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INEOS Grenadiers ride in 8KO® SunGod lenses

24 June 2024

Behind The Lens

The Science of 8KO® Nylon Lens Technology Explained

Product Guides

8KO® has changed the game for the world's leading athletes.

What do cycling prodigy Tom Pidcock of the INEOS Grenadiers, navigating the famous dust-clouded descents of Strade Bianche at unfaltering speed, and Emirates SailGP GBR reading split-second wind changes at 100kph on the water, have in common? They both now rely on one of the most exciting new developments in lens materials in over 40 years: our 8KO® nylon-based lens technology.

Scroll down to discover how we use this groundbreaking material, why it's a sought-after piece of equipment for the world's sporting elite, and what makes 8KO® the best lens technology on the market today.

What is 8KO® and why nylon?

This precision-engineered 2mm material is our answer to an industry that has prioritised eye-catching designs over optical performance for over 40 years.

To understand what makes nylon so special, we need to get technical. "Chromatic aberration", measured by Abbe Value, refers to how much light gets distorted when it passes through a material. Simply put, it’s the number that tells you how clear a material is. The Abbe Value of our 8KO® nylon lens is 45, which is up to 70% clearer than industry-standard polycarbonate lenses, and, scientifically, is clearer than the surface of the human eye.

Our 8KO® nylon lens material is a form of transparent polyamide, which is lighter than polycarbonate without compromising on strength or durability. Instead, it’s even more shatterproof, taking eye protection from debris to the next level, whilst also offering more flexibility in the case of crashes. As with all SunGod lenses, 8KO® still provides 100% UVA and UVB protection.

“8KO® nylon is to eyewear, what carbon fibre was to bike frames. Studying what the market offered already, we were confident that we could find something better, and we’re incredibly proud that after months and months of trialling, we’re now able to offer 8KO® across our entire product range. We’ve achieved our aim of producing a lens that’s clearer, lighter and stronger than what was on the market already; in simple terms, it’s just better.”

— Ed Watkiss, Head of Product at SunGod

What's the story behind 8KO®?

Since the 1970s, the eyewear industry has stuck with polycarbonate to make lenses. Used for aircraft windscreens, greenhouses, and of course, sunglasses, polycarbonate is affordable, durable, and importantly, transparent! It wasn’t a bad option, and for a long time it was all the eyewear market was offering. 

But the SunGod mission is to See Better. Our Product Team knew the mainstream brands had effectively used the same polycarbonate material since the 1970s, and that there must be something better out there that could take optical performance to the next level.

Nylon’s light weight and durability has made it popular in apparel and clothing for decades now, and we wanted to harness these properties and bring them into eyewear. After months spent prototyping and testing, we finally settled on a transparent polyamide, which in a solid and transparent form could be used in lenses. And not just any lens; the clearest, most precise lens on the market. Once we'd identified the material, we named it 8KO® - inspired by the terminology for the latest digital screen technology - and rolled out production.

Today, 8KO® is the lens of choice for top athletes across the globe, who rely on exceptional vision to help them reach their goals.

8KO® lens technology was driven by a need for a better lens for our performance athletes, where every gram, milimetre and second means the difference between victory and heartbreak. They don't leave winning to chance, and neither do we.

Now, we've rolled this technology out across our Lifestyle Series™
sunglasses too, so whether you're fighting for podiums at the top of your sport, or enjoying some downtime between training, you too can experience a better view through 8KO®.

Shop 8KO®.