Focus Izalco Race review£1,399.00

Entry-level road racer

BikeRadar score4/5

The Izalco is the main road bike platform for German giant Focus. As such, it’s available in numerous builds. Here, pitched in the competitive entry-level road bike sector, Focus has used its economies of scale to provide a well-specced machine.

At a price when some bikes pair an aluminium frame with a carbon fork, here you get an Izalco carbon SL frame and full carbon fork. There are no groupset shortcuts either, with a Shimano 105 compact ensemble providing a touch of class.

A total weight of 8.41kg for our large-framed model is good, and there’s scope for some judicious lightening in time.

The Izalco Race is a competitive option in the entry-level road bike arena
The Izalco Race is a competitive option in the entry-level road bike arena

As a package, the Izalco Race looks and feels sorted. The Prologo Kappa 3 saddle is a good shape with generous padding. BBB supplies the smartly finished alloy seatpost, stem and compact handlebar, which are simple but effective.

The brake levers on my bike were fitted a little high on the bend, making reach from the drops too far for even big hands to use comfortably, but that’s easily amended, and the cockpit remained otherwise comfortable and solid.

My test bike has parallel 73.5-degree head and seat angles, a 165mm head tube (plus 15mm headset top cap) and 1,002mm wheelbase for an efficient and reasonably aggressive riding position.

As you might expect from its Race designation, steering feel is a little quicker and busier than more endurance-focused bikes, making rapid direction changes and line precision a thought process away.

From the saddle, the angular, flared top tube and head tube junction looks distinctive, and matches the external profile of the fork crown. Whether it’s for strength or style, the front end doesn’t lack lateral rigidity, and both it and the PF86 bottom bracket are braced by the drainpipe-sized down tube.

As a package, the Izalco Race looks and feels sorted
As a package, the Izalco Race looks and feels sorted

Even with the tidy looking, budget Shimano RS010 wheelset, the Izalco Race gets down the road very efficiently. Helped by 25mm Continental rubber on the 17mm internal rims, it has better than average ride quality, with decent refinement and shock absorption.

While maintaining speed isn’t too onerous, the wheels need a little more time and effort to gain it, restraining the frameset’s ability to change pace quickly.

Climbing could be improved with a wheel upgrade, but the Shimanos are in keeping with the bike’s cost, and ensure the Izalco Race is a great value, classy-feeling bike.

Focus Izalco Race specifications

  • Weight: 8.41kg (L)
  • Frame: Izalco carbon SL
  • Fork: Full carbon
  • Crank: Shimano 105 5800 50/34
  • Cassette: Shimano 105 5800 11-28
  • Derailleur: Shimano 105 5800
  • Shifters: Shimano 105 5800
  • Brakes: Shimano 105
  • Wheels: Shimano RS010
  • Tyres: 25mm Continental Ultra Sport
  • Bar: BBB Basic alloy
  • Stem: BBB Basic alloy
  • Seatpost: BBB Basic alloy
  • Saddle: Prologo Kappa 3
Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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