Table of Contents
Over half a million people have now watched my video explaining the amazing features of my KOGA WorldTraveller touring bike.
Two and a half years have now passed and I’ve pedalled this bike over 30,000km – almost entirely off-road. So, how’s the bike holding up?
Today, I’ll be giving you an update on everything I’ve broken, upgraded, liked and disliked about this bike.
Disclosure: I am sponsored by KOGA to travel on this bike. But KOGA hasn’t paid for this video, they’ve had no input into what is discussed, and they’ll be watching this at the same time as you.
Ok, let’s start with the frame.
The powder coat finish has proven extremely durable over the last few years. Other than a few chips, the paint honestly looks brand new. I’ve found Madagascar Orange to be the perfect colour for touring as it’s very understated and almost never looks dirty.
The frame is incredibly stiff laterally, which results in a very stable and predictable ride – even with my heavy loads. I’ve never experienced the speed wobbles that sometimes occur on other loaded bikes.
Handlebars & Grips
As you may recall, the KOGA Denham Bars are my own design. They’re now available in an oversized 31.8mm version, which is what I have fitted.
I’m still really happy with the shape, as these bars offer ample steering leverage at the grips, a more aerodynamic position in the bullhorns and multiple hand positions for all-day comfort.
They can still be improved, however. I think the bullhorns could be angled up more for riders who use a more upright ride position. I’d like a bit more upsweep at the grips, and a bit less backsweep so that the bars are better suited to ‘progressive’ geometry bikes that use longer top tubes and shorter stems.
I’m still using the original Ergon GC-1 grips, which are designed specifically for sweptback handlebars. I’ve found them to be both very comfortable and durable.
One component change I’ve made at the front of this bike is the Redshift Shockstop suspension stem.
If you haven’t seen these stems before, they have a form of suspension built-in, which reduces the shock transmitted to the rider at the grips. They’ve very effective too – GravelBikes.cc have measured an 18% reduction in handlebar vibrations compared to a regular stem on dirt roads.
As the pivot is in the middle of the stem, it relies on leverage to flex up and down. This means my grips don’t move whatsoever, there is a minor amount of movement at the bar tops, and a lot of movement at the bullhorns. I now find myself using the bullhorns much more on rough dirt roads, which is pretty cool.
A quirk of this stem is that it feels weird when it’s flipped upside down. This is because the direction of force coming from the ground is different to its movement. I’d recommend using these stems in the positive orientation to get the best results.
A better stem for a sweptback bar could be the new Vecnum Freeqence, which uses a linkage system to provide its travel. This would allow for suspension at my grips too, but unfortunately, I suspect it won’t work with my handlebar bag mount.
Cinq Plug5 Plus USB Charger
The performance of my Cinq Plug5 USB charger is absolutely top-notch… when it works.
It’s the waterproofing that has been the downfall of this product – the electronics would get wet periodically and I’d have to take the charging cap off and dry it in the sun. For a long time, this would bring the Plug back to life, but now it’s not working at all.
I’ve just received a warranty replacement, which is considerably more waterproof when compared to the old version. I’ll report back if it’s still not waterproof enough for long-term touring.
The baseplate on my Quadlock phone case cracked and now rattles about. This has happened multiple times now, the cases normally last 1-2 years of use.
Despite this annoyance, I still think the Quadlock system is great. The phone case is slim, and the mounting is minimal, easy to use and very secure.
I was initially happy with the Schwalbe Super Moto-X tyres, which rolled really well, but I found them to not be as puncture-resistant as I’d like for long-term touring. I had no problems on most dirt roads; it was the truck tyre wire on highways and tiny thorns in desert regions that got through just to the side of the GreenGuard layer.
I’m now using a new tyre model called the Schwalbe Pick-Up in a 2.6″ width. According to Schwalbe, it is faster rolling, more durable and more puncture resistant than the Super Motos.
As it’s a cargo tyre model, it’s designed to be more stable with luggage thanks to the six layers of nylon reinforcement under the tread and five down the sides. They honestly seem perfect for touring – I’m looking forward to putting big miles on these.
Rims and Spokes
Wheels are usually the most likely component to fail on a bike trip. I’m happy to report my wheels haven’t required any spoke tensioning since new. That’s really impressive given how much I’ve abused them!
