If you’re disconsolate about Land Rover’s discontinuation of its Defender line at the end of this year, take heart, you can always invest in what must be the ultimate two-wheeled version of it: Stanforth Bikes’ Kibo+.
When a carriage maker tries to tap in to the lucrative bicycle market as a cost-effective marketing exercise, the results usually fail to capture the essence of the brand. Land Rover would do well to contact Stanforth Bikes for a collaboration.
Simon Stanforth took inspiration from the 1985 trek of two brothers, Nicholas and Richard Crane, who rode their Saracen mountain bikes to Kibo, the tallest volcanic cone of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. If they were to undertake the same journey today, this would be the bike they’d take.
Like the Defender, this is a vehicle designed for real-world conditions. A 26″ wheeled, Reynolds 631 frame and fork means that if either fails in the nether regions of Mongolia or Kazakhstan, a local with a brazing torch can fix it — albeit with less finesse than its builder, Lee Cooper.
Lee Cooper is one of the best and most experienced framebuilders in the UK. Lee has been building frames in Coventry since 1984, and is an institution of the British custom scene. His Stanforth frames are exquisitely crafted, yet obviously robust, with all necessary rack and bottle mounts.
The Kibo+ takes the standard Kibo up a notch, coated in British Racing Green (also available in black) and dressed with a Shimano XT groupset. The brake calipers and levers are by Paul Components, and it’s topped with the saddle of choice for most world tourers — the legendary Brooks B17.
As proof of its ability, the Kibo+ is being ridden around the world by Reece Gledhill who, at the time of writing, is riding through Mongolia, and Justine Gosling, who will be taking hers from the top of Finland to Istanbul. Needless to say, they also make a fine grocery getter — just like a real Defender.
Is anyone at Land Rover Marketing reading this?