What can the brand new road bike really do?
The Focus Izalco is not a bike we are unfamiliar with, quite the opposite. Nic has already taken a look at it this year in a longer review review of the race beast this year and was a big fan of the fast, light and capable climbing bike. So it goes without saying that when our Head of Brand was able to get us a copy of the brand new model, we took our time to take a look at it and test it for you in detail. So here it is: Focus Izalco Review, the second, the latest.
1. the first impression
Since 2019, the Izalco Max has not undergone any major changes... Don't get us wrong, the previous model is a fantastic bike, fast, stylish and easy and stable to handle. But even at first glance at the new model, it's clear that Focus has come up with a bit more this time. Let's start with the most striking change: The large Focus logo on the down tube has disappeared, which makes for a more discreet and clean look; you'll only find smaller logos placed on the fork, crank and top tube. As far as the paintwork is concerned, Focus has so far kept its colors uniform and only rotated the colors of the logo, but now there are two-tone colorways in all versions.
Focus' main goal was to make this model the fastest Izalco ever. So the aerodynamics and stiffness were tweaked without sacrificing weight - in short, Focus was looking for the miracle recipe for an all-rounder road bike.road bike like the Specialized Tarmacbut with more focus on speed than weight. So what's new?
2. the most important innovations.
What is immediately noticeable is the changed tube shape. While we saw Kammtail shapes on the previous model, i.e. round at the front and flat at the back, the new Izalco Max has mainly cut-off NACA tube shapes, i.e. somewhere between round and D-shaped in terms of appearance. This shape allows better control in the wind, especially when it comes from the side. As a result, you not only get improved aerodynamics, but also improved stiffness and less weight.
It can also be seen that the transition between fork and frame is much smoother and more elegant, that the top tube is longer and narrower and that the small platform of the previous model has also disappeared from the rear triangle. To further enhance the aerodynamic effect of the new tube shapes, a seat post D-shaped seat post and a two-piece, partially integrated cockpit has been installed.
Although this cockpit is aesthetically pleasing and also aerodynamic, we would have preferred a fully integrated or at least a one-piece cockpit - after all, that would have been in the spirit of a maximally fast bike... But this setup also allows for easier maintenance and more customization options, which we are generally a fan of.
3. more aerodynamics, more speed.
To summarize, these new aerodynamic features save the following compared to the previous 6.6 model watts at a speed of 45 km/h, which makes you a whole 1 minute and 47 seconds faster on a 45 km route. Also great? Taking a water bottle is almost completely covered by the tube and therefore only requires 0.3 additional watts!
That sounds great at first and the professionals among you will really benefit from these new features when driving. But if you are more of an amateur-riders, the difference will hardly be noticeable for you... Nevertheless, it's good to know that it's an incredibly fast bike .
4. more speed, more stiffness.
If you ride faster, you will also need a stiffer bike to ensure that you are not knocked off your feet when pedaling. pedaling and that your bike doesn't feel spongy when sprinting in the cradle. Focus has therefore increased the stiffness of the bottom bracket by 15%, the top tube by 8% and the fork by 16%. Although this makes handling easier, it also reduces the comfort of the new Izalco Max and shows once again that nothing but aerodynamically perfected speed maximization is at the forefront of this bike . Nevertheless, Focus has given you a few features for a bit of comfort: the length of the seatpost has been reduced and it has been set back by 15 mm, which allows you more flex and noticeably dampens vibrations at the rear. The tire clearance is now 30 mm, which allows you to ride with 30 mm tires gives you some extra cushion.
5. frame geometry.
To keep the bike agile and give you precise handling and stability even at high speeds, Focus has also worked on the geometry has also made some changes to the geometry. The height of the bottom bracket is now 6 mm more than on the previous Izalco Max and the top tube is 0.5 degrees steeper. This guarantees you a super secure handling feeling, especially at high speeds, but will take a little getting used to, especially for beginners.
Due to the steeper top tube, the wheelbase is also a little shorter, meaning even more aggressiveness, which is not affected by the 17 mm higher stack. On the Focus Izalco Max 2024, you sit in a pretty sporty position, perfect for fast and direct riding.
As already mentioned at the beginning: the Izalco Max is supposed to be a fast all-rounder. However, this comes at the expense of weight, especially due to the innovations in aerodynamics and stiffness. The frame itself weighs a modest 865 g in size M, which is 6% lighter than the last model, but the fork is 3.6% heavier at 368 g. The entire bike, including the Ultegra di2 gears we are at 7.8 kg, which is not super impressive compared to other "all-rounder racers", many of which are in the 7.1 - 7.2 kg range. Nevertheless, the Izalco Max is still light enough to cope well with steep climbs. But you'll be looking forward to steep descents a little more.
7. the 9-row or the 8-row?
The Izalco is available in two series: 8 and 9. But that's no reason for confusion, the difference between the two lies mainly in the carbon layup and the corresponding weight. The 8 series weighs 185 g more.
In terms of aerodynamics, stiffness and geometry, the two ranges are identical. You have three models in each, with different components, colorways and prices. All three have the classic D-shaped seatpost and a fully integrated stem, which is available in six different lengths, giving you an even better fit. The aerodynamic and ergonomic Easton EC70, which is a real treat for your hands, is only available on the 9-series bikes.
The groupsets on all bikes are Shimano components, with the 9-series offering the slightly more advanced Ultegra and Dura Ace groupsets, while the 8-series comes with the mechanical 12-speed 105 or the 105 di2. You sit on a fi'zi:k Vento Argo saddle and ride the Izalco 9.8 with 45 mm deep DT Swiss ERC1600 wheels on Vittoria Corsa tires. These are all solid components. What we don't quite understand, however, is why Focus opted for only 45 mm rim depth even on the most expensive models. Somehow this doesn't really fit in with the other pursuit of maximizing speed...
Here, too, the selection is impressive: the Izalcos cost between € 2,999 and € 8,999, depending on the model. For just under 9,000 euros you get a Dura Ace setup and if you also consider the high-quality frame and the other premium components, then even that is a pretty fair price for a really capable bike. After all, bikes in a similar quality class with Dura Ace can easily cost between 10,000 and 12,000 euros. However, our personal favorite is and remains the Izalco Max 8.9 - at 4,799 euros, it is still relatively budget-friendly and the carbon wheelset and the 105 di2 make it an all-round solid and fast bike.
9. is this a bike for you?
If you're looking for a loyal, sporty all-round racer that promises you pure aerodynamics, looks great and won't cost you the earth: Congratulations, the Focus Izalco Max is the perfect road bike. It's a no-bullshitbike, you get what you see: low weight, good components and plenty of speed. But if you're more into the mountains climbing and minimal weight is important to you, then there are definitely better options, even if the Izalco does the job.
Who already has the 2022 Izalco Max don't necessarily need to upgrade, in our opinion, as the differences between the two models are not that great. Which is also good because you can get the 2022 model pre-owned, in top condition and for a little less money from us. buycycle we have more than 17,000 road, gravel and mountain bikes available, including a few dozen Izalcos. a few dozen Izalcos. If you have any questions, our team is always there for you and you can find more information about bikes on the blog. So browse around a bit, we wish you, as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling!