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German company's flagship race bike gets aero treatment

In a move that hasn’t surprised any of us, Focus has given its flagship Izalco Max an aerodynamic makeover for 2019 whilst maintaining the low weight the previous generation model was renowned for.

Despite carrying the same model name, it’s an all-new bike with a clean sheet redesign that has been optimised in the wind tunnel. All the frame tubes now have a Kamm tail aerodynamic profile with details we are increasingly used to seeing on aero bikes, such as the dropped seatstays and the fork crown recessed into the down tube and head tube junction, all featured on this new bike.

Still, while it has many of those familiar features, it’s nowhere near as dramatic in its pursuit of reducing drag as the Cannondale SystemSix or Specialized Venge. It’s clear keeping the low weight of the previous model has been a goal as much as reducing drag has been with this new bike.

- Review: Focus Izalco Max Disc

You see this design balance of drag versus weight and usability in the handlebar and stem. To clean up the airflow around the front of the bike, Focus has developed its own aerodynamic stem with internal cable routing, but it has decided to use a stock Easton EC90 Aero carbon fibre handlebar rather than one of its own design. You could easily fit any handlebar you want as well, and make fit adjustments really easily. 

The stem has a -15-degree design and comes in five lengths from 80 to 120mm. Focus has also developed a new D-shaped seat post.

IZALCO MAX DISC 8 FS

All the changes have led to a claimed 6% reduction in drag compared to the previous bike. This percentage translates to a 1 min 30 sec saving over 50km at 200 watts.

When it launched in 2015, the Izalco Max Disc from German brand Focus Bikes was one of the lightest disc-equipped race bikes available, leading the company to claim it to be the “world’s lightest production disc braked road bike.”  

The frame weighed in at a claimed 790g. The new version is claimed to b 890g so a small weight increase mostly resulting around the aero profiling of the tubes.

It was also one of the first race bikes to be designed solely around disc brakes. The new Izalco Max continues to be disc-only, with 12mm thru-axles of the unique RAT design that makes wheel removal much quicker.

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Izalco Max 105

Other details include clearance for up to 28mm tyres, a tapered head tube and press-fit BB86 bottom bracket, and mechanical or electronic groupset compatibility.

The Izalco Max range will consist of six builds priced from £2,649 with a Shimano 105 groupset rising to £6,999 for the range-topping Izalco Max Disc 9.8 with SRAM Red eTap and DT Swiss ARC1450 Spline carbon wheels.

There’s also a frameset option for £2,449 if you want to build your own bike.

More at www.focus-bikes.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.