High Performance and Superior Optics
Koo is a brand of high performance sporting eyewear developed by KASK, the Italian helmet manufacturer. Koo Open sunglasses were the first model launched under the new brand and I first saw the line featured at Interbike 2016. Recently I was able to secure a sample to test and was very impressed with the lightweight frame and Zeiss lens.
I’m very familiar with the superior quality of German-made Zeiss camera and microscope lenses. So I wasn’t surprised that in the case of the Koo sunglasses, there was a definite sharpness, without any visible distortion. Also the lens was large enough to provide a good field of vision and protection from the wind. Being a contact wearer, that’s important.
Price: $239.99 MSRP
Colors: 12 different colors
How obtained: Sample from company
Tested: 40+ hours
Sizes: Small and Medium
|√ High quality Zeiss lens for superior clarity
√ Large lens provides visibility and wind protection (ideal for contact wears)
√ Micrometrical arm adjustment lets you adjust lens angle for better airflow and reduces fogging
√ Nose piece has two adjustments for customized fit
√ Flexible temples adds to comfort and fit
√ Comes standard with two lenses – Smoke and Clear
√ Rear view mirror easily attaches to temple
|√ Oversized hard shell storage case not practical
√ Struggled with changing lenses
Increased Airflow, Reduced Fogging
When it came to seeing how the micrometrical arm adjustments helped increase airflow and reduce fogging, winter rides are the best test. The arm of these glasses are uniquely designed to ratchet down just ever so slightly in order to tilt the upper part of the frame away from the face, thus allowing more airflow. This worked great in the cold temps when my face would heat up and came into contact with the cold air. All I had to do was adjust the frame slightly and the glasses would clear. The only issue was I had to use two hands to tilt the glasses. I’d either wait for a stoplight or pull over to the side of the road/trail to make an adjustment. Sometimes it was just easier to pull the frame away from my face than to try to tilt the glasses while riding.
Koo Open sunglasses are designed to work with KASK helmets. But if you don’t have a KASK helmet, there is another advantage to the micrometrical arm adjustments. If your helmet is cut lower in front and presses down on the frame, using the arm adjustment, you can tilt the frame slightly and eliminate the pressure from the helmet. The adjustment is so small that it does not affect visibility or clarity through the Zeiss lens.
To accommodate the micrometrical adjustments, the arms rotate in for storage instead of folding like traditional glasses. I found myself many time instinctively trying to fold the arms when storing the sunglasses only to almost break them. It definitely takes getting used to.
Fit and Function
These sunglasses were light weight and very comfortable. The light weight, adjustable nose piece and flexible temples made for a great fit. Just put them on and ride. The sample sent was a medium. I have a narrow face, but the fit was spot on. The rubber temples and nosepiece also kept the glasses in place and I never experienced any slippage once I started to sweat.
When road riding I always ride with a rear view mirror. The arm is thin enough to easily securely attach a mirror.
The frames come in a variety of 12 colors that would appeal to both male and female riders. You are virtually guaranteed to find a pair to fit your style.
The Koo Open comes with a dark and clear lens Zeiss lenses. Following the directions, I turned the side tabs to release the lens, but I struggled to remove the lens. It was a very tight fit around the brow and nosepiece. It took some time, as I didn’t want to crack the lens, until I was able to swap out the lens. I did like is that you did not have to remove the nosepiece to switch the lens as necessary on other brands. The nosepiece is attached to the frame, so you only remove the lens.
In addition to the two lenses, Koo Open ships with a large hard shelled case, cleaning cloth and extra nosepiece. The case easily houses the frames and extra lens, but I found it to be too large and bulky. It didn’t fit easily in the glove compartment and definitely takes up too much room when traveling.
Koo Open delivers high performance sunglasses with light weight frame, Zeiss superior lenses and unique arm adjustment for added air flow. Just put them on and forget they are there. There’s no distortion from the lens, just sharp details. With 12 colors to choose from you’ll find it easy to match with your helmet, bike or kit.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.