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An Interesting Proposal From Koga-Miyata

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An Interesting Proposal From Koga-Miyata

Old 09-16-10, 07:18 PM
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An Interesting Proposal From Koga-Miyata

I live in Seoul, South Korea where touring is relatively unheard of. I have been working with a local shop for the last few months. They just began importing the Koga-Miyata brand and are looking to sponsor someone. I have been giving their staff some training in the English language and was a keynote speaker at a private event called "Koga Day" where I gave a short lecture of touring.

I am going to riding from Beijing to India (possibly even Cairo) in March of next year. I have been building up my current bike, a Surly LHT, and its pretty much all set up. The Koga, either the Traveler or Randonnuer model, would both be great bikes and probably higher quality than my Surly.


The bike shop, Biclo, has already offered to take 1,000,000 won (about $850) off of the landed price of the bike in exchange for photos and journals about the bike. I would rather not post on the internet what that price is in fairness to Biclo but I can say that is not a huge amount less than their store price which is 3,200,000 won (about $2,600). This discount would bring the bike around $1,500-$1,700. I know thats a great price for such a nice machine but I also think that in some ways the Surly might be better for the kind of third world touring I am talking about. Simpler parts, easier repairs, ect...

On the other hand this could be a great opportunity for me to make a name for myself in the touring world. Biclo is currently waiting for a reply for Koga HQ about additional sponsorship which could bring the price down further and put my name on their website as a sponsored rider.

I am very torn. $1,500-$1,700 is still a lot of money for a bike and would certainly go a long way in funding my trip.... I love Koga bikes though!
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Old 09-16-10, 07:27 PM
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Sounds like a lot of the "sponsorships" that shops give, which is really only a discount in exchange for wearing their gear and shopping at their store. Not a bad deal if you need the gear, but if you're buying product just to comply with the rules of the sponsorship, then you have to ask if it's worth it. In this case, the notoriety seems like the deciding factor, and only you can determine the value of that.

If Koga is going to officially identify you as a sponsored rider, I would expect something much more than a discount. Seems like they should provide you with at least a frame and some sort of VIP access to support while on the tour.
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Old 09-16-10, 08:01 PM
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OK, think of it this way.

Let's say you sink $1700 into the Koga. Are you going to wind up earning more than $1700, either directly or indirectly, as a result of that gear choice? (I'm gonna guess "yes")

I can't imagine how the Surly has "simpler" parts than the Kogas. It's the same stuff. The main difference I'm seeing is that the Kogas are available in all sizes in 26" or 700c and come with tons of extras (racks, pump, decent saddle, trekking bars etc).

I'd say go for it. Chances are you'll wind up with solid connections at Koga, which I expect is a very helpful thing in S Korea. Hey, you might even get into a Lineage clan as a result.
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Old 09-16-10, 08:41 PM
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I would consider the cost in terms of benefits for yourself - guaranteed and not, tangible and not. By that I mean, being identified in their promotional/marketing materials as an individual officially sponsored is guaranteed and verifiable by others (as good a reference for the future as you can get and something many people would pay for by itself). A discount, however small, is still a discount - again, tangible and guaranteed. On the other hand, whether or not that "reference" as being sponsored will help in future projects/sponsorships is hard to actually quantify.

Something that should be spelled out in writing, I think, is exactly how much journaling is required of you. Only then can you actually evaluate whether the bike is actually worth the financial discount plus your required journaling activity. Some of the following might be addressed in writing or should at least be addressed in phone calls/informal correspondence(emails). Also, is there an assumption that your journal will be a "fan boy" one, something that does not raise any hint of negativity or product shortcoming should you identify one? What about support while on tour? Are replacement parts/shipping covered? Is there any specific guarantee of support or additional "warranty" while you honor your tour/journal commitment? What happens if your tour gets cut short - is there an expectation of another tour/effort on your part to compensate for not meeting initial expectations?

An intangible only you can answer is how much having that specific bike is worth to you.

My 2 cents.
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Old 09-16-10, 10:44 PM
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Thanks for the fast replies guys!

I don't think that he is giving me a "token" discount to try and get my to buy his products. Actually I was just on their website and I stated the wrong list price for the bikes. The Rando cost 3,700,000 won before any discounts. He is offering it to me at around near half price. Which is a great discount but still a lot of money whens considering I already have a perfectly workable touring bike for my trip.

I am not sure what kind of perks may also come with sponsorship by either the shop or Koga. However, its an excellent point and well taken. I am having dinner with the shop manager and will be sure to ask about further details.

When I was talking about the Kogas being harder to maintain I was mostly referring to the trigger shifters and the integrated headset.

I also have a strong preference for both steel frames and 26inch wheels. If I get the Koga Traveler it has the 26 wheels but an aluminum frame, which I am sure is very nice. If I get the Rando then it has a gorgeous lugged steel frame but 700c wheels.

