Focus bikes recently unveiled the latest iteration of the popular Izalco Max bike. Find out more about the new road range from the German brand by watching a series of video reviews by RIDE Media.


Videos by Rob Arnold


There are only two of the new Focus Izalco Max bikes in Australia at the moment. Both of them are ‘Large’, and one of them was sent to RIDE Media for review. Tune in to our YouTube channel and you can see the sleek new lines of the Izalco Max 9.9 (built with Shimano Di2 Dura-Ace, AUD$13,999) in the studio (below).



After a few adjustments were made – ie. a switch to a slightly shorter stem (100mm rather than 110mm), and a few pieces taken out of the stack atop the fork – it was time to see what it was like to ride.

Before I set off on my my maiden voyage on the new Focus, however, I stopped by a waterhole in the NSW southern highlands to take a few photos and explain my history with the brand… and the Izalco Max in particular.

As the proud owner of a 2019 version of the Focus Izalco Max, this new bike release was an anticipated one. After almost five years on my ‘Black Beauty’ (a bike that has been featured on RIDE Media plenty of times), I wanted to know if the German company had indeed improved on what I still think is a great bike.

Part two of the video series (below) is an overview of the changes that have been applied to the latest version of the Izalco Max.



With the introduction over, it was time to ride. After driving south from Sydney and parking up at Kangaroo Valley, I pulled some kit on and started climbing almost immediately. Up Barrengarry Mountain I went, 600m of elevation gain in the first 10km… and the Izalco Max was already starting to impress me.

There is a lot to consider when swapping bikes, and that involves going from one bike you have loved for a few years to its successor, it’s easy to notice even subtle differences.

On the climb the 7.55kg bike (weighed with pedals, cycle computer, and bidon cages) hummed along nicely. When it got steep and I got out of the saddle to squeeze a little extra power into the pedals, those subtle differences started to become apparent.

Note: this bike is a Large, ‘my bike’ is a Medium. It was bound to feel different… and not only because of the changes to design. Mindful of this, I didn’t take any big risks when it was time to go back down the mountain pass. Carefully guiding the bike – complete with the original set-up (ie. tubes in the tyres and higher pressures than I ride with my preferred tubeless arrangement) – through the corners, there were no surprises.

When the gradient go steep and the road straightened out, I let it rip. To an extent. Before my 20th kilometre on the bike, I was at ease at speeds over 70km/h. In control despite what initially seemed like much twitchier steering and snappier handling traits, it took no time at all to become familiar with the Izalco Max.

Comments from the second ride

The maiden ride was a relatively short one on unfamiliar terrain. I know the roads around Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls, but not as well as the regular routes taken when I set off from the office in Sydney. It was a chance to get familiar with the new sensations, consider what changes I would apply (for subsequent rides), and generally gather my thoughts about the Izalco Max.

There is plenty of commentary from that first ride, but before I share the video of that experience, I have opted to upload the video of the second ride first because, by then, I’d pulled out the tyre tubes and dribbled in some sealant instead.

Tubeless means lower pressures and, in my appraisal, better rolling sensations and less feedback from the road. With 61psi (front and rear) the harsh sensations experienced on the first ride were quelled. And this change alone  made a vast improvement to what was already a bike that I am quickly growing to like.

Watch the third instalment of the video series (below) and you can see my attitude towards the bike change… all within the first 50km of a flat ride on familiar roads and bike paths.



There is a lot more to be said about this bike and you will see plenty more of it in the coming weeks, but the video series will surely expand as the days roll by.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on YouTube (or any of RIDE’s other social media pages) and I’ll do my best to get back to you. In the meantime, I’m starting to realise that the large bike may actually suit me better than the medium I’ve called my own for a few years.

I’ll keep you posted on what other thoughts come to mind while I’m lucky enough to be riding this lovely new bike from a brand that I’ve come to know well over the years.


– Rob 


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