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Tech feature: 2011 Focus road and urban range

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How thorough is Focus's test lab? Yes, it evens tests everyday accessories like cargo racks because a component failure of any kind would ultimately reflect poorly on the brand.

How thorough is Focus's test lab? Yes, it evens tests everyday accessories like cargo racks because a component failure of any kind would ultimately reflect poorly on the brand. (Image credit: James Huang)
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FSA has provided Focus with custom finished BB30-compatible versions of its hollow-forged Energy aluminum crankset for the Mares range of 'cross bikes.

FSA has provided Focus with custom finished BB30-compatible versions of its hollow-forged Energy aluminum crankset for the Mares range of 'cross bikes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Like the top-end Mares CX range, the aluminum AX also includes a tapered head tube for better handling and reduced brake chatter.

Like the top-end Mares CX range, the aluminum AX also includes a tapered head tube for better handling and reduced brake chatter. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus's Mares AX 1.0 looks to be a good value for the 2011 'cross season with a triple-butted hydroformed aluminum frame and a race-ready parts pick. And even better, they'll be available in time for this year's race season.

Focus's Mares AX 1.0 looks to be a good value for the 2011 'cross season with a triple-butted hydroformed aluminum frame and a race-ready parts pick. And even better, they'll be available in time for this year's race season. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Mares AX 1.0 has lots of mud clearance through the tapered carbon fork.

The Mares AX 1.0 has lots of mud clearance through the tapered carbon fork. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The spindly seat stays lend rider comfort but they're also ovalized laterally to prevent rear end wag.

The spindly seat stays lend rider comfort but they're also ovalized laterally to prevent rear end wag. (Image credit: James Huang)
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As before, the tapered head tube on the new Izalco Team frame includes entry ports for the internal cable routing.

As before, the tapered head tube on the new Izalco Team frame includes entry ports for the internal cable routing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus's new Izalco Team HiMod frame has a target weight of 960g including paint and decals.

Focus's new Izalco Team HiMod frame has a target weight of 960g including paint and decals. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A new access port on the 2011 Izalco Team frame eases front derailleur cable routing for mechanics.

A new access port on the 2011 Izalco Team frame eases front derailleur cable routing for mechanics. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The updated Izalco Team frame features revised cable routing for 2011 - no longer is the housing clamped to the top of the chain stay.

The updated Izalco Team frame features revised cable routing for 2011 - no longer is the housing clamped to the top of the chain stay. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus is committed to the BB30 bottom bracket standard, using it throughout much of its road, 'cross and mountain bike ranges.

Focus is committed to the BB30 bottom bracket standard, using it throughout much of its road, 'cross and mountain bike ranges. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Izalco Team 2.0 will come with a SRAM Red group and DT Swiss R1450 wheels.

The Izalco Team 2.0 will come with a SRAM Red group and DT Swiss R1450 wheels. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Seat tubes on the Izalco Team and Pro frames are dramatically asymmetrical.

Seat tubes on the Izalco Team and Pro frames are dramatically asymmetrical. (Image credit: James Huang)
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fi'zi:k saddles and 3T components are featured heavily throughout the Focus range for 2011.

fi'zi:k saddles and 3T components are featured heavily throughout the Focus range for 2011. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Focus Izalco Team 1.0 is built around the company's updated 960g frame and includes a tapered front end and BB30 bottom bracket. The build kit features a Shimano Dura-Ace transmission and DT Swiss carbon clinchers.

The Focus Izalco Team 1.0 is built around the company's updated 960g frame and includes a tapered front end and BB30 bottom bracket. The build kit features a Shimano Dura-Ace transmission and DT Swiss carbon clinchers. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Izalco Team 1.0 features a Rotor 3D crankset - but with more consumer-friendly round chainrings instead of Rotor's usual Q-Rings.

The Izalco Team 1.0 features a Rotor 3D crankset - but with more consumer-friendly round chainrings instead of Rotor's usual Q-Rings. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The front end of Focus's Mares CX 1.0 flagship includes mid-deep carbon clinchers, Schwalbe tires, Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes.

The front end of Focus's Mares CX 1.0 flagship includes mid-deep carbon clinchers, Schwalbe tires, Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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US$4,000 gets you Focus's top-end Mares CX 1.0 'cross racer.

US$4,000 gets you Focus's top-end Mares CX 1.0 'cross racer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The fork looks like a classic steel crown but it's all aluminum.

The fork looks like a classic steel crown but it's all aluminum. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The clean-looking split dropout on the Planet 8 will allow for either chain or belt drive systems to be installed.

