observations on gear, adventure, and the world

Bike Reviews: Switching from Cervelo to Focus Part I

One of The Girl’s clients at her day job is Focus, the German bike maker. She’s been on a Cervelo R3, which she has absolutely loved, but it was time for her to look for something new and her client had been really pushing her to get on a Focus. So we made the leap!

From a Cervelo R3 to a Focus Izalco. A full review of the bike will have to wait for her fit from Dave at Plan 7 Coaching, but I can give you my impressions from the build.

First a quick build note on the R3 she was coming from:

She got the Ultegra build that through some happy twist of fate came with an FSA SL-K BBright compact crank. Now, bike companies try to find places to save money on the less noticeable parts of the bike. Cervelo does this mostly with the wheels, Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels were the low point of the build, but we happen to have a pair of EA-90 SLX tubulars… so we aren’t really hurting in the wheel department.

Else where the stock equipment of the machine is quite solid. The 3T bits; the stem, the handle bar, and the seat post are quite respectable. The bar and stem are aluminium, as far as materials I agree with that move. Carbon stems are heavier and/or less stiff… even if they can be pretty sexy! And aluminum bars, while less comfy, will survive a crash and get you home… and there’s the part where a sanctioned road race won’t let you finish with a broken bar. Trust me, carbon bars break in crashes, and that’s just not an awesome way to burn $200-300 while a good pair of gloves work together with the R3 frame and fork for a plenty plush ride. That said, the stock bars were too wide for the Girl, so we got a pair of Specialized Ruby bars… which are carbon, but hey she really doesn’t crash that much. That and swapping the Fizik saddle for her preferred Specialized Ruby were the only real changes that the bike needed, and those aren’t really “needed upgrades” more personal preference or fit improvements.

The R3 was a good, even great, bike, available in colors, notably not limited to red and black. This frame has external cable routings which are held on by rivits. Those rivits seemed suspect from the beginning and eventually had to be replaced, because they were incorrectly installed at the factory. Once replaced there were no more issues, but it’s the sort of thing you don’t want to have to do. I think Cervelo did quite well with the bike and spec, but the attention to detail in assembly was below what I would expect.

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