Focus bikes became available direct to the UK market in 2006. Through their sole distributor, Wiggle, they have been building their reputation as a manufacturer of quality cycles, ridden by elite athletes such as Stuart Hayes and neo-pro Emma-Kate Lidbury. The Culebro Tria represents the introductory model in the Focus TT range.
Things start off well – with a bike that’s fully built from the box and with a stem already facing forwards, all you have to do is hold the bars in place and turn the Allen key to get things started. The tyres even have 100psi in them and just need topping up before you ride.
Looking down at the top tube, the words ‘German Lightweight Engineering’ stand out and you start to wonder if the “Vorsprung Durch Technik” company ethos has rubbed off on Focus, too.
From the moment you push down on the pedals, you feel a response which defies that of the aluminium frame. The firmness of the bottom bracket combined with the FSA chainset allows the bike to move effortlessly away from a stationary position up to race speed. This, combined with a front end that would get you in and out of dead turns with no great wobble, makes the prospect of any course far less intimidating.
The carbon forks did their job, preventing vibration passing up through your shoulders. In fact, it was a couple of hours before the vibration started to shake the numbness into the arms of our tester. Because of that, though, those who favour supreme comfort over longer-distance races may need to look elsewhere.
The larger frames have a slightly shallower seat-post angle than the small and medium – 76.3° as opposed to 78° – but this more relaxed position appears to have little effect as you cruise through the countryside in your aero position. The Cole Shuriken wheels roll smoothly; in fact, with your hands resting on the tri-bars, your fingers itch with excitement in anticipation of the next gear change. The SRAM bar-end shifters change with a crisp click each time, but with the non-adjustable bars, those with shorter arms may need to stretch to change gear.
The alu frame and carbon fork is fairly standard around this price bracket. The frame design is not. From the teardrop-shaped down tube, to the cut-away seat tube, the indescribable top tube and the round-to-triangular rear forks, there’s enough tapering to match the pillars of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. However, the combo of aerodynamics, power transfer and comfort hits the right spot every time.
The 28-11, 10-speed cassette coupled with the 53/42 chainset allow a wide range of gearing, which means it rides well on almost any hill – rare for a TT. The extra-wide spread of gears might leave you a bit short in the middle of the cassette, which may prevent you from finding your perfect cadence. But a smaller ratio cassette would solve that one. All in all, a triumph of a bike.
Frame Tria aluminium
Forks Focus carbon
Groupset SRAM Force 10-speed; FSA Gossamer Time Trial 53/42 crankset; FSA Aero brakes
Wheels Cole Shuriken Alu; Continental Grand Prix 700 x 23c
Cockpit FSA Base Bar Aero RD-B250; FSA Clip-On RD-A400; SRAM 500 bar-end shifters
Seating Concept Xtreme Tria saddle
Weight 9.5kg (20.8lb) no pedals
Sizes 50, 53, 56, 59cm
Contact : Wiggle www.wiggle.co.uk