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KOGA has just announced a big update to its premium touring bike range. The 2020 KOGA WorldTraveller S 2.0 now offers a new welding technology, new sizing, new drivetrain option, 200 new paint options and a new entry-level price point.
The ‘S’ in the model name refers to KOGA’s Signature program, which offers every WorldTraveller-S bike as a custom build. You choose from a huge range of proven touring parts, pick your colour and can even get your name painted onto on the top tube. The online bike configurator for the WorldTraveller is the best in the business, with live changes to the bike image, weight and price.
The frames are painted in the Netherlands in a colour of your choice, and once the paint is dry, a certified mechanic constructs your bike from start to finish. The time from placing your order to receiving your bike is six weeks, including global shipping.
I made a film about the KOGA factory when I visited; you can see how the bikes come together HERE.
The 2020 KOGA WorldTraveller S 2.0
NEW: Super Smooth Welding
Looking at the frame, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are no visible welds. That’s because KOGA has changed the welding style on their aluminium touring frames. The welds have been tested to be just as strong, but with a more elegant finish than ever before.
The length of the headtube has been increased by 25mm (1-inch) on most sizes. This decision has been made based on many years of comments from KOGA riders. I use exactly 25mm of spacers on my frame, so this will be a welcome change for when I eventually update to the new frameset.
NEW: Derailleur-Ready Frames
Previously the WorldTraveller-S frame was designed for Rohloff hubs exclusively. The 2.0 update brings derailleur compatibility to the Signature-level touring bike, allowing for a lower entry price to the KOGA Signature program.
NEW: Lower Pricing
The KOGA Signature touring bikes start from €2600 for a Shimano XT T8000 touring bike complete with dynamo lights. KOGA ships their bikes worldwide, so if you order a bike outside the EU you’ll save 21% on VAT. However, once you factor in the shipping and landing costs it’ll likely end up in the same ballpark in US dollars, more or less. It’s also worth noting that KOGA covers 50% of the shipping costs of their bikes, so shipping to your country may not be as expensive as you think! You can find out the exact shipping cost to your country in KOGA’s online bike configurator.
NEW: More Paint Options
KOGA has always offered 10 standard colours for their Signature range touring bikes. But they’ve just stepped it up a few notches with their custom colour program. For an additional €200, you have the ability to request any ‘RAL’ colour number; by my calculations, that’s about 200 colour options! Even special requests like the Madagascar Orange (seen above) can be entertained.
Choice of Frame Design
You can choose between a ‘traditional’ or ‘mixed’ frame design, both in five different sizes. The Dutch have the tallest average height of any country – 184cm for men and 170cm for women. So naturally, KOGA constructs mixed frames to suit riders up to 190cm/6ft3 and traditional frames for riders over 200cm/6ft7. On the other end of the spectrum, the smallest mixed frame will suit riders around 150cm/4ft11.
Choice of Wheel Sizes
The frame has been designed to fit both 700x50C (29×2.0″) or 27.5×2.4″ with fenders. Removing the fenders boosts that those maximum tyre widths even higher. If you’re spending most of your time on sealed roads, you’ll be happiest with the 700C option which keeps rolling resistance to a minimum. If you’re seeking dirt roads or simply want the extra comfort, 27.5″ will offer all that, plus more.
Rohloff or Derailleur Gearing
There are two gearing options for the WorldTraveller. You can choose the top-of-the-line Shimano touring groupset which is called T8000. This is the most simple gearing option as you can get spare parts from any bike shop in the world. The Rohloff gear hub is an engineering marvel, storing 14 gears within the confines of a fully sealed hub shell. These hubs are sturdy, efficient, long-lasting, maintenance-free (almost) and very well proven for world bike travel. You can read the pros and cons of choosing a Rohloff HERE – this upgrade adds €900 to the bike’s price.
Belt or Chain Drive
You may not have seen belt drive bikes before. They’re popular for touring in particular as they can last 3-4x as long as a chain. They also require no lubrication, are grease-free and require very little cleaning. They’re the ultimate drivetrain for bike travel, in my humble opinion! You can read all about the pros and cons of belts HERE. Belt drivetrains add €300 to the price of a KOGA WorldTraveller-S 2.0.
