Focus Izalco Team SL 4.0 review

Is this TdF 2013 frame still a contender?

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£2,499.00 RRP

Our review

A wonderfully cultured and very rapid ride from a Tour-proven frame
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The AG2R pro team raced this frame in last year’s Tour de France, and now badged as the Team SL, it still gives little away to the current crop of race contenders. Our large frame fitted with aluminium finishing kit and wheels that aren’t super-light came in at under 7kg, and at the current price tag it’s top marks for value.

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  • Highs: Top-notch frame and superb spec
  • Lows: Braking lacks sharpness
  • Buy if: You want to experience genuine pro-level frame performance

Focus has done a great job of integrating the cable routing, with gear cables running smoothly into subtle openings each side of the head tube. The internal channels form strengthening ribs that extend along each side of the down tube. This easily swamps the PressFit 30 bottom bracket, creating a vast structure from which the very deep chainstays exit, while 3D carbon dropouts flow into slim seatstays that are curved for comfort.

Up front, a chunky fork crown and angular, swept out blades with a slight forward curve turn on a 11/8-1¼in tapered steerer, which gives superbly precise steering at all times. It’s happy to follow any line intuitively, and the ride quality is incredibly supple, smoothing out even the gnarliest surfaces while tracking true and never deviating from its line.

The Izalco Team is no shrinking violet, though, scorching along with relentless acceleration when the blue touchpaper’s lit. Yet it’s less snappy than some peers, and is supremely predictable. Unlike board-stiff frames, which have instant response and great power transfer but can buck and skip over rough roads, the Focus conforms to them, enabling you to maintain an efficient tuck for longer and keep winding the power up thanks to the increased traction.

SRAM Force 22 lives up to its name, providing 22 truly usable gears
SRAM force 22 lives up to its name, providing 22 truly usable gears:
Russell Burton

SRAM Force 22 lives up to its name, providing 22 truly usable gears

Our test machine came with a 53/39 chainset (a compact version is available), and we made the most of the Force 22 gear range, cross chaining with confidence – even though it still seems wrong! In essence Force 22 narrows the gap between compact and standard double chainrings, while giving a higher top gear for those looking to race down mountains. The included SRAM Chain Spotter sits on the front mech and helps protect your frame should the chain try to come off while cycling those slightly rougher backroads.

Fulcrum’s CEX 2.5 wheels have extra milling between spokes to reduce rotational mass, Fulcrum’s 2:1 spoke ratio at the rear and a 28mm profile, making them good all-rounders with lively acceleration and decent climbing performance, although the braking lacked sharpness. The Schwalbe Ones they’re shod with give even, progressive grip in fast, tight corners while rolling quickly.

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The Team SL favours a long and low position, ideal for competition, but bear in mind that the supplied headset adds 19mm to the head tube length, which makes it more palatable for us non-pros. Comfort is first class, and it has the show to match its undoubted go.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Izalco Team SL 4.0 (14)
Brand Focus

Bottom Bracket Sram PF30 Press-Fit
Saddle Fizik Arione CX
Wheelbase (cm) 98.3
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 51
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (lb) 15.39
Year 2014
Wheelset Fulcrum CEX 2.5 : Front: 16 spokes : Rear: 21 spokes
Weight (kg) 6.98
Stem Fizik Cyrano R3 12cm
Shifters Sram Force 22
Seatpost Fizik Cyrano R3
Rear Wheel Weight 1510
Brakes Sram Force
Rear Tyre Schwalbe One 700x23
Rear Derailleur Sram Force 22
Headset Type Acros Tapered, The Clamp
Handlebar Fizik Cyrano R5 46cm
Front Wheel Weight 1020
Front Tyre Schwalbe One 700x23
Front Derailleur braze-on
Frame Material P2T carbon
Fork Offset 4.5
Fork 6th Element P2T carbon T4, 11/8-1¼in steerer
Cranks Sram Force 22, 53/39, 172.5mm
Chain Sram PC1170
Cassette Sram PG1170 11-26
Frame size tested XXS XS S M L XL XXL