Quick, playful and sometimes just a little wild: the FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 is raring to go! Can it be tamed for everyday riding? And how does the German race all-rounder with its unique geometry perform in our group test?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best road bike of 2020 – 13 high-carat road bikes in review

FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 | 7.44 kg (size L) | € 8,999  | Manufacturer’s website

The designers of the FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC frameset have gone in a new direction in terms of riding position and geometry. To achieve a more open hip angle and a compact but still sporty position, the seat tube is positioned slightly further forwards. In turn, the proprietary seat post, which with its 15 mm offset is designed to offer additional compliance over a zero offset version, has an effective offset of only 2 mm. With clearances for up to 30 mm tires the FOCUS fits right in with many of its co-competitors.

The FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 in detail

The top model comes with FOCUS’ own 110 mm stem, featuring completely internally routed cables. In addition, it also allows standard bars with a 31.8 mm diameter to be used with it. The paint job of our test bike reminds us of the Mercedes AMG Petronas race car and is a welcome change from the norm. Equipped with a 2×11 Shimano DURA-ACE Di2 groupset, DT Swiss ARC 1450 DICUT DB wheels and 700 x 25C Continental GP 4000 SII (the production version will come with GP5000s), in a size L, the bike weighs 7.44 kg and costs € 8,999. Together with the Trek Domane and Argon 18 Krypton, the 78 mm largest bottom bracket drop is the largest in the group.

Aero at all costs
The Easton bars don’t offer enough space for most GPS mounts. FOCUS now offer their own mount that is compatible with Garmin, Wahoo and Polar devices.
Safety fast
The R.A.T thru-axle allows wheels to be fitted and removed quickly and safely
Unique design
Short head tube, longer fork legs – is there a little inspiration from the mountain bike world here?!

FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9

€ 8,999

Specifications

Seatpost IZALCO MAX Aero Carbon, D-Shape 25 mm
Brakes Shimano DURA-ACE R9170 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano DURA-ACE Di2 R9170
Stem IZALCO MAX Carbon 110 mm
Handlebar Easton EC90 Aero 420 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss ARC 1450 DICUT DB 48 mm
Tires Continental GP 4000 SII 700 x 25C
Gearing 52/36 T und 11–30 T 2x11

Technical Data

Size XXS XS S M L XL XXL
Weight 7.44 kg


Just shift
The Shimano DURA-ACE Di2 drivetrain, combined with the direct mount gear hanger offers optimal shifting performance, even under load.

The geometry of the FOCUS

Size XXS XS S M L XL XXL
Seat tube 430 mm 470 mm 490 mm 510 mm 530 mm 550 mm 590 mm
Top tube 504 mm 517 mm 535 mm 551 mm 564 mm 582 mm 602 mm
Head tube 80 mm 80 mm 100 mm 115 mm 125 mm 150 mm 185 mm
Head angle 69.5° 70.5° 71.5° 72.0° 72.0° 72.5° 72.5°
Seat angle 74.0° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Chainstays 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm
BB Drop 78 mm 78 mm 78 mm 78 mm 78 mm 78 mm 78 mm
Wheelbase 975 mm 975 mm 985 mm 997 mm 1,010 mm 1,024 mm 1,044 mm
Reach 360 mm 368 mm 378 mm 390 mm 400 mm 410 mm 420 mm
Stack 502 mm 506 mm 528 mm 544 mm 554 mm 579 mm 613 mm

The IZALCO MAX is the little fox terrier of our test – it needs movement and action all day long!

Helmet KASK VALEGRO | Glasses Electric California | Jersey VOID Shelter Softshell | Shorts VOID Ride Winter Tights | Socks Pacific and Co Barcelona Free Venus | Shoes SIDI Wire 2 Woman

The FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 in review

In direct contrast to its competitors, the FOCUS shines when accelerating thanks to its ability to sprint in every situation. It reveals itself to be incredibly efficient, whether it’s on the flats or on the climbs and eggs you on to push it hard. The handling of the FOCUS is comparatively agile, with the front of the carbon bike a little more playful than the slightly more sedate rear. Because of its playful character, it feels at home in tight corners and winding passages, though the somewhat nervous front requires a steady hand and focussed riding. The precision and direct handling together with the high level of agility means that practiced riders can make quick direction changes even at high speeds. However, beginners should spend some time testing their limits carefully. When cruising, the comfort of the FOCUS is average compared to the competition. While it damps vibrations effectively, the ride is definitely at the stiffer end of the spectrum. This bike wants to be ridden sportily and only then does it really give up any of its compliance. The FOCUS is also noticeably louder than the other bikes in our test. It’s important to note that this always depends on the combination of wheels, tires and frameset. During the test, we also noticed some compatibility issues with GPS mounts. Because the Easton EC90 Aero bar’s clamp area is so narrow, most bar mounted GPS mounts can’t be used, though FOCUS now offer their own stem-mounted option.

Tuning tips: Bars with a wider clamp area, or FOCUS’ own GPS mount

Riding Characteristics

4

Agility

  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively

Comfort

  1. firm
  2. comfortable

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

FOCUS
IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9

Size: XXS XS S M L XL XXL
Weight: 7.44 kg
Price: € 8,999

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3

Conclusion

With its sprinting abilities and playful handling, the FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 is a great choice for all the racers and crit riders out there. For tours and more leisure-oriented riders, it’s less appropriate due to the agile front and the comparatively low amount of comfort. While it’s a solid all-rounder, it’s just a bit too sporty to take the win in our test.

Tops

  • sprinting abilities
  • coherent geometry concept
  • high level of integration

Flops

  • comparatively low comfort
  • front a tiny bit too agile

For more info head to focus-bikes.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best road bike of 2020 – 13 high-carat road bikes in review

Alle Bikes im Test: Argon 18 Krypton Pro (Zum Test) | Bianchi Infinito CV Disc (Zum Test) | BMC Roadmachine 01 ONE (Zum Test) | Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura Ace (Zum Test) | Cicli Bonanno Futomaki Disc (Zum Test) | FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 | LOOK 795 BLADE RS DISC (Zum Test) | OPEN U.P.P.E.R. (Zum Test) | Pinarello Dogma F12 Team INEOS Edition (Zum Test) | ROSE REVEAL SIX Dura Ace Di2 Custom (Zum Test) | Specialized S-Works Roubaix (Zum Test) | Trek Domane SLR 9 eTap (Zum Test) | VOTEC VRC PRO (Zum Test)

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl