Focus was born from its roots as a cyclocross bike manufacturer in Germany. The company was founded in 1992 by Mike Kluge, three-time cyclocross World Champion. After producing mountain and touring bikes, in 2003 they expanded into making racing bikes.
In 2009 Focus sponsored their first World Tour team, Team Milram. I had one of these team issue bikes and I rode it to some of my best memories as a cyclist here in Australia.
Jumping ahead to 2013, Focus has partnered with many high profile teams including Katusha, Acqua & Sapone, NetApp and currently sponsors Ag2r and Jelly Belly (Rodriguez just won the US National Championships on his Cayo) and Focus is still deeply embedded in the cyclocross scene.
Before the ride
The courier dropped the bike off a couple weeks ago in a big cardboard box, and when I went to lift it up the stairs I thought they forgot to put the wheels in. It was that light.
The bike was brand new and needed assembly. It only took me about 20 minutes as it was mostly put together. I just needed to take off the packing and put the regular bits in the right places.
- Frame – Cayo Evo – Ltd paint scheme
- Fork – 3T Rigida LTD
- Stem – Tune Stem
- Bars – Schmolke SL handlebars
- Seatpost – Schmolke SL post
- Saddle – Tune saddle
- Cranks – Tune cranks
- Wheels – Lightweight – Tubular<
- Tyres – Schwalbe
- Brakes – Fibula
- Levers – SRAM Red 10
- Rear Der – SRAM Red
- Front Der – SRAM red
- Chain – SRAM Red
- Cassette – SRAM Red
After putting it all together I brought out the scale to see just how light this thing was. 5.5kgs as it turns out. The one component that I noticed more than anything when putting the bike together was the saddle and seatpost weight. Together they weighed about 150 grams and I couldn’t believe what I was holding in my hand. I’m familiar with the sensation of picking up Lightweight wheels but they never cease to amaze me when I lift them.
The frame is a limited edition matt black paintjob which weighs approximately ~950 grams (54cm size). The fork is, depending on steerer length, around 290 – 300g. It’s the exact same Cayo EVO frame you’ll get on their more affordable models with a different paint scheme and slightly different fork. Paint itself can add up to a surprising amount of weight, so I imagine that choosing matt black for this model is one of those one-percenters which adds up to shave off those precious grams.
The Cayo frame comes in five different sizes. This differs from Focus’ top end Izalco framesets which have seven different sizes (often the cost difference comes from the price of building more expensive moulds).
You can also see that the fork rake of the Cayo is less than the Izalco’s, but has a similar headtube angle. This equates to more trail (a product of head angle and fork rake) which creates slower steering (i.e. more input required to turn the bike – which isn’t necessarily a good thing or a bad thing – it’s a matter of preference).
More trail is good at high speeds, but at slower speeds it can mean that you need more input to steer the bike. In the end, the Cayo has more trail than the Izalco which in theory makes it a better bike than the Izalco for cornering at high speeds.
Read more about how to interpret these geometry charts in this Geometry of Bike Handling article.
After the ride
I took the bike out for a 40km ride down Beach Road and while it’s not exactly the territory that will allow this bike to shine, it’s enough to get a good feel for it. Let’s not beat around the bush. The theme of this bike is “weight”. It’s light, and that’s exactly what it’s trying to be.
Even though it’s only about 1.5kg lighter than the UCI legal weight of 6.8kg which doesn’t sound like much (that’s about 2 bidons, or a set of wheels) there’s an incredible sensation to riding a bike this light. It makes you feel like you’re floating and it accelerates with remarkable ease.
Of course there’s far less material on a bike like this to soak up the vibrations, so the compromise is a comfortable and plush feel to the ride that a heavier bike would have. However, the Cayo frame spec’d on this bike is the same one you’ll find on any of the Evo models.
Built up with a more forgiving set of wheels (Lightweights are an incredibly stiff wheel, sometimes too stiff), a more comfortable saddle, and more hefty groupset you’ll get a more comfortable ride and save about $7k. However, it you’re a weight weenie looking to see what you can do on a relatively modest budget, this is a bike to consider.
The frame itself has a comfortable geometry and steers a little less quickly than the Izalco which I’ve owned a few of. The overriding characteristic of the geometry is “neutral”, which is more or less similar to the Izalco. It doesn’t venture to the extremes of stiffness or handling (this can be said about many mass produced bikes these days).
- Incredibly light and nimble
- Uses the exact same frame as on lower end models, so this bike can be gradually built up for those on a budget
- Comfortable geometry for a racey looking bike
- Corners nicely
- Sacrifices feel and comfort for feather-weight
- I wouldn't want to do a long ride on that saddle
- Even though a $12k pricetag is good for the parts it's spec'd with, if you don't have the budget it's hard to justify thousands more for marginal weight gains.