Focus Super Bud Expert review

German engineered affordable full-susser

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,149.00 RRP | USD $1,520.13

Our review

Focus bikes are well-equipped, but the SuperBud Expert really needs a suspension update
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Focus’s Super Bud Expert combines a conventional-looking frame – boasting a trend-busting 91mm of rear wheel travel – with a mid-range component package. It’s clear Focus’s engineers know what they’re doing, but the Bud’s design belongs to an earlier era. It shows in the poor performance of the rear end, and it’s mostly down to the position of a couple of pivots. This is a rare case of German engineering failing to deliver vorsprung durch technik.

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Ride & handling: Stable, but outdated suspension design robs you of momentum

For hardened cross-country racers less interested in comfort and control than outright speed, a well-designed and lightweight full susser with limited travel makes some sense. For the rest of us, arguably less so – particularly when, as in this case, the limited travel is hobbled further. 

The Super Bud’s relaxed angles make for stable handling, and the budget RockShox Recon fork fares well in the rough. It’s not such good news at the rear though, where the already limited travel on offer is hampered on the one hand by the sluggish Suntour Raidon shock and on the other by the low position of the chainstay pivot.

The Super Bud’s suspension design pre-dates the switch to shocks with compression damping control. It works by using chain tension to help extend the shock, effectively reducing bounce and wallow under hard pedalling loads. 

On a race bike nearly a decade ago this made sense, but on the Super Bud it simply prevents the shock from working properly when you’re on the gas. Square-edged lips that other bikes simply float over act as momentum-robbing stoppers for the Focus.

Frame: Tidy and functional, but shock gets bogged down on successive hits

The Focus is tidily put together; simple, sound engineering abounds. Hydroformed wizardry is conspicuously absent, but an open-ended welded gusset under the down tube does the job just as well. Chunky welds and solid, forged chain- and seatstay bridges both complete the functional look.

Unfortunately the Suntour Raidon air shock lets the side down, with non-adjustable rebound that’s initially snappy but ends up sluggish enough to bog the shock down on successive hits.

Equipment: Decent coil fork, quality Mavic wheels and powerful Avid discs

RockShox’s budget Recon SL is a decent coil fork whose main disadvantage over costlier air-sprung alternatives is that it offers limited rider weight adjustment. It does come with a bar-mounted lockout lever, though.

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Mavic’s Crossride Disc wheels are a welcome sight at this price, while the SRAM transmission, Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc brakes, and FSA and Concept-branded finishing kit hold no nasty surprises.

A tidy throat gusset cleanly reinforces the main frame: a tidy throat gusset cleanly reinforces the main frame
Seb Rogers

Product Specifications

Product

Name Super Bud Expert (09)
Brand Focus

Available Sizes L M S XL
Rear Tyre Size 26x2.1
Top Tube (in) 22.75
Seat Tube (in) 18.5
Chainstays (in) 16.9
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.75
Weight (lb) 29.3
Weight (kg) 13.3
Stem FSA
Shifters SRAM X-7
Seatpost Concept SL
Seat Angle 71.5
Saddle Concept SL
Rims Mavic Crossride
Rear Tyre Racing Ralph
Brakes Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc
Rear Shock SR Suntour Raidon air, 91mm travel
Rear Hub Mavic Crossride Disc
Rear Derailleur SRAM X-9
Head Angle 69.5
Handlebar FSA
Front Tyre Size 26x2.1
Front Tyre Racing Ralph
Front Hub Mavic Crossride Disc
Front Derailleur SRAM X-7 front mech
Frame Material aluminium
Fork RockShox Recon SL coil, 100mm travel
Cranks Truvativ Firex
Wheelbase (in) 42.1