Netherlands Travelogue: Koga Miyata
Posted on 25 February 2008
Editors note: we would still be ahead of our time if we re-imported Koga. No company approaches bikes more empirically or scientifically, with every nut and bolt tested, and trend-free innovations that make a lot of sense. The Koga Tourerlite and Citylite were both huge influences on the Simcoe project, but nothing really compares. Koga remains the property of the Dutch - a culture that takes city cycling seriously enough to support such an amazing company.
- February 2016
Koga-Miyata is a legendary company. Located in Heerenveen, close to Batavus, the two companies have a close history. Koga was started by the son of the Batavus founder, Andries Gaastra, perhaps in a bid to outdo his father. In any case, the mission of Koga was to built the highest quality bicycle on earth. Quality, of course, can be measured, and Koga is responsible for setting the standards for European product testing - already the highest in the world. The place is something like a labratory, each infinitesimal part of the Koga is tested for longevity, durability, corrosion, tensility, strength - the list goes on. Products that meet standard quality tests are discarded for parts that meet Koga's more exacting expectations. The investment in testing equipment alone is impressive. Bikes are run through several lifecycles (below) on a simulator loaded with heavy weights and an uneven roller accelerating at 50km/hr, they are rammed with heavy impacts and dipped in highly corrosive tanks (below, the parts that didn't make it).
There is no such thing as 'upgrading' a Koga bike - a Koga represents the most scientifically perfect bike possible. Koga's quality is especially famous in three areas beyond the labs. The first, in track racing, where Theo Bos, the world champion reigns supreme on his custom Koga (above).
The second, in touring. Koga sponsors the only professionally paid world tourist, Tilman Waldthaler a man who has toured over 500,000 km on his Koga World Traveller (above), but what they are perhaps most famous for is luxury city bikes. Luxury city bikes may seem like a strange concept in North America, but to us it makes perfect sense. Comfort and ease is something the North American bicycle industry has a very difficult time understanding, you only have to lab-test a Koga once to know how luxurious a bike can be.