Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

TECH NEWS

Focus launch new Cayo with disc brake option and electronic/mechanical groupset compatibility on all frames

New disc frameset claimed to be the lightest and best-performing on the market

Focus have today announced the launch of a completely re-designed Cayo including a disc braked version which they say is both the lightest and best-performing carbon disc brake frameset on the market.

The latest version of the Cayo – a bike designed for those who want to go fast, but not necessarily race at the top level – will be offered for the first time with a disc version as well as a standard calliper braked model. With an average frame weight of 880g across all five sizes, Focus reckon the new Cayo is the lightest carbon framed disc braked bike currently available – they also reckon that its stiffness under braking will make it the top performing disc braked carbon frameset currently available. Never bashful the Germans! 

Here’s the full range line-up:

Cayo 1.0 – Shimano Dura-Ace
Cayo 2.0 – Shimano Ultegra Di2
Cayo 3.0 Disc – Shimano Ultegra
Cayo 4.0 – SRAM Force
Cayo 4.0 Disc – SRAM Rival
Cayo 5.0 – Shimano Ultegra
Cayo 6.0 – Shimano Ultegra
Cayo 7.0 –Shimano 105

The new Cayo Disc will be available in both Shimano Ultegra and SRAM Rival versions. Both will come with Focus’s own design of bolt thru axle, the RAT, which we first sat on their Mares cyclocross bike back in February (more on that later) on a very light 380g one-piece carbon fork (the fork on the calliper braked Cayo is only 30g lighter). At the back, Focus have also gone down the route favoured by most other manufacturers for carbon disc equipped bikes by mounting the rear brake on the chainstay inboard of the rear triangle.

Whether you opt for a calliper or disc braked version of the bike, it will be compatible with electronic and mechanical shifting systems. Focus have managed this by using what they’re calling a Cable Routing Plate or CRP. If you want to change your shifting system you simply swap the plate. Simple but clever.

Focus say they believe strongly in disc brakes: "Discs are the future”, was an oft-repeated phrase at the launch. As for user scepticism, the line from the Focus guys is that mountain bikers were sceptical of disc brakes when they first started to appear on off-road bikes over a decade ago – until they tried them. 

"We believe strongly in disc brakes," they said, "especially because of carbon fibre rims. Heat from rim brakes can lead to delamination.”

"Disc brakes connected with lightweight rims are a must-have for road bikes."

Of course, disc brakes generate large amounts of heat too, just in a different place. While conceding that 140mm rotors look better, Focus are taking no risks when it comes to dealing with the issue of heat dissipation. The new Cayo frame is compatible only with 160mm rotors front and rear.

Here’s what Focus had to say on the subject in their press pack:

“In conjunction with mountain-bike brake and suspension supplier Magura, Focus tested the differential in heat generation between 140 and 160mm rotors. Under an 800W brake load, the 140mm disc registered 190°C compared to 170°C with the 160mm rotor.

"Hydraulic brake lines become seriously compromised at 190°C and above, so that 20°C difference introduces a comfortable safety margin. Focus took the view that the 30 grams extra weight of the 160mm rotor was a small price to pay to ensure safe and efficient braking.”

Given the lightness of the frame, keeping heat build up in the rotors to a minimum seems sensible. Plus, of course, they have to take in to account the wide variety of conditions the bike can be ridden in: from -20°C to +40°C. "We are the frame makers and it must be safe" we were told. That’s reassuring to know.

Last time we checked, Shimano were still making great play of the heat dissipating abilities of their hydraulic road discs with the IceTech fins derived from their XTR mountain bike discs. Although it has to be said that while Shimano suggest their 140mm rotors for the road is the better option, their take is that 160s are just too powerful. Most manufacturers who spec them have gone down the 160/140 route or, like Focus, gone with 160s front and rear.

Focus have decided to use thru axles (with closed rather than open dropouts) instead of standard quick release skewers. When it comes to performance road bikes with discs, many manufacturers have gone down this route. First, Giant broke cover with their own design last year, followed earlier this year by both Focus with their Rapid Axle Technology (RAT) axle – on the Mares cyclocross bike (and now the Cayo road bike) – and Trek on the Domane Disc, both with their own proprietary designs.

"We always want to deliver the best performance and for disc brakes there is only one option: thru axle," said Focus engineer Thadeus Tisch. "Besides the higher stiffness that thru axles deliver to the wheels there is another important reason. Thru axles ensure a perfect alignment of the disc rotor between the brake pads and minimise noise. There is nothing more annoying than grinding brakes."

The RAT is an axle with a T-Pin on the end. You fit the T-Pin through the fork and into the insert at the far end, you turn it 90 degrees, then you close the lever (a lot like with a standard QR) and that locks it in place. It takes a couple of seconds. Simple. Smart.

And the performance benefit for racers? Well, when discs are approved for race bikes (yes, 'when' rather than 'if'), Focus claim their RAT axles will make changing wheels faster than can currently be achieved on road bikes with calliper brakes and quick releases – since the pro teams are no longer allowed to file off the lawyer's lips (the safety tabs on the dropouts). The UCI will legalise discs for road racing in 2016, mark our words! They might not know it yet, but they will. 

Anway back to the bike – because a good bike is not all about braking. There’s other important stuff too like what it rides like when you’re not braking (we'll have a ride report tomorrow). 

The Cayo isn’t Focus’s most successful frame platform because it is the most advanced but because it the one that historically has combined the most technology and performance for the least amount of money... Or, if you prefer, it's the one that gives the biggest bangs per Buck.

