The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 certainly looks like a thoroughbred adventure bike at first glance. The relaxed geometry, in-house Adventure Rack, and plenty of mounting points for all your gear sound very promising, too. However, this plain pack mule tends to get lost in the hustle and bustle of our adventure bike group test with its low-key looks. Can it outshine the competition in practice?

This bike was tested as part of our 2024 adventure gravel bike group test – you can find an overview of the group test and the featured bikes here:

Focus Atlas 8.8 | 9.89 kg in size L | Manufacturer’s website

Bikepacking isn’t just a trendy hashtag: there are a lot of people that actually do it! This has resulted in the development of different bikes, systems, and bags. And today, you’ll even find gravel bikes with good old panniers and racks. FOCUS have gone their own way with the ATLAS and developed a special rack for the seat stays of their current gravel bike. This allows you to easily attach a wide range of dry bags and items like sleeping bags, sleeping pads, or even a bunch of bananas. But FOCUS have also thought of other vital adventure features such as bosses for additional mounting points, cable integration, and a relaxed riding position aboard the ATLAS 8.8. So, what’s not to like?

FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 – A lot to offer, little to complain about?

Individually, the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 makes a pretty coherent overall impression. However, it tends to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the test field, being somewhat lacking in superlatives. It has an understated look with angular lines, generally keeping things low-key, especially in the cream colour of the bike on test. Unfortunately, the tan walls of the WTB Riddler tires don’t work well with this colour. You’ll still find a few nice design details, like on the inside of the fork legs. The internal cable routing via the in-house stem looks really clean and makes attaching a handlebar bag a lot easier. FOCUS also offer an in-house mount for Garmin and Wahoo computers, which makes it easy to attach your device to the handlebar, and looks great too. If there is one component that sticks out, it’s the seat post from BBB, with a cutout designed to provide some additional flex and thus offer increased off-road damping and comfort. The protectors on the chainstay and down tube are barely noticeable, but should keep your frame looking good. In theory, this means you can go off-road without worrying too much about chain slap or stone chips.

The cables are routed into the head tube via a channel in the stem, which is a great solution.
Unfortunately, the cut-out in the BBB seat post is just there for looks, as it doesn’t seem to offer any additional compliance.

Tuning tip: a seat post with compliance that actually works

The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 is the only bike on test that features the 2×11 Shimano GRX 810 groupset. However, the gear range of the 10–34 t cassette and 46/30 t crankset hardly offers any reserves when climbing with the bike fully loaded. Of course, the small gearing increments make it easy to find the ideal cadence the rest of the time. While the gear range is more than sufficient for touring in hilly terrain, you’ll have a hard time in mountainous, alpine country. The relatively heavy 1,855 g wheelset doesn’t necessarily make uphill riding any easier either, though it does seem pretty bombproof. The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 comes with several mounting points: on the top tube, on the fork, in the front triangle, on the bottom bracket and, of course, on the seat stays for the specially developed Adventure Rack. However, this must be purchased separately for € 39.99. We’re particularly impressed with the fact that the top tube bag is already included.

Large rack, many possibilities.
The special luggage rack designed by FOCUS makes easy work of carrying large pieces of luggage, like tents, sleeping pads, etc.
The matching top tube bag is included with the FOCUS ATLAS.
Eyelet good, all good
The FOCUS ATLAS is equipped with several mounting points, making it ideal for attaching luggage to the frame.

