Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8
Focus splits the Max into different frame levels with the eight-series chassis sitting in the middle, meaning it’s designed for mechanical and electronic drivetrains, and weighs in at just 970g in a 56cm (claimed weight).
It’s all about kammtails, and Focus claims that tubing shape counts for 12 watts over the old, round-tubed Max design.
Bike of the Year 2020
The Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8 is part of our annual Bike of the Year test.
Head to our Bike of the Year hub for the full list of winners, categories and shortlisted bikes, as well as the latest reviews – or read our behind-the-scenes feature on how we tested Bike of the Year 2020.
Dropped seatstays and plenty of clearance for tyres. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Like the Specialized Tarmac Disc Comp, the design follows the trend for dropped stays and generous tyre clearance.
The seatstays are almost bladed in profile for further aero gains, although they’re minimally sized for a hint of flex.
The chainstays, in comparison, are generously sized and almost triangular. The bottom-bracket shell is equally voluminous, while the carbon dropout features a 12mm RAT thru-axle that’s faster than a standard QR skewer.
Generously sized chainstays, a voluminous bottom-bracket shell and carbon dropouts with a 12mm RAT thru-axle rather than a standard QR skewer. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Comfort is raised by the D-shaped carbon seatpost.
Upfront, the fork crown integrates quite far into the head tube. It looks more aggressive than it is and the huge gap this creates between the top of the tyre and the fork is, says Focus, more aerodynamic.
That said, the ride position of my XL is still race orientated, thanks to a low 579mm stack and long 410mm reach; a 72.5-degree head angle and steep 73.5-degree seat angle encourage you to ride hard.
The Izalco is a bike with racy intentions. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8 ride impressions
It runs Shimano’s flawless Ultegra mechanical group and utilises the same 52/36, 11-30 gearing as the Tarmac.
The responsiveness of the chassis and low overall weight (8.51kg) results in swift ascents. Focus has chosen 160mm Ice Tech rotors front and rear on my XL (58cm) test bike.
The bike runs on Novatec’s R5 wheels. These 50mm-deep and broad aero rims are 26mm wide externally and 18.3mm internally.
They tip the scales at around 1,700g a pair and are highly responsive, while the blunted aero shape copes admirably in crosswinds.
The shape suits tyres up to around 28mm. They’re accompanied by Vittoria’s new graphene-infused 25c Rubino tyres and ride much better than standard Rubinos with a suppleness more akin to premium tyres.
The wheels, however, aren’t tubeless compatible.
The Izalco Max imbues everything that’s great about modern race bikes. The frame is stiff enough to sprint full gas or hammer into corners, but it never feels hard.
Yes, the ride is firm at times but the combination of frame, tyres, seatpost and cosy Prologo saddle nullify tiresome vibrations.
Prologo’s Scratch saddle sits atop the D-shaped carbon post for some added comfort. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8 overall
The Focus isn’t online-only like the Canyon CF SL 8.0 Di2 Aero and Vitus Vitesse Evo CRS, also on test, but it still packs a value-packed punch with Ultegra throughout
and highly responsive Novatec carbon wheels.
Ultimately, economics doesn’t dictate how you feel during every
pedal stroke. And aboard the Izalco, life was an absolute
joy, balancing comfort and maximum speed. It’s a great evolution on the 8.7.
The Izalco Max 8.8 combines lightweight and aero for a great ride. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8 geometry
Sizes (*tested): XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL*, XXL
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 55cm
Top tube: 58.2cm
Head tube: 15cm
Fork offset: 4.6cm
Bottom bracket drop: 7.8cm
With thanks to…
BikeRadar would like to thank 100%, Q36.5, Lazer, Garmin and Facom for their support during our Bike of the Year test.