These photos were taken before the challenge; we don’t yet have any of the bike after he’s ridden it for 79 days, but hopefully, we’ll get some soon and update this article. That aside, it’s an interesting look at the equipment choices Mark chose for the ultra distance challenge.
Mark Beaumont has long been supported by Dutch bike brand Koga - it was a Koga WorldTraveller that he used for his first round-the-world challenge in 2008 - and for this new challenge, he opted for the company’s Kimera Premium.
The bike Mark actually rode wasn’t quite stock, it had a very special custom 80 days paint job, a reminder of his target, with his signature along the top tube. It’s a carbon fibre endurance bike built around disc brakes with thru-axles. The frameset was built up with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes.
Shimano’s electronic groupset might seem an inappropriate choice for endurance cycling but it does offer numerous advantages. It’s extremely reliable and there are no cables to snap and fail, the battery last ages (and Mark was supported so no fears of a flat battery) and allows satellite shifters to be added to the extensions.
Time trial aero extensions are popular with endurance cyclists. They offer a more comfortable position for the long periods of pedalling as well as reducing the effort required by reducing overall drag. Mark used a Profile Designs regular handlebar with clip-on extensions with foam arm rest pads.
To ensure a comfortable position, Mark opted for quite a high setup, with plenty of spacers raising the stem and the extensions angled upwards. It’s not a position you’d want for a 10-mile time trial, but clearly ideal for 79 days. And to enable shifting without moving from the extensions, the use of a Shimano Di2 groupset allowed shift buttons to be added to the end of the extensions.
The Kimera offers wide tyre clearance, and Mark opted for 28mm wide Panaracer Race Evo 3 tyres. road.cc has tested these tyres and been impressed with their performance and durability. It doesn’t appear he went with a tubeless setup, and presumably, that’s down to the fact he had a support vehicle so changing a flat inner tube would be a cinch. He went through a set of tyres in about 3500-4000 miles.
Those tyres are fitted to Corima 47mm deep section carbon wheels, not the Shimano RX31 aluminium clinchers that come on the stock bike. Corima is a French wheel manufacturer that is relatively unknown compared to the likes of Shimano, Mavic, Enve and Zipp in this sector, but it does make some exceedingly lightweight wheels.
What really matters above all is saddle choice. Mark's choice of a Selle SMP PRO is an interesting one. The distinctive droopy nose saddle has a large central cutaway designed to reduce pressure on the perineum. The rear of the saddle is raised to provide seated support when pedalling and the nose is intended to provide a flat base when sitting.
Obviously, Mark didn’t need to laden his bike down with any bikepacking or pannier bags, adding just an Altura top tube bag for a handy place to store food for each day. A Garmin Edge 1000, two water bottle cages and Exposure front and rear lights complete the minimum build of this record-breaking bike.
What do you think of Mark's bike and equipment choices?
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.