The FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 is one of only two aluminium bikes on test and it’s the most affordable of them all. This is reflected in the entry-level spec. However, FOCUS didn’t cut back on everything, as the bike offers a wealth of mounting points and good integration. Is that enough for it to come out on top as the best all-rounder?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best gravel bike 2022 – 19 models on test

FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 | 10.65 kg in size L | Manufacturer’s website

Among the many high-end bikes on test, the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 is the most affordable model, priced at € 2,199. It’s also the most laid back of them all. Higher, faster, further – this isn’t what it strives for with its sturdy aluminium frame and matching affordable components. It’s better suited as a reliable companion for long gravel rides, allowing you to explore your surroundings at a leisurely pace. This is underlined by the generous helping of mounting points for cargo cages, mudguards, lights and racks.

Moreover, the integration on the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 is very clean and better than on many significantly more expensive bikes. The cables only peek out from under the stem before disappearing into the headset, leaving nothing to be desired in terms of cable management. This allows you to attach a handlebar bag to the FOCUS JD RA85 handlebar with minimal fuss. At 460 mm, it’s the widest handlebar in the test field, but it suits the bike’s laid back trucker flair. In addition to the handlebars, FOCUS also rely on aluminium components for the stem, seat post and wheels, which make the bike very stiff overall. While this usually results in a lack of comfort and decreased bump absorption, it can be an advantage when hauling lots of luggage as the bike will flex less and remain stable. Although the 700 x 45C WTB Riddler TCS tires can’t make up for the lack of comfort entirely, they do at least provide a good amount of vibration damping.

Bigger is better
The weld seams on the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 look huge. We can only imagine the amount of filler metal that flowed into them. Though not particularly refined, it looks like it’ll last forever.
All the bosses
Whether you’re planning to go bikepacking around the world or commuting, the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 offers endless mounting points on the frame and fork for lights, mudguards and racks.
Integration on a budget
The seamless cable integration on the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 is neater than on many of its competitors, some of which are much more expensive. Hats off to FOCUS for that!


€ 2,199


Seatpost FOCUS Aluminium
Brakes Shimano GRX BR-RX400 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano GRX RX600 2x11
Stem FOCUS Aluminium 90 mm
Handlebar FOCUS JD RA85 460 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss E 1800 SPLINE 32
Tires WTB Riddler TCS 700 x 45C

Technical Data

Size XS S M L XL
Weight 10.65 kg

Specific Features

feels absolutely indestructible
large front triangle can accommodate large frame bags
everything you need: mounting points, mudguards, and luggage rack
clearances for up to 700 x 47C tires

A threaded bottom bracket
The FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 relies on a threaded bottom bracket, which makes maintenance a lot easier.
Just right
Considering the weight of the FOCUS and its bikepacking intentions, anything smaller than a 160 mm rotor at the rear would be a mistake. So, it’s a good thing that the brake calliper doesn’t need an adapter to accommodate it.
For some reason, the 2x drivetrain on the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 matches the bike’s character – even if it can’t keep up with the 1x drivetrains that have a larger range cassette.

What do a boat and the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 have in common? Neither of them is particularly quick to accelerate, but once they’ve gotten into the swing of things, there’s no holding them back.

For the drivetrain, the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 relies on a mechanical Shimano GRX RX600 groupset. In terms of performance, it’s clearly inferior to the electronic versions on the – sometimes significantly – more expensive bikes on test, shifting a little slower and with less precision. But it suits the bike’s intended use, as it’s extremely robust and you’ll never run the risk of draining the battery on long rides. With a 46/30 t chainset up front and a 11–34 t cassette on the rear, you won’t easily run out of gears on the descents. However, bikes with a mullet drivetrain and a wider gear range are at an advantage on the climbs. Weighing in at 10.65 kg in size L and considering its luggage hauling capabilities, the bike could do with easier gearing.


Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 450 mm 490 mm 520 mm 550 mm 577 mm
Top tube 532 mm 552 mm 571 mm 592 mm 610 mm
Head tube 114 mm 129 mm 144 mm 164 mm 194 mm
Head angle 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5°
Seat angle 74.0° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Chainstays 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm
BB Drop 75 mm 75 mm 75 mm 75 mm 75 mm
Wheelbase 1,015 mm 1,030 mm 1,051 mm 1,072 mm 1,092 mm
Reach 370 mm 380 mm 395 mm 410 mm 420 mm
Stack 568 mm 582 mm 596 mm 615 mm 643 mm
Helmet Giro Synthe MIPS | Glasses Alba Optics ANVMA | Jersey Maloja Second Hand
Pants Rapha Core Cargo Bib | Shoes Giro Sector | Socks VOID Performance Sock 16

As heavy as it is, speed isn’t what the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 is best at. It can’t keep up with the rest of the test field when pulling away or accelerating. But once you’ve laboured to bring the bike up to speed, it can efficiently hold that pace on compact surfaces. However, you’ll get shaken up on bumpy terrain, which will quickly slow you down. The bike’s weight, which is mainly due to the robust construction, also has a very positive aspect to it: aboard the FOCUS, you feel like you’re riding a bike that will outlast you. It’s a bike for life, so to speak. And that’s a good feeling in today’s throwaway culture.

The bike’s motto is: if you take it slower, you’ll last longer. On leisurely rides where you’re exploring your surroundings, control and stability are crucial factors – as you let your eyes and your mind drift, you won’t always be concentrating on keeping control of the bike. Fortunately, the ATLAS 6.8 has your back in these instances. Thanks to the nicely integrated riding position aboard the bike and the wide handlebar, you’ll always remain in control. The powerful Shimano GRX BR-RX400 brakes also play into this, which only lack stopping power on loose surfaces due to the WTB tires. The bike’s intuitive handling also boosts your confidence while being easy and forgiving on gravel riders who are new to the scene.

Tuning tip: fit a suspension stem and seat post and head off around the world

The FOCUS deliberately cuts back on agility, prioritising composure. And it certainly isn’t short on that, though it doesn’t feel overly cumbersome through the corners. As long as you’re on flat terrain, the ATLAS 6.8 rides as if it’s on rails. When things get a little rougher, the bike’s stiffness makes it feel nervous when pushing the limit. In that case, the FOCUS bounces somewhat awkwardly through the turns. Yes, the ATLAS is amongst the trailing third of the test field in terms of comfort and speed. However, as the most affordable bike on test, it makes up for this with its durability, excellent practicality and a level of versatility that you wouldn’t expect at this price point.

Riding Characteristics



  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively


  1. firm
  2. comfortable

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data


Size: XS S M L XL
Weight: 10.65 kg
Price: € 2,199

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3

Our conclusion on the FOCUS ATLAS 6.8

The FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 is a great bike for gravel newbies who don’t want to spend a fortune but still want a ride that won’t let them down. The bike delivers in terms of robustness and cargo mounting options, making it a real bikepacking workhorse for the long haul. Unfortunately, it falls way short of the test victory due to its hefty weight and the lack of riding comfort. The other bikes on test are faster and more agile in a wider range of use cases.


  • built like a tank
  • neat cable integration
  • all the bosses you need for bikepacking
  • intuitive handling


  • heavy
  • leisurely acceleration
  • not the most comfortable

You can find out more about at

The testfield

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best gravel bike 2022 – 19 models on test

All bikes on review: 3T Exploro Ultra (Click for review) | BMC URS LT ONE (Click for review) | Cannondale SuperSix EVO SE (Click for review) | Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 eTap Suspension (Click for review) | Cervélo Áspero GRX Di2 (Click for review) | CUBE Nuroad C:62 SLT (Click for review) | Curve Kevin of Steel III (Click for review) | Falkenjagd Aristos R (Click for review) | Felt Breed 20 (Click for review) | FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 | GIANT Revolt Advanced 0 (Click for review) | OPEN WI.DE. (Click for review) | Ridley Kanzo Fast (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD (Click for review) | SCOTT Addict Gravel Tuned (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Crux (Click for review) | Stelbel Nina XCr (Click for review) | Storck GRIX.2 Platinum (Click for review) | Wilier Rave SLR (Click for review)

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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf, Peter Walker