Focus Paralane2 9.7
Focus was an early adopter of electric bikes and it launched the Paralane² with the aim of having an e-bike that feels and behaves like a normal road bike without an excessive weight penalty.
To achieve this, it partnered with Bavarian start-up Fazua. The Fazua system tips the scales at around 13.5kg, but you can remove 3.3kg of that weight and put on a cover for the down tube battery port, the Paralane² then becomes a 10kg bike.
Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes provide great control.
The Paralane² uses the Boost standard spacing for the rear hub and that’s because the bottom bracket shell is 3mm wider than a standard bike so, to ensure perfect chain alignment, the rear end needs to be wider.
While it’s a new standard it’s one that is being widely adopted with the likes of DT Swiss launching a range of compatible wheels – including lightweight high-end carbon for the dedicated upgraders.
The Paralane² runs Ultegra in a very hill-friendly 50/34, 11-32 combo with the FSA carbon crank proving a perfect partner.
On the road it feels just like a road bike, it’s a little heavier and you soon run faster than the assistance is legally allowed. I found leaving the bike in its minimal assistance setting, or even off when riding on the flat, is fine, only moving up the assistance modes when the gradient required it.
The button on the down tube releases the battery. Robert Smith
The beauty of Fazua’s system is its unobtrusive nature. It’s like getting a second wind but you always feel like it’s you in control rather than the bike taking over.
The Paralane² comes with 28mm tyres but it can take up to 35mm. I found it more enjoyable when getting onto less-than-ideal surfaces, so I’d rather see bigger tyres as standard. On loose gravel surfaces the bike feels planted and the extra power it gives means that you’re free to concentrate on your body position and weight shifts to keep traction.
The Fazua controller is a bit bulky and cheap looking.
The range of the Paralane², like any e-bike, depends on how much you rely on it. On a normal ride I eked out 68.5 miles / 110.2km and 1,650m / 5,413ft of elevation with some clever use of the controller (switching off when not needed).
On a ride using the power constantly (switching between modes and staying below 16mph) I got 36.5miles / 58.7km with 760m / 2,493ft of elevation.
The Fazua is a new breed of more sport-orientated assistance that aids your efforts but still rewards for proper physical effort.
Focus’s brilliant RAT thru-axles are easy to use.
Focus Paralane2 9.7 geometry (L)
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 54cm
Top tube: 56.8cm
Head tube: 19cm
Fork offset: 4.6cm
Bottom bracket drop: 7.5cm