Looking for a pair of sunglasses for those early morning or late evening rides when it's still dark?
Related Reading : 10 Good Looking Road Cycling Sunglasses
In the past, the clear or yellow lens used to be a popular choice for winter riding. So does the photochromics.
But these days, there's a new kid on the black called Oakley Prizm Low Light lens.
In short, it's a Oakley Prizm + clear lens. You'll get the best of both world.
Further Reading :
Unlike the Oakley Prizm Road sunglasses, the Prizm Low Light lens is only available in 5 Oakley frames and only in white (at least for now).
The 5 Oakley Prizm Low Light Lens Sunglasses
1. Oakley JawBreaker Prizm Low Light Lens
The Jawbreaker is the replacement for the popular Oakley Jawbones.
Oakley worked with World Champion, Mark Cavendish to design a frame that provides the cyclist with an expanded field of view, 44% much more than a standard dual lens sunglasses.
The lens is user changeable in a matter of seconds and the stem can be adjusted to 3 different lengths to suit your liking.
2. Oakley Radar EV Prizm Low Light Lens
In the Radar EV, Oakley improved on the pitfalls of the Radar and Radarlock models.
The major improvement in the Radar EV is the taller lens which improves the field of view.
The frame also undergone a major change with the usage of a lightweight yet durable frame material called the O Matter.
3. Oakley Flight Jacket Prizm Low Light Lens
The Flight Jacket is Oakley’s latest addition to its cycling sunglasses lineup.
The top part of the frame is removed to provide an unobstructed view in what is now called a brow-less design.
Due to its frame design, it’s more suitable for someone with a medium to large face.
4. Oakley EVZero Prizm Low Light Lens
The EVZero is Oakley’s lightest performance sunglasses. It’s actually a redesign of the Oakley Subzero which was released in the 90’s.
To achieve its super light status, Oakley has completely removed the frame, giving you an unobstructed view, a problem many of us has faced.
5. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Low Light Lens
Together with the EVZero, the Flak 2.0XL is among Oakley’s lightest cycling sunglasses.
It’s an upgrade of the previous Flak Jacket models. Retaining its 2-piece lens design, Oakley has enlarged the lens in this model to achieve a large field of view.
What is Oakley Prizm?
The Oakley Prizm is a lens technology developed in the late 90’s and made available in 2014 after 15 years of R&D and engineering work behind the scenes.
Since then, Oakley’s Prizm lenses have been slowly replacing most of their traditional lenses and today they’re available in many sports specific variations, including cycling.
Here’s what Oakley says about its Prizm technology.
"Oakley Prizm™ lens technology has turned eyewear into vital equipment for sports. It all comes down to enhancing detail in the most precise ways to optimize your visual experience, and the result is game-changing performance."
"Prizm™ is a revolution in lens optics built on decades of color science research. Prizm™ lenses provide unprecedented control of light transmission resulting in colors precisely tuned to maximize contrast and enhance visibility."
Of course, there are a few more similar quotes from Oakley regarding the Prizm, but they pretty much say the same thing but in a slightly different language.
How Does Oakley Prizm Lens Work?
It’s all down to light wave engineering.
A small section of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible to our naked eyes in what we generally call light. Our eyes respond to light waves between 390nm to 790nm; from violet to red.
With clever light wave engineering, Oakley is able to alter the transparency and opacity of specific wavelengths to enhance certain colors and downplay the others.
This results in the distracting colors being filtered out and increased contrast.
Special dyes are then used to tint the polycarbonates in which the lens are made of to achieve the desired effects.
To bring this application a step further, Oakley have made sports specific Prizm lenses to help the athlete pick up on nuances that could otherwise be missed by the naked eyes.
What is Oakley Prizm Low Light Lens?
The Prizm Low Light lens were first made available in February 2018.
It has a slight transparent pink tint with a visible light transmission (VLT) rating of 75%, which is a measurement of how much light are passed through the lens.
The higher the rating, the more light that passes through.
For comparison, a clear lens has a VLT of 93% while the photochromic lens range between 23 to 69% depending on the UV exposure levels.
But these 2 lenses lack the Prizm qualities that enhances the contrast while riding in low light conditions.
The Prizm Low Light lens accentuates the red and green colors in low light conditions to enhance colors and contrasts in low light and artificial lighting conditions.
