With the Focus Paralane2 (it reads Paralane squared) the brand from Cloppenburg presents its first off-the-shelf electric road bike. Last year we were the first magazine worldwide to test the Paralane prototype and one year on we finally had a chance to ride and test the finished production model. What is the production model capable of? Will it reach the 1,000 km mark on one battery charge and can you ride it in a group?

Focus Paralane2 9.6 | 13.50 kg | € 5,199

Whilst the electrification of mountain bikes is in full swing the road bike segment is following suit. That’s why an increasing number of manufacturers are offering an ever wider selection of electric road bikes. Focus was one of the first manufacturers to present an exciting and well-rounded concept of an electric road bike — they called it the Project Y. This received a very positive response and even won the prestigious Design & Innovation Award. According to Focus the aim was to prove that an eBike can be sporty without claiming to be a full-blooded racer. More Porsche Cayenne than 911 we think!

Our latest reader’s survey revealed that fun is the main reason for you to ride your bikes. With the Paralane2 Focus wants to make this fun accessible to a wider target group. The aim is to homogenise group rides and save friendships but also to help more ambitious riders on their commute to work: forget about the car, the stuffy bus and train journeys and jump on your bike! And all of it without carrying the burden of a neon-bright “trekking rider” sign on your forehead. Group harmony, relaxed commuting and tons of style – what else do you need? Perhaps some rethinking is due. Road cycling shouldn’t always mean burning lungs; sometimes it even means riding 20 km and having lots of fun while doing it. Whether it’s the Royal stage of the Tour de France or the commute to work – or whatever personal Alp d’Huez challenge you dream of —the Paralane2 is Focus’ very own idea of the perfect two-wheeled companion for all situations.

eRoadbikes are just for girls …
… and the elderly *cough*

Focus Paralane2 – Concept and spec

Using their results and findings from the development of the Focus Sam2 the engineers at Focus wanted to combine the advantages of a road bikes with the perks of an eBike — and the Paralane2 is the result of their efforts. In this case the electric motor is intended as a sporadic support for a number of specific situations rather than a permanent drive. This way you can lessen the pain on steep mountain climbs or fight bothersome headwinds while the electric motor supports you with its rated power of 250 W and maximum power of 400 W up to speeds of 25 km/h. And when you really want to go for it you will appreciate the absence of any noticeable resistance or drag from the FAZUA motor when riding without any support or with the motor turned-off.

While implementing the eRoad concept Focus packed the Paralane2 with a bunch of different technologies. Amongst them the Road Boost Axle Standard is worth a particular mention. That’s right — a new standard! The 12×148 mm rear-spacing is meant to provide the bike with a better chain line and allow for a quieter, more efficient and durable ride. This was absolutely necessary since the FAZUA motor increases the Q-factor of the bottom bracket by 6 mm. To address this issue the engineers at Focus sat down with DT Swiss and stretched the142 mm road-bike standard by exactly 6 mm. As a logical consequence they decided to use a 110 mm wide boost axle in the front to replace the standard 12×100 mm axle.

Road Boost Standard and Rapid Axle Technology. Clever: Mounting option for mud guards.
The Shimano 105 drivetrain discreetly does its job.
The drawback of a central motor: the drivetrain and chain are exposed to greater forces.

The carbon frame of the Paralane2 is available in four sizes from S all the way through to XL and offers enough room for tires of up to a 35 mm width. Focus also offers the Paralane2 frame with an “Out of the Box waterproof” setup as standard. These frames are delivered with mudguards as standard.

A spoke magnet serves as a speed sensor for the FAZUA motor.
160 mm discs front and rear
Compact and fully integrated

One more interesting detail: the FAZUA battery and motor-unit — which weighs 3.3 kg and sits in the down tube — can be removed and replaced by a cover. The battery has a 250 Wh capacity and the motor delivers a maximum torque of 60 Nm.

The FAZUA-unit: motor and battery in one unit
After extended inactivity the system must be reactivated directly from the battery

Focus Paralane2 price, weight and spec options

The model in our test derives from the 9.6 configuration and comes with a Focus aluminium cockpit and a Shimano 105 7000 groupset. The 27.2 mm BBB carbon seat post was developed by Focus and is now also distributed by BBB itself. The DT Swiss RR521 rims are laced on DT Swiss 370 hubs and a set of 28 mm Vectran-reinforced Continental 4-Season tires takes care of the traction. The Focus Paralane2 9.6 weighs 13.5 kg in a size M. The Paralane2 will also be available in the following spec options:

Focus Paralane2 9.9 – € 10,499

Motor/Battery Fazua Evation, 250 Wh
Brakes Shimano Dura Ace
Drivetrain Shimano Dura Ace Di2
Wheels DT Swiss ERC 450 DB