Disc or Rim Brake
While most bikes outside Europe are only available with disc brakes, KOGA still offers a rim brake option. If you go with disc brakes you’ll achieve more braking power, better braking performance in wet/muddy conditions and much better mileage out of a set of brake pads. Disc brakes also do not wear out your rims over time. I’ve found Shimano XT disc brakes to be reliable and repairable at any shop that sells mountain bikes – they really are the superior brake type. But for those who still like the idea of rim brakes, KOGA offers Magura hydraulic or Shimano XT rim brake calipers, with the latter being the easiest to repair yourself.
Internal Cable Routing
All of the cables are hidden away inside the WorldTraveller frame, including the cable for the rear dynamo light. Inside the downtube are long cable channels (PIC) to ensure there’s no rattling around on bumpy roads. The internal routing not only looks neat but also keeps the cables tucked away from water, mud and dust.
Inside the headtube is a feature unique to KOGA touring bikes – a steering limiter. This stops the handlebar from being able to twist into the top tube. It also ensures that your front wheel cannot turn too far when you deploy the kickstand.
One of the highlights of the WorldTraveller Signature is the detail of the paint. Throughout the bike are contour lines and other intricate details. You can also get your name or a message/quote painted on the top tube. KOGA use a powder coat finish which is the most durable paint option for touring.
Super Stiff Frame
One of the most noticeable things about the WorldTraveller-S is the super stiff frame design. KOGA use an eccentric bottom bracket so that they can make the rear triangle as stiff as possible for a belt drivetrain. You can learn more about frame stiffness and why it’s important for touring in my resource HERE.
KOGA Denham Bars
Obviously, the best feature of the new WorldTraveller is that it’s available with the handlebars that I designed! The bars are nice and wide, giving you a lot of control over your loaded bike. There are also many hand positions for comfort including an inboard bullhorn position (like a drop handlebar) which allows you to tuck in your elbows, making you much more aerodynamic in the headwinds. You can read all about the KOGA Denham Bars HERE.
From KOGA: “Our mission is never to leave any Signature customers stranded anywhere in the world. Together with our partners and suppliers, and the customer’s willingness to cooperate – we always strive to find a solution to get our customers on the road again ASAP!” Ask any bike traveller about the KOGA after-sales care – they’re famous for it. For example, my friend Pascal had cycled over 30,000km before his rim cracked. This was a special 40-hole rim that wasn’t available locally. Rather than just sending a replacement rim, they built up an entirely new wheel and shipped it to Australia so he could get on the road without fuss.
How Does The KOGA WorldTraveller-S Ride?
Disclosure: KOGA is my personal bike sponsor for my ‘CyclingAbout The Americas’ bike tour from 2017-2020, so I have lots of experience riding the WorldTraveller platform. Despite my connection to the company, I can attest to the above information being accurate, and frankly, all quantifiably measurable or explained.
I have been really happy with my KOGA WorldTraveller. The WorldTraveller has a near-identical frame geometry to one of my favourite touring bikes, the Surly Long Haul Trucker, so the handling was straight away very familiar to me. The bike steers nice and quick with the wide flat bar and is also super stable on descents thanks to its long wheelbase. To be honest, I’m not sure I could design the frame geometry to be much better (I’m pretty critical in this regard). But perhaps I’d increase the top tube lengths in the larger frame sizes and add a bit more ‘toe clearance’ across the size range.
The most noticeable difference between the WorldTraveller and many other touring bikes is the lateral frame stiffness – the KOGA experiences less front-end ‘shimmy’ or wobbling at high speeds, especially with a heavy and potentially uneven load up front. This is something I’ve always been critical of with the Long Haul Trucker (and many other touring bikes) as you can never have enough lateral stiffness, in my opinion!
Despite many people’s preconceptions that aluminium is ‘harsh’, I find the WorldTraveller rides just as comfortably as steel bikes. That’s because most of the comfort of a bicycle is made up from the tyres, seatpost and saddle which deflect and flex far more than a frame can.
Otherwise, my hydro disc brakes have been running nicely, with only a rear brake bleed in the last 16 months. I really like the 29×2.0″ Schwalbe Almotion tyres, which roll super quick, and I have had zero punctures in the last year! The Rohloff hub + belt drivetrain has always been easy and maintenance-free for me. The kickstand is so bloody practical; I thought I’d take it off after a while but now I can’t believe I’ve previously toured without one.
Want To Compare The KOGA WorldTraveller With Dozens of Others?
Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!
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How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?
Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview
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