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Focus Cayo Expert SRAM 2009 test...ongoing



Focus Cayo Expert SRAM 2009

The bike has been a bit of an enigma for me because on paper and up close and personal, it looks the 'DB's. It is also the sort of bike I would consider buying, however, there is something, and I don't know what yet, that isn't quite right. Sure the SRAM Red is wonderfully slick, easy to get used to, but is it worth the extra money over say Campag Record or Chorus - not in my books. The wheels are OK, but nothing special. Also, it isn't full SRAM Red - Brakes, front mech being Force and the chain set, being compact is SRAM GPX. So my thinking would be, ditch the expensive SRAM stuff, put on full Chorus or Record and spend the difference on better wheels.

That said, it does ride really nicely, it's very stiff and responsive - a blast up the hills being pretty light. The compact chainset has made me put one on my Kinesis for up and coming Sportives. You do feel that each pedal stroke is pushing the bike forward in a very efficient manner. I Love the new 24mm Conti's they feel really secure in the current climes.. The saddle is really comfy and although the seatpost is well down in spec in comparison with the rest of the bike, it is very user friendly, having fine and positive adjustment. The brakes are really powerful.

Now here's the interesting bit (well possibly) - I rode the Cayo on my 30mile lumpy route and all was well but I was convinced I was working a bit harder than normal and noticed I was usually one sprocket higher, even though it's a compact chainset and a 26 block. So as soon as I got back, I went out on my trusty Kinesis - mudguards, lights, winter wheels - 5 to 6lbs heavier and did the same circuit again, keeping my pulse as near as I could to my previous ride. Guess what? 5 mins quicker! Funny I thought. So....... day got the turbo out, complete with power output, mileage , speed etc. Below is the result, hope it makes some sort of sense.

Bike Test - 10mins at an average bpm of 130

Focus Cayo Expert

average power output - 212W ( 267 max)  Distance covered - 2.58miles ( 15.2 avg mph)

Kinesis Gran fondo

average power output - 232W ( 290 max) Distance covered - 2.69miles ( 16.1avg mph)

So I've ruled out weight, wind, bike flex, and all the other variables I could - I even changed the rear tyre - using the Contis, and checked the pressures. Somewhere, the Cayo is losing out to the Kinesis in terms of Watts or miles / bpm.  That said , the Kinesis is a £700 frame so is no slouch.......

So the test goes on. My plan,  is to ride it a bit more, then repeat the above double lap to see if anything else transpires - maybe it just needs running in.

Stayed tuned or let me know if you have any bright ideas. I want this bike to succeed it looks great..

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gazzaputt | 15 years ago

'Sure the SRAM Red is wonderfully slick, easy to get used to, but is it worth the extra money over say Campag Record or Chorus - not in my books.'

Bizarre as every other review I've read of the SRAM Red groupo beats Campy and shimano hands down.

For me I agree with the reviews the SRAM Red and Force are way above anything campy have done so far.

Then again I haven't ridden and 11 speed setup yet...

Tony Farrelly replied to gazzaputt | 15 years ago

As to Red being more expensive than Campag or Shimano - yes, it is if you buy it afetrmarket - that's part of SRAM's strategy to turn it into a premium brand - the other bit is that the price to manufacturers using ti as OE is cheaper than Campag or Shimano - it's in SRAM's interests to get as much of it out there as quickly as possible.

Anyway, there's not point swapping the SRAM Red off for Campag - you might just as well get the Focus Cayo Expert Campa - mind you, I'd say you get better wheels on the SRAM version, more expensive any way. Which sort of proves my point about SRAM Red being expensive as an after market option but less expensive as original equipment.

As to all reviews of SRAM's road gruppos being universally good - mine wasn't and the original reviews of Force were decidedly mixed. I've ridden Force and I liked everything about it, except the shift itself, the shifting action was fine, but the actual shifts were sticky, and it missed quite a few, and it wasn't good under pressure. Give me Ultegra SL any day. I've put in a few miles on Red and ridden Dura Ace 7900 too - I'll take the latter - just. Mind you, I've met people paid to ride both Dura Ace and Red and who don't like either of them*… there's no pleasing some.

*Not that you'd get them to say that on the record (if you'll pardon the pun).

cactuscat replied to Tony Farrelly | 15 years ago

there's surely no way that the frame can account for a 10% difference in measured power, especially in a controlled environment such as a turbo session. if it was eating up 20W of power then the only way it would be able to dissipate it would be as heat, and i'm assuming you'd notice if your bike was getting hot  1

gazzaputt replied to Tony Farrelly | 15 years ago

The reason I give the SRAM groupo, and I will say this is for 2009, a 'hands down' vote are more precise shifting, zero loss technology, weight and of course double tap. I should have said the reviews I have read have mostly been for RED and Force 2009 although 2008 did also gain excellent feedback.

SRAM I feel have really have revolutionised road bike shifting. Double tap is a complete new approach and with zero loss this takes it a step further. I know most roadies do love Campy for their heritage and this I understand.It does though look with SRAM coming onboard this did force them to take alook at their product and come out with the 11 speed setup. As I previously said I have not ridden it so cannot comment but reviews of this have been positive.

It will take time for SRAM to break the monopoly of Campy and Shimano as a fairly new entry to the road bike market but their 2009 products do hold up to the best that the big two offer. Of course Lance riding SRAM will do them no end of favours.

Of course at the end of the day it is all about personal taste and this is my personal opinion.

Tony Farrelly replied to gazzaputt | 15 years ago

Red certainly is easy to use - and the Double Tap shift is mightily impressive, the other thing that is good about all three of the SRAM gruppos is how comfortable the hoods are.

No doubt about it there is a big divide in the road world between Campag and Shimano, and Red is only going to complicate that.  1

One thing you can be sure of though is that most bike testers have gone well beyond personal preference - I genuinely have no favourite any more in terms of the way they work - all have their strong points. From a bike testing point of view a groupset has to be judged on the combination of performance, value and durability it offers. The problem for any bike tester when evaluating a completely new groupset is in evaluating it's long term durability - to do that you really have to live with it and ride it day in day out for months rather than weeks… not many bike firms want to give you there high end bike for that long  2

One thing you can be assured of though is that no bike tested on is ever going to get marked down because it has Shimano, SRAM or Campag on it.

thebikeboy | 15 years ago

Could be down to things like muscle memory - maybe you are just more used to riding the Kinesis, the way it handles the most efficient pedalling styles - it it's heavier maybe it's quicker on the downhill bits - well maybe.

Or possibly your were warmed up for the second ride… It is odd, because it must come down to something like how comfortable you are on the bike because as you say if you are putting the same amount of power into a lighter bike it should be quicker surely.

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