When I ran into Spencer Paxson pre-cyclocross race at Sea Otter today, he was searching for new tires. Not for his normal cyclocross bike–that was at home in Bend, Oregon–but for his new Kona road bike, the carbon fiber Red Zone. With wide clearance for big tires, he was curious to see if he could jump into the cyclocross race just an hour away. He found clinchers from Continental, and with the help of his team mechanic, he quickly swapped smooth rubber tires for knobbies, though the tires wouldn’t clear the TRP road brakes while inflated.
He took sixth place in the race, with only one flat, and said that the bike was great. More aggressive than he was used to on the ’cross course, but with the dry, dusty race, the mud clearance wasn’t an issue and he was able to use his road gearing to his advantage. With cyclocross bikes making shifts towards mountain bike styles (wider tires, hydraulic disc brakes), it was almost comical to see a road bike fare so well against some of the highest tech new bikes out there, like winner Ben Berden’s Raleigh RXC Pro Disc rig with TRP HyRd brakes.