Koga’s prototype beach racer

It's the next big thing in cycling... maybe

by Mat Brett   January 16, 2013  

KOGA BeachRacer proto

Koga have developed a prototype beach racer in association with riders from the Mitsubishi mountain bike team. It’s not something we know a great deal about over here so we thought it would be interesting to take a look (sometimes we stretch the definition of ‘road’ on road.cc)…

Beach racing might not be big in the UK but it’s a popular winter sport in Koga’s homeland of The Netherlands. Last weekend’s Egmond-Pier-Egmond beach race, for example, attracted more than 3,500 riders. It looks to us a bit like cyclocross but with less mud and more sand.

“Beach races demand special characteristics of a bike,” said Martin Schuttert, Product Manager at Koga. “We took a Koga cyclocross frame as [the] basis – that is as close as you can get to a proper beach bike. It is also made to carry the bike on your shoulder.

“We adapted this frame to make it even more suitable for beach racing. The frame was widened for the extra wide beach tyres and also the rear end is longer. This way we have developed a bike that finds its way easily through the loose sand especially at long, straight routes.”

Why don’t we have beach racing on this side of the Channel? It looks fun. And we live on an island where no one is all that far from a beach of some description – although I guess that pebbly beaches are going to be a whole different challenge.

Here’s a vid of a beach race from last year to give you an idea of what they’re like. Warning: it contains talking in a language you won’t understand.

Mitsubishi rider Ramses Bekkenk was closely involved in the development of this bike.

“It is very aerodynamic by using a short head tube and a special handlebar,” he said. “As a result of the steep seat tube angle, you are closer to the bracket. The Koga beach facer exceeds my expectations. It is very fast and offers a lot of traction. It is really fun to ride too.”

Tyres are clearly crucial in beach racing. The Koga prototype pictured features a Schwalbe Super Moto tyre at the rear. It’s very wide at 2.35in (60mm) but the profile is fairly smooth so it doesn’t get caked in sand. The front tyre is a Schwalbe Nobby Nic.

As you can see, the SRAM drivetrain uses a single chainring and low gearing and the braking comes courtesy of cable-operated discs. The bars are interesting too; that’s a really shallow drop on there.

Koga reckon that the prototype bike could eventually reach full production.

“This model could end up as a commercial model, to use for beach races but also for touring rides. I think we are at the beginning of something great,” said Martin Schuttert.

Right... First, does anyone know of any beach races in the UK? There aren't some big events out there that we've just missed? Second, if not, who is going to organise one?

21 user comments

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Great - a whole new class of bike to add to the wish list... Looks like fun, provided you don't mind replacing the entire drivetrain after every race.
We've got some nice sandy beaches in NE Scotland that could host a race like this - the stretch of beach between the rivers Don and Ythan for starters.

posted by muddyfunster [7 posts]
16th January 2013 - 13:39

11 Likes

Cool. The road version of a Fatbike then.

posted by Super Domestique [1686 posts]
16th January 2013 - 13:41

11 Likes

I can hear the sand-ridden bearings crunch from here but still, that looks like a blast.

posted by ped [190 posts]
16th January 2013 - 13:44

10 Likes

Whats the betting that if you tried to organise one in the UK (sorry England and Wales, Scotland's right to roam may have an effect) you'd suddenly find beaches are privately owned and you have to get permission to use one.

ST did do the article on beach combing by Fat Bike in the first issue of the reformatted mag (Ish 72). Maybe a Fat Bike would be OTT for racing (but then they were invented for racing Iditarod) but the Singular Gryphon comes to mind as an ideal bike. Belt drive and 11 speed Altus for drive train longevity?

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [475 posts]
16th January 2013 - 13:46

10 Likes

This would be fantastic for Weston-super-Mare.
We have a beach enduro but no bike race, yet...

posted by Mountainboy [81 posts]
16th January 2013 - 13:57

10 Likes

Mountainboy wrote:
This would be fantastic for Weston-super-Mare.
We have a beach enduro but no bike race, yet...

ah yeah. I'm in Smile

i reckon the FF29 with vulpine semi slicks would be just the job Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7807 posts]
16th January 2013 - 14:07

8 Likes

I ride my SS CX bike down the beach in Weston when I fancy a change from my usual route, it's quite nice going out to the far end of Sand Bay on the road, onto the sand, then all the way down to the car park, along the toll road to the end and back up into the woods, or carry on back down into town and hit the main beach. It's alright when the sand is packed down but as soon as it gets the slightest bit loose, my legs really start to suffer!

