Dutch brand Koga is one of the biggest names in its home market but still quite a rarity on the roads outside of the Netherlands. That’s something that deserves to change, if our initial ride on the all new Kimera 2.0 is anything to go by.
We’ve raved about Koga’s road bikes before, but they’ve previously only been available from a limited number of dealers or through buying direct. Maxtrack has just become the brand's UK distributor for 2014 though, so that should see more stores take on the brand.
If they do, then Koga's bikes are well worth adding to your test-ride lists. We got to try the new Kimera on a recent trip to Majorca and were certainly impressed. According to Koga, its designers have “have achieved a drastic improvement in comfort and aerodynamics in the new Kimera without sacrificing the bike's much-acclaimed stiffness-weight relationship”.
The Koga Kimera's carbon frame has distinctive swooping lines
We didn’t actually have many issues with the comfort of the previous Kimera but version 2.0 is certainly no bone-shaker. Yes, the swoopy carbon frame does feel stiff and light but it also seems to soak up bumps nicely. Yes, some of the roads in Majorca are stupidly smooth, but once off the beaten track you can find some nasty surfaces, and the Kimera coped admirably.
Some of this can certainly be put down to the 27.2mm carbon seatpost which, when combined with the more-extended-than-usual seat tube, gives quite a lot of exposed carbon and, as a result, a good amount of controlled back and forth flex.
The aero advantages of the bike are impossible to comment on without wind tunnel data, but to the new Kimera does employ slimmer tubing and stays than its predecessor as well as the latest, tucked away chainstay-mounted rear brakes. We have to admit that we’re still not convinced that these necessarily offer the same stopping feel as traditional rear brakes.
The Premium frame combines high modulus carbon fibre with a 3K carbon coating to give an understated matt finish, and it felt sprightly underneath us. On longer Majorcan climbs the bike's competitive weight (1,009g for our 58cm test bike) was evident – while not exactly propelling us up, it didn’t slow us down.
Its handling was sweet and assured and actually aided confidence on descents as we were using ‘wrong-way-round’ European brakes! Our 58cm did give our inflexible rider a slightly more stretched than usual position, but that’s easily fixed and could suit racier riders anyway.
As for the rest of the bike? We were riding the £2,599 Ultegra compact equipped Premium – an Ultegra triple is also available – and as you’d expect the groupset worked a treat. Internal cabling means it’s Di2-ready as well.
Internal cabling keeps lines smooth – and more aero – but also means the Kimera is Di2-ready
The stock bike will come with tried-and-trusted Ultegra wheels but we were using FFWD’s new F4R-C 45mm carbon/alloy hoops and they felt like a fine match. The finishing kit is all Koga's own, including a carbon-railed saddle.
As we only had limited riding time on the Road Premium, and it doesn't have the production wheels, we've held off giving it a score. Once we get hold of a Kimera for long-term use, we’ll bring you a fuller test and a score.