Table of Contents
- Who is the KOGA WorldTraveller For?
- Who is the KOGA WorldTraveller NOT For?
- My Involvement with KOGA
- New Features
- The 2023 KOGA WorldTraveller Frame Geometry
- KOGA Signature Program
- KOGA WorldTraveller Standard Specification
- How Much Does The New KOGA WorldTraveller Cost?
I’m excited to announce the all-new 2023 KOGA WorldTraveller touring bikes!
The update brings clearance for wider tyres (2.8″), suspension fork compatibility, thru-axles, an increased weight limit, a higher frame stiffness, a semi-integrated rack, and a taller and more stable geometry – among other things.
As usual, there is a standard build (lowest cost), as well as highly-customisable custom builds (KOGA Signature program).
In this article, I want to examine all of the details of this new design.
Who is the KOGA WorldTraveller For?
The 2023 KOGA WorldTraveller is a very strong, very capable, and very low-maintenance touring bike. It’s available in both a regular frame as well as a step-through frame design.
The aluminium frame and fork are engineered to be particularly stiff so that you can carry everything – including the kitchen sink – and still achieve a very stable ride. The selected components on the model you choose are the most reliable at each given price point. This ensures component failure is absolutely minimised.
The WorldTraveller can ride efficiently across different road surfaces around the world. It comes with 29″ x 2.2″ tyres (55-622) as standard, which is an ideal width for both pavement and smooth dirt roads.
But the frame is also capable of fitting a smaller diameter 27.5″ wheelset, albeit with wider 2.8″ tyres (584-72). Sand and rough 4×4 tracks should be no problem with a bit of extra volume.
You also can spec the KOGA WorldTraveller exactly how you like using their online bike configurator. It adds cost to custom build a bike, but you can choose from one of 10 colours, as well as a Rohloff 14-speed internal gear hub and belt drivetrain (my preference for world touring).
KOGA place a lifetime warranty on the frame for the original owner, which is much longer than comparable touring bike manufacturers such as Tout Terrain (five years) and Idworx (six years).
Who is the KOGA WorldTraveller NOT For?
The WorldTraveller is a thoroughbred touring bike. If you’re not planning to travel with heavy loads, this bike might not be for you.
This frame is considered overbuilt for regular commuting or sporty rides. This means that when you ride a WorldTraveller without luggage, you will likely notice the high bike weight (more than 20kg/44lb depending on configuration) and high frame rigidity.
Luckily, KOGA has other much lighter and more suitable bikes in their product range for commuting or leisure. And the “WorldTraveller Classic” is still available and will shave 2-3kg off the bike’s weight.
My Involvement with KOGA
I have been a KOGA Ambassador for over five years now, so there is no doubt some of my feedback has worked its way onto this new bike.
I’ve taken my KOGA WorldTraveller across the hottest deserts, into icy snowfields, through dense jungles, along beaches, up muddy tracks, and to the top of the highest road in the world (almost 6000 metres!). I recently calculated that I’ve cycled over 60,000km on WorldTravellers – mostly on dirt roads.
The only thing I’ve broken so far is one spoke (this doesn’t include the time I fell off a cliff with my bike and made a mess of things, or when a stick went into my spokes). It’s best to watch my video review of the bike to see what has worked for me and what has not.
In terms of maintenance, all I do semi-regularly is change my brake pads and keep my belt clean. The Rohloff hub gets an oil change twice a year, and I give my hydraulic brakes new mineral oil every year. That’s about it.
Right, let’s look at the new features.
Suspension Fork Compatible
The new frame can use a suspension fork or a rigid fork, depending on your preference.
The new 63mm travel suspension fork will absorb bigger hits on the road and trail providing a smoother and more confidence-inspiring ride – with extra traction. But it will also add weight (800g/1.8lb), cost (€250) and require ongoing maintenance.
The rigid fork is the most dependable setup and is better suited to carrying luggage. It can fit a front rack, cargo cages, and even a kickstand. I will be using the rigid fork with a Vecnum suspension stem on my personal bike.
A suspension fork can, of course, be purchased later in the case of the standard build (about €400). Or you can configure the suspension fork from the factory with KOGA’s Signature program.
180kg Weight Limit
The KOGA WorldTraveller is now certified for 180kg/400lb.
That means you can weigh 100kg/220lb, your bike can be 20kg/44lb and you can still load it up with 60kg/132lb of gear, food, and water for crossing the Australian Outback. Your bike won’t care one bit.
It’s worth noting that while the previous KOGA WorldTraveller was only certified for 130kg, it was engineered to exceed this figure by a significant margin. The reason the weight rating is so much lower is simply that 130kg was the maximum test rating available when the frame was in development.
More Tyre Clearance
KOGA has increased the tyre clearance by a fair bit.
The frame will now comfortably fit in 2.2″ tyres (29″/700C wheels) or 2.8″ tyres (27.5″/650B) with full fenders. But based on the image above, the maximum tyre clearance looks like it could be as wide as 29 x 2.4″ with the right tyre and rim combination.
The 29″ rims have an inner rim diameter of 30mm (an ideal size), and the 27.5″ rims jump up to 35mm (also ideal).
The new WorldTraveller now comes with thru-axles.