The clean-looking split dropout on the Planet 8 will allow for either chain or belt drive systems to be installed. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus will make a bigger push in the US urban market with one the highlights being the Planet 8, which for US$1,000 will include a Shimano Alfine 8 internally geared hub and a Gates carbon belt drive.

Focus will make a bigger push in the US urban market with one the highlights being the Planet 8, which for US$1,000 will include a Shimano Alfine 8 internally geared hub and a Gates carbon belt drive. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Gates carbon belt drive and Shimano Alfine internally geared rear hub should make for a nearly ideal setup for commuting.

The Gates carbon belt drive and Shimano Alfine internally geared rear hub should make for a nearly ideal setup for commuting. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Stays on the Mares CX frame are straight and stout.

Stays on the Mares CX frame are straight and stout. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Like on the road-going Izalco, Focus has incorporated a highly asymmetrical seat tube on the carbon Mares frame.

Like on the road-going Izalco, Focus has incorporated a highly asymmetrical seat tube on the carbon Mares frame. (Image credit: James Huang)
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We perhaps would have preferred SRAM Rival instead of Shimano Ultegra components on the Mares CX 2.0 given its better weather resistance and more tactile feel.

We perhaps would have preferred SRAM Rival instead of Shimano Ultegra components on the Mares CX 2.0 given its better weather resistance and more tactile feel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus's second-tier Mares CX 2.0 looks to be a decent value for the privateer race at US$2,700 - especially if they've already got proper wheels to run on race day.

Focus's second-tier Mares CX 2.0 looks to be a decent value for the privateer race at US$2,700 - especially if they've already got proper wheels to run on race day. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Mares CX carbon fork is big and stout for firm braking and precise handling.

The Mares CX carbon fork is big and stout for firm braking and precise handling. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Gearing is suitably 'cross-appropriate with 36/46T chainrings specified across the Mares range.

Gearing is suitably 'cross-appropriate with 36/46T chainrings specified across the Mares range. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Mud clearance on the Mares CX frame is very generous up top.

Mud clearance on the Mares CX frame is very generous up top. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Mud clearance at the chain stays is pretty reasonable off to the sides but very good in the radial direction - plus there isn't much of a shelf on which mud can accumulate, either.

Mud clearance at the chain stays is pretty reasonable off to the sides but very good in the radial direction - plus there isn't much of a shelf on which mud can accumulate, either. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cables are routed across the top tube to help shield them from mud.

Cables are routed across the top tube to help shield them from mud. (Image credit: James Huang)
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3T's Palladio seatpost should be a good choice for 'cross given its unique anti-slip head design.

3T's Palladio seatpost should be a good choice for 'cross given its unique anti-slip head design. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The carbon fiber front brake hanger on Focus's 2011 'cross bikes looks trick but we're not sure it'll work better than a proper deep-drop hanger.

The carbon fiber front brake hanger on Focus's 2011 'cross bikes looks trick but we're not sure it'll work better than a proper deep-drop hanger. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus's second-tier Izalco Pro platform uses the same shape as last year's Izalco Team and is only 120g heavier than the new, lighter-weight model.

Focus's second-tier Izalco Pro platform uses the same shape as last year's Izalco Team and is only 120g heavier than the new, lighter-weight model. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The stays on Focus's Izalco Chrono boast especially sharp trailing edges.

The stays on Focus's Izalco Chrono boast especially sharp trailing edges. (Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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Not surprisingly, the new Culebro Tria frames feature deep-section tubes throughout.

Not surprisingly, the new Culebro Tria frames feature deep-section tubes throughout. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus will serve the steadily growing mid-priced triathlon market will the new Culebro Tria aluminum models.

Focus will serve the steadily growing mid-priced triathlon market will the new Culebro Tria aluminum models. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus will introduce a new triple-butted hydroformed alloy road platform for 2011 called Culebro.

Focus will introduce a new triple-butted hydroformed alloy road platform for 2011 called Culebro. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus has 'cross frames already built for this year's season with the first production runs already starting to arrive in stores within a few weeks.

Focus has 'cross frames already built for this year's season with the first production runs already starting to arrive in stores within a few weeks. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear end of the Cayo is chunkier than the top-end Izalco, thus making it very stiff but also harsher-riding.

The rear end of the Cayo is chunkier than the top-end Izalco, thus making it very stiff but also harsher-riding. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Cayo road frame features a tapered head tube.

The Cayo road frame features a tapered head tube. (Image credit: James Huang)
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BB30 bottom brackets are featured heavily across the Focus road and 'cross range, even on mid-priced models.

