Racing for the Kona Maxxis Shimano cyclocross team has been a good fit for Rebecca Fahringer. She has continued to improve as a cyclocross racer and has developed good chemistry with teammate Kerry Werner.
You know the teammate pairing is a good fit when Werner even allows Fahringer to do Basic Becky takeovers of his famed vlog as he did last weekend at Charm City Cross.
Friends behind the barriers, Fahringer and Werner have also pushed each other toward the top of the domestic cyclocross scene between the tape. The two have a friendly inter-team competition that tracks their results relative to one another at every race.
Thanks in part to her best season as a professional cyclocross racer, Fahringer took home top honors in the friendly rivalry during the 2018/19 season. Of course, she also finished 4th at Louisville Nationals and 16th at Bogense Worlds, so she has performed quite well compared to her peers in North America and the world as well.
Fahringer has picked up this fall where she left off last February. She started the season with a first and second at GO Cross and then finished in the top 10 at both U.S. World Cups.
The last two weekends at Charm City and DCCX have been her best run yet. Fahringer swept the four races and in turn, ran away with the Parkway CX Trophy overall series.
Racing for the Kona Maxxis Shimano team, it is no surprise Fahringer is riding a Kona bike this season. We checked out her Kona Super Jake for our latest bike profile.
Rebecca Fahringer's Kona Super Jake
Kona has a long history in the sport of cyclocross, sponsoring riders from Erik Tonkin to Barry Wicks to Helen Wyman to the current team of Werner and Fahringer.
The company revamped the design of its Jake line for the 2018 model year, and hoo-boy, have we seen a bunch of the Kona bikes. We attended a launch event for the new bikes in 2017, profiled Werner's Super Jake in 2017, reviewed the Major Jake in 2018, profiled Werner's Super Jake in 2018, profiled Clara Honsinger's Major Jake after her U23 Nationals win in Louisville and profiled Honsinger's Major Jake again last month.
The Kona program has been fashion-forward, with the 2017 purple and black team bike matching Werner's famed moon pants and the 2018 bike matching the team's yellow kits. This season, Werner and Fahringer worked with Eliel to design the new team kits and keep them matchy-matchy with the peach and gray colorway of the team's Super Jakes.
Fahringer's 48cm Super Jake frame and fork feature Kona's Race Lite Carbon in their design. Her Super Jake has a slack front, with a 70.5-degree head tube angle and a relatively low bottom bracket, with a BB drop of 7.2cm. Although she rides a 48cm, the current iteration of Jake bikes run long, with the 48cm frame having a top tube length of 51.6cm.
The Super Jake also has a healthy amount of tire clearance, making the bike a logical choice for Fahringer when she raced and won the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder stage race during the summer. At that event, Fahringer rode 700c x 40mm Maxxis Rambler tubeless tires.
"I threw in some pressure at the start of each day, 35-40 psi," she said about her gravel setup. "It was maybe a bit too much, but I was trying to smash pedals really hard to keep up with the men and I figured more pressure was better for the rogue rocks. I actually rode my training bike, which is set up with Ultegra mechanical, because I felt mechanical was more period-correct."
Most top-end carbon cyclocross bikes have internal cable routing through the fork, but the Super Jake joins the Trek Boone in sticking with external routing up front. Cables to the rear are all routed internally.
The biggest change to Fahringer's setup this year is the addition of Shimano GRX components after running the Ultegra RX805 rear derailleur in 2018. We have seen some riders such as Honsinger and Courtenay McFadden stick with the Ultegra RX rear derailleur, while others such as Brannan Fix have gone the GRX route.
Werner is running a full array of GRX components with his 1x setup, but as we observed in our review of the new Shimano GRX gravel/cyclocross components, the 48/31t GRX front chain ring combo is not exactly cyclocross friendly.
As a result, Fahringer has a setup similar to Fix's, with cyclocross 46/36t Ultegra rings on a 170mm Ultegra R8000 crankset. A Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 front derailleur controls her front shifting. The GRX crankset is spaced out 2.5mm wider than an Ultegra crank, meaning a GRX front derailleur only works with a GRX crankset.
As for why she runs a double, Fahringer explained, "More is more, especially with gears. I hate making decisions, and with 1x, to get the most from my equipment, I feel I would be swapping chain rings a lot, and I am just not ready for that type of pressure."
Practically, having the double came into play this past weekend at DCCX, where Saturday was fast and ripping and Sunday was bogged down and grindy.
"Saturday was fast-rolling, and I rarely shifted out of the big ring. Sunday was heavy, and I rarely shifted into the big ring," she said. "There is also a ton of range for training when I am on the road between races and don't have access to my full stable of bikes."
Fahringer did run the GRX RX815 Di2 rear derailleur paired with an 11-32t Ultegra cassette in the back. "Last year we got a sneak peek use of the clutch rear derailleurs, but it's amazing how much that minimizes chain slap on my 2x," she said about running the GRX rear derailleur.
Fahringer also incorporated the new GRX RX815 shift-brake levers and paired them with her derailleurs and RX810 flat mount calipers.
A few weeks ago, when we profiled McFadden's Pivot Vault, we noted that her Maxxis-sponsored team opted to also partner with Stan's NoTubes and run tubeless tires this season. Fahringer and Werner are also sponsored by Maxxis, but they are running the company's tubulars.
The Jingle Cross World Cup was relatively dry this year, and when we saw Fahringer's bike in Iowa City, she had 700c x 33mm All Terrane tubulars mounted. The company offers road tubulars to consumers, but the cyclocross models are still the province of only sponsored athletes such as Fahringer.
Fahringer had the tires glued to Shimano Dura-Ace R9170-C40 carbon tubular wheels built up around in-house Dura-Ace hubs.
Not surprisingly, Shimano subsidiary Pro provided a Vibe handlebar and Vibe stem for Fahringer's cockpit. Light blue Lizard Skins provides some additional color to the bike.
In the back, a Pro Vibe carbon seatpost held a WTB Silverado saddle. Shimano XTR M9100 SPD pedals rounded out GoFahr's contact points.
After winning the Parkway CX Trophy, there is little rest for Fahringer and her Kona Super Jake. She now heads to Kings CX in Cincinnati and prepares for the Pan-American Championships where she is looking to continue her success.
As for future vlog takeovers, that stuff is hard work!
"Kerry loves his vlog, and it has really become a part of his race-day process and even more so, his post-race decompression process," Fahringer explained. "I found my singular attempt at the takeover a little daunting. It was fun, but at the same time, I have a bit more pre-race anxiety than Kerry and I wasn't quite ready to shirk my cares for the sake of the footie. Plus, he has learned how to capture natural goofiness, and I just couldn't seem to nail that. I will stick to being a trusty sidekick."
For a closer look at Fahringer's Super Jake, see the photo gallery and specs below.