Last year, Amanda 'Panda' Nauman decided to try her luck outside the cyclocross course on the much longer and more grueling Dirty Kanza 200. This triathlete turned cyclocross racer proved she also had the legs to suffer through 200 miles of Kansas gravel to take the win.
She returned to the Emporia, Kansas, to defend her title this year and came away with a resounding victory.
This season, Nauman is sponsored by Niner. While the company makes two gravel/adventure bikes, the RLT 9 and RLT 9 Steel, Nauman opted to race the lighter and more familiar BSB 9 RDO. This carbon cyclocross bike has ample room for large tires and even the smallest size, which Nauman rides, has mounts for two water bottles in the main triangle.
Nauman's BSB 9 RDO kitted out for Kanza
To make the BSB 9 RDO suitable for an endurance gravel event, she swaped cyclocross gearing for a much broader range. Nauman doesn’t have a drivetrain sponsor, leaving her free to mix and match components to suit her needs — and there’s plenty of SRAM and Shimano interspersed on her drivetrain.
Nauman runs Shimano Ultegra Di2 because the smaller hoods are a better fit for her hands. Depending on her needs, she can run an XTR Di2 rear derailleur with a 1x drivetrain or she can run a 2x11 system with an Ultegra Di2 rear derailleur, which was her preferred setup for this race.
Nauman ran an 11-32t cassette with a SRAM 50/34t compact crankset with a Quarq power meter. Nauman chose to ride with power at the Dirty Kanza to track her kilojoule expenditure as well as to keep her on pace.
The brakes are another area where her setup deviates from an off-the-shelf group. Shimano R785 brake/shift levers are mated to Shimano XTR M987 calipers with 140mm rotors. These previous-generation XTR calipers are lighter while offering ample stopping power for lightweight riders such as Nauman.
Shimano's XTR calipers are lighter than the R785 calipers that come with the levers
SDG supplies Nauman’s saddle, while Easton takes care of her cockpit and wheels.
Nauman rides the SDG Circuit
Nauman started the day on a pair of Easton EA90SL wheels shod in Schwalbe 700 x 38mm G1 rubber. A sidewall tear early in the race lead to a rear wheel swap at the first checkpoint to an Easton EC90 SL wheel with a Clement MSO 36 tubeless tire, which served her well through the remaining 160 miles of the race.
The Dirty Kanza 200 is about as different from a cyclocross race as you can get, but it's still a good idea to be ready with a wheel swap
Amanda "Panda" Nauman with her Niner BSB 9 RDO
We're not sure if this counts as sponsor-correct — on brand, maybe?
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Niner BSB 9 RDO, size 47
- Fork: Niner BSB 9 RDO w/15mm thru-axle
- Stem: Easton EA70, 70mm
- Handlebar: Easton EC90 SL, 40mm
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano R-785 Di2
- Brakes: Shimano XTR M987 calipers w/140mm rotors
- Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2
- Crankset: SRAM crankset w/Quarq power meter, 50/34t chainring, 170mm crankarms
- Bottom bracket: Kogel
- Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeater 11
- Front wheel: Easton EA90 SL
- Read wheel: Easton EC90 SL
- Front tire: Schwalbe G1, 700c x 38mm
- Rear tire: Clement X’Plor MSO 700 x 36mm
- Saddle: SDG Circuit
- Seatpost: Easton EC90 SL
- Accessories: Dark Speed Works top tube bag, Lezyne S-Caddy saddle bag, panda shoes