Review: The Kibo Bicycle
I used the Kibo from Stanforth Bikes to ride 5000 km of Chile & Argentina, 2000 km across Bolivia and another 2000 km across Brazil. Included in this ride was crossing the Andes Mountain Range, the high altitude Bolivian Altiplano, the worlds largest salt plain – Salar de Uyuni, the Atlantic Cloud Forest, the Che Guevara Route, Pantanal Jungle and of course a mixture of cycling and hiking in Patagonia.
The Kibo is an all terrain long distance touring bike designed for the extreme conditions that a world tour expedition brings.
It’s British designed and hand built by Stanforth Bikes in Britain. The frame uses the strongest gauge of Reynolds 631 steel and is made by industry legend, Lee Cooper, making it as strong as a 12 year old Malt whisky but in equal measures is a superbly comfortable ride.
I used the Kibo to push the boundaries of where a fully loaded bicycle can venture further afield and pedalled over a ton of remote, off road miles. The Kibo absorbed the vibrations and bumps making it a superbly comfortable ride over even the toughest terrain. It’s geometry is designed to make the bike more balanced when fully loaded enabling it to remain more in a straight line, making it a more relaxed and safer ride even over rough ground. The wheels have proved themselves across the rough conditions of South America – 10,000 km and not even one broken spoke!
Cycling all day every day with no discomfort is a big factor in me being head over heels with this hunk of steel.
The Kibo is an all rounder, providing comfort and stability over a combination of climbing, off-road, descending and tarmac.
Having the physiology of a pure sprinter means my ultimate weakness is climbing, as the lactic acid builds up from my fast twitch muscle. Cycling 65 kg of gear and equipment uphill makes it even tougher but with the Kibo I can sit back and relax into the climb, part of this comes from the bikes geometry and it’s adjustability, for example the stem height.
My gearing is 22/32/44 on the front with an 11/34 cassette on the rear. This combination is perfect for cycling over even the highest high altitude mountain ranges, which is essential for me because I have asthma.
I’ve lost some top end speed on the downhills by choosing this combination of gearing having sacrificed the bigger gear I use to power at high speed. But making cycling uphill as easy and comfortably as possible is essential for me because I have asthma.
The Kibo has three bottle cages. I used the one underside of the frame mostly to carry fuel for my stove, but when pedalling remote areas I stuck another water bottle there.
I love the vintage look of my bike, which does go very nice with dresses and skirts I wear to cycle the world, but also the bike doesn’t look bright or flashy so doesn’t attract attention, which is an important security factor.