September 16, 2015
This post is part of a series spotlighting Adventure Cycling's Corporate Members. These companies support our mission and programs and do some cool stuff of their own. We decided to ask them some questions and, as a result, have learned a few interesting things about our supporters that we'd like to share with you. The answers below are direct from the companies. We hope that this gives you the chance to get to know them a little better, too. For this post, Corporate Member, KOGA Bicycles, shares with us a bit about their philosophy, their passion for cycling, and why they support Adventure Cycling Association.
Tell us a little bit about your company and its history
Andries Gaastra founded KOGA in 1974. His mission was to “develop and produce the best and most beautiful bike for the passionate cyclist”. This mission has remained unchanged for the past 40 years. KOGA still develops and produces bikes for people who want the best. The “GA” in KOGA stands for “Gaastra." His wife’s last name is “Kowallik," that’s where the “KO” comes from.
Gaastra worked together with Japanese suppliers. In the seventies, he arrived in Japan, searching for the best possible suppliers for his road racing bikes. He got the steel racing frames from frame supplier Miyata. The brand name of the bikes became “Koga-Miyata." This is why many people think that it is a Japanese brand, even though all KOGA bikes in the world have been developed, tested, and hand built in The Netherlands.
The brand swiftly became a household name for its quality lightweight bikes, especially because of sponsorship deals with various professional road-racing teams. In the eighties, the range was extended to Trekking: bicycles used for travelling all over the world. At the moment, KOGA is globally known as the premium brand in this segment.
In 2010 the brand name changed from Koga-Miyata to KOGA. No steel frames from Miyata have been used since 1998, with a new focus being on carbon and aluminum instead.
KOGA is a unique bike brand, especially due to their passion for the employees, for cycling, and bikes in general. KOGA also has a unique way of producing the bikes: one mechanic builds a complete bike. In the factory, there are no production belts. The mechanics are dedicated to making a bike that fits the needs of the consumer: from the bike lover—to the bike lover.
Can you tell us about the products you provide?
The KOGA heritage goes back to 1974 when we started with the production of high-end road bikes. In 1980, we introduced our first travel bike called the Randonneur which was extremely successful in those days. This success was the foundation for our touring and trekking bikes which have become almost iconic over the years. Over 35 years of experience in this segment has enabled us to create high-quality purpose-built bikes that have proved themselves in all corners of the world. Within the KOGA Signature Department you are able to build an exclusive Traveller or World Traveller bike that meets YOUR specific requirements and goals. No need to make any compromises; just choose the parts that you need for your purpose. Whether you need racks (or not), Rohloff, Pinion or derailleur gearing, rim brake or disc brake, suspension or no suspension, multifunctional handlebars or just straight, men's or lady's saddle, thick or thin tires etc.; we provide you a wide range of choices.
We supply our bikes through a distribution network in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Switzerland, and Denmark. If you are not in one of those countries, we offer direct-deliveries all over the world directly to your door. Just configure your ideal bike on the Internet (www.koga-signature.com), and upon receipt of the payment, we will build and deliver it within five to six weeks, fully assembled on your doorstep. All you need to do is straighten the handlebars and mount the pedals and you are ready to go!
Why do you support Adventure Cycling through corporate membership?
There is a global interest in our products and regularly our customers refer to Adventure Cycling as their main source of information and inspiration. We have a common goal to motivate people to ride their bike on a regular basis.
If your headquarters staff could relocate to any place in the world, where would they choose?
We have been located in The Netherlands since 1974. We believe it’s the best place in the world for developing and producing premium bikes. In The Netherlands, riding a bike is part of daily life for almost everybody. We hope to spread our bike culture to other countries step by step. So no intention of moving…
As your company grows, have you had mainly tailwinds, headwinds or crosswinds?
Luckily, mainly tailwinds. KOGA is a premium bike brand with a strong focus on innovation. Over the years we have had a steady growth in demand for our products. Key to this success has been our focus on perfection, innovation, and quality.
What cycling related benefits do you offer your staff?
Our staff share a common passion for cycling and we enjoy organizing cycling trips for our team regularly. Furthermore, our employees can order a KOGA bike at an attractive price.
Is there anything else about your company that you really want to share with our readers?
Oh yes, many things but it would be easier to refer to www.koga.com for all information about our brand and products. And for the fans: please follow us on fb.com/KOGAbikes and/or twitter.com/KOGA_bikes
Photos courtesy Koga.