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

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?

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

21 comments

Avatar
muddyfunster [7 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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.

Avatar
Super Domestique [1596 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Cool. The road version of a Fatbike then.

Avatar
ped [226 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
bikeandy61 [524 posts] 3 years ago
0 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?

Avatar
Mountainboy [95 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
dave atkinson [6207 posts] 3 years ago
0 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  1

i reckon the FF29 with vulpine semi slicks would be just the job  1

Avatar
JonMack [167 posts] 3 years ago
0 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!

Avatar
cowspassage [43 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
Coodsta [112 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
Mat Brett [613 posts] 3 years ago
0 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!

Avatar
Bhachgen [111 posts] 3 years ago
0 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!

Avatar
joemmo [1164 posts] 3 years ago
0 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.

Avatar
Roastie [27 posts] 3 years ago
0 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!

Avatar
Dutchie [67 posts] 3 years ago
0 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.

Avatar
rob hoogenboom [6 posts] 3 years ago
0 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  39

Avatar
rob hoogenboom [6 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

the main picture looks like noordwijk  39

Avatar
Mat Brett [613 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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

Hallo mensen uit Nederland.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6207 posts] 3 years ago
0 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  1

Avatar
Mountainboy [95 posts] 3 years ago
0 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!

Avatar
mustard [73 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
BBB [370 posts] 3 years ago
0 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...