I did, however, crack my front rim and bend a spoke when a sausage-shaped rock went into my spokes. I’ve been keeping an eye on the crack for a year now and it doesn’t seem to be growing.
Rohloff 14-Speed Gearbox Hub
The Rohloff 14-speed hub has been absolutely flawless. I’m still on the original shift cables, the only maintenance I’ve done is a handful of oil changes and I’ve installed a replacement shifter grip.
Amazingly, I’m still on the original belt components too.
The only time I’ve had problems with the belt is when I’ve hit sticky volcanic mud that’s combined with small rocks – the rocks can stick to the belt and jam the drivetrain. This has only been once over the last few years.
I’m using a very low belt tension; well under the recommended tension by Gates. This appears to have given me an even longer wear life than normal, and a lower belt resistance too. This is only possible because the KOGA’s rear triangle is built particularly stiff, so the belt simply cannot walk off the cog.
The Hanseline belt care stick I originally used was terrible. If you’re riding in dry, dusty environments where your belt can squeak, 100% silicone treadmill lubricant is my pick. I use less than 50ml per year as belt lubricant is only necessary for the dust.
Eccentric bottom bracket shells have a reputation for making noise, but my experience is that Bushnell BBs will remain completely silent. The sealed bearings in my FSA BB are still spinning ok, but they’re on their very last legs – I’ll be installing new cups this week.
Although my original Shimano XT pedals could probably go on and on, the pedal body got a bit sloppy for my liking, so I’ve just fitted a brand new set. I’ve clocked 50,000km on these pedals a few times, they seem to wear out a bit quicker off-road.
The Shimano XT hydraulic brakes have been reliable as ever. I’ve only completed one rear brake bleed so far, and I’m likely on my tenth set of brake pads. The rotors needed changing at 18 months as they had literally thinned in half.
I still love the Cane Creek eeSilk seatpost. With its 20mm of vertical travel, I think it’s perfect for mixed terrain as I never feel it moving underneath me.
After 30,000km+ of use, it’s developed play in the bushings but this is not noticeable when I ride. I take the elastomer out every three months and add some silicone lube around the edges – the movement gets a bit sticky otherwise.
The foam on the beloved saddle that I’ve been using for the last eight years has gotten a bit firm. I also wanted to see if I could travel without padded shorts, so this year I ditched my cycling shorts and got a saddle with extra padding.
This Selle Italia MAN Gel Flow saddle is almost identical in shape to my previous saddle, making it instantly familiar and comfortable. I haven’t needed to use padded shorts at all with this seat.
I have, however, found it’s necessary to sit more upright on this saddle, as the extra padding puts too much pressure on my pubic arch in a performance ride position. As a result, I’ve moved my handlebars a bit higher than previously.
Fenders, Racks, Kickstand
Racks are another likely component to fail on a bike trip, but I’ve found that Tubus racks are up there with the toughest available. While they now have surface rust, the racks continue to work as new.
The only thing to note is that the front rack required regular bolt tightening for the first few weeks. It could be worth using Loctite on the bolts if you want to expedite this process.
My original fenders took a big hit in my sausage rock accident, which resulted in both of them breaking. The ones you see here are a brand new shiny new set.
I normally destroy kickstands after 18 months or so. The springs always get sloppy and sometimes the pin that holds the kickstand together will just fall out. Luckily, kickstands are cheap and easy to replace – this one is a few months old.
Now that we’ve been through everything I’ve broken, upgraded and replaced, let’s talk about my new frame.
This is my new WorldTraveller frameset!
I wanted to test an even more upright ride position, so I got the bigger frame size (63cm). Coincidently, KOGA had a new limited edition colour to promote.
It’s called ‘Viper Green’ and you can order a WorldTraveller in this colourway right now. It’s the same green that Volkswagen Group has used on various performance cars, including Lamborghinis.
I’m still very happy with my KOGA WorldTraveller after 30,000km+ use. I’m amazed at how new it still looks, which is a testament to the quality of finishing for both the frame and components.
I’ve found this bike handles luggage better than most touring bikes due to its high lateral stiffness. The maintenance is absolutely minimal when you use a belt drivetrain and Rohloff hub – I’m really just changing brake pads, keeping the bolts tight and adding a few drops of silicone here and there.
For the most part, I just get on this bike and ride.