It was only a matter of time before our Patrick brought out his shoebox of Oakleys for a trip down shady memory lane.
These are my first ever pair of Oakley sunglasses. I bought them in the early 90’s and I’ll never part with them.
I remember the hours of deliberation and debate over whether to get these or the Factory Pilots. There were many factors involved that I ran through with anyone who would listen. I think my mates were actually happier than me when I eventually got a pair!
Factory Pilots were the tried and tested glasses and everyone seemed to be wearing them. They were very robust, gave good coverage and were cheaper. But having a small face they looked massive on me. The fact that everyone had them also put me off a bit.
Blades were the newest model and therefore much more flash. They came with an Iridium lens and cost £65.
Boy, was it worth it though! Everyone immediately commented on them and I was top dog in the fashion stakes (for a while).
Only problem was I couldn’t afford another lens for them so after saving up all summer I could only use them for about a month before the lens became too dark to use on autumn club runs!
In Greg LeMond flouro yellow and blue Iridium no less.
The Blades were good but when Greg LeMond debuted the Mumbo Iridium with the cut-down lens I knew that would be my next purchase. Unfortunately I was saving to buy a new bike as well as racing a lot when they came out, so splurging out £100 on a set of these was never really an option.
Thankfully my mate had a set and let me borrow them on a ride. While they may have looked amazing I swear they actually funnelled more air into my eyes than they deflected. After 10 minutes of streaming eyes and blurred vision I handed them back.
I was so disappointed but also very relieved as I knew I couldn’t get on with that lens.
As is the power of Oakley, my experience still never quite stopped me wanting a pair! So when the local bike shop were having a clear-out of their Oakley cabinet a few years ago I jumped on them the minute I saw them.
I haven’t had the bottle to try them on a ride yet though as I need a full ADR kit and Bottechia bike or Z kit and LeMond TVT carbon bike to go with them, obvs.
Oakley Factory Pilot originals
The fact that I never had Factory Pilots back when they were en vogue always niggled me.
In a moment of weakness a few years back I made the mistake of looking on eBay late at night and found a genuine pair from the 1980s. In the white colour way that I always wanted.
I entered the magic £40 figure of what they cost new as my highest bid but to my surprise – and relief – they came in much lower than that.
Better yet, Oakley re-released this model a year or so later so my retro sunnies are now back in fashion but carry a higher coolness factor – even if the brow pad is long gone and the Oakley logo on the arms is fading. This just adds to their authenticity in my book!