The Koo Spectro Sunglasses have a comfortable and secure fit, with good anti fogging and a clear lens that can span a surprising range of light levels. Although on the larger side, they aren’t at the extremes, and so have a more modest style about them. The only criticisms to make regard the price, which is a fair bit higher than some of the competition, and the slight obstruction of the peripheral vision.
Great lens clarity and contrast
Frame is noticeable in field of vision
By Stefan Abram
Founded in 2016, Koo is the eyewear arm of the well-known Italian helmet brand, Kask. The Spectro Sunglasses were developed specifically for the Trek-Segafredo men’s and women’s teams, along with the smaller framed Demos model.
Koo Spectro Sunglasses: The construction
First thing to note is that although the glasses come in a very smart looking cardboard box, neither a microfibre pouch nor a hardshell case is provided. It isn’t a massive issue as the glasses aren’t awkwardly big and do fit in standard cases, but it is an extra expense if you don’t have a spare case knocking about.
Zeiss lenses are used throughout Koo’s range and with this model getting the Silver Mirror Lens. Intended for those brighter days, the Spectro transmits just 11% of visible light and comes with a Filter Category of three. To reduce issues with fogging, four ventilation ports are present in total.
The arms of the glasses are quite curved to follow the shape of your temples, unlike some other brands which go for a much straighter design. Extending from the tips to about halfway along is an elastomer insert, which is intended to increase grip and aid comfort.
Putting on the Spectros, their curving arms proved a good match for my head, providing a secure fit. They played well with Met, Giro and Kask helmets (although you would hope they would get on with the Kask one!)
I really liked the adjustable nose bridge design on the Specto with its definite clicks into different settings. Although ones which can be bent into any shape might be able to provide a more tailored fit, I find they just offer more scope for getting it wrong.
The full frame is a little more prominent in the field of vision, as compared to larger designs. But I found I stopped noticing the bottom and tops of the frame quite quickly once out riding. What I did find noticeable was the limit on my peripheral vision coming from the large section of plastic in the corner of the glasses. It wasn’t so bad as to be annoying, but was conspicuous nonetheless.
Fogging when riding on the road was never an issue, with the ventilation ports performing their intended purpose well. That said, when gravel riding in the woods – with the extra humidity and slower speeds – I found that they were a little more susceptible to fogging compared with glasses that come with an anti-fog coating.
But in the long run, the physical fog-reducing design of the Spectro Sunglasses would probably be preferable. Anti-fog coatings have a habit of wearing off, whereas the Spectros will continue with their high – albeit, not top – performance indefinitely.
Although the visible light transmission is only 11%, I found I could happily wear them on even cloudy winter days, making their usable range really quite broad. The combination of clouds with dense tree cover in the weak winter light did prove a little too much, but to be fair, that was asking rather a lot of them.
Security-wise, I found they did a great job at staying in place. Rattling down the rocky descents of the South Downs, the Spectros stayed firmly in place and never once were dislodged.
At £169, the Koo Spectros are certainly pricey, £40 more expensive than the Koo Demos – which perhaps makes sense because they are a larger pair of glasses.
The Rapha Pro Team Full Frame sunglasses have a similar “large, but not too large” style about them, but are significantly cheaper at £120.
So value-wise, the Spectos aren’t an obvious buy, but with Sunglasses being such a personal choice regarding fit and style, these could well hit the spot for you, where other glasses miss.
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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