Pro bike: Ramses Bekkenk’s Koga BeachRacer

By Sam Dansie | Sunday, December 22, 2013 9.00am

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).

Bekkenk helped develop the bike especially for the discipline. Essentially it's a cyclocross-29er hybrid. This model – a 54cm prototype – has a slightly longer top tube than the production standard.

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 prototype covered in sandafter his second victory at the noordwijk beachrace:

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). 

Salt and sand are arch enemies of bike components and bikes are (usually) swiftly jet-washed down to slow corrosion:

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.

Related links

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Koga BeachRacer (54cm custom)
  • Fork: Koga BeachRacer
  • Headset: Cane Creek 1-1/8
  • Stem: Extralite Ultrastem OC (100mm)
  • Handlebars: Koga custom (40 at bend)
  • Tape: Deda
  • Front Brake: Shimano BR-R785 road disc
  • Rear Brake: Shimano BR-R785 road disc
  • Shifters: Shimano Di2 R785 (prototype)
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11sp, 11-28
  • Chain: KMC X11sl
  • Crankset: SRAM XX 42T
  • Bottom Bracket: Mortop BSA thread
  • Pedals: Crank Bros Candy 11 with custom cage
  • Hubs: Shimano HB-CX75 (prototype)
  • Rims: Notubes Iron Cross
  • Spokes: Sapim Race and D-Light (mix)
  • Seatpost: KCNC Ti Pro Lite , 27.2mm, Carbon-Ti seat clamp
  • Front tyre: Schwalbe Thunder Burt
  • Rear tyre: Schwalbe Super Moto
  • Saddle: Selle San Marco Superleggera Aspide
  • Accessories: e*thirteen chainguide, Timex computer

Critical measurements

  • Height: 176cm (5ft 9in)
  • Weight: 68kg (149lb)
  • Saddle setback:  0mm
  • Seat-tube (c-t-c): 540mm
  • Saddle height: 730mm
  • Headtube length:  100mm
  • Toptube length (c-t-c); 560mm
  • Total bike weight: 9.2kg (20.3lb)

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