are matte and the polished pairs are clearly and consistently polished. They all look good in their own way.

Looking at the pairs in relation to each other they are unique for the most part. The main difference between the matte grey and matte black are the O-icons. Aside from that they are pretty much the same. I would recommend picking one or the other of these two (Grey/01 or Black/03) and then picking up one or more of the other three as the OO Red, Ice, and Titanium are all their own flavor of eye candy and I find them all to be quite tasty. The polish is nice, but the matte is clean - still nothing not to like here. It will be interesting to see how the finish holds up. I am not going out of my way to try to scratch these, but I'm sure I will eventually!

The bottom line; I like these a lot. The form, fit, and function of these is as good as any glasses I have ever worn. If I had only one pair I would be scrambling to get the rest. I am also happy they are all polarized - it is a premium product with premium lenses. They will not replace my X-Metals, but then again they are not meant to. They are welcome in my cabinet and are worthy of their own shelf. You can see in the pictures that there is an empty space in the middle of the group. That will be filled when the 06/Ferrari arrives.




I was very excited to see the Ferrari's arrive today. Maybe too excited? I opened the box and saw the Ferrari-red case; it feels remarkable to the touch. Inside was a bag worthy of mentioning, both case and bag with the Ferrari logo. Even the outer box was nicely tagged with a Ferrari logo. You can see this in the pics. I thought that was, well... thoughtful!

So more pics, more angles, more side-by-side comparisons. Hmmmm. dare I say it? Hard shell case and bag aside this is not my favorite of the 6. The polarization, fit, everything is the same - I mean really the same. I expected this, obviously... Don't get me wrong - these are great glasses, but are they $100 greater than the others in the series?

I guess that depends on your perspective. If you are an every day wearer maybe save yourself $100 and get the OO Red or Ice - to me they pop just as much if not more. If you are a collector - buy 2 - one to display/wear and another to trade or sell later expecting some limited run.

In the middle - go check them out for yourself. The only thing I thought was truly unique about the Ferrari Carbon Blades was the lens color. The closest match I could find were the GSR2, which is displayed in the picture set link above. If you really like that color and that is worth the difference then there might be one more reason to shell out the extra $100. Aside from that they are all truly equal.

The only other exception I can think of is if you have a Ferrari and you get caught wearing a non-Ferrari Carbon Blade, or other non-Ferrari edition when one exists - shame on you! Haha...

Seriously though - the lens color is unique but all other things being equal are well, equal - and that is pretty darn good as Oakley has stepped up their game in clarity and precision of optics, even if it means that they have compromised the impact. Yes, I am confirming that these are Z80.3 and no longer Z87.1, but that is another thread. They still pass some respectable, 'basic', impact standards. Part of this results in an increase in clarity, optical precision, the ability to perceive LED and street lighting. All of these things have trade-offs and like it or not it is what it is. But I'll save the rest of that for another thread.

Right now I just consider the Ferrari to be 'just another Carbon Blade' with a fancy bag and case, and box, and a mild 'cool factor'. Needless to say - you don't have to read between the lines to tell that after being overwhelmed with the Carbon Blades exceeding expectations this Ferrari edition barely meets them. That is my honest opinion.

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Thanks for the review and pictures. I like the red and black combo and if custom lenses are an item then definitely +red polarized in place of the OO. Nice to see something lightweight again like the old Zero's (.69 oz) so maybe they can use this new tech for a re-issue.
if custom lenses are an item then definitely +red polarized in place of the OO.

...sooner or later one of us are going to toast a lens and make a YouTube video, or at least get some good pics - we'll know what we are dealing with under those two screws and we'll have a set of donors to work from, to cut. I just hope that 'one of us' is not me and the donors are not from the Ferrari's!
Badass man! I was waiting for your review before I sprang for them. It looks like I will have some on the way soon! Thanks for the thorough review!
...sooner or later one of us are going to toast a lens and make a YouTube video, or at least get some good pics - we'll know what we are dealing with under those two screws and we'll have a set of donors to work from, to cut. I just hope that 'one of us' is not me and the donors are not from the Ferrari's!
LOL right! That would suck. Your early review gives me promise, the Ferrari will be my leap if I invest into this model design, depending how it fits me. Even if it doesn't, I hope the model itself does well enough for Oakley to continue the use/experimentation with carbon in mainstream pairs going forward.