BB30 bottom brackets are featured heavily across the Focus road and 'cross range, even on mid-priced models. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus's Cayo 1.0 is set to again be among the company's best sellers, offering a lightweight carbon frame (the same as the previous-generation Izalco) and quality build kit at a reasonable price.

Focus's Cayo 1.0 is set to again be among the company's best sellers, offering a lightweight carbon frame (the same as the previous-generation Izalco) and quality build kit at a reasonable price. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Different blocks on this giant drum roller allow Focus engineers to test the effects of various sizes of bumps.

Different blocks on this giant drum roller allow Focus engineers to test the effects of various sizes of bumps. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This setup is designed to test the power and control curves of disc brake systems in both wet and dry conditions.

This setup is designed to test the power and control curves of disc brake systems in both wet and dry conditions. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus conducts extensive in-house testing, not just of bikes and frames but also the components that it is considering including as original equipment.

Focus conducts extensive in-house testing, not just of bikes and frames but also the components that it is considering including as original equipment. (Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)
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Part of Focus's massive annual dealer event is a blowout sale of overstock parts and frames with unbelievably inexpensive prices. But sorry, it's by invitation only.

Part of Focus's massive annual dealer event is a blowout sale of overstock parts and frames with unbelievably inexpensive prices. But sorry, it's by invitation only. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The proprietary carbon seatpost is deep and narrow (but presumably still passes UCI technical rules).

The proprietary carbon seatpost is deep and narrow (but presumably still passes UCI technical rules). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus's Izalco Chrono is virtually identical to the orginal Walser design but modified to make it more compatible with standard parts.

Focus's Izalco Chrono is virtually identical to the orginal Walser design but modified to make it more compatible with standard parts. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Focus says it considers this frontal impact test to be one of the most important ones it conducts.

Focus says it considers this frontal impact test to be one of the most important ones it conducts. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Given the short head tube length, this method of stem attachment lends greater front end rigidity than simply shortening the tube and clamping the stem up top.

Given the short head tube length, this method of stem attachment lends greater front end rigidity than simply shortening the tube and clamping the stem up top. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Sleek? We'd say so.

Sleek? We'd say so. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Walser frame came to epitomize the knife-edged aero design.

The Walser frame came to epitomize the knife-edged aero design. (Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM's Red brake caliper wasn't even in existence when the orginal Walser design was created so Hupfernagel's frame had to be slightly modified to fit.

SRAM's Red brake caliper wasn't even in existence when the orginal Walser design was created so Hupfernagel's frame had to be slightly modified to fit. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Slightly built-up sections on the extensions make for a better grip.

Slightly built-up sections on the extensions make for a better grip. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Hanka Kupfernagel's time trial machine is a few years old now but it still looks impressively sleek.

Hanka Kupfernagel's time trial machine is a few years old now but it still looks impressively sleek. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The extra-narrow bottom bracket also requires a special crank to go with it.

The extra-narrow bottom bracket also requires a special crank to go with it. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Hanka Kupfernagel's time trial machine is a true Walser - complete with the extra-narrow bottom bracket and all.

Hanka Kupfernagel's time trial machine is a true Walser - complete with the extra-narrow bottom bracket and all. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bars positioned inline with the top tube aren't exactly a new idea - it's just that manufacturers have figured out sleeker ways to get it done.

Bars positioned inline with the top tube aren't exactly a new idea - it's just that manufacturers have figured out sleeker ways to get it done. (Image credit: James Huang)
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These machines test fatigue and ultimate strength properties of Focus frames.

These machines test fatigue and ultimate strength properties of Focus frames. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Included in Focus's test facilities are various jigs for measuring frame stiffness.

Included in Focus's test facilities are various jigs for measuring frame stiffness. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This dealer has a shopping cart full of items from the flea market - but others ship back entire pallets of gear for their stores.

This dealer has a shopping cart full of items from the flea market - but others ship back entire pallets of gear for their stores. (Image credit: James Huang)
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It's a small detail but an important one nonetheless: every Focus seat tube is honed to remove any burrs that could scratch the seatpost.

It's a small detail but an important one nonetheless: every Focus seat tube is honed to remove any burrs that could scratch the seatpost. (Image credit: James Huang)

Focus's Izalco Pro flagship carbon road platform looks nearly identical to the current version but the company says new internal molds, updated fiber blends, and revised lay-up schedules have yielded lighter weights and more consistent tube finishes plus improvements in pedaling and front triangle stiffness.

Claimed frame weight for the new 'Hi-Mod' Izalco Team is now 960g for a painted and decaled 56cm sample – notably a bit heavier than some of the competition but then again, perhaps a reflection of the company's conservative views on weight vs. strength and durability and still over 100g lighter than the previous iteration, which will continue on as the 2011 Izalco Pro.

