As a KOGA sponsored rider, I have the difficult job of test riding their bikes across continents! 😜 This video is an in-depth look into the 2020 KOGA WorldTraveller frame details, the components I’ve selected and the customisations I’ve made for my bike ride from Panama (July-2019) to Alaska (late-2020).
Two months ago I had no idea that I would be standing here in Panama with a brand new touring bike! But as you’re probably aware, KOGA is my personal bike sponsor and they were super keen for me to test ride their latest model, the KOGA WorldTraveller 2.0.
Today, we’ll be going bumper to bumper on this wild rig. We’ll be taking a deep dive into frameset details, as well as the components, and all of the small customisations that make this my own.
Alright, let’s start with the heart of the bike, which is always the frame.
The first thing you’ll notice is the colour that I’ve chosen which is Madagascar Orange. This is a limited edition colour for this year and I selected it because I thought it was elegant, but at the same time, quite understated. If you’re a James Bond fan, this is actually the exact colour of the villain car in the latest 007 film! The paint is a powercoat which I’ve found to be the most durable finish for touring, and the paint detailing is very exquisite. Before riding KOGAs, I didn’t know powder coats could be this intricate!
The frame is super stiff for touring and its constructed out of aluminium, which is lighter and more customisable than steel thanks to the way you can shape the tubes and butting profiles. While some people perceive aluminium to be weak, this is simply a myth. Frame material is just one factor when it comes to strength. What’s more important is the frame design, the engineering and the overall build quality. I have no doubt that my KOGA can handle the same or even more abuse than what my steel bikes can. I mean, you’ve seen the type of terrain I ride on aluminium bikes…
New for this year is the super smooth welds, and these look insane! It looks like the frame is made out of carbon fibre because all of the frame tubes all morph into each other. Other new things about the frame are the head tube lengths which are all 25mm taller and the KOGA WorldTraveller frame is now derailleur compatible, which brings in a lower entry point for the KOGA bike pricing.
The internal cable routing is one thing that differentiates a KOGA from any other aluminium touring bike. There are guides inside the downtube all the way to the bottom bracket shell, and these prevent the cables from rattling inside the frame, it keeps the cables hidden away from the elements, it makes the bike look really nice and it also makes the cables super easy to install.
Inside the headtube is a steering limiter, which prevents the handlebars from being able to twist too far with the front panniers. It also makes the bike much more stable with the kickstand deployed.
The frame is covered in mounts, including under the top tube, inside the front triangle and under the down tube. On the fork, there are also two cargo cage mounts if you prefer more of a bikepacking setup.
My signature handlebars are something I’m super proud of. I actually designed these with KOGA, and the idea is that you get best of a drop handlebar and a flat handlebar. With your hands on the bullhorns or the bar tops, you make your body much more aerodynamic, which allows for faster speeds on smoother surfaces. In the grips, you can take advantage of the big steering leverage to manoeuvre the front of your bike with ease. I couldn’t ride the difficult terrain I do AND speed along the highways without a handlebar like this.
I use five different hand positions on these bars. In the bullhorns, which are actually angled inwards, I’m either at the very end or closer to the base. On the bartops, which are angled backwards, I’m jammed either into the nook of the bullhorn, or much closer near the stem. And then there are the grips for when I need to access the brakes or gears.
The Ergon GC1 grips are designed specifically for a sweptback handlebar like this, and they are a game-changer. They actually feel like they’ve been custom moulded for my hands. There’s a rise in the middle that cups inside my palm, and a wing out the back that distributes hand pressure over a larger surface area. I’ve also cut down the right-hand grip so that I can get a bit more space around the base of my bullhorns.
In the middle of the bar, I’m using a double bartape wrap to squeeze the maximum comfort out of the front of the bike. As I have largish hands, I definitely prefer the feel of a bigger handhold.
Inside my headtube is my dynamo hub USB charger by Cinq. A little ratcheting door reveals the USB-C charging port, and this is actually the most powerful charger available for cycling at speeds below 20km/h. You can generate enough power from these to run your smartphone on full-screen brightness in navigation mode between just 14 and 17km/h. As the smartphone needs 12km/h to get a smooth charge, there’s actually a buffer battery hidden inside my headtube which provides backup power while I crawl slowly up hills. And if I cycle at 17km/h, it takes me about 7 hours to fill a 5000 mah power bank.
The low stack height of the Plug5 Plus charger allows me to mount my smartphone on my stem! I use a Quadlock case which uses a spring-loaded mount to ensure the phone will always stay on the bars even on the rough terrain. And with this kit, it’s just super easy to mount and remove from my phone from my bike.
To power my USB charger and lights is a hub dynamo by Schmidt. These are easily the best in the business, offering unparalleled performance and by far the best reliability.
The biggest change compared to my previous bike are the 27.5×2.4” tyres, which are up from 29×2.0”. The fatter rubber is basically a trade-off between on-road and off-road speed, but given I’m finding myself on more off-road trails than I initially expected, these will definitely be a welcome addition.
I still do compromise by using slick Schwalbe Super Moto-X tyres because my multiyear trips still have a really big percentage on the pavement, and these allow me to comfortably ride about 1000km per week if I need. I run the tyres at 4bar on smooth surfaces and I can drop them to 2bar on bumpy roads.
I actually use tubes with any touring tyre just because they’re that puncture-resistant. I haven’t had a puncture in 16 months, in fact. But it also means I don’t have to mess around with seating a tyre and I don’t have to both with changing the sealant.
You’ll have noticed that I almost never hold back when it comes to riding rough terrain, and the key to my strong wheels are both my super stiff rims and even spoke tension. The Ryde rims are definitely the stiffest and most burly rims in existence, but the downside is that they often weigh 30-40% more than other touring rims. They’re so stiff they almost never go out of true, and I rarely ever break spokes either.
My wheels are laced with 36 spokes, which are double butted and Rohloff hub specific. I carry 2 front and 2 rear spokes as spares.
The drivetrain is centred around a Rohloff-14speed internal gearbox hub. I’ve been using these for the past 100,000km and would find it really hard to travel with anything else. All the gears are sealed away from the elements, they’re almost maintenance-free, they’re not susceptible to external damage and they build into a super-strong wheel. The Rohloff hubs usually add about half a kilo when compared to derailleurs, and they have similar drive efficiency to a 1X drivetrain.
I’m using a Gates belt drivetrain on my bike. And again, these offer almost zero maintenance and I can get more than 30,000km out of a drivetrain, which is 3-4 times further than I could with a chain! I’ve selected a 50 to 22 tooth drive ratio, which will give me under 18 gear inches, and with that, I can cycle uphill at about 5km/h with quite a reasonable cadence.
I run my belt drivetrains at a SUPER low tension, which isn’t recommended by Gates or KOGA but it reduces the amount of resistance in the belt drivetrain so it’s comparable to that of a chain. I can get away with this because the KOGA has such a stiff rear triangle and my pedalling technique is quite smooth. Even at this crazy low tension, I can’t make the belt skip, and I consider myself a pretty strong cyclist.
I’m carrying one spare belt, which is around 80 grams and fits into the pocket of one of my panniers. If I need a new chainring or cog I’ll have to get them shipped in, but in the last 10 years, I haven’t ever had to do this. I’m using the new Gates crankset with a direct mount chainring, which looks amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing if it can handle my abuse. I’m also testing this belt care stick to see if it can keep my belt running smoother and quieter for longer.
When you travel off-road, your pedals always take a huge beating, and the most durable clip-in pedals I’ve found are Shimano XT. I clean and re-grease these pedals every two years and they ALWAYS go back to feeling like new. I’ve put over 50,000km into a set of these before, so I don’t actually know their limit.