While it’s hard to find someone who has had a problem with quick-release axles, thru-axles allow for an even stiffer frame and fork, better suiting the larger diameter 180mm and 203mm rotor sizes now on offer.
Sliding Rear Dropouts
The rear dropouts are now sliding. This is not a particularly important detail for the derailleur version of the bike but will make belt tension adjustment a bit easier for those who opt for the Rohloff 14-speed hub.
KOGA Front Rack
The front lowrider rack is made by KOGA specifically for this WorldTraveller. The rack keeps your front bags low to the ground and is rated for 7.5kg on each side (you really don’t want any more).
There is even an integrated kickstand mount that helps to stop the wheel from flopping when the bike is parked.
KOGA Rear Integrated Rack
KOGA have gone in-house on the rear rack too. This semi-integrated design is part of the frame and thus provides extra rigidity compared to a regular rack.
The load capacity is now up to 45kg/100lb, which is more than almost every rack available (for reference, Surly steel racks are 36kg/80lb).
I think I could’ve done with a bit extra rack stiffness when I was carrying 25 litres of water (heavy!) in the remote sections of Australia.
Modular Rail System (MRS)
On the downtube, you’ll find the MRS or Modular Rail System.
This is actually quite cool as you can add mounting points wherever you like along the rail, making it suitable for multiple water bottles or cargo cages.
Complex Frame Shapes & Super Smooth Welds
KOGA have used multiple new frame-building technologies to maximise the stiffness and strength of the frame – without adding too much weight.
The large-diameter hydroformed aluminium tubes have been optimised both in terms of shape as well as wall thickness. And inside the lower half of the downtube are three integrated “torsion chambers” that run the length of the tube, increasing the frame stiffness even further, and providing a small cavity for the cables to pass through.
Everything is held together with glassy-looking super smooth welds. A very impressive detail.
Internally Guided Cables
The KOGA WorldTraveller bikes have had fully-guided cables for a long time now.
While some bikes just have a big ol’ hole in the side of the frame for their internal routing (cable rattle!), the WorldTraveller frame guides the cables exactly where they need to go through one of the torsion chambers. This makes cable changes very easy and results in zero noise.
The 2023 KOGA WorldTraveller Frame Geometry
With a new frame design, also comes a slightly longer and much more upright frame geometry. The steering characteristics of the bike are just a touch slower than previously (<10% more trail).
The front height of the frame (stack) is taller by 25-50mm (1-2″) across the entire size range. This largely determines how high your handlebars can be set; a taller front end will help riders to get their handlebars to their preferred height, without resorting to a compromised adjustable stem or a bunch of headset spacers.
The chainstays (rear centre) have grown but it’s just 7mm to balance out the extra 40mm that has been added to the front centre. The resulting longer wheelbase will ensure the bike is more stable, even on rougher roads.
KOGA Signature Program
KOGA allow you to customise a WorldTraveller exactly to your needs.
You’ll have a choice between the marvellous Rohloff 14-speed internal gear hub with belt drive (this is what I use), or a more common Shimano XT 30-speed derailleur drivetrain. You can also upgrade everything to the max (or remove it) if you like: dynamo hubs, dynamo lights, USB chargers, saddle, stem, handlebar, tyres and much more.
There are 10 standard paint colours to choose between, and you can have your name or a message painted on the frame. These frames are all painted in the Netherlands, and once the paint is dry, a certified mechanic constructs your bike from start to finish.
Once you’ve selected everything in the online configurator, you’ll see both the weight and price of the bike. If you like it, you can order it. After 10-12 weeks, your custom bike will be shipped anywhere in the world, direct to your door (via DHL). Alternatively, you can do this all through a bike shop that sells KOGA bikes (Europe only).
I made a film about the KOGA factory when I visited; you can see how the bikes come together HERE.
KOGA WorldTraveller Standard Specification
The standard-spec WorldTraveller is fitted out with a Shimano Deore XT T8000 groupset. This 3×10 derailleur drivetrain has been around for a long while now, but is reliable, and offers a decent gear range, low climbing gear, and small gear steps.
The bike comes with well-known touring components such as Busch & Muller dynamo lights, an SP PD-8X dynamo hub, Ursus kickstands, an Axa lock, water bottles, SKS fenders, KOGA racks, and two water bottles.
To finish off the build, the bike comes with Schwalbe Marathon Efficiency tyres, which have been independently tested to be one of the fastest touring tyres available (they have a low rolling resistance plus great puncture resistance).
How Much Does The New KOGA WorldTraveller Cost?
The price for the standard bike above is €2749 with all accessories included.
KOGA Signature custom bikes start at about €3500 with Shimano XT derailleur gears. Expect closer to €5000 for a bike with the extra low-maintenance Rohloff 14-speed hub and belt drive.
The new 2023 KOGA WorldTraveller is a step forward in many ways.
The taller and more stable frame geometry will allow you to ride even more comfortably without needing an adjustable stem or lots of headset spacers.
The bike is highly configurable, suiting both a round-the-world trip on paved roads (rigid, narrower tyres) or dirt roads (suspension, wider tyres). You really don’t need to worry about your body weight, water weight, or the gear you’re lugging about – the frame is built especially stiff and has a very high weight allowance.
You have a choice of frame design (step-through or regular), and through the Signature program, a choice of drivetrain, frame colour, and just about every component on the bike.
For more information, head on over to the KOGA website.