Over the last couple of years, it seems the bike industry has finally found the perfect equation to satisfy both roadies and those of the off-road persuasion, with the following formula: road bike + mountain bike = endurance bike.
As such, every bike brand has sought to jump on the bandwagon, offering the cycling masses what they feel is the ultimate drop-handled bike to explore both those frontiers.
Not surprisingly, Focus, a brand synonymous with both sophisticated road and cyclocross models, has come up with a bike that features all of the latest trappings of the endurance or gravel grinder bike craze, but with more of an emphasis on performance than simply marketing.
Focus has taken its new Paralane and stretched it across six models, offering enthusiasts an endurance bike that offers a range of component options and frame material to suit everyone’s needs in terms of performance and cost.
However, instead of just laying down some carbon or welding some aluminum together, and then mixing up the geometry to create a pseudo endurance bike, Focus turned to its road and cyclocross know-how to create the Paralane from the ground up.
Turning to their Izalco Max Disc for inspiration, Focus succeeded in avoiding some of the aesthetic and geometry gaffs often seen with the competition, by instead using a longer fork to give the Paralane a better “stack” height, as opposed to a ridiculously tall head tube or an egregious use of spacers. With that, Focus also used a slacker head tube angle and a longer fork rake, along with a lowered bottom bracket height, in order to give the Paralane the geometric recipe it needed to take on the rigors of endurance riding, while also retaining much of its road DNA.
As far as frame material is concerned, Focus took what it knew from its carbon and aluminum fabrication experience, and incorporated unique tube shapes and profiles, along with a special seat post and elliptical dropouts, to arrest unwanted feedback and assure comfort and compliance without relying upon vibration eliminating gimmicks.
The Paralane was also treated to flat mount disc brakes and Focus’ R.A.T. Evo thru-axle system.
Focus also added its Fender Bridge Installer to the Paralane’s rear brake bridge, which is an ingenious design that relies upon tiny eyelets to allow for the use of a full-fledge mudguard to be mounted.
Indeed, Focus collaborated with the Belgian mudguard manufacturer Curana to develop a special mudguard, which interfaces perfectly with the Paralane to become the ultimate “ass saver”.
As mentioned, the Paralane is available in six models, ranging from the top-of-the-line SRAM Red ETap equipped down to a Shimano Tiagra version, with prices starting from $2500 to $6750.
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