Unlike other low light lenses which generally come in either brown, orange or yellow tints, the Oakley Low Light maintains the true colors so that they don't affect the wearer's color recognition.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the other Oakley Prizm lenses suitable for cycling?
As the Prizm lenses see more usage, Oakley has expanded its lineup and now they cover a range of sports from cycling to skiing and fishing with different variants of the Prizm lens.
2. What is the difference between the Oakley Prizm Low Light, Clear and Photochromic lens?
There are two main difference between these lenses.
Firstly, the Prizm Low Light has a Visible Light Transmission (VLT) of 75%, while the Clear lens is at 93%. The Photochromic ranges between 23% at full UV exposure and 69% at zero UV exposure.
Secondly, the Prizm Low Light lens utilizes Oakley’s Prizm lens technology which enhances the overall visual, while the Clear and Photochromic lens does not.
Among these 3, the Photochromic lens is the most versatile as it can be used across a wide range of lighting conditions.
3. What is the difference between Oakley's Prizm and Polarized lenses?
Prizm and Polarized are 2 completely different things.
Polarized lenses are basically filters in sunglasses that block reflected light such as those from a wet road or a car's hood, hence reducing glare.
Today, almost all lenses can be made available into a polarized version, regardless the color of its base tint.
Prizm, on the other hand is a marketing term for Oakley's lens technology that enhances contrast. Traditional sunglasses use a blanket filter for all colors.
The Prizm is able to control the colors by fine-tuning its individual wavelengths to suit a specific usage such as cycling, skiing or fishing.
4. Will Oakley make the Prizm low light lens available separately or with other frames?
There is a very high chance they would.
Initially, the Prizm Low Light lens were made available with 4 frames (Jawbreaker, Radar EV, EVZero and Flak 2.0 XL).
Recently Oakley has added the Flight Jacket to its lineup and there will be more to follow soon.
5. Is the Oakley Prizm Low Light Lens polarized?
No, they're not. There are lenses that are both polarized and Prizm such as the Oakley Daily Prizm.
Picking the best saddle bag for your road bike can be hard sometimes.
Because there are literally hundreds of them in the market today.
Don’t worry though, because I’m here to guide you how to get the right one and also provide some options for you to consider.
If you want to quickly jump ahead, then use the navigation table below.
I’ve provided a list of the best road bike saddle bags for you.
So there’s a good chance that your next purchase is right just below.
Our Picks for the Best Saddle Bags
They range from premium to value for money and large sized ones if you need more carrying capacity.
Important Things to Consider When Buying A Saddle Bag for Road Bikes
For me, the materials used to make saddle bag is a huge make or break.
It’s extremely important to assess its quality and overall durability.
For one, I’d like to buy something that will last for a long time and if possible isn’t that pricey.
Secondly, I’d like to think that even if it rains, my things will still be okay. So it’s vital to have a water resistant, or better still waterproof saddle bag.
Today, most saddle bag are made of nylon, polyester, leather or sometimes synthetic rubber.
Another significant point to consider is the storage capacity.
You might not have realised it, but the overall storage capacity of a bike saddle bag is a big deal. An extra pocket is a huge bonus and may go a long way to help organize your stuffs and accessories.
Fortunately, a lot of saddle bag manufacturers make them in multiple sizes, so you can decide the right storage capacity for you.
Best Premium Saddle Bags
1. Silca Seat Roll Premio
The Silca Seat Roll Premio looks nothing like a bike saddle bag. But, actually it is.
It has a BOA dial which helps to keep things tight and snug. There is a flexibility to micro-adjust the tightness according to your liking.
It’s made with cotton canvas and is coated in hot-melt wax to make it waterproof.
It's definitely one of the best looking ones around, albeit pricey.
2. Fizik 00 Saddle Bag
The Fizik 00 Saddle Bag is the modern version of how a road bike saddle bag should look like.
From afar, it looks far from a saddle bag, but it can hold most of your essentials while you’re riding.
It's made out of thermoform construction that promises to be lightweight yet durable at the same time.
To keep your things safe and dry, it features a waterproof closure system and rubberized zipper.
3. SpeedSleev Smuggler Carbon
The SpeedSleev Carbon Smuggler is available in colors of black carbon and blue variations.
It has a small to medium capacity compared to its competitors.
It deploys a minimalistic approach when it comes to design along with a double closure Velcro system to ensure a secure fit.
It’s made from water resistant nylon fabric which would keep your things dry for most of the time.
