In the past years, Focus has constantly developed better and better bikes for several ranges. The company’s efforts didn’t pass unnoticed, the Izalco Max 0.0 road bike receiving significant praises, and some awards, while the time trial Izalco Chrono Max also got positive feedback. Now it’s Mares CX’s turn to raise the bar in the cyclocross category.
Focus’s relation with cyclocross is more special than you’d think of, founder Mike Kluge having won the world title in this discipline back in 1992, the same year he started the brand. Along the years, the German bicycles got their fair share of victories in the muddy affair of cyclocross, the company also strongly supporting the US CX squad Team Rapha-Focus.
For the remainder of this season, and for the next one at least, the Focus-sponsored athletes will use the newest version of the Mares CX, Focus’s top of the game cyclocross bike, which brings along several key-improvements in what regards this type of bikes.
First of all, the Mares CX will feature in two versions, according to the brake type: cantilever or disc brake, with the latter only supporting 160mm rotors, both having undergone a serious diet, that led to the loss of about 300 grams, frame weight revolving now around the 900-gram figure. Also, the two versions are both compatible with electronical and mechanical shifting systems.
Focus offered an explanation for the single rotor size option, arguing that the heat developed by an 160mm rotor only reaches 170 degrees Celsius, compared to the 190 degrees of an 140mm one.
The frame will be available in 6 frame sizes: 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60cm, all having a constant stack to reach ratio of 1:43. In terms of tubes, the head tube got 15mm longer, which improved front end stiffness by removing the spacers, while the bottom bracket has a more shallow drop of 65mm compared to the previous 70mm, and thus more suited to fast cornering.
Totally new additions to the bike take the form of the ISCG-05 standard chain guide, an industry first, and the RAT (Rapid Axle Technology). It’s true that RAT’s denomination isn’t the most inspiring, but the Focus engineers did a really good job with this fast release and engagement system of the wheel. The thru axle system is available only for the disc brake version, which it helps work better and more quietly, but its main perks sits in the quarter-turn it requires for getting locked (or unlocked, accordingly). So, a faster and sitffness-improving system is always welcomed, even more so given the fact that it uses the front 100x15mm standard, and the rear 142x12mm one.
Functionality is further enhanced by the cable routing, which is not only internal, but has a shrouded cable box (photo below) just under the bottom bracket shell that really gives the mud, water and filth a hard time messing up your ride. Further features include carbon droputs, a PF30 bottom bracket, integrated headset, tapered head tube, and a disc brake post mount.
Focus Mares CX weight:
- Cantilever version: 895 grams (size 56, paint job included)
- Disc brake version: 922 grams (size 56, paint job included)
- Fork: 418 grams