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Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8 review

This Performance Bike of the Year contender has speed at its very core, with very few downsides

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £3,399.00 RRP | EUR €3,699.00 | AUD $5,499.00
Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8

Our review

Lightweight and aero combined
Pros: Very fast, light and swift to handle
Cons: Low-slung position; not tubeless compatible
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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).

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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.

Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8
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.

Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8
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.

Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8
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.

Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8
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.

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Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.8
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
  • Chainstay: 41cm
  • Seat tube: 55cm
  • Top tube: 58.2cm
  • Head tube: 15cm
  • Fork offset: 4.6cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 7.8cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,024mm
  • Stack: 57.9cm
  • Reach: 41cm

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.

Product Specifications


Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $5499.00EUR €3699.00GBP £3399.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 8.51kg (XL), Array, kg
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Focus


Available sizes br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Bottom bracket br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, Shimano Pressfit Road BB86
Brakes br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Shimano Ultegra hydraulic 160/160mm Ice Tech rotors
Cassette br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano Ultegra 11-30
Chain br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, Shimano CN-HG701
Cranks br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Shimano Ultegra 52/36
Fork br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, MAX technology carbon
Frame br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, MAX technology carbon
Front derailleur br_frontDerailleur, 11, 0, Front derailleur, Shimano Ultegra
Handlebar br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, BBB Deluxe alloy
Headset br_headset, 11, 0, Headset, Acros
Rear derailleur br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano Ultegra
Saddle br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Prologo Scratch
Seatpost br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Izalco Max aero
Shifter br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano Ultegra
Stem br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, BBB Deluxe alloy
Tyres br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Vittoria Rubino Graphene 2.0 Tubeless 700 x 25c
Wheels br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Novatec R5 Carbon