Focus Arriba review£449.00

Low-key commuter

BikeRadar score4/5

With a stealthy graphite finish and unfussy finishing kit, the Arriba’s looks are a statement of intent – this is a no-nonsense commuting weapon.

Ride & handling: Equally at home on city streets or stony tracks

Jump on and it delivers on its promise with razor-sharp, direct handling from the ever-so-slightly swept back flat bars and upright, commanding riding position.

This means your head’s up for safely navigating the street, and your weight is comfortably distributed. Although the upright position means the saddle takes the majority of the load, Wiggle have left plenty of spacers between the stem and the top of the headset should you want a lower, more racy cockpit. 

Mechanically, everything works as it should, with the Shimano Sora drivetrain and thumbshifters working crisply up and down through the gears.

Talking of which – the Arriba’s 52/42/30-tooth triple chainset means this is no flat-land cruiser, with a range of gears that will get you around, up and down the hilliest of towns and cities.

Frame: Well thought out chassis with all the mounts you could need

At the heart of this no-nonsense ride is a solid, stiff, 6061 aluminium frame with chunky but even welding. The top and down tubes both flatten in profile as they run back towards the seat tube, and the frame has a lot in common with Focus’s well-liked championship-winning cyclo-cross frames.

As well as looking good, a flattened top tube makes a bike more comfortable to shoulder – something more likely to be useful for the portage section of a ’cross race than anything you might encounter on your ride home, though if you bump into a friend it’s also comfortable to sit on while you chat.

Despite the subtlety of its frame, the Arriba is brimming with versatility. There are both rack and mudguard mounts at the rear, plus low-rider pannier fixing points on the aluminium fork legs and dropouts at the front.

There's loads of clearance between the wheels and the frame for mud or mudguards, not to mention fatter, or even knobblier, tyres should you want to carry luggage, go touring or even head off-road.

Equipment: Own-brand Concept kit plus decent wheels and powerful V-brakes

Finishing kit is Focus’s competent own-brand Concept componentry, and the contact points of grips, pedals and saddle are reassuringly comfortable and effective.

The Schwalbe Speed Cruiser tyres are easily tough and quick enough for quick commutes, and the Euroline wheels don’t let them down.

The Shimano V-brakes are a revelation, and anyone more used to dull old brakes should beware of their efficiency!

A flat top-tube makes for comfy shouldering: a flat top-tube makes for comfy shouldering
A flat top-tube makes for comfy shouldering: a flat top-tube makes for comfy shouldering

Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
  • Age: 53
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9
  • Weight: 75kg /165lb
  • Waist: 33in
  • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
  • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
  • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Location: Bath, UK
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