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.
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.
Focus Izalco Max
Designed for road racing, the Izalco Max enjoys an aggressive geometry, built around a lightweight carbon frame.
Stiffness has not been forgotten – ‘Stable Stiffness Per Size’ (SSPS) is in play – this means the frame material is adjusted across the size range (from 48 to 61) to create the ideal ratio of weight to stiffness.
The disc brake models feature ‘RAT’ (Rapid Axle Technology) – a thru-axle system which combines stability with lateral stiffness and allows for quick wheel changes.
Focus Izalco Race
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.
Across the range, there are Donna models which are designed to cater for female riders. These come with narrower bars and women’s saddles.
The Focus Paralane is an endurance road bike designed for all-day rides, on tarmac as well as gravel. To demonstrate their commitments to this, 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.
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.
Gearing takes a further step into the lower resistance territory, with 50/34 compacts and wide range 11-34 cassettes – though there is a ‘Factory’ version, specced for gravel riding by a Focus member of staff which comes with a single 44-tooth chainring. The tyres are largely 28c across the range.
Focus Mares: cyclocross bike
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.
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
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 Planet range is created 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.
The Crater Lake is a Dutch style step-through frame, for relaxed riding on tarmac as well as gravel tracks. The tyres are wide for smooth rolling regardless of terrain, and gearing is kept low to turn mountains into mole hills.
The Arriba is the fast and punchy hybrid for fitness riders, with relatively narrow 28c tyres specced with tarmac in mind, as well as quick stopping disc brakes and men’s and women’s options with purpose designed geometry.