All New Oakley Prizm Lens Technology

Oakley's Prizm lens goes for a test drive with Dirt Rider.

Dirt Rider was invited out to Chaney Ranch in Warner Springs, California, to check out and ride with the new Oakley Prizm Lens. Since this lens is made via injection molding, it is only offered for the Oakley Airbrake and Mayhem Pro. What sets the Oakley Prizm Lens apart is that rather than blocking all wavelengths of light evenly, it is designed to lessen the transmission of some colors while leaving others alone, or amplifying them. By doing this, the lens is increasing the contrast, or difference, between each color that the eye sees making it easier for our eyes and brain to pick out different colors. It is like turning up the contrast and saturation when editing a photo, while, overall, lowering the light so it is still not as bright as plain daylight.

Why is this important? For motocross and off-road riding, being able to distinguish between a dry, wet, muddy, or sloppy section of track normally depends on what color the dirt is. Also, when picking lines we use shadows and dirt color to see ruts, bumps, holes, and other track irregularities, which is supposed to be easier with the Oakley Prizm Lens. For off-road riding, picking out tree trunks or embankments amongst the foliage is also a huge boon.

After a day on the track with the three different Prizm Lenses (MX Bronze, MX Black Iridium, and MX Jade Iridium) there is a noticeable difference between just a dark lens and the Prizm. The effect is basically like everything gets a little darker (not much darker) but colors are still bright and pop to the eye much more than a tinted lens. The Bronze has no coating and is the base lens for light or dark riding. The Jade makes greens stand out more and would be best for off-road riding. The Black is the darkest and is designed for full sun conditions.

Jade lens
Here is the Jade lens on the Airbrake.Photo By Sean Klinger
Chaney Ranch
Chaney Ranch is a jumpy track with some shadowy areas and ruts. A good spot to test out the Prizm Lens.Photo By Sean Klinger
From top to bottom: MX Black Iridium, MX Jade Iridium, and MX Bronze.Photo By Sean Klinger
The injection molded Plutonite lenses start as these specially designed pellets.Photo By Sean Klinger
Ryan Villopoto
Multi-time Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto was on hand to talk about riding with the Prizm Lens. He said the biggest effect he noticed was at Washougal. According to RV2, the lens makes going through the shadows, and picking out smooth lines and optimum ruts easier.Photo By Sean Klinger
Jade lens
Overall, the lens has a warmer look to the eyes, but it seems very natural.Photo By Sean Klinger
Ryan Villopoto
Villo is still fast.Photo By Sean Klinger
Ryan Villopoto Jump
At higher levels of competition, any advantage helps. The Prizm lens is an optical advantage.Photo By Sean Klinger
Ryan Villopoto on the gas.
The Black Iridium isn't that much darker than the Bronze or Jade, but it does help in full sun riding.Photo By Sean Klinger