Angry Catfish is not the most obvious name for a bike shop, but when Panaracer needed some testing for its new Regacross tubeless cyclocross tire, the shop was the obvious choice. Steeped in seven years of twin cities history, the Minneapolis shop and coffee bar is on the pulse of the latest trends and sentiment within their community, and also in the wider cyclocross world.
The Regacross is a proper tubeless cyclocross tire that can be inflated without sealant. The open tread pattern is designed for intermediate to wet conditions, the typical weather for the Minnesota cross scene. Panaracer reached out to Parker Roenfanz, Manager of the shop, to see whether he knew of anyone that could be a good guinea pig for the tire. He directed us to Megan Barr.
Barr took the direct route into UCI racing. After a few years as a commuter, she quickly progressed through local group rides, then criteriums, and found herself lining up for her first Cyclocross race. “I enjoyed the overwhelming feeling that your heart may explode out of your chest or that your legs may never stop burning,” recalls Barr. The Minnesota CX calendar where Barr cut her teeth has it all; sand pits, run ups, stairs, and most of all – MUD.
Megan bought her UCI license in 2015, measuring herself against the strongest in the Midwest, and eventually nationally too. The goal for 2016 is that first elusive UCI point. Here’s where the Regacross comes in. Barr has been riding the 700x33c tire in racing and training for the entire season, learning what a proper tubeless bead can do to handling in the mud. “They are especially fast, but grippy on grassy off-cambers. I like to dance with the devil and run low pressure for most CX races and it's never been a problem on this tubeless set-up. I've even hit rim a few times during this dance and the Regacross hasn't shown any damage or wear.”
After the success of the Gravelking tires, Panaracer looked to the cyclocross market as a place where their precise manufacturing could pay off. Panaracer is known for it tight production tolerances based around the Japanese Industrial Standards. For Jeff Zell at Panaracer USA, this was important when designing the Regacross, “To make a low pressure work in cyclocross, you need to be 100% confident that the bead is going to hold through a corner. We took our tubeless road technology and applied it to cyclocross”.
The result is a tire that can be ridden at pressures that traditionally were only available to tubular set ups. Without the drudgery associated with gluing tires to rims, the Regacross brings a supple and confident ride to a new generation of cyclocross racers.
Roenfanz from Angry Catfish was skeptical when he first heard about the tire, “We've been disappointed over and over by how poorly tubeless cross tires have set up in the past, and have experienced many frustrated riders that 'burp' tires, loose pressure through a 60 minute race, or simply can't get the beads to seat as well as they should.” After setting the Regacross up without any sealant, Roenfanz realized this one was going to be different, “It took shape with little air, and no sealant immediately needed. Then after that, it held air...really well.”
While Barr is chasing UCI points on her 33c tires, Panaracer is also catering for the weekend racer who doesn’t need to hold themselves to the rules put down in pro races. Roenfanz is taking advantage of that to run the 35c version of the tire. “The extra cushion and traction of the 35 is always welcomed. And of course, in typical Panaracer fashion, the tires are soft, supple, and don't lend themselves to punctures and cuts all too easy” said Roefanz.
When Angry Catfish opened its doors nearly 7 years ago, the shop wanted to create an environment that was curated in culture, community, and the newest products and technologies around. In 2009 the world of tubeless in the cycling industry was fairly new and technologies were still getting figured out. Since then a lot has changed. The Regacross is the newest evolution of the tubeless concept. It’s a tire that embodies the easiest, cleanest, and most confident tubeless setups to date. Watch out for Megan Barr as she pursues her first UCI point on the way to USA Cycling National Championships. Barr and her Regacross tires will race in Kentucky, Ohio, and Oklahoma at ProCX races on her way to the nationals startline in Hartford, Conn., on January 8th