On the back of Oakley showcasing what we believe to be its new Kato sunnies on the faces of Chris Froome and Sam Bennett during this year's Vuelta, it appears the American outfit has employed a similar strategy with the new Sutro Lite.
You'll find Oakley sunglasses in front of the eyes of riders at the highest level of road, gravel, CX, and MTB racing, and it's not merely the result of sponsorship agreements — they are widely regarded as some of the best cycling sunglasses money can buy.
We noticed former XC World Champ Kate Courtney wearing a new version of the blade sunnies on Instagram recently, as well as on the face of Remco Evenepoel at the restart of the season, as shown in our back-to-racing tech gallery. Cyclingnews has confirmed that these half-frame Sutros are more than just a revamp of their extremely popular predecessor.
While the response to the look of the recently teased Kato has been mixed, the new Sutro Lite harkens back to the Razor Blade, first released back in 1989, and has a retro flair. As with the Sutro, Oakley says this new version is targeted at 'urban cyclists,' but with the recent trend of more serious riders erring towards stylish sunnies, we expect to see a similar uptake.
Beyond ditching the bottom edge of the frame, the lower end sees a rounded profile compared to the classic Sutro. Oakley says this combination allows for improved coverage and field of view. We would expect that the lack of frame along the lower edge would also improve airflow behind the lens to prevent the sizable shield from becoming misty.
What is left of the frame is made from the brand's O-Matter plastic, and above the nose piece, it appears the ode to the original eyeshade has been carried through to this new model.
Speaking of the nose pieces, it’s still made from Unobtainium rubber, as are the ear stocks, which the brand says gets stickier as you get sweaty. Oakley has added a ridged texture to the grippers on the arms, which should help them grip your head and prevent the sunnies from creeping down your nose over the course of a ride.
While the Oakley website is currently only showing a Matte black frame with either a Prizm road or Prizm Black lens, Cyclingnews understands the Sutro Lite will also be available with the Prizm Road Jade, Prizm Trail Torch, and Prizm Sapire lens, as well as a Matte White and Matte Navy frame. American retailer Evo is also showing a Matte Celeste White with Prizm Black lens and Matt Navy Retro Brown with Prizm Road lens available for pre-order — we also expect more combos to be released over time.
While pricing may vary slightly based on lens and frame combinations, Oakley is currently showing the Sutro Lite priced at $176 / £143 / AU$230.
For Oakley-aficionados, the launch of this new model - and the impending launch of the Kato - at this time of year, could likely lead to a host of discounts on legacy Oakley models like the original Sutro, Radar and Jawbreakers. As Black Friday approaches, we'll be sure to bring you all of the best Oakley Black Friday deals as they become available.
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