Think Dutch bikes and you’re likely to picture a sit up and beg, step-through job. If you’re a little more imaginative, and watch a lot of telly, then maybe you’ve imagined a fully laden expedition bike ridden by a rugged adventurer like Mark Beaumont. Actually, Beaumont does ride a Koga-Miyata, but it isn’t his bike we’re interested in for this test. Nope, the Dutch make some mighty ﬁne race bikes too.
Theo Bos now rides for Cervélo TestTeam so he’ll currently be straddling an S3, but when he was a trackie – he’s a multiple world champ – he helped Koga-Miyata create the distinctive Kimera for the Dutch team at the 2008 Olympics.
Put the road and track frames side-by-side and the relationship is clear. Both have an elegant curved top-tube, chunky down-tube and substantial bottom bracket and chainstays, but the road model’s seat-tube is slimmer than its track brother, no doubt as the people who buy it won’t be putting quite as much power through the carbon. According to Koga, the Kimera cost €500,000 to put together so it’s no surprise that the company is trying to claim back some of that spend by taking the track bike’s DNA and placing it on the road. Either way, it adds up to an attractive bike with echoes of the Specialized Roubaix and Wilier Imperiale.
In the pro peloton the Kimera is used by the Skil-Shimano team, and from Koga’s Signature website you can build up a team spec Kimera with full Shimano Dura-Ace for £5646. The team bike uses a 3K carbon weave rather than the 1K on our Ultegra-shod test model and Koga reckons the 1K carbon Kimera is around 250g… wait for it… lighter. And, says Koga, you’ll get exactly the same stiffness. So it’s unlikely to feel outclassed by its ‘bigger’ brother.
It’s not unduly troubled by the other bikes on test either – the Kimera is a proper class act. Track bikes aren’t built for comfort, but don’t worry because the velodrome genes of the Kimera don’t show through on the road – it’s superbly comfortable. This appears to be down to the well sorted frame rather than ‘cheats’ like a long, ﬂexible carbon seatpost or cushy bar and stem. (In fact, the bar, stem and post are Pro’s Vibe – the same cockpit used on the harsher Cervélo and strong enough to be the components used by sprinters including Mark Cavendish.)
Comfort is aided by the long ride setup – the Kimera is tall up front, making for a more relaxed riding position than the others on test. The handling is outstanding and gave out-of-the-box descending conﬁdence and stability, but it’s also direct enough to make dodging potholes simple. Despite its comfort credentials, the Kimera can be pushed hard too – no ﬂex from either the frame or the fork when they’re put under pressure and efﬁcient pedalling from the curved stays and massively overbuilt BB30 bottom bracket.
We also loved the faultless Ultegra compact chainset which provides plenty of gears for climbing, and the smooth-rolling Ultegra wheels shod with grippy Michelin Pro Race 3 rubber. The chimera of mythology was a scary, ugly beast of many parts; the quick, light, responsive, stiff and comfortable, carbon Kimera also boasts myriad qualities but it’s a better looking, far more agreeable hybrid.