The first generation Cayo launched in 2005 and quickly established itself as a benchmark for affordable carbon road bikes. For 2015, Focus has released an all new variant that’s available with and without discs. The 7.0 is the cheapest model, with a claimed frame weight in the region of 860g (plus just 350g for the fork).
Highs: An incredibly nice frame for the money that’s stiff yet comfy; great shifting from the 105 groupset
Lows: No mudguard mounts despite ample clearance; wheels are quite heavy
Buy if: You want a quality frame that’s specced for maximum value
Although it sits at the bottom of the range, the Cayo 7.0 shares a frameset with its costlier brethren, and there’s nothing budget about it. It’s got neat internal cable routing, a full carbon tapered fork, and carbon dropouts. Thanks to the interchangeable ‘Cable Routing Plate’ head tube insert, it’ll take an electronic groupset without unsightly bodges, a boon if you want the option of upgrading down the line.
No new bike would be complete without an impressive/vacuous sounding marketing acronym; the Cayo gets ‘SSPS’ (Stable Stiffness Per Size), which means carbon layups are adjusted across the sizes to reflect the stiffness requirements of different rider weights. Of course, this may not help if you’re short and fat, or unusually skinny for your height.
The frame also sports an immense PF30 bottom bracket shell (which necessitates adaptor cups for the Shimano chainset) and a top tube that flares dramatically to sharp points, before blending into the head tube, all in the interests of targeting stiffness where it’s needed most. We don’t know if that actually makes sense from an engineering perspective, but it certainly looks good.
Smooth shifting 105 provides 11-speed cadence control: Robert Smith
Smooth shifting 105 provides 11-speed cadence control
Focus has been intelligent with its choice of components. A non-series Shimano chainset and off-brand brakes (which work just fine) keep costs down, but they’ve given you the parts of the latest 11-speed 105 groupset that matter – the shifters, the derailleurs, and the fancy polymer-coated cables that ensure buttery shifting.
The wheels are relatively chunky OEM Fulcrum offerings, but feature cartridge bearings and brass spoke nipples, and it’s gratifying to see 25mm tyres fitted as standard. Speaking of tyres, it’s worth mentioning that the Cayo has clearance for at least 28mm of rubber front and rear, which should also make fitting mudguards easier, although Focus has missed a trick by not providing any mounts.
The finishing kit is from Focus’ in-house Concept brand and while it’s not flashy, it fits in well with the aesthetic of the bike. We very much liked the bars, which flare outwards quite significantly at the comfy, ergo shaped drops, offering a lot of confidence on descents.
Flared drops inspire confidence on descents: Robert Smith
Flared drops inspire confidence on descents
In fact, the whole riding experience is one of composure: it’s not a cobble eater, but the frame does an admirable job of absorbing road buzz, succeeding in preserving a great sense of willingness when the urge to hurt oneself strikes. Reasonably, but not excessively aggressive geometry (our 51cm frame had a 537mm top tube, 130mm head tube and a 72 degree head angle) lets you get low if you want to, and 52/36 gearing up front occupies a satisfying middle ground between a standard chainset and a compact, matched to an 11-28 cassette that should satisfy most.
The Cayo is a hell of a lot of bike for your money. If you’re desperate to shed weight, there’s a fair saving to be made in the wheels, but it’s nice enough in its stock form that we wouldn’t bother.