18th April 2012

Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 voted Bike of the Year by Cycling Plus

Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 voted Bike of the Year by Cycling Plus

It has always been a Bike Co-op mission to bring the best of bicycling to our customers.

In autumn 2011, we introduced Focus Bikes to our range.

In April 2012, Cycling Plus awarded the Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 their coveted Bike of the Year award.

Prescient or what?

Cycling Plus rated the Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 the best of 25 bikes tested because “for the price, you are getting exactly the same frame as the £5,799 team bike, so the Izalco can be upgraded to your heart’s content. Trek, Cannondale and Giant all offer lower grade carbon versions of their flagship designs, while Focus offer its best, making its value for money soar.”

View the 2013 Focus Izalco Pro range >

Focus Izalco Pro Review, Cycling Plus

Download a PDF of the review (600KB).

“The Izalco has been around for a couple of seasons and has seen action at the highest levels of the sport, the Team model being ridden by the Katusha team and Acqua & Sapone.

Impressively, the Pro tested here shares the same frame as the Team, with a weight that hits the magical 1kg mark and has all the features you’d expect of a pro-level frame. Up front the tapered head tube flows into a trapezoid-shaped down tube; not only does this look suitably high tech, but it cleverly uses the internal cable routing as structural spines through the tubing’s edges.

The bottom bracket shell is hugely oversized and the chainstays significantly beefy, while the dropouts are full carbon and angle backwards, meeting the super skinny seatstays behind the axle centre. Giving the seatstays additional length allows for more flex to aid comfort without affecting the stiffness of the chainstays. The major difference is the fork: the Pro is fitted with the 3T Rigida while the Team boasts the lighter 3T Funda.

Brakes and gears are SRAM Force, the equivalent of Shimano Ultegra. It’s lighter and performs just as well – and it has better braking performance.

Rounding off the 3.0’s package is a quality DT Swiss wheelset in the form of the RR1850s. You can buy lighter for the same money but you’d be pushed to find anything put together significantly better. It’s good to see Focus hasn’t skimped on the tyres either: Continental Grand Prix treads offer reasonably low weight but a great feel, with plenty of comfort from their 24mm width.

On paper the Izalco certainly looks impressive, as it does on the scales, at 7.78kg for a 58cm frame. But that won’t win tests – it’s how it behaves on the road that counts, and here the Pro 3.0 really doesn’t disappoint. With a compact drivetrain and wide cassette married to the the bike’s overall lightness, the Izalco is truly exceptional on long hilly rides. That’s not to say that when you want to stomp on the pedals and thrash it doesn’t follow suit – if anything, the Pro 3.0 is at its best when you’re going as hard as you can. The Izalco is not only composed and rigid under power, it handles with a confident swiftness, too.

Cannondale’s Super Six Apex might have the edge in the ultimate handling stakes, while the Trek 3.5 Madone sneaks it for comfort and Canyon’s Ultimate offers unparalleled equipment levels, but the Izalco is the perfect all-rounder. We’re seriously impressed.

Highs: Combines great kit, light weight and superlative ride quality.

Lows: We can’t find much to fault with the impeccable Izalco.

Verdict: A superlative all-rounder that’s hugely impressive however you ride it. 5/5.

Cycling Plus: April 2012.

Cycling Plus Bike of the Year 2012
Focus Izalco Pro 3.0

Download a PDF of the review (600KB).

“The Focus Izalco slid into victory not because of the specification and not because of its price, but simply because of its all-round capabilities. It shares the same frame as the Team editions, as ridden in last year’s Grand Tours by Katusha, and it’s this heart of the bike that’s a step above anything else. The fluid tube shapes aren’t just for aesthetics: the carbon lay-up and profiles are engineered to balance light weight and resistance to forces that can lead to twisting and flex, while the rear stays’ configuration and lightweight carbon dropouts add comfort and unparalleled smoothness.

When you want to step up and push hard, the Izalco responds instantly, but sit back and cruise and it’s couch comfortable. On climbs, it’s even more impressive still; its light response and smooth riding making it one that we kept coming back to, to ride more and more.

Creating a bike that’s able to match you whether you want to ride hard or cruise along in comfort is a superb trick and one we’ve only really encountered on bikes at twice the price. And that’s really the crux of the Izalco’s triumph. For the price, you are getting exactly the same frame as the £5,799 team bike, so the Izalco can be upgraded to your heart’s content. Trek, Cannondale and Giant all offer lower grade carbon versions of their flagship designs, while Focus offer its best, making its value for money soar.”

4 comments on “Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 voted Bike of the Year by Cycling Plus

  1. Gilberto on

    Can you tell me the differences between the Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 2012 vs 2011?

    I am planning to buy this bike, and I have a good price for the 2011



    • Edinburgh Bicycle Coop on

      Hi Gilberto,

      Thank you for your interest in the Focus Izalco.

      The 2011 Izalco Pro frame didn’t have the same Team-issue carbon frame that made the 2012 bike, Bike of the Year. For instance the 2011 version had external cable routing on the rear chain stay.

      The 2011 shifters, mechs and brakes were Shimano Ultegra, not SRAM.

      The 2011 wheels were Mavic Ksyrium, not DT.

      Obviously none of these differences would necessarily be a deal breaker, and the 2011 Izalco Pro will still be a sound bike.

      One final thing to check is the warranty you get offered on the 2011 model. Does it match the 6 year frame warranty you get if you buy a 2013 Focus carbon bike from an authorised UK dealer (such as Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op)?

  2. Henry Stewart on

    I have narrowed down my choice of next road bike to the Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 & the Giant Defy 1… The bike will just be used for commuting and the occasional morning blast. The asking price of the Izalco is fine for me but the Defy has had such raving reviews I wonder if I’ll be getting twice the bike by spending (over) twice the money?

    • Edinburgh Bicycle Coop on

      Hi Henry,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      It is hard to compare the Izalco and the Defy as they are two very different bikes. Whether you get twice the bike for your money depends a lot on what you want in a bike and the riding you plan on doing.

      For daily use as a commuter the Defy 1 will likely make more sense. The more relaxed riding position combined with a frame designed for comfort will make it easy to get on with. If you plan on riding year round one thing to factor in is the cost of replacement parts (much lower with the Giant) as in the winter the bike’s drivetrain can suffer. The Defy gets such good reviews as it is not just good value but a great bike to ride and you will definitely enjoy getting out for some longer rides. If you find you are riding more and more then an Izalco may become a worthwhile investment.

      The Izaclo Pro compared to the Giant is a more race orientated road bike. While it is still an all-rounder the frame is stiffer and the riding position more aggressive. With a full carbon frame and fork it is over a 1kg (nearly 1.5kg) lighter than the Defy 1. The Sram Force groupset also brings the weight down. For your longer rides and if you do get into doing more road riding the Izalco would be an outstanding bike.

      In an ideal world it would be nice to have the Defy for your commute and the Izalco for the summer and longer rides.


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