Koga Kimera Road UD Team review
The Road UD Team is derived from Koga’s Kimera track bike, and it’s a striking-looking machine. There are lighter bikes available at this price but the Koga offers such a great ride that weight isn’t an issue and it makes a superb all-rounder. Just add faster wheels to create a flying Dutchman.
Highs: Fine blend of performance, stability and comfort in a great looking package
Lows: Such a good frame deserves some faster wheels to unleash its speed
Buy if: You want a rarely-seen bike with giant-killing potential
The Road UD Team’s unidirectional carbon monocoque frame and fork are beautifully detailed with red, white and blue, with a smooth clear coat on top. The spine of the frame is a giant triangular down tube that has to lessen in diameter to make room for the chainset.
The equally enormous rectangular section chainstays leave the bottom bracket and sweep outwards to carbon dropouts. They’re so deep that the driveside stay has an indentation to clear the chainrings. Short seatstays join the seat tube as a wishbone for a tight rear triangle.
A gusset-like carbon tongue extends under the forward portion of the top tube for extra strength and to resist turning forces. The short head tube allows for a low racy position, and acts as a neat cable stop, the gear cables passing through it and exiting parallel with the down tube.
Even with such a huge down tube, Koga have extended the bottom bracket shell as far outboard as possible without fouling the chainset, resulting in an immensely stiff platform – the Kimera lapping up all the power you can muster and then some.
Acceleration is very urgent without a trace of flex, and might be phenomenal with race wheels. The stock 2TT Race 1700 hoops did all they were asked to, but don’t have the zip of a properly quick set. A frame as good as the Kimera demands something a little classier to really unlock the performance.
Cornering is very assured, the Michelin Lithion 2 tyres performing admirably throughout. The Kimera’s ride is refined when spinning, feeling utterly solid but efficient and composed over all surfaces. The roughest roads didn’t affect it one bit, and the Koga just ploughed on through without being deflected from its course.
You can tell this bike is from a country of big strong riders, as the frame is so rigid, but it still sucks up vibration effectively. The steering is light and extremely flickable, while still feeling rock solid at speed. The Koga truly has the mercurial talents of Dennis Bergkamp, with a delicate touch and other-worldly control. We found it hard to believe that a frame seemingly so overbuilt could be so nimble without ruining the ride.
The flattened top tube contrasts with the huge diameter down tube: Russell Burton
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.