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Ramses Bekkenk’s Koga BeachRacer prototype covered in sand after his second victory at the Noordwijk BeachRace Sam Dansie/BikeRadar
The Koga BeachRacer has been making waves since the Dutch brand unveiled a prototype at the beginning of the year. On Sunday 8 December, Koga Mountain Bike Team pro Ramses Bekkenk (Koga MTB team) piloted the 29in-wheeled bike to victory in the SRAM-sponsored 52km Noordwijk beach race. It was his second victory in the event, and he beat pros such as local rider Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge).
Everything about the frame is designed to make it steady when riding on sand. The seat tube angle is 74 degrees, to get the rider right over the cranks in a TT-like position, and the head tube angle is 71 degrees, to help provide a stable platform.
There’s an extra centimetre in the chainstays compared to the standard cyclocross frame, and it all adds up to give the bike a wheelbase of around 110cm. It may corner like an oil tanker, says Bekkenk, but on Holland’s wide, windswept beaches, nimble cornering is hardly a priority.
Ramses Bekkenk's Koga Beachracer
Koga produced the flat drop bars to help riders obtain a stable and aero position on the bike. While the production model is kitted in fairly standard componentry – sand and salt mean it needs replacing a lot and the company wanted to help customers keep costs down – Bekkenk’s BeachRacer was fitted with Shimano Di2 gearing and hydraulic disc brakes. The Di2 is holding up well to the sand, brine and frequent jet-washing, says Bekkenk.
Tyres – a critical choice to cope with the shifting soft sands – are a Schwalbe Super Moto on the back and a slightly narrower, more treaded Schwalbe Thunder Burt on the front, where there’s just enough clearance for the 2.1in width tyre in the custom fork. Bekkenk’s tyre pressure is incredibly low: 0.8 Bar (11.6psi).
Sand and brine conditions mean rust is inevitable
A chain and bottom bracket bearings will last about 500km and chainring and cassettes a couple more hundred kilometres. Bekkenk has a Mortop bottom bracket in the English-threaded frame because bearings are cheap and easy to replace.
Gearing is a single 42T front chainring coupled with an e*thirteen chainguide and an 11-28 cassette, which is just enough range to cope with barrelling tailwinds power-sapping sand and inevitable headwinds.
BikeRadar had a go at beachracing courtesy of Koga, so stay tuned for a feature on the resurgent discipline. In the meantime, click on the gallery for more photos of this radical bike.
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