Any input comparing these two bikes for my tour would be great to hear as well. Thanks!
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Old 09-16-10, 11:03 PM
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Here is a picture of the current bike for reference against the two Kogas.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
DSCF0180..jpg (96.0 KB, 123 views)
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Old 09-16-10, 11:36 PM
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You are in an interesting position and I wish you well with your decision. Ride the Koga's and think about it, it can be a great opportunity. Sponsorship could turn out to be a very nice thing, do what feels best for you and good luck. This is coming from a guy who rides a LHT. Very nice LHT by the way!
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Old 09-16-10, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Thanks for the fast replies guys!

I also have a strong preference for both steel frames and 26inch wheels. If I get the Koga Traveler it has the 26 wheels but an aluminum frame, which I am sure is very nice. If I get the Rando then it has a gorgeous lugged steel frame but 700c wheels.

Any input comparing these two bikes for my tour would be great to hear as well. Thanks!
I don't tour on bicycles, but I do a lot of commuting. I have used mountain bikes/hybrids with 26" wheels
and hybrids/roadbikes with 700cc wheels. I prefer the 700cc wheels better. I would think that 700cc tires
would make your pedaling easier, no?
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Old 09-16-10, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor
I don't tour on bicycles, but I do a lot of commuting. I have used mountain bikes/hybrids with 26" wheels
and hybrids/roadbikes with 700cc wheels. I prefer the 700cc wheels better. I would think that 700cc tires
would make your pedaling easier, no?
In the world of rough stuff touring 26inch wheels are preferred for the added strength and the ability to find replacements in the third world. Part of my route will be through very remote parts of China, SE Asia, Nepal, India, and the middle east (yet to be determined). If something should go wrong with a 700 replacements might be hard to come bye.
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Old 09-17-10, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
I also have a strong preference for both steel frames and 26inch wheels.
The LHT meets your preferences and is already bought and paid for. The Koga bikes don't.

Keep your freedom. Don't accept the sponsorship because then they will have expectations and you will feel obligations. Keep it your tour. No strings attached.
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Old 09-17-10, 05:59 AM
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Doesn't sound like that great a deal to me. If they'd give you a bike fully made to your specs sure, but to spend all that money on a bike when you already have one that fits your tour perfectly...
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Old 09-17-10, 06:30 AM
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i had a guy stay with me from Seoul last night i cycled about 100 miles with him he is doing a tour from dublin to belfast he is now on the return trip home.anyway i asked him about the touring scene in Seoul he said it was non existent ,and by the way he cycled i totally believe him .he was riding a mountain bike full suspension and his load was all over the place.
so if you can start a touring club over there in Seoul you might be on to a good thing.
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Old 09-17-10, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
When I was talking about the Kogas being harder to maintain I was mostly referring to the trigger shifters and the integrated headset.

I also have a strong preference for both steel frames and 26inch wheels. If I get the Koga Traveler it has the 26 wheels but an aluminum frame, which I am sure is very nice. If I get the Rando then it has a gorgeous lugged steel frame but 700c wheels.

Any input comparing these two bikes for my tour would be great to hear as well. Thanks!
I recently looked into buying a new Koga for myself, but in the end decided I couldn't afford it, and the import costs were very high. If someone offered me one at a discount, I would probably be willing to take some pictures for them. I was looking at the Randonneur because I wanted the lugged steel frame. I believe that that frame does not have the integrated headset, but a standard headset--I asked the dealer about it. Also, as I recall the steel frame has longer chainstays than the aluminum frame, which could be an issue if you're going fully loaded.
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Old 09-17-10, 09:28 AM
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From the website it looks like they both have integrated headsets. Maybe I am wrong or the website is out of date. I am very tempted to buy the steel frame Koga and ship it home. I can ride the Surly for my tour and use the Rando as my dream commuter! The lugged frame is sooooo pretty!

I like my Surly a lot so unless I hear that the discount is going to close to a free bike I am thinking I should stick with it.

I really just wanted to hear some other peoples opinions before making a decision. Keep em coming!
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Old 09-17-10, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by antokelly
i had a guy stay with me from Seoul last night i cycled about 100 miles with him he is doing a tour from dublin to belfast he is now on the return trip home.anyway i asked him about the touring scene in Seoul he said it was non existent ,and by the way he cycled i totally believe him .he was riding a mountain bike full suspension and his load was all over the place.
so if you can start a touring club over there in Seoul you might be on to a good thing.
This has been exactly my experience with anyone who claims to be a cyclist in Korea. I met some tourists the other day who had just finished Jeju island on walmart style full suspension mountain bikes!
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Old 09-17-10, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
This has been exactly my experience with anyone who claims to be a cyclist in Korea. I met some tourists the other day who had just finished Jeju island on walmart style full suspension mountain bikes!
Hmm. Sounds like they were touring to me. Noobish/inexperienced mabye. But, any bike, any where, any time... that's touring. Any other view might be considered somewhat snobbish, eh?
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Old 09-17-10, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by skilsaw
The LHT meets your preferences and is already bought and paid for. The Koga bikes don't.

