CW tests out the new £5,999 Team Milram replica, equipped with SRAM Red
Focus began its relationship with Team Milram in 2009 and this 2010 Focus Izalco is simply the result of listening to what the pros wanted. It's Focus's top trump, and identical to the bike that Milram's boys will be racing this season.
Gone are the oversized seatstays and integrated seatpost from 2009, replaced by a 27.2mm seatpost and much skinnier, flattened stays, to dampen a previously over-stiff rear end. Also removed are external cables in favour of internal routing within specially formed tubes, like veins, within the frame structure, reducing weight and improving aerodynamics. Visually the result is exceptionally neat.
Focus uses the highest grade, high-modular carbon, for the Milram edition, making for a very light and stiff frame, backed up by the immediately appreciable benefit of the BB30 bottom bracket and laterally very stiff, tapered 3T Funda Pro forks. SRAM Red as the running gear, and Lightweight Standards, are hard to surpass, although we grabbed a set of SRAM's new hybrid toroidal, aluminium S30AL Race wheels for our initial test.
Through a week in the Majorcan mountains, the new Izalco barely put a foot wrong. It climbs superbly; light and nimble with an impressive response to out-of-the-saddle efforts. During high-speed straight-line descending, the stiffness of the front end gave the odd twitch, but nothing alarming, and it pays you back with very precise steering through tight hairpins.
Long hours on the often bumpy roads proved no problem on the Izalco, leading us to conclude that the rear-end modifications are also a success for Focus. We got the distinct impression from the mechanics that the internal cabling was way too fiddly, but other than that, there seems very little for which to mark it down.
Focus high modular carbon, internal cabling