If you search for the word ‘Denham’ on this esteemed website (yes, this one!), you’ll find it appears twice; once in reference to the handlebars for which I have opted on the new Koga Signature WorldTraveller-S 2.0 in this post from a few days ago and once in this post from earlier in the year. Until yesterday, I didn’t realise that the two were connected, but they are and here’s why. Watch this video:
That was Alee Denham. He’s currently in Colombia testing out the Koga WorldTraveller (etc…). [How do I get his job?] Alee runs the website CyclingAbout.com which is of encyclopaedic usefulness for anyone wishing to set off on a long-distance cycle tour. You come to CyclingEurope.org for mild amusement / bemusement; you go to CyclingAbout.com for some serious facts. I’m guessing that Alee doesn’t have a name for his Koga WorldTraveller (etc…) or indeed have 20 comments on his most recent post suggesting names. CyclingEurope.org does and that just about sums things up. Anyway, I digress. [Perhaps that’s why you read this drivel.]
So we’ve seen that ‘Denham’ refers to the man, but not yet the handlebars. Well, have a read of this from the Alee Denham // CyclingAbout.com Facebook page from January 2019:
“My signature handlebars are in PRODUCTION right now! These are essentially a tweaked Velo Orange Crazy Bar design with a geometry that suits me way better. My design offers less sweep, more width, more curve at the tops, more stiffness and shorter bullhorns. But let’s talk about dem finer details…
The 45d sweep of my Jones Loop and Crazy Bars was too much for me to handle. I found that my hands actually sat a bit diagonal on the grips, which resulted in hand numbness when I didn’t wear my gel-padded gloves. My signature bars have been matched to the Surly Moloko in this regard (34d) which seems to have solved that issue. The bullhorns are super short and feel really snug. That allows the bars to suit a wider range of bikes, anything from a short dropbar frame to a longer frame like a Surly Ogre or Troll. I really like that the horns are angled inwards by about 15d too; I can sit in them for hours! And finally, with an ergonomic 8d curve, I’m using the inner section of the bars WAY more than previously. It’s such a great perch.
In short, I reckon these bars are perfect for touring! The width gives you so much control over your loaded bike, there are lots of hand positions for comfort and the inboard positions allow you to be way more aerodynamic in headwinds. They’ll fit bikepacking bags, handlebar bags or rando/basket bags. If you want to give them a try, get in contact with any KOGA dealer and they’ll be able to place an order. Thanks KOGA for letting me design something cool, I hope you like ‘em as much as I do!”
And this was the accompanying picture:
If it looks familiar, it should, as it featured in the previous post. It turns out that Alee Denham designed the handlebars.
Yesterday, upon realising the connection between the man and the handlebars, I contacted Alee asking if I could quote his words. He was more than happy to oblige and also took a few moments to answer three questions I had regarding other features on the Koga WordTraveller (etc…) bike.
Andrew P. Sykes: How are you finding the Rohloff hub / Gates belt drive combination? Are they as easy to maintain as I’m hoping them to be?
Alee Denham: I’m super happy with the Rohloff / belt combination. I’ve spent the majority of the last decade using these components (crossing 4/6 continents), and certainly wouldn’t go to the remote places I ride if I didn’t have full confidence that they’d survive the journey too. I change the oil at about 10,000km intervals… and typically get 25,000km+ out of a belt drivetrain before I swap everything out. This drivetrain is as easy and maintenance-free as it gets!
APS: Are the handlebars as good as you hoped them to be? If you were to redesign them now, would you make any changes?
AD: The handlebars are near perfect! There’s still a few angle and diameter tweaks I’d like to make, which will hopefully come once I’ve put some more kilometres into a prototype. I’d also like to make them 31.8mm so that people can more easily retrofit them to their bikes. The slight revision is probably a while away though!
APS: Are you using the front lamp with USB connector? If so, are you able to keep your phone / GPS device topped up without having to ever plug it into the mains?
AD: The Plug* is good for charging at 11.5km/h. I’ve been cycling along the highest section of the Andes at sub-10km/h for a year now, so it’s been practically useless for this stretch. That said, my average speeds are above 11.5km/h on most sealed roads and areas of the world that are flatter… so looking forward to finishing the Andes and being able to charge my phone again
( * I’m not 100% sure if Alee is referring to the USB plug that you can get fitted in the stem here with a direct link to the dynamo hub or the USB plug that comes with the B&M Lumotec IQ2 Luxos U which feeds from the internal battery of the lamp that I have opted for. UPDATE: Alee is referring to the stem ‘plug’ and not the USB-lamp system.)
So there you have it. Fascinating stuff. Great minds clearly think alike and so do mine and Alee’s as his Koga WordTraveller (etc…) bike is almost identical to the one that I have ordered, even down top the shade of the paint! And I’m delighted to say that such is the generosity of the man, he’s also given me permission to publish some of the pictures of him and the bike in action in South America. As they say in McDonalds… enjoy!