Chain gangnam style: How three pro cycling brothers' love of K-Pop is pushing them to the top

Three brothers Sindre, Johannes and Magnus Kulset all represented Uno-X at the Tour of the Alps, and lifted the lid on what really gets them up in the morning

Uno-X brothers at Tour of the Alps
Left to right: Magnus, Sindre and Johannes Kulset at the Tour of the Alps
(Image credit: Giulia Di Maio)

Mornings can be heavy going, even more so when you’re on the road at a race. Motivation to get the day started comes in many forms.

When Cycling Weekly casually asks longhaired Uno-X rider Magnus Kulset about how he gets himself in the zone for a race we were expecting perhaps some symphonic Norwegian metal but he immediately gets animated about K-Pop.

“Before every workout at home, we listen to a lot of music…We’re into Korean music, although it is kind of strange,” he says.

It seemed to be working. When we speak Magnus is racing the Tour of the Alps with his brothers Johannes, Sindre while their other brother Christian is a sports director in the team car. The climbers helped their team leader to a top ten at the race packed with WorldTour talent.

“It all started with me,” Sindre recalls. “I used to play a game called League of Legends. There’s a lot of Korean influence in that game. Then I started listening to Korean music, and really fell in love with it.”

“Then they’ve kind of been forced to listen to a lot of it thanks to me, but eventually they started to like it as well.”

The genre's most well-known export is probably globe straddling mega-hit Gangnam Style by PSY, which has reached one billion views on YouTube, making its way onto wedding and party playlists worldwide, but the Kulset brothers explained that for them it's the heirs to that crown BTS who are the group to really get your toes tapping in the morning.

“I think the most famous group, BTS, would probably be who I’d recommend,” Sindre adds. “If you’re a new person to K-Pop then Boy with Love is probably the best song to get you completely into K-Pop.”

Hailing from a cycling family near Oslo, Magnus, Sindre and Johannes are the sons of Vegar Kulset, the CEO of Uno-X mobility, the headline sponsor of the squad. Prior to beginning life as a sports director for the Norwegian outfit, eldest brother Christian was also a pro-rider on the team.

At just 19-years-old, Johannes tells Cycling Weekly that getting the chance to race in the Alps with his brothers has been a phenomenal experience, particularly as he was able to ask them for advice and guidance as the week progressed.

Johannes is labelled as “the loud jokey one,” by Sindre and Magnus.

“They are always motivating me and helping me,” Johannes says. “It’s been very nice to have people close to you who have always been able to help you from the start.”

However, he explains that the trio’s eldest brother has been their biggest influence yet.

“He started when he was like 15 or 16. Then Sindre and Magnus started after him… I cycled a bit before Covid, but when Covid started I started to cycle lots more.

“We’re seven in the family. Two girls and five guys. The five guys are all very interested in cycling.”

When the race eventually concluded, Johannes was the highest placed brother, finishing 15th behind overall winner Tao Geoghegan Hart. The strong performances from the trio will almost certainly see them line-up together at races again in the coming months, maybe even at the Tour de France.

“We’re the same type of riders, and always knew that eventually we were going to ride the same race together, all three of us,” Sindre explains. “It’s probably going to happen a lot more in the future."

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Tom joined Cycling Weekly in early 2022 and his news stories, rider interviews and features appear both online and in the magazine. 

He has reported from some of professional cycling's biggest races and events including the Tour de France and the recent Glasgow World Championships. He has also covered races elsewhere across the world and interviewed some of the sport's top riders. 

When not writing news scoops from the WorldTour, or covering stories from elsewhere in the domestic professional scene, he reports on goings on at bike shops up and down the UK, where he is based when not out on the road at races. He has also appeared on the Radio Cycling podcast.