Tuning tip: lighter wheelset for more lively handling

Focus Atlas 8.8

€ 3,499


Fork rigid fork
Seatpost BBB
Brakes Shimano GRX 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano GRX 8 2x11
Stem Focus 100 mm
Handlebar Easton EA 70 AX 440 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss X1600
Tires WTB Riddler 28"

Technical Data

Size XS S M L XL
Weight 9.89 kg

Specific Features

In-house luggage rack
Many mounting points
Top tube bag included
Balanced geometry

Größe XS S M L XL
Oberrohr 532 mm 549 mm 567 mm 591 mm 606 mm
Sattelrohr 445 mm 485 mm 515 mm 545 mm 585 mm
Steuerrohr 155 mm 120 mm 130 mm 150 mm 180 mm
Lenkwinkel 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5°
Sitzwinkel 74° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Kettenstrebe 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm
Tretlagerabsenkung 75 mm 75 mm 75 mm 75 mm 75 mm
Radstand 1,016 mm 1,028 mm 1,046 mm 1,068 mm 1,088 mm
Reach 370 mm 380 mm 395 mm 410 mm 420 mm
Stack 569 mm 574 mm 583 mm 611 mm 630 mm

Let’s go – The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 on the test track

Considering the wealth of mounting points and attachment options, it’s almost weird to ride the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 unladen. The riding position is very central and relatively upright, which provides enough comfort for long days in the saddle. Unfortunately, however, the lack of compliance holds it back in this regard. The rougher the surface, the harsher the ride quality. Not even the 45 mm WTB Riddler tires can do much to mitigate this. The cut out in the BBB FlyPost seat post is supposed to dampen vibrations, but it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. This isn’t a problem on well-groomed gravel roads and woodland paths, but you’ll get shaken up on bumpy terrain.

The stable and composed handling is also better suited to smooth gravel roads instead of trails. There are clear parallels to the Canyon Grizl, which rides similarly. The sedate handling of the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 makes it feel very composed and instils you with confidence, making it fun to ride fast, unless things get bumpy, in which case you’ll want to slow down before things rattle out of control. The gravel bike’s climbing performance is surprisingly good – despite its relatively heavy 9.89 kg and the chunky tires, the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 climbs rather well.

An easy-going bikepacking companion that lets you carry everything you need

What adventures is the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 destined for?

The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 is a great bike for relaxed rides and adventures on paved roads. The wealth of mounting points and the Adventure Rack make it an ideal bikepacking partner. It’s especially fun to ride on paved paths and smooth gravel roads. We think it would be great for some towpath touring, venturing far from the roads, but on relatively well kept surfaces. Thanks to the mudguard mounts, the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 will also make a pretty good commuter, but the harsh ride prevents it from doing anything too adventurous.

Helmet POC Omneair | Glasses Uvex Pace Perform | Jacket Pas Normal Studio Off Race Shell Jacket | Jersey Specialized fjallräven Womans Wool Caliswe T-Shirt | Bib Pas Normal Studios Escapism Bibs | Shoes GIRO Privateer Lace

Our conclusion on the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8

The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 is a good natured pack mule and adventure buddy, though it doesn’t like venturing into rough terrain. The mounting points and in-house rack offer plenty of gear hauling options and capacity. Considering the € 3,499 price point, the components are absolutely fine, too. Ultimately, the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 is more of a bike for all-road adventures than venturing far off the beaten track. All in all, it’s a thoroughly balanced and easy-going bike as long as you don’t wander too far from its comfort zone.


  • very balanced bikepacking bike
  • good value for money
  • in-house luggage rack is affordable and practical
  • matching top tube bag included


  • lack of compliance on rough terrain

For more information visit

The testfield

This bike was tested as part of our 2023 adventure gravel bike group test – you can find an overview of the group test and the test field here:

All bikes on review:Argon 18 Dark Matter | BMC URS 01 ONE | Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty | Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 Force AXS Trail | Falkenjagd ARISTOS TRAIL GRAVEL | Focus Atlas 8.8 | Ghost Asket Advanced | Giant Revolt X | Merida Silex 10k | Mondraker Dusty XR | Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M | Ridley Kanzo Adventure | Rose Backroad AL Plus | Santa Cruz Stigmata | Scott Solace Gravel eRIDE 10 | Specialized Diverge STR Pro | Trek Checkpoint SL 7 AXS | Wilier Adlar | YT Industries Szepter Core 4

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Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Jan Richter