Focus bikes: which model is right for you?

Don't know your Izalco Max from your Paralane? We outline the key models in the road range from the German brand

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Focus bikes was founded in 1992, headed up by cyclocross World Champion Mike Kluge.

The German brand produced six mountain bikes in 1994, having partnered with Derby Cycle Werke. It moved on to manufacture touring and road racing bikes, branching into carbon fibre come 2006.

The business is based in Cloppenburg, Germany,  but has subsidiaries in the United States and Italy.


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Like any major bike brand, Focus has a stable full of bikes created to suit certain styles of riding – from the road race driven Izalco Max to the all-day-endurance roller Paralane.

All carbon frames come with a six year warranty, which is a ‘nice to know’ and Focus boasts a couple of patented technologies which feature in a number of bikes across the range.

We’ve outlined what to expect from each of the key road bikes in the range….

Focus Izalco Max

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Designed for road racing, the Izalco Max enjoys an aggressive geometry, built around a lightweight carbon frame and optimised in the wind tunnel.

Stiffness has not been forgotten – ‘Stable Stiffness Per Size’ (SSPS) is in play – this means the frame material is adjusted across the size range to create the ideal ratio of weight to stiffness.

All models are disc brake specific and feature ‘RAT’ (Rapid Axle Technology) – a thru-axle system which combines stability with lateral stiffness and allows for quick wheel changes.

Focus Izalco Race

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The Focus Izalco Race aims to take a speedy, racing chassis to the masses. At a more affordable price point, the model comes constructed from carbon or aluminium, depending upon your preference. In the past, these needs were answered by the Focus Cayo road bike, no longer in the UK line-up.

The aluminium models are triple butted, to ensure that the frame stays stiff where it needs to be whilst maintaining a low weight.

Like the Izalco Max, the Race model uses a Pressfit 30 bottom bracket. This combines the easy maintenance of a Pressfit option with the stiffness of a BB30, and comes with a preassembled seal in the cups to further prolong the bearing life.

The geometry is a little less aggressive than the top end Izalco Max racer, and the aluminium Izalco Race has a slightly higher stack when compared to the carbon version (generally about 3mm), but it’s still designed to offer a ride which feels fast and competitive – and there are disc and rim options on offer.

>>> Bike gears: shifting explained for beginners

Across the range, there are Donna models which are designed to cater for female riders. These come with narrower bars and women’s saddles.

Focus Paralane

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The Focus Paralane is an endurance road bike designed for all-day rides, on tarmac as well as gravel. Skinny seatstays across the range contribute to comfort and the tyres are 28c.

To demonstrate their commitment to staying comfortable in all weathers, Focus specs the Paralane with disc brakes only and every order comes with a pair of mudguards designed for easy fitting to the frame.

Cable routing is kept internal, and RAT (rapid axle technology) is used to combine stability and lateral stiffness on a floating axle which makes wheel changes quick.

The aluminium models feature triple butted frames, and there are women’s specific versions with women’s saddles and narrow handlebars.

>>> Are wider tyres faster? 

As per the other models, the Pressfit 30 bottom bracket is repeated, as is the Stable Stiffness Per Size (SSPS) approach which sees each frame – stiffness and weight in particular – designed around the appropriate size.

For those seeking an extra boost, there is an also a Focus Paralane2 electric, with a 25oWh battery mounted on the downtube.

Focus Mares: cyclocross bike

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Being a brand founded by a cyclocross World Champion, with a history in creating race winning mountain as well as road bikes, Focus obviously has quite a well rounded CV when it comes to ‘cross.

The Mares cyclocross bike is not an ‘all road’ adventurer – it’s a cyclocross race bike through and through, with a geo designed for one hour, all out efforts.

There are carbon and aluminium options in the stable, and two of the five models come with SRAM 1x chainsets whilst the rest use Shimano Tiagra, 105 or Ultegra.

>>> Focus Mares CX Disc Ultegra review 

All models come with disc brakes and the ‘RAT’ tech seen elsewhere, which means the fork is strong enough to cope with braking forces and wheel changes are easy. The same Pressfit 30 and internal cable routing also features, as well as the size specific carbon layup.

Focus hybrid bikes

focus bikes

Focus Arriba

For those looking for a flat bar bike which can handle roads as well as cracked paths and parks, then Focus has a selection of hybrid bikes.

The Focus Planet2 is an e-bike for city streets – you’ll find hub gears and a belt drive to keep maintenance low and ensure your trousers stay grease free. The top end Focus Planet Street comes with integrated lights and mudguards. Power comes from a 625Wh battery.

The Crater Lake is an all round option, with 63mm suspension in case you want to go off road whilst the Arriba is the fast and punchy hybrid for fitness riders, with relatively narrow 28c tyres specced with tarmac in mind.