Focus Paralane2 9.8 – € 6,999

Motor/Battery Fazua Evation, 250 Wh
Brakes Shimano Ultegra
Drivetrain Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels DT Swiss RR521 Spline

Focus Paralane2 9.7 – € 5,999

Motor/Battery Fazua Evation, 250 Wh
Brakes Shimano Ultegra
Drivetrain Shimano Ultegra
Wheels DT Swiss RR521 Spline

Focus Paralane2 9.6 – € 5,199

Motor/Battery Fazua Evation, 250 Wh
Brakes Shimano 105
Drivetrain Shimano 105
Wheels DT Swiss RR521 Spline

Focus Paralane2 9.6 – Test, range and group rides

In the practical test the advantages of a central motor become evident and result in a neutral and good-natured handling. Since most of the weight sits right in the centre of the bike the Paralane2 always feels predictable and precise. With quick direction changes however you’ll have to guide it a little but once you’re on track the bike will follow your line smoothly and corner in a controlled fashion. When sprinting you can feel the extra weight in the handling. The compact riding position gives you enough room to shift your body weight according to the situation. The riding position reminded us of modern endurance bikes — after all the Paralane2 is based on the Focus Paralane. Downhill the bike inspires tons of confidence and sits nicely and safely on the tarmac. However when braking you’ll have to remember you are trying to bring an extra 4 kg to a halt.

Depending on the selected support level on climbs the FAZUA motor will either give you sweat patches or Superman virtues. The highest support level will make you literally fly up the hill and put an accomplished grin on your face. In the medium support level you’ll have to pedal significantly harder and in the lowest support level you’ll be asking yourself whether this even makes up for the additional weight of the bike. Regardless of the support level with the Paralane2 you’ll be missing the nimble handling of a light road bike when climbing mountains.

When riding on flats on the other hand the situation becomes clearer: as expected here you can easily cruise up to a speed of 25 km/h. The comfortable upright riding position and confidence-inspiring handling allow you to relax and enjoy the landscape: pure pleasure!

If you accelerate beyond the 25km/h threshold the motor will decouple entirely. This will save some battery for the next climb and award you with some extra training points. And if you’re about to ask how far you’ll get on one battery charge on your electric road bike as usual you won’t get a clear answer: If you ride with your mates at a speed of over 25 km/h keeping in the slipstream of one of your riding buddies or maintaining your speed above the 25 km/h threshold you could even squeeze 1000 km out of a single charge. But if you want to conquer your local mountain with a 40 km climb and over 2,000 vertical meters one battery charge will get you up once. However all this depends on your weight, the support level you’re using, the cadence and another 20-odd parameters that will affect the battery range. The reality is that when we rode in a group taking advantage of some random slipstreaming our 73 kg test rider managed about 70 km and 1,000 vertical meters — and he even made it back with 25% juice left in the battery.

Knackered: even eBiking can be strenuous! It doesn’t always depend on what you ride but also on how you ride it!

If you ride in a group and the guy in front of you quickly accelerates over the 25 km/h threshold you’ll have to make an effort to stay in his slipstream. But if you managed to keep your bike at a consistent speed you’ll be able to sit on his back wheel without the support of the motor even if you’re a newbie. As typical for eBikes the motor generates a perceptible background noise however this is minimal most of the time.

When it comes to riding comfort we would describe the Focus Paralane2 as rather low-cost. Although the carbon seatpost provides some flexibility the frame feels relatively stiff and only offers a little damping at the rear as a result of its design. Combined with the stiff aluminium cockpit and the rigid fork the overall system offers only small amounts of comfort. At least the 28 mm wide tires seem to help us relax a little.

As far as aesthetics go the FAZUA display on the handlebars doesn’t match the high-quality carbon frame and leaves us scratching our heads. Unfortunately nothing has changed from the prototype model in this respect.

In order to restart the system after the bike’s been left unused for a while it is necessary to remove the battery. On our test bike the battery lock jammed from time to time and made it difficult to re-engage the FAZUA unit.

Focus Paralane2 – Conclusions

With the Paralane2 German brand Focus presents an aesthetically pleasing and well-integrated overall package for the eRoad sector. With its balanced and confidence-inspiring handling the bike is still easy to ride in the slipstream of your competitors even without using the motor above the 25 km/h threshold. Compared to the Project-Y prototype however we would have loved to see an improvement on the FAZUA control unit. With the Paralane2 both ambitious commuters and pleasure riders will find an exciting alternative which could also replace an expensive second family car.

A limited number of Focus Paralane2 models will be available from the beginning of July. You can find more info on the manufacturer’s homepage focus-bikes.com

How do you feel about the growing e-trend in the road bike sector? Tell us your opinion and send it to hello@granfondo-cycling.com

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Robin Schmitt