All the gear and no idea!

posted by JonMack [172 posts]
16th January 2013 - 14:22

9 Likes

The bars are Midges, aren't they? Or a very close copy.

posted by cowspassage [43 posts]
16th January 2013 - 14:40

10 Likes

Looks a cyclocross bike with bigger tyre clearance, ie a Monstercrosser! Those bars do look a lot like Midges too.

Carpe Diem ab absentis: seize the day off

Coodsta's picture

posted by Coodsta [108 posts]
16th January 2013 - 15:22

14 Likes

ped wrote:
I can hear the sand-ridden bearings crunch from here but still, that looks like a blast.

Exactly, ped. No one said it was sensible!

posted by Mat Brett [2138 posts]
16th January 2013 - 16:25

11 Likes

Used to race one-on-one against my horse-rider girlfriend of the time along Tywyn-Aberdyfi beach when I was in my late teens. Bl**dy hard work but good fun. Best to clean the sand off pretty sharpish afterwards. And don't expect to beat the horse!

posted by Bhachgen [106 posts]
16th January 2013 - 16:26

12 Likes

bikeandy61 wrote:
Whats the betting that if you tried to organise one in the UK (sorry England and Wales, Scotland's right to roam may have an effect) you'd suddenly find beaches are privately owned and you have to get permission to use one.

yes, lots of beaches are owned by various landowners, local councils, National Trust, Natural England to mention a few. Dunes particularly are often protected land for wildlife and to prevent erosion so they are out. If you have birds feeding in the inter-tidal band then you can bet the local twitchers will have a say on any disturbance too.
So, basically, good luck with that.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1080 posts]
16th January 2013 - 19:02

8 Likes

Yup, very much like Monstercross - but a slightly different in that I'd think these need to be fast and light rather than solid and beefy (a niche in a niche?).

As for the racing, it looks like a load of fun (if also a world of pain!). Ace - a good reason to visit NL in the winter!

David Fong - founder Engineered Bicycles Ltd

posted by Roastie [27 posts]
16th January 2013 - 20:04

10 Likes

As for the funny language: every rider interviewed is talking about the influence of the strong wind on the race. Pro rider Sebastiaan Langeveld was hoping to "keep up with the best riders" but ended up winning it. The guy from SRAM mentions that they have a lot of stuff developed specifically for beach racing.

Dutchie's picture

posted by Dutchie [65 posts]
16th January 2013 - 22:38

7 Likes

most of these races combine stads of,schevenigen,noordwijk,zandvoort,ijmuiden.fantastic to watch on a sunny sunday afternoon (in a beach cafe of course)...approx 50 km watch for the wind and tide,most riders choose where the wave breaks down a good dose of salt?....sorry are mainly in winter-spring before the tourists get there Thinking

posted by rob hoogenboom [6 posts]
16th January 2013 - 22:59

12 Likes

the main picture looks like noordwijk Thinking

posted by rob hoogenboom [6 posts]
16th January 2013 - 23:05

10 Likes

I never knew road.cc had so many readers from The Netherlands.

Hallo mensen uit Nederland.

posted by Mat Brett [2138 posts]
16th January 2013 - 23:14

12 Likes

i stayed in scheveningen when i was at uni and it's the windiest place i've ever been, with the possible exception of 5000m up in the Andes. got a great pic of a mat with long hair standing on the beach with his hair horizontal Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7807 posts]
16th January 2013 - 23:32

7 Likes

JonMack,
Let's get it sorted then!

No problem on the main beaches, it's not like we are going to be as invasive as the Beach Enduro.

I might have a blast on that beach route you mention tomorrow, I don't think I'll be commuting to work!

posted by Mountainboy [81 posts]
17th January 2013 - 11:41

7 Likes

Could be some serious competition for the Salsa Warbird...

posted by mustard [72 posts]
17th January 2013 - 22:37

11 Likes

Unless you get paid for racing you don't need another "special" bike for riding on a beach, gravel, cobbles etc.

Don't get brainwashed by the marketers and don't fixate on bike categories which are largely dictated by marketing trends and UCI regulations.

Simply get a lightweight XC 26", 650 or 29er frame, rigid fork, regular drop bar, road components and tyres suitable for occasion and you'll have your versatile beach, dirt, gravel, path, cx, road, light off-road or whatever else you fancy kind of bike...

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [236 posts]
18th January 2013 - 15:50

8 Likes