Following in the footsteps of the new Izalco Max road bike, Focus has apparently applied similar design and engineering philosophies to a new carbon cyclocross bike that a keen-eyed reader recently spotted in Holland. If the Izalco Max is anything to go by, this new model – likely to be the new Mares CX – will almost certainly be significantly lighter than the current version.
Visually, the new 'cross frame is quite similar to the Izalco Max with main tubes that are nominally round but slightly smaller than on the current bike, medium-sized chain stays, and very slim seat stays. There's also a tapered front end – mostly likely surrounding a 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in steerer – with a deep-profile head tube and raised ribs on the side.
As compared to the current Mares CX carbon fork, the new unit features notably slimmer blades and less of a 'bulldog' stance.
Could this prototype be the next generation of the Mares CX?
Taken at face value, all of this suggests to us a ride that's more resilient from tip to tail than the existing bike and with an especially softer rear end to take the edge off of rougher courses. Assuming Focus has carried over the updated carbon construction methods of the Izalco Max (such as higher modulus fibers and thinner tube walls), overall frame stiffness should still be very high.
According to the reader who sent us the images, the apparent owner of the bike claimed it weighs just 6.7kg (14.77lb) as pictured here. Based on that piece of information and what we know about the Izalco Max, we anticipate a frame weight near or under 1,000g, which would cleave more than 300g or so from the aging Mares CX chassis.
This Focus prototype has internal routing through ports on either side of the downtube
Other visible features include fully internal and convertible cable routing – a first for Focus's carbon 'cross bikes – a PF30 bottom bracket shell, a clamp-on front derailleur (which will make for cleaner single-ring conversions), and a slim 27.2mm seatpost. And while it's not shown here, a disc option is virtually guaranteed.
Focus is remaining mum for now, but we're anticipating an official release at the UCI World Championships next month. Stay tuned.