Disc brakes in the pro peloton: the jury is still out. It’s probably the most controversial topic at this very moment. But as we said earlier, this group test is not about the pros and the peloton. So the main question is, how does the Focus Izalco Max Disc perform? And do disc brakes constitute an added bonus over classic rim brakes?
After a bout of initial skepticism from some testers, those worries were quickly quashed: the classic geometry allows you to get an aggressive position on the bike, leading to great acceleration, high levels of agility and confident cornering. These are mainly down to the outstanding rigidity of the forks and the improved weight distribution at the front.
It’s still rare to find a bike with both race-orientated geometry and disc brakes, but this model from the Cloppenburg-based company disproves the misconception that you need to compromise on weight to enjoy powerful braking. Kitted out exclusively with the SRAM Red groupset, including their hydraulic disc brakes and DT Swiss carbon wheels, the scales come to a halt at a very respectable 6.7 kg. Chapeaux, Focus! Consequently, the Izalco Max Disc is amongst the world’s lightest road bikes with disc brakes.
For both the front and back wheels, Focus have applied their own R.A.T thru-axle design, known as Rapid Axle Technology, certifying that changing a wheel with a thru-axle doesn’t have to take any longer than a quick-release. Other brands have got a license to use this patented system, too – a good thing for Focus, as well as for the sight of disc brakes on the road, where having a universal standard is more of an existential question.
On the climbs, the extra weight on the front meant the bike lost some agility on inclines. The bike is an assertive descender, seeing you pull up out of a descent with a huge grin, largely thanks to the immense power and reliability of the brakes.
Details of the Focus Izalco Max Disc
Specifications of the Focus Izalco Max Disc
- Drivetrain: SRAM Red 22 2×11 SP
- Gears: Chainrings: 52/36 | Cassette: 11-28
- Brakes:SRAM Red HRD Flatmount
- Tyres: Schwalbe One
- Wheelset: DT Swiss RC38
- Weight: 6.83 kg
- Price: € 5,999
The Focus is a lesson in integrating disc brakes onto a super quick race bike. The German brand has shown that there are no insurmountable obstacles in designing a bike of this forte. But in the future, we’d like to see better weight distribution to retain agility in the front on steep ascents.
Who should take a closer look at the Focus Izalco Max Disc? Early adopters looking to get ahead of the game and those who’re known for their sheer mass of riding, looking for a fast, light and more performance-focused bike with unbeatable braking performance and stability.
- Sporty and speedy
- Excellent disc brake integration (both technically and visually)
- Great all-round characteristics, winning overall concept
- Front lacks agility on climbs
For more information check the Focus website.
About the test
With 10 test riders descending on Barcelona from across the globe, we dedicated 9 days to pushing this season’s most exclusive and exciting and exciting bikes to their limits in a one-of-a-kind group test. Each rider brought his or her own specific experience to the process, with a test team comprised of four women and six men, including former Tour de France riders, biomechanics, bike shop owners, tour guides and amateur riders. In short: a gathering of highly experienced and well-versed road riding enthusiasts. Our goal was a simple one, to give you all the information needed to make you a winner: Why? Becuase life’s too short to ride the wrong bikes.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The 10 most exclusive and exciting bikes in Test
All bikes in test: Storck Aernario Platinum G1 | Specialized S-Works Venge | Ritte Ace | Festka One LT Dazzle | Crema Doma | Cervelo C5 | Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 | Bianchi Specialissima | Trek Madone 9.9
Words: Markus Ybanez, Robin Schmitt, Emmie Collinge Photos Constantin Gerlach, Klaus Kneist, Christoph Bayer