Updates include one-piece chain stay and dropout assemblies and revised internal cable routing. As before, all of the lines enter the frame through molded-in ports in the head tube and are guided through full-length carbon tubes that are integrated into the frame structure – and reportedly add torsional stiffness to the tubes. But the rear derailleur line now stays inside the frame all the way until the end of the chain stay and a new access port beneath the BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell for the front derailleur makes for easier servicing.

At least for now, the internal routing setup still isn't compatible with Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 transmission, though, so those users will continue to have to run the wires on the tube surfaces.

As before, all Izalco frames will include a BB30-compatible bottom bracket, a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end, and a non-integrated 27.2mm seatpost for rider comfort.

Focus will offer multiple Izalco Team and Pro versions depending on region, with prices ranging from around US$3,100/€2,299 to US$7,700/€5,999, and drivetrain options that will include standard, compact and even triple cranksets on certain models. Focus is also planning to release a limited edition halo model called the Izalco Team Ultimate LTD with an array of high-end carbon bits from the likes of Schmolke, Tune and THM-Carbones. Total bike weight is just 5.0kg (11.0lb) but the corresponding price is a similarly staggering €9,999.

Focus's Cayo range of carbon road frames – the choice of the US-based Jelly Belly pro team – will carry on from before with rigidity figures approaching those of the more expensive Izalco but also a stiffer ride owing to the larger seat stays, conventional external cable routing, and slightly heavier frame weights of around 1,200g. Like the Izalco, though, Cayo frames will feature tapered head tubes and BB30-compatible bottom bracket shells plus a range of drivetrain options depending on model.

Prices will range from US$2,300/€1,499 to US$2,900/€1,999.

New alloy road and aero frames for 2011, too

More value-oriented buyers will find a new Culebro alloy road frame in dealer showrooms, built with TIG-welded triple-butted and aggressively shaped hydroformed aluminum tubing, BB30-compatible bottom bracket shells, and a tapered front end.

Claimed frame weight is a modest 1,550g but the single Ultegra-equipped model is also modestly priced at just US$2,100/€1,399 with DT Swiss RR1900 wheels and FSA finishing kit. A triple crankset is also an option for another €100.


Focus's Izalco Chrono is virtually identical to the original Walser design but modified to make it more compatible with standard parts.

Also all new for 2011 is the Culebra Tria, an aluminum aero range specifically targeted towards the burgeoning entry-to-mid-level triathlon market.

Both models share the same hydroformed alloy frame with deep tube sections throughout, a curved seat tube that closely follows the rear wheel, internal cable routing, a matching aero carbon seatpost, and full-blown aero bar setups from Vision.

Both also come with relatively modest aluminum clincher wheels but Focus's view is that many of these users will already own an additional set of wheels to use on race day or will use one of growing number of aero wheel rental services.

Retail prices are notably reasonably at €1,499 with Shimano 105 and €1,899 with Shimano Ultegra (the US market will only get the 105 version for US$1,900).

Mares 'cross range ready to hit the dirt

Focus was originally founded by 1992 UCI 'cross world champion Mike Kluge so its impressive-looking 2011 'cross lineup should come as no surprise with up to three carbon and three alloy models in the stable depending on region.

Last year's new-for-2010 Mares carbon 'cross framesets will carry over for 2011 with the same tapered front ends, impressively broad tubing (including an unusually beefy fork), top tube-routed cabling, BB30 bottom ends, and especially generous tire clearances front and rear as before.

The top-end Mares CX 1.0 (US$4,000/€2,999) will come with a suitably premium SRAM Force transmission, FSA Energy BB30 46/36T cranks, Avid Ultimate cantilevers, and Focus carbon clinchers. However, we expect the Shimano Ultegra-equipped 2.0 model (US$2,700) to have greater appeal to privateer racers on a more realistic budget – many of whom wouldn't want the carbon clinchers of the 1.0 model and will already have their own race tubies anyway.

Focus's second-tier Mares CX 2.0 looks to be a decent value for the privateer race at US$2,700 - especially if they've already got proper wheels to run on race day.

The alloy Mares AX frames will feature triple-butted and hydroformed aluminum frames mated to a tapered head tube, plus the same burly carbon fork as on the CX range. Threaded bottom bracket shells are used instead of BB30, though, and build kits range from Shimano Ultegra to Tiagra for more reasonable price points of US$1,200/€799 to US$2,000/€1,399.

New Planet collection for the urban crowd

Focus may be a little late to