We have asked beach racing regulars, team KMC-Koga from The Netherlands what their tips are for all those who are less familiar with it, which is almost everyone else!
Although Battle on the Beach will be very different to the Belgian races, many still apply.
Martin Shuttert – KMC Koga team manager
Our riders ride Tubeless ready Schwalbe tires on the beach. Every rider has his own preference in tire type.
Ramses mostly rides a Thunder Burt in front and a special SuperMoto in the rear.
Stefan rides cut, shaved, trimmed Rocket Rons 2,25 in front and rear. These tires are also very flexible and light and he puts them in the rear on a wider 25 mm rim so the tire actually gets wider than on a 21mm rim. Depending on the circumstances you have to determine your tire pressure. If you know there will be parts of the beach which will be very soft you know you can make the difference at these points if you can keep pedalling. In these cases we sometimes ride with only 0,8 bar (12 psi) in our rear tires. On the other hand if the beach is hard and fast you increase tire pressure.
In the long beach races and the races where you often cross the salt water [Not a concern at Battle on the beach!] the chain and drivetrain maintenance is very important to avoid chainsuck and to have a smooth ride in the end as well. So be sure your chain is well lubricated inside but not sticky outside.
Of course is our BeachRacer the most beach dedicated part of our equipment (you can see one at Battle on the Beach). Developed to allow an aerodynamic position and to have enough control in loose sand with the special handlebar. Steep seattube angle to allow a kind of time trial position and a slacker headtube angle to give the bike stable riding behaviour. The cyclocross frame type also allows you to carry the bike on your shoulder when pedalling is not possible.
Having ridden the area many times while working out the course and area, my tips are quite straight forward.
Salt water will not be an issue, you won’t go near it. Sand can be a potential issue though, I recommend using only a light chain oil as thicker oils will cause the sand to stick and this can cause problems.
Tyre choice is everyones favourite pre-event subject. I would recommend something fast on the rear and cyclocross riders might even want to use a file tread tyre. I would recommend something grippier on the front though as there will probably be a few slippery sections around the woods still. My personal favourites are Racing Ralph 29×2.25″ run at around 25psi.
The best thing about Battle on the Beach is that all off-road bike will get around just fine!