Contrary to popular belief, at constant rates of power on constant gradients – there is no advantage to clipping in. But I choose to clip in because it helps me generate short bursts of power on steep off-road climbs, it also keeps my feet in place on rough terrain and I can optimise my foot positioning on my pedals.
My brakes are Shimano XT hydros. These have been great to me the last two years – they have ample power and I’ve found that they need to be bled about once per year on average. I prefer to use sintered metal brake pads as they tend to last about 2-3x longer than any organic pads I’ve ever found.
I’m testing the Cane Creek eeSilk suspension seatpost. It’s barely heavier than a carbon flex seat post, but it has an adjustable spring rate to suit your body weight. I like that it has only 20mm of travel, as I’ve found most other suspension posts just offer too much vertical movement for my liking.
My seat was purchased in Cambodia on a whim. It was the only seat I could find in a local bike shop, and it turned out to be the perfect shape for my bum! It has been on many bikes over the years, and will hopefully survive many more bikes to come.
I use Schmidt dynamo lights on all of my touring bikes. The Edelux 2 front light has enough brightness to light my way even at 5km/h while I’m crawling up a hill. The beam pattern is great for the mix of riding I do, it uses a reflector to make sure that the light doesn’t go into the eyes of drivers and other cyclists coming the other way. The rear light is bright and also nice and compact, and the wiring actually runs up the inside of my rack.
Mudguards are a must for me. They do get clogged up with mud a handful of times per year, but I don’t mind because they keep me dry and clean all the other times when the road is super wet.
I use steel racks on all of my touring bikes because along with your wheels, they’re often the most likely component to fail on a bike trip. Tubus definitely make the best racks in the business, I’ve never broken any of mine. But if you do manage to break a rack, they’ll send replacements anywhere in the world for free, for the first five years.
My bottle cages are BBB FuelTank XLs but unfortunately, these have been discontinued. But I really like them though because I can just use 1.5-litre soft drink bottles to store 3-litres of water all inside my frame.
This bike is essentially the pinnacle of what is available; if you’re into cars, the equivalent would be a top-model Mercedes Benz with every optional extra. The KOGA WorldTraveller starts at €2600 with derailleur gearing, with a Rohloff hub it’s €3500, with a Rohloff hub and belt drive it’s €3800. And, if you select every upgrade like I have, expect to pay a bit over €5000.
Check out the KOGA configurator HERE.
My KOGA WorldTraveller S Touring Bike Specs
Frame: Koga WorldTraveller-S Alloy (60cm / Jaguar Madagascar Orange)
Fork: Koga WorldTraveller-S Alloy
Headset: Koga Sealed Bearing Steering Limiter
Stem: Koga Signature Alloy
Handlebars: KOGA Denham Bar
Grips: Ergon GC1 and KOGA Bartape
Seatpost: Koga Signature Alloy
Saddle: Velo Unbranded
Gears: Rohloff Speedhub 14 speed Internally Geared Hub
Shifter: Rohloff Grip Shifter
Front Hub: Schmidt SON28 Dynamo
Rims: Ryde Bull 27.5
Spokes: Sapim DB
Tyres: Schwalbe Super Moto-X 2.4″
Brake Levers: Shimano XT Hydraulic
Brakes: Shimano XT Hydraulic
Crankset: Gates S550
Chainring: Gates Carbon Drive Centertrack 50T
Cog: Gates Carbon Drive Centertrack 22T
Pedals: Shimano XT T8000
Fenders: SKS P65 Chromoplastics
Charger: Cinq Plug5 Plus
Lights: Schmidt SON Edelux II and SON Tail Light
Bidon Cages: BBB Fuel Tank XL
Phone Mount: Quadlock
Front Panniers: Ortlieb SportRoller Plus
Front Rack: Tubus Duo
Rear Panniers: Ortlieb BackRoller Plus
Rear Rack: Tubus Logo 29
Kickstand: Pletcher Comp
Weight: ~16kg or 35lbs