With their Focus Paralane Factory, the bike builders from Cloppenburg intended to be the champions of versatility in our test. We tested the Focus both on and off the road, searching for its strengths and weaknesses.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best road bike for any weather and any season – 10 Endurance Bikes in Review

Focus Paralane Factory
Focus Paralane Factory | 8.05 kg | € 3,999

The Paralane is Focus’ vision of a link between Race and Cyclocross. The aggressive lines of the frame are punctuated by mudguard mounts, clearly trying to say something: this bike wants to ride all-year-round and is ready for any challenge and adventure. A set of solid SRAM Apex disc brakes, with 160 mm rotors on the front and rear provide powerful and accurate braking, while being relatively noisy, the full SRAM Apex 1×11 drivetrain delivers ok shifting. An in-house-built cockpit, Zipp 30 wheels and 30 mm Schwalbe G-One tires complete the package, bringing the Focus Paralane Factory to a total weight of 8.05 kg. The bike is yours for € 3,999.

Focus Paralane Factory

On one hand, it’s an effortless and versatile ride, on the other a brave and unique aesthetic statement! A combination of brown tones with explosions of loud neon-yellow is certainly not something we get to see every day. The seamlessly-integrated dropouts and split seat post flaunt the design team’s unique perspective towards design and functionality – a matter of taste in our opinion, but doubtlessly a consistent concept.

Focus Paralane Factory

AThe practical R.A.T.-Axle System is worth an extra mention: open the axle, turn it 90°. Done! No other quick release system makes wheel changing faster! And another detail all commuters are going to love is the backlight integrated into the bar-end. Pretty handy!

Focus Paralane Factory Focus Paralane Factory
Focus Paralane Factory
Tuning-Tip: Drivetrain with preciser and more reliable shifting qualities, thicker bar tape for a more comfortable cockpit

The Focus feels lively on the road whilst still keeping its playfulness off the beaten track. The seat position is centred and relaxed, the body feels comfortably integrated into the chassis, transmitting a good sensation of power transfer when accelerating. A stiff bottom bracket area and the more than decent weight of 8.05 kg make the Paralane Factory gain speed rapidly and without too much effort. Quick turns, on the other hand, are not its greatest strength missing a little authority. And what about comfort? The interaction between carbon frame and a futuristic proprietary carbon-seat-post generates a good amount of vertical flex. The result is a reasonable sensation of comfort, but thicker bar tape would be recommended up front.

Focus Paralane Factory
Helmet Met Rivale | Cap Campagnolo Cap | Glasses Oakley RadarLock | Jersey Rapha Shadow Jersey | Jacket Rapha Core Rain Jacket | Bibshort Velocio Signature Fly Bib Knicker | Socks Rapha Brevet Socks | Shoes Sidi Wire Carbon

Versatility and spontaneity throughout are the strengths of the Paralane Factory. However, the bike really struggles to truly shine through in any of the disciplines, proving more of an all-rounder than a specialist.

The Focus Paralane Factory in detail

Drivetrain SRAM Apex
Wheelset Zipp 30 Course
Brakes SRAM Apex
Tires Schwalbe G-One
Weight 8.05 kg
Price € 3,999

Focus Paralane Factory
The left bar end can be used as a second backlight. Cleverly integrated safety.
Focus Paralane Factory
Great comfort and innovative design: the seat-post of the Focus is an eye catcher.
Focus Paralane Factory
Mudguards included in the box – the installation looks tidy and neat.
Focus Paralane Factory
Imprecise and noisy: The shifting qualities of the SRAM Apex group set were below expectations.
Focus Paralane Factory
Geometry Focus Paralane Factory

Conclusion

The Focus Paralane is a successfully executed, all-in-one-bike, a celebration of the latest technology and modern design. Playful handling and a safe ride-feel make it a great bike for all sorts of scenarios. Unfortunately, the price/performance-oriented package drags the bike a little below its true potential. The bike is a great choice for all-weather commuters who sporadically sign up for the local gran fondo.

Strengths

+ Playful and lively all-rounder
+ Mud guards included in the box and mounting option
+ Backlight integrated into the bar-ends

Weaknesses

– SRAM Apex is the cheap option – solid, but imprecise shifting
– Super-thin bar tape reduces comfort in the cockpit
– Mutter der Thru Axle in der Front fällt bei Laufrad-Demontage raus
– Details: Front derailleur attachment can’t be removed
– Mudguard mounting system is very flimsy


For more info head to: focus-bikes.com

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best road bike for any weather and any season – 10 Endurance Bikes in Review

All bikes in test: 3T Exploro Team | BMC Roadmachine 01 | Canyon Endurace CF SLX Disc 8.0Ridley X-Trail | ROSE Backroad-4400 | Specialized Roubaix Expert Di2 | Trek Domane SLR 10 RSL | OPEN U.P.P.E.R. | WHITE Wessex


This article belongs to the GRAN FONDO Issue #005. For the full interactive experience we recommend reading it in our magazine app for iPhone & iPad – it’s awesome – and free!

Words: Benjamin Topf, Manuel Buck, Robin Schmit Photos: Julian Mittelstädt