Best Value for Money Saddle Bags
4. Scicon Elan 210
Are you trying not to spend too much money?
Then you’d love having the Scicon Elan 210 Saddle Bag.
Compared to others, this one is remarkably small, weighing just 38g. There is enough room for a set of tyre levers, multitool and a spare tube.
It uses a Velcro strap for a simple and easy mounting system.
5. Blackburn Central Micro Seat Bag
The Blackburn 2017 Central Micro Seat Saddle Bag is a good alternative if you’re on a budget.
It's small and compact, weighing just 68g and made of 600D polyester.
It has enough room for a spare tube and a pair of tyre levers. There's also an interior pocket in case you'd want to separate your stored stuffs.
6. Lezyne Road Caddy
Despite its affordable price, the Lezyne Road Caddy Bicycle Seat Bag is packed with remarkable features you wouldn’t want to miss.
This is a waterproof and very durable saddle bag made of high-grade nylon fabrics. It uses a thick and strong velcro strap for mounting below your saddle.
There's also an internal pocket for you to keep your keys and other smaller stuffs.
Best Large Sized Saddle Bags
7. Arundel Dual Seat Bag
Arundel sells their Dual Seatbag in 6 color options, namely: black, grey, yellow, blue, pink and red.
The name pretty much says it all, the dual in its name means it has enough room for 2 tubes, 2 CO2 canisters and tire levers and other essentials you’ll need for your bicycle.
The overall body is made from nylon but, there’s an area in its body where is has a small leather patch for aesthetic purposes.
8. Castelli Undersaddle XL
Want a slightly larger saddle bag?
Then go for the Castelli 2017 Undersaddle XL.
This one isn’t your typical saddle bag because of its larger capacity. It can store multiple CO2 canisters, patches, spare tubes and many more.
To assure that your things are protected, it uses wheel-spray and covered zipper. If you’re in for a long bike ride, you might want to consider this saddle bag.
9. Topeak Aero Wedge Pack
The Aero Wedge Pack is another Topeak product you’ll surely love.
It’s made from a durable 1200D polyester that features water-wicking capabilities. It's compartments are expandable when you need extra storage space.
With an overall capacity of 1.97L, you won't run out of space for all the things you carry along for a long ride.
To ensure your safety at night, it also includes a 3M reflective strip and a mount for your rear lights.
Best Saddle Bag Rolls
10. Timbuk2 Toolshed Seatpack
This saddle roll comes is made with durability in mind.
The exterior is made of waterproof tarpaulin, while the internal is made of durable nylon fabric.
There are 3 internal pockets of different sizes that can fit tire levers, patch kits, CO2 cartridges and even smartphones. In the middle is an elastic strap that holds your spare tube.
It fits securely over your saddle rails via a buckle closure system.
11. Blackburn Wayside Tool Roll
This saddle roll oozes the classic looks.
It's made of durable waxed canvas and will survive harsh conditions with ease.
There are 4 internal pockets to organize your tubes, tire levers, mini tools and keys. There's even a zipped pocket for your cash and IDs.
Best of all, it comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty from Blackburn.
12. Lezyne Caddy Roll
Simple and minimalistic.
The Lezyne Caddy Roll comes with 3 internal pockets, one of them with zippers for cash and loose change. You can easily fit a spare tube, tire levers, multi tool and keys inside. Once
It's single velcro strap, hook and loop system makes it easy to mount on the saddle rails. Furthermore, the velcro strap can be removed if you want to keep them inside your jersey pockets.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I decide which size of saddle bag to buy?
Generally, there are 3 saddle bag sizes available. I’d categorize them as Standard, Large and Extra Large.
2. What are the essential items to carry in a saddle bag when out cycling?
At the minimum, you should have a spare tube (make sure it’s new) and 2 tire levers.
Optional items are like a CO2 cartridge if you don’t use a pump and patch kits if you’re going for a long, solo ride.
I’ve written a separate article about what’s inside my saddle bag here.
3. Should I buy a waterproof saddle bag?
From my experience, that’s not a must. However, it also depends what you carry inside.
Most of the things found in a saddle bag would still be fine even if its wet, except for mobile phones and clothing.
Most saddle bags are made of nylon or leather and they’re not waterproof.
At best, they’re water resistant. But if it’s a heavy downpour, the contents will get a little wet, which is fine.