Focus may not be the most recognisable brand on the market, but its reputation for great builds and amazing value is creeping into the system and undercutting many of the world leaders’ efforts.
Having just signed Olympic medallist Nicole Cooke, Focus has made a great forward leap into the racing world that could gain the brand extra exposure… and maybe a collection of medals in the 2012 Olympics.
The Cayo Ultegra is a breath of fresh air when it comes to value. It’s absolutely dripping with bank-busting components that you’d never normally see on a bike in this price bracket. Full Shimano Ultegra levers, brakes, drive train and shifters, FSA components, super smooth Mavic Aksium wheels and a sexy decal/raw carbon finish – covered in chromed gear cables and coordinating colour schemes – build up an amazing bike that gets everyone double-taking as you ride by. To buy the components alone would cost over a grand, so how Focus have managed to include the frame is beyond me.
Just looking at the bike you know it’s going to be a smooth ride, and, once mounted, it’s more comfortable than it looks. The frame’s 55in top tube feels more like a medium than a large, which was perfect for the test but worth bearing in mind if ordering online. The Concept saddle fits like it’s custom made and the Concept/FSA cockpit area suggests an understanding of quality.
The bike allows you to naturally fit into position and everything instantly feels as it should – you wouldn’t change a thing. It’s also great-looking: the popular red, black and white graphics finish boast great styling, with the bare carbon windows reflecting in the light to give it a marble look on the raw carbon weaving.
On the move the carbon frame effortlessly smooths out road surfaces that resemble coral more than tarmac, and the light steering allows for immediate reaction when swerving potholes seemingly created by heavy mortar. Out of the saddle the Cayo’s very responsive: the chunky BB body with its thick protruding chain stays eliminate any chance of drive flex, and the Ultegra groupset feels as good as any Dura Ace shift.
Climbing feels positive as the stiff back end transfers every bit of effort into the rear wheel, which is all balanced out beautifully as the main frame, cockpit and fork continue the bike’s ‘solid yet smooth’ theme.
At high and low speeds the Cayo feels manoeuvrable on the tops and the drops, and the round-profile carbon tubing limits turbulence and gusting from side winds. It has a feel-good factor that puts a smile on your face and plenty of energy in your tank.
As far as races go, this would be a great all-rounder. But is it simply a road bike? It has no triathlon specific qualities or geometries but this isn’t to say it wouldn’t look the part if you put on tri-bars and deep wheels. Fantastic for both long or hilly events, the Cayo represents a wise use of £1,500 indeed.
Contact : Wiggle www.wiggle.co.uk