Keep your freedom. Don't accept the sponsorship because then they will have expectations and you will feel obligations. Keep it your tour. No strings attached.
I agree completely with this. I'd also be uncomfortable with the "opportunity" to pay a company (however indirectly) to advertise for them, seems a bit backwards. I'm sure it does feel nice to receive the offer, good luck making your decision!
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Old 09-17-10, 12:12 PM
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If you have a particularly ambitious tour planned , write to the HQ in Holland the factory may do even better . donate entirely, air mail spares to the boonies.

Their Signature line can let you pick from a menu of frame types and component selections , to find a near custom bike ..
https://www.koga-signature.com/en/Koga-Signature.aspx


I like the looks of their signature 26"wheel trekking bike even better
than the Built up WTR .. I got mine, an '04,
it was used and passed thru 2 other people before I got it.
better rear dropout adjustment.

Schmidt Rohloff Magura

https://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1008.html

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-18-10 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:35 PM
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I wouldn't do this myself.Maybe if they gave me all new equipment and fully supported my ride,I would ride all over hell and creation advertising for them....MAYBE.

Unless I was going to have some kind of business deal with them after the fact,I would say no the current offer.

My favorite touring bicycle though......
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Old 09-17-10, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2
Hmm. Sounds like they were touring to me. Noobish/inexperienced mabye. But, any bike, any where, any time... that's touring. Any other view might be considered somewhat snobbish, eh?
I didn't say they were were not touring. Read it again. The point is that the market needs to be developed because most people don't know what to look for. There are several other very cheap mountain bikes that are sold in Korea that are rigid that that would likely have served these people much better. They did not look very comfortable and when I rode with them they could barley keep up. I am not a fast rider either and was loaded more heavily than they.
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Old 09-17-10, 06:13 PM
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One thing to consider is that your current bike is a known quantity....presumably you like it and it fits you. If you spend nearly $2K on a Koga and it ends up being less enjoyable to ride that will be a shame. If you've always wanted a Koga that's one thing....if not you might want to stick with the Surly.

I've bought and sold a lot of touring bikes and although on paper the LHT isn't anything special....it is my favourite touring bike simply due to all the intangible details that make it so much fun to ride.
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Old 09-18-10, 10:10 AM
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This is almost like the "chicken or the egg" argument. Is the person (and the trip) making a name for the bike or is the bike making the name of the person and/or the trip even possible?

You both are benefiting really. If it were me, I would take the deal but with stipulations....what one person said above was good, have a guarantee that you have preferential service access and long standing benefits long after the tour is over. Not only with Koga but with Shimano, Rohloff, SRAM, Avid, etc... or whoever else is involved in building the bike. There are numerous other "sponsors" to go after....are you a good writer? IF so, then maybe the local paper will pay you for a series of articles while on the road that you email to them....or a camera manufacturer will give you a camera to use.....Tire company even? There are all sorts of ways to go after a sponsor to help off set the trip much less the cost of the bike itself. .....never hurts to ask, worst they could say is no.

If money is an issue, sell the LHT or pirate it's parts if you don't like the way the KOGA is set up. LHT's are a dime a dozen and EVERYONE has them or can get them....not everyone can get a KOGA. As for the frame material...go with steel. If the frame breaks for some very weird reason, it is more likely to find someone who can weld steel than aluminum.
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Old 09-18-10, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gtownviking

If money is an issue, sell the LHT or pirate it's parts if you don't like the way the KOGA is set up. LHT's are a dime a dozen and EVERYONE has them or can get them....not everyone can get a KOGA. As for the frame material...go with steel. If the frame breaks for some very weird reason, it is more likely to find someone who can weld steel than aluminum.
I think I am far more likely to brake a wheel, blow out a tire, or use up all my tubes than to actually break a Koga steel frame. Would I want a welder in India touching such a beautiful bike? I would think that if I broke a major component like that that my sponsor would take care of it.
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Old 09-18-10, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
I think I am far more likely to brake a wheel, blow out a tire, or use up all my tubes than to actually break a Koga steel frame. Would I want a welder in India touching such a beautiful bike? I would think that if I broke a major component like that that my sponsor would take care of it.
If you're operating under the assumption that your gear can be replaced if necessary, then extreme durability shouldn't be a selling point. But, since you would be operating outside the norm of most long distance tourers, your use of such equipment with that kind of support might not be a very marketable account of touring.
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Old 09-19-10, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SBRDude
If you're operating under the assumption that your gear can be replaced if necessary, then extreme durability shouldn't be a selling point. But, since you would be operating outside the norm of most long distance tourers, your use of such equipment with that kind of support might not be a very marketable account of touring.
I think you missed my point. The point was, when choosing between a steel frame or 26inch wheels, (Rando vs. Travler), wheels are going to be a much more common problem, on any type of tour, than frame issues.
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