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Road Tested: EKOI Premium 80 Photochromatics

EKOI Premium photochromatic glasses have become the ever-changing shades of choice for several WorldTour teams in recent years, but do they actually work?

Now you see it, now you don’t – yes, I can still remember the nightmares of my first ever photochromatic prescription glasses as a teenager, and it was enough to put me off the concept for decades.

A couple of retro styled brands of the 1970s made photochromatics popular, but much like the flared trousers of the era they served little practical use, especially if you happened to be riding a bike in and out of tree cover.

Sure enough, everything has evolved over the years, and so when I saw these retro-chic looking Ekoi Premium 80 glasses I figured that I would give the photochromatic option a blast.

French brand Ekoi are rapidly gaining popularity with a number of teams and high-profile riders using the products and the company recently setting up an Australian office.

Ekoi have a large range of eyewear, and the Premium are towards the higher end of their offerings and are worn by several WorldTour riders and teams. The Premium range has four rimless lens styles and five lens shade options. My choice was the 80 with the PH 1-3 photochromatic lens, which is designed for cloudy-bright days.

The lenses are made in Italy and then shipped to Ekoi in France, which is where the glasses are assembled and customised. For a few dollars you get to choose whatever colours you want for the different sections of the frame, and then have your initials lazered onto the lens and your name engraved on one arm of the frame – and you can play around with the combinations at will.

The whole process was simple, and the customised glasses were delivered in about a week, with all shipping and duties included in the online price (click the Aussie flag at the bottom of the page).

The sunglasses feature four vents on each side to assist airflow and prevent fogging.

The glasses come in a nice thick, soft bag, and their build quality is clear to see from the get-go. These are very light, and with the slight flex in the arms and the comfortable nose piece they fit and adapt well and are very comfortable in use.

On the go the first thing I noticed is that they are a little brighter than the cheaper fixed lens glasses I’d been wearing for a while, and it did take a minute for my eyes to adapt, but within no time all is good and crystal clear.

Riding in and out of shade and the changes in brightness are very subtle, in fact it’s hard to notice them, which means that they are doing what they set out to do.

The sunglasses feel well made and ooze class & quality. There is also the option of having your name embossed on the arms! Very classy.

I have found that having the lenses very close to my eye sockets works best for me. There are vents at the top of the lenses, and although I had no fogging issues, when sweating and stopping the very top of the lens does smear a tad from brow sweat – which is often the case with rimless shades, especially if pushed up to your brow.

These are stylish, top drawer glasses that do what they claim, and you can’t ask for much more than that. 


EKOI Premium 80 2023 photochromatic custom glasses

Lenses: Cat 1-Cat 3 photochromatic, 100% UV protective polycarbonate, made in Italy.

Weight: 29 grams.

Vents: 8 top lens vents.

Grilamid frame, optical insert compatible.

CE 1778 (EU standard approved).

RRP: A$239.93 – full custom build with photochromatic lenses, delivered and including all import duties.

More details:


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