While the new braking options may initially be the most eye-catching aspect of the new bike, it’s the method of frame construction and design that Focus are clearly most pleased about. You can see why given that they set out to produce a lightweight, high-tech machine at a price point. 

The Cayo is a bike for going fast on. You can race on it but it hasn’t got quite the super-aggressive geometry of the Izalco, the bike Focus aim at full-on racers. The Cayo's ride position is a touch shorter and more upright than that of the Izalco but the head tube isn't crazy tall like it is on some sportive bikes

Focus wanted to keep the ride position consistent across all frame sizes, so the stack: reach ratios are the same across the range.

To do that Focus went back to the current model, the Cayo Evo and used its geometry as the starting point to to try to achieve as near constant as a stack to reach* ratio across all sizes of the new model. What they achieved was a stack to reach ratio across the five sizes in the range of 1:1.39 to 1:1.42. By comparison, the more extreme Izalco has a stack to reach ratio of between 1:1.34 or 1.35.

Focus say they wanted to build a bike that delivers stiffness where it counts: at the head tube and bottom bracket. They also wanted to deliver the same stiffness characteristics in every size from 48cm through to 60cm. They've achieved this by varying the diameter of the tubes between sizes, calling this the Stable Stiffness Per Size or SSPS (well, who doesn’t like an acronym?).

"A tall rider is heavier than a small rider so requires a stiffer frame," according to Focus. "To achieve that greater stiffness more carbon-fibre is used in critical sections like the bottom bracket area. This gives all riders the same Cayo riding experience."

The cleverness doesn’t end there. Focus set themselves the task of building a light, stiff, high performance bike – but, crucially, the Cayo has to deliver on price. The easiest way to deliver a light, stiff road bike is to use high modulus or even ultra high modulus carbon fibre which allows you to get very thin on your tube sections. The downside is that stuff costs.

According to Focus, they squared that circle by going for larger tube profiles to add stiffness and strength and using what they call EPS core design. Basically, they designed the inside of the tube profiles as much as the outside, to their own design of carbon layup. That, they reckon, allows them to fine-tune each tube on each frame, eliminating waste and building in strength.

Finally, here are the tech specs for the new Cayo range:

 

Cayo 1.0

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON
Fork IZALCO P2T CARBON T4
Groupset SHIMANO DURA-ACE
Chainset ROTOR 3D30
Handlebar FIZIK CYRANO R3
Stem FIZIK CYRANO R3
Saddle FIZIK ANTARES NEW
Brakes SHIMANO DURA-ACE
Wheels DT SWISS R20 DICUT
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON

 

Cayo 2.0

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON
Fork IZALCO P2T CARBON T4
Groupset SHIMANO ULTEGRA DI2
Chainset SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Handlebar CONCEPT EX
Stem CPX CARBON
Saddle FIZIK ARIONE R7
Brakes SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Wheels FULCRUM WH-CEX 6.5 NEW
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON

 

Cayo 3.0 DISC

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON DISC
Fork IZALCO P2T CARBON T4 DISC
Groupset SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Chainset SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Handlebar CONCEPT EX
Stem CPX CARBON
Saddle FIZIK ARIONE R7
Brakes SHIMANO ULTEGRA SR685
Wheels DT SWISS R24 SPLINE TRU-AXLE DISC
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON DISC

 

Cayo 4.0

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON
Fork IZALCO P2T CARBON T4
Groupset SRAM FORCE 22
Chainset SRAM FORCE 22
Handlebar FIZIK CYRANO R5
Stem FIZIK CYRANO R5
Saddle FIZIK ARIONE R7
Brakes SRAM FORCE 22
Wheels FULCRUM WH-CEX 6.5 NEW
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON

 

Cayo 4.0 Disc

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON DISC
Fork IZALCO P2T CARBON T4 DISC
Groupset SRAM RIVAL 22
Chainset SRAM RIVAL 22
Handlebar CONCEPT EX
Stem CPX CARBON
Saddle FIZIK ARIONE R7
Brakes SRAM RIVAL HDR-A1
Wheels DT SWISS R24 SPLINE TRU-AXLE DISC
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON DISC

 

Cayo 5.0

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON
Fork IZALCO P2T CARBON T4
Groupset SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Chainset SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Handlebar CONCEPT EX
Stem CONCEPT EX
Saddle CONCEPT EX
Brakes SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Wheels FULCRUM WH-CEX 6.5 NEW
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON

 

Cayo 6.0

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON
Fork FOCUS CRF CARBON T4
Groupset SHIMANO ULTEGRA
Chainset SHIMANO RS500
Handlebar CONCEPT EX
Stem CONCEPT EX
Saddle CONCEPT EX
Brakes CONCEPT R540
Wheels FULCRUM WH-CEX 7.0
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON

 

CAYO LTD SHIMANO 105

Frame CAYO P2T CARBON
Fork FOCUS CRF CARBON T4
Groupset SHIMANO 105
Chainset SHIMANO RS500
Handlebar CONCEPT EX
Stem CONCEPT EX
Saddle CONCEPT EX
Brakes CONCEPT R540
Wheels FULCRUM WH-CEX 7.0
Tyres CAYO P2T CARBON

Frame sizes are 48, 51, 54, 57, 60cm.

The Cayo frames are being produced now and the calliper versions will be available first. We do not yet have details on availability or on UK prices.

*Stack = the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube.

Reach = the horizontal distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Latest Comments