Focus Paralane Carbon 105 review

Stylish full Shimano, smart-axled all-rounder

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£2,199.00 RRP

Our review

An effervescently springy and comfortable, top value all-weather back roader
Buy if, You want a well priced, comfortable all-weather rather than all-terrain all-rounder
Pros: Enjoyably springy, comfortable, neatly detailed, weather protected, better value than 2017
Cons: Bouncy ride and heavy wheels can reduce responsiveness; rattly mudguards
Skip to view product specifications

Focus’s Paralane delivers a springy, distance and back road, bad weather friendly ride with some neat frame and kit features. It also beats the Brexit currency tide by costing less this year than last.

Advertisement

The mainframe material change makes the carbon Paralane £700 (approx $1,200) more expensive than the identical spec alloy version, but it’s a well-thought-out chassis and one of the few in its category under 1kg.

By using long fork legs with a step-down midway, Focus gets plenty of impact compliance, while steering stiffness is boosted by the angular head tube. Top tube, seat tube and rear stays all use flattened sections to allow flex from below without introducing sideways softness. The stays are also curved so that impacts and vibration have to straighten them out, and that engineered spring is obvious in the ride.

It’s not just the frame flexing to soak up shocks. A short seat tube relative to top tube length means there’s more of the carbon seatpost showing than normal. It’s also a skinny 25.4mm for extra sway, and is topped with a large loophole designed to save you a spanking.

The longer you ride, the more the smoothness saves shoulders from vibration fatigue
The longer you ride, the more the smoothness saves shoulders from vibration fatigue
Robert Smith / Immediate Media

We reviewed the Paralane Carbon 105 last year and wished it came with bigger rubber than its 25mm Schwalbe race tyres, so it’s good to see Focus has gone up to 28mm Continentals as standard for 2018, even if the Grand Sports aren’t as fluid in carcass feel as the previous Pro-Ones.

The longer you ride, the more the smoothness saves your legs and shoulders from vibration fatigue

There is up to 35mm rubber room available if you unbolt the flat alloy mudguards, which is a good idea for rougher rides anyway. While the metal mudguards are relatively light (450g) and tidy in their minimalist appearance, the single stays and flat design mean they tend to bounce off the tyre on ragged surfaces.

My rear set soon spat its bolt, so check for tightness regularly and don’t ride through any rattling noises thinking they aren’t important. The ’guards do offer very welcome coverage for wet winter road riding and the grub screw-secured insertion of the stays into the dropouts is neat and secure. As are the Rapid Axle Technology (RAT) skewers, which lock and unlock with a quarter turn once you’ve opened the quick-release (QR) latch, making them even faster to use than a conventional QR.

While the Shimano wheels that lock in place are likely to run smoothly for a long time compared to most cartridge bearing alternatives, they are weighty; 340–530g heavier than the other wheel pairings on test.

The saddle isolates some road bump
The saddle isolates some road bump
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The bump isolation through the saddle and frame helps when turning over a gear or taking corners on rougher roads. A slightly relaxed 72-degree head angle and low bottom bracket give it a safe and composed feel in more challenging conditions.

The longer you ride, the more the smoothness saves your legs and shoulders from vibration fatigue, but things can become bouncy when you’re trying to lay down power on smoother surfaces.

Advertisement

You’ll also want to take advantage of the short seat tube and go up a size if you’re looking for a more stretched and aggressive ride position, rather than compact and upright.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Paralane Carbon 105
Brand Focus

Available Sizes 45cm 48.5cm 51.5cm 53.5cm 55.5cm 59.5cm
Seat Tube (cm) 51.5
Shifters Shimano 105 RS505
Stem BBB Deluxe
Trail 6.4
Weight (kg) 8.95
Wheelset Shimano RS170
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Top Tube (cm) 54.5
Seat Angle 73.5
Wheelbase (cm) 99.5
Frame size tested 51.5cm
Head Tube (cm) 16.5
Stack (cm) 58
Reach (cm) 37.5
All measurements for frame size tested 51.5cm
Seatpost BBB CPX Plus carbon
Saddle Prologo Kappa 3 STN
Bottom Bracket PF86
Frame Material Carbon SL Disc
Brakes Shimano RS505 hydraulic 160mm disc
Cassette Shimano 105 11-32
Chain Shimano HG601
Cranks Shimano 105 50/34
Fork Carbon disc
Fork Offset 4.5
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Rear Wheel Weight 2130
Front Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II, 28mm
Front Wheel Weight 1620
Handlebar BBB Deluxe
Head Angle 72
Headset Type tapered
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105
Rear Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II, 28mm
Bottom-bracket drop (cm) 7.5