Germany’s Focus have made a massive impact on the UK market since online giant Wiggle started importing their bikes. The brand offers a whole range of high quality bikes at reasonable – and sometimes ridiculously low – prices, to the point that you are sometimes left wondering what the catch is. The good news is that we’ve yet to ﬁnd one, and the carbon Cayo, in its various incarnations, has proved to be one of the biggest stars.
It’s a classic road bike engineered to be stiff and direct, and to eke out the maximum speed for the effort you drive through the cranks. Lightweight and super stiff, the excellent frame and fork package provides a fast, responsive ride and is massively upgradeable. The low riding position and ﬁrm ride will put some people off but if that’s what you’re after, it has to be on your shortlist.
The 105 version we have here is the cheapest model in the range. It comes with a compact chainset to take the grunt out of the hills, but if you want still lower gears there’s a triple chainset option available for the same price.
Ride & handling: Lightweight and ﬂex-free where it really matters
The Focus isn’t the lightest bike on the market but it still sprints up to speed super-fast thanks to impressive frame rigidity. Get out of the saddle and jump on the pedals and its big bottom bracket shell goes nowhere. Whether we were pulling away from junctions, laying the power down after a tight bend or trying to get away from the pack, its oversized tubing turned horsepower unswervingly into road speed.
There’s no trouble when you lean the Cayo over hard through fast, winding turns – just point and shoot. Hit the hills and it’s the same story, especially when you’re standing up on the pedals. The front end is remarkably solid – haul on FSA’s oversized aluminium bars and there’s very little ﬂex.
The ride is certainly on the ﬁrm side. The Cayo doesn’t shield you from dodgy road surfaces especially well, but don’t get us wrong, it doesn’t boot you hard in the pants either. And a reasonable depth of padding in the Concept saddle helps keep you comfy without adding squishiness.
With a shortish head tube (150mm on our 56cm model) and an integrated headset, the Cayo’s front end puts you into quite an aggressive, head-down ride position. You get 25mm of headset spacers, the bars are low-drop (125mm) and you could always ﬂip or swap the stem to raise yourself up, but if your back ever starts to complain during long rides, bear in mind that this bike is never going to offer the most relaxed setup ever. If you’re happy with a race-orientated position, though, it’s bang on.
Frame: High-quality unidirectional carbon frame built to a race-orientated geometry
Looking at the oversized tubes of the Focus’s unidirectional carbon composite frame you get a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be sturdy. The down tube has a 55mm diameter (think ‘goalpost’ and you won’t be far away), the bottom bracket junction is super-chunky and the deep, elaborately shaped stays aren’t going to back down in a ﬁght.
The slightly sloping top tube comes with internal cable routing for the rear brake while little plastic guides on the sides of the head tube stop your gear cables scratching the surface – except that one of ours came out immediately. A dab of glue would get it sorted if you’re really bothered.
You don’t get a cosmetic outer layer weave to the carbon ﬁbre, but should you really care? It’s a pretty darn sexy frame and the same goes for Focus’s matching carbon blade/alloy steerer fork that plugs in via an integrated FSA headset.
Equipment: Mainly Shimano 105 kit provides slick and dependable performance
The Cayo’s groupset components are sleek and reliable Shimano 105 pretty much throughout. The only exceptions are the front mech – which goes up a level to Ultegra – and the ubiquitous FSA Gossamer 50/34 crankset.
The Shimano 105 shifters took us effortlessly and faultlessly through the gears every time, and when it’s time to scrub off the speed, the 105 brakes don’t mess about. Progressive and powerful, they give you the faith you need to go at it hard.
The RS20 wheels, built to Shimano’s customary high standards, are light and excellent value. We occasionally got a little sideways movement but not enough to get down about and they’re light enough. The only in-house components on the bike are the Concept stem, seatpost and saddle.