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review

Koo Demos glasses

8
£129.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Great looks and a brilliant performance, but more options would be nice
Loads of style
Great fit
Crystal clear lens with loads of real estate
Good ventilation
Slightly pricey
Fixed frame/lens combination
No spare lens
No hard case
Weight: 
35g
Contact: 

The Koo Demos are striking sunglasses with excellent ventilation and perfect optics. The fit is excellent, though they do sit a little further from the face than some might like. You don't get a hard case either.

If these sunglasses look a little familiar, that might be because you watched the Tour de France this year and you've got a keen eye: Italian sunglasses manufacturer Koo is the official supplier to TDF team Trek-Segafredo, and the Demos adorned the faces of some of its riders.

> Buy these online here

Despite some slight shortcomings, these have quickly become my favourite glasses, simply because they look and feel so good, and the lens performance is right up there with the best.

2020 Koo Demos Sunglasses - front 2.jpg

The Demos come in a variety of lens and frame combinations. These white framed options with light brown lenses have a VLT (Visible Light Transmission) of 23%, offer what Koo says is 'good protection against sun glare' and 'good UV protection', and from what I can ascertain are best used on overcast or hazy days, helping to increase brightness, contrast and depth perception. But they also work well on regular sunny days too, though because they filter blue light they make the sky look a little less magical. First world problems.

2020 Koo Demos Sunglasses - inside.jpg

If that's not your bag, there are lots of other options available in varying degrees of VLT, so you choose the one that best works for the kind of riding you see yourself doing the most. There are two issue here, though: firstly, you may have to wed yourself to a specific colour/lens combination that doesn't quite suit you (you might want the blue lens, but not want a blue frame, for instance), and the other is that you may have to buy two pairs of glasses to cover off more riding scenarios (or go with one that works across a wider range of scenarios). Even if you've got cash to burn, I think it's unreasonable to expect customers to do this.

There are no additional lenses included, and the only lens available to buy separately (for a not unreasonable £34.99) is the low light Rose lens with VLT of 58%.

It's worth noting there's no option of a clear lens, so these aren't glasses designed to be worn at night.

Lens removal is straightforward once you get over the fear of breaking your lovely new sunglasses.

What is included in the box is a soft case (no hard case option, sadly), as well as two types of nose-piece – a two-piece system as well as a larger, single-piece system – so you can determine which works best for your nose. One neat feature of the nose-piece is the ability to adjust it for smaller or larger noses by pushing the rubber piece on either side with your finger – a click either way indicates it's moved position.

2020 Koo Demos Sunglasses - front 1.jpg

The lens is Zeiss polycarbonate, with a hydroleophobic coating to help shed water. I didn't get to test these on a rainy day, but after running water over the lens after a ride to get rid of any accrued sweat, I can see that the water beads up and just rolls off instantly. There are four ventilation ports (two at the bottom and two at the top) which are designed to aid airflow and prevent fogging on the lens, as well as help to keep you cool.

Though I've not tested them on a cold and humid morning, where fogging is at its worst, at no point did I experience any build-up of moisture. What I did appreciate is the extra cooling on offer. I normally sweat to the point where it runs down and into my eyes, which not only stings but blurs my vision because I wear contact lenses, but I didn't have this issue with the Demos (admittedly, it was less warm during my testing period).

In terms of fit, the Demos sit relatively far away from your face – more than I'm used to anyway. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, more of a personal preference. Although this gap probably helps with the cooling effect I mentioned above, it does mean that on fast descents you do notice the wind getting underneath the glasses a touch, more so on colder days. This could make your eyes dry out, but I have to say I didn't notice this, even on a 65-mile group ride. So really, I think it's just how you prefer your glasses to feel on the face.

2020 Koo Demos Sunglasses - arm.jpg

Notwithstanding this slightly larger than usual gap, the Demos really do feel lovely to wear. They're rock solid and very lightweight, to the point where you barely notice them there on a ride, and there's loads of grip around the temples thanks to the anti-slip MEGOL elastomer inserts. And although they probably belong in the 'big glasses' camp, the Demos don't actually feel that big. In fact, I think they're the perfect size, the generous Zeiss lens offering loads of crystal clear visibility, without feeling like your face has been taken over with one of those little critters from Alien.

> Buyer’s Guide: 31 of the best cycling glasses

With a £129 price tag (£139 for some of the other combinations), they're at the mid-to-low end of what I would call the premium sunglasses range, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the SunGod Velans FF (£140), the Rapha Pro Team Frameless Glasses (£110), and the Spektrum Blanks (£135).

Summary

Although the more in-your-face style of these glasses won't suit everyone, I think they're totally on point right now, with the performance to match and a price tag that isn't out of this world – I think they're worth every penny. But the lack of a spare lens is annoying, and I would like the option to choose the frame and lens combination to suit my needs.

Verdict

Great looks and a brilliant performance, but more options would be nice

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Koo Demos glasses

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Koo says, "The all-new performance eyewear. Specifically designed with speed-chasers and record breakers, road riders and triathletes in mind. Available in 7 different lens colours for varying light conditions, and 100% made in Italy."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Koo lists:

Zeiss Polycarbonate lens for optimum clarity

An innovative single-lens frame design for superb panoramic vision

4 ventilation ports to minimise the risk of fogging

Anti-slip MEGOL elastomer temple inserts provide added grip and comfort

Size: Regular (M)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

They look solid, the nose-piece is easy to adjust, and the lens is easily swapped out.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Crystal clear lens with no fogging, they're lightweight and they hug the head without any slipping.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No signs of wear – early days, but they still look new after two months.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

At 35g they're not the lightest sunglasses ever, but they are more substantial than most and comparable with similar offerings.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Comfortable for the entirety of testing with no issues. They sit a little further from the face than I am used to, which some may not like – totally personal preference.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

They're certainly not cheap, but stack up well compared to similar sunglasses, and you do get a lot of high-end tech built in.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Though the brown lens isn't quite as well suited to brighter days as other lens colours, they performed almost perfectly. The large, crystal clear lens gives you loads of visibility while protecting your eyes, and the four-way ventilation not only eliminates fogging, but I think it also helps to keep you a little cooler. They grip the head at all times, even when you're moving your head around a lot during sprinting.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Lens vision is impeccable, fit and feel is top notch and ventilation is great.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The lack of alternative lenses – you can't tailor your glasses to suit the conditions (except for the optional low light rose gold lenses).

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They're at the higher end of the spectrum compared with many quality sunglasses that are well under £100, though I do believe you get what you pay for here – they are very high quality with the performance to match. The SunGod Velans FF (£140) offer a similar look with more customisation, while the Rapha Pro Team Frameless Glasses (£110) and the Spektrum Blank sunglasses (£135) offer lots of lens visibility, but don't look quite as substantial due to the frameless and semi-frameless (respectively) designs.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The inability to (a) choose the frame and lens colour you want from the outset and (b) purchase additional lenses to suit different riding conditions are the only downsides here. Otherwise, this is a high performing product with standout looks and a top quality build.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Steel audax bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,

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