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Pro bike: Jeremy Powers' Focus Mares

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Jeremy Powers' new Rapha-Focus Mares race series

Jeremy Powers' new Rapha-Focus Mares race series (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Sponsors' logos under the gloss coat

Sponsors' logos under the gloss coat (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Easton's rather economical EA70 seat post

Easton's rather economical EA70 seat post (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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fi'zi:k's Aliante with K:uim (titanium alloy) rails

fi'zi:k's Aliante with K:uim (titanium alloy) rails (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Team mechanics smooth out the edge of the Red lever body

Team mechanics smooth out the edge of the Red lever body (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Another look at the shaved lever body

Another look at the shaved lever body (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Good old alloy bars and stem: Easton's EA70 bar and EA90 stem

Good old alloy bars and stem: Easton's EA70 bar and EA90 stem (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Easton's EA90 alloy stem

Easton's EA90 alloy stem (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Rapha-Focus uses mostly Easton's EC90SL wheelset, which are built with the R4SL hubs

Rapha-Focus uses mostly Easton's EC90SL wheelset, which are built with the R4SL hubs (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Powers requested that the team ride Dugast tires as part of his contract

Powers requested that the team ride Dugast tires as part of his contract (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Easton's R4SL rear hub

Easton's R4SL rear hub (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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The Mares' stout fork

The Mares' stout fork (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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J-Pow's Mares under the lights in Vegas

J-Pow's Mares under the lights in Vegas (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Rapha-Focus' custom Candy 11 pedals

Rapha-Focus' custom Candy 11 pedals (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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SRAM's Black Red rear derailleur

SRAM's Black Red rear derailleur (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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This bike was equipped with crankbrothers' Candy 3 pedals

This bike was equipped with crankbrothers' Candy 3 pedals (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Powers' bike is one slick looking ride

Powers' bike is one slick looking ride (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Notable improvements to the 2012 model are mostly in the fork; it's lighter and has a new crown mounted brake boss

Notable improvements to the 2012 model are mostly in the fork; it's lighter and has a new crown mounted brake boss (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Focus' Mares race series

Focus' Mares race series (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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The oversized seat tube, which tapers from a super-wide bottom bracket junction to a svelte, and presumably more comfortable, 27.2mm seatpost diameter. The tube is shaped to accept a front derailleur via a riveted mount

The oversized seat tube, which tapers from a super-wide bottom bracket junction to a svelte, and presumably more comfortable, 27.2mm seatpost diameter. The tube is shaped to accept a front derailleur via a riveted mount (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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We love the look of the Mares' fork—elbows out

We love the look of the Mares' fork—elbows out (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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A look at the gloss-to-matte finishes found on the Mares

A look at the gloss-to-matte finishes found on the Mares (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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The custom cream colored team graphics are under the clear coat

The custom cream colored team graphics are under the clear coat (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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A look at the all carbon, standard BB30 bottom bracket shell; the bearings press right into the carbon

A look at the all carbon, standard BB30 bottom bracket shell; the bearings press right into the carbon (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Avid's excellent Shorty Ultimate cantilevers

Avid's excellent Shorty Ultimate cantilevers (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Avid's Ultimate out back, and a look at the interesting 'X' shaped seatstay brace

Avid's Ultimate out back, and a look at the interesting 'X' shaped seatstay brace (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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More gloss finishing on the front of the bike

More gloss finishing on the front of the bike (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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SRAM's BB30 Red crank offers considerably more ankle/heel clearance than the standard version

SRAM's BB30 Red crank offers considerably more ankle/heel clearance than the standard version (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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SRAM's Black Red 'professional' front derailleur with a steel cage

SRAM's Black Red 'professional' front derailleur with a steel cage (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)
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Powers runs Enduro bearings on his rear derailleur and bottom bracket

Powers runs Enduro bearings on his rear derailleur and bottom bracket (Image credit: Matt Pacocha)

Dressed in matte black (with hints of gloss), cream logos and pink accents, the Rapha-Focus Mares is the most dapper bike on the US cyclo-cross circuit. But it isn't just here to look good, it's also winning races under new team leader Jeremy Powers, who says its low, stout stance suits him.

As his Behind The Barriers mini-series has shown us, J-Pow is a little bit different, and we know he likes to get down – Owwwooooo! Cyclingnews headed to the Rapha-Focus team service course in Loveland, Colorado for a run through one of his six – yes, six – Mares bikes between the Exergy USGP of Cyclo-Cross and the team's trip to Europe for the first two rounds of the World Cup series.

J-Pow's Mares: This dapper ride breaks from the norm

Like its rider, Powers' medium Focus Mares is a break from the norm. It doesn't have a safe, me-too geometry, but rather one with some interesting attributes that Powers has put to good use on the racecourse. The Mares is low slung, with 70mm of bottom bracket drop and a super-short 115mm head tube.

It's slack up front too, with a 70.5° head angle – in fact, it's surely the most contemporary 'cross racer out there, even before you consider the steep 74° seat angle that puts a rider over the pedals and the short 425mm chainstays. For reference, normal 'safe' numbers would be a 65mm BB drop, 72° head and 73° seat angles, and 430mm stays.

Powers' bike is one slick looking ride

Construction wise, J-Pow's Mares 'race series' bike is almost identical to the 2011 model. The frame features one key change: an all-carbon standard BB30 bottom bracket shell (a molded and machined carbon shell that directly accepts BB30 bearings, not the increasingly common PF30 model). Focus say this design is lighter and stiffer, but as you can imagine, much more costly to build.

The only other update to the 2012 Mares is its fork. Brian Dallas, the Rapha-Focus team's field-ops manager, says that while the new fork looks the same, it's 45-50g lighter than the 2011 model. More importantly, it features a crown mounted brake cable boss, which lets the rider slam the stem, if they want, and also helps improve braking power and consistency by alleviating chatter.

The Rapha team's Mares is a dapper looking machine. The graphics are custom to the team and sponsors' logos are laid under the clear coat. Close inspection reveals both matte and gloss finishes on the frame. Most of the gloss finish is in areas with the potential to collect mud – could it be that the slick finish helps prevent the accumulation of crud, to some degree?

A look at the gloss-to-matte finishes found on the Mares

Sponsor package: SRAM, Easton and CrankBrothers

Powers stays with longtime Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com component sponsors SRAM for his transmission and sister company Avid for their benchmark Shorty Ultimate cantilever brakes. His group is fairly standard, made up of Red components with the substitution of the professional edition steel caged front derailleur. He runs an 11-26-tooth cassette and 46/39T chainrings.

The outsides of J-Pow's shifters are shaved down to offer a smoother transition, a customization carried out by the team mechanics. He uses Enduro ceramic bearings in his bottom bracket and rear derailleur pulleys, as opposed to the standard Red spec.

Powers has made a big switch for 2011/12 to Easton for wheels and cockpit components. The wheels have to be the biggest change, due to their narrower tire beds. The team will only use Dugast tires this season – a requirement from Powers when he signed on. They buy all of their tires from "Uncle Stu" [Stu Thorne, owner of cyclocrossworld.com and Dugast USA], as Dallas calls him.

Powers requested that the team ride Dugast tires as part of his contract

Powers' cockpit is made up entirely of aluminum: Easton EA70 bars and seatpost, and an EA90 stem. The alloy bits are heavier but will get him to the pit – while riding the bike – should he have a bad crash, whereas their carbon counterparts' more catastrophic failure method could leave him running. The team's bars are wrapped in Fi'zi:k handlebar tape and Powers uses the Italian company's Aliante saddle.

As a final custom finish, the team's pedal sponsors, CrankBrothers, made up six pairs of custom pink and black team pedals; Powers has a couple of sets while the others are spread between his teammates Chris Jones and Zach McDonald.

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Complete bike specifications:

Frame: Focus Mares, medium
Fork: Focus Mares carbon
Headset: Cane Creek Integrated
Stem: Easton EA90, white, 110mm, -6°
Handlebar: Easton EA70, white, 44cm
Tape: Fi:zi’k Microtex
Front brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate with SwissStop Yellow King pads for Easton wheels
Rear brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate with SwissStop Yellow King pads for Easton wheels
Front derailleur: SRAM Black Red w/steel cage
Rear derailleur: SRAM Black Red
Shifter: SRAM Black Red
Brake levers: SRAM Black Red, SRAM pink hoods
Cassette: SRAM PG1070, 11-26T
Chain: SRAM PC1090R
Crankset: SRAM Black Red BB30, 172.5mm, 46/39T
Bottom bracket: SRAM Red BB30 ceramic
Pedals: CrankBrothers Candy 3 (most team bikes have Candy 11)
Wheelset: Easton EC90SL
Front tire: Dugast Rhino Cotton
Rear tire: Dugast Rhino Cotton
Saddle: Fi:zi’k Aliante K:ium
Seatpost: Easton EA70, 27.2mm

Critical measurements:

Rider's height: 177.8cm/5ft 10in
Rider's weight: 68.03kg/150lb
Saddle height from BB, c-t: 71.8cm
Saddle setback: 6cm
Seat tube length, c-t: 54cm
Tip of saddle to center of bar: 51.5cm
Head tube length: 11.5cm
Top tube length (virtual): 54cm
Total bicycle weight: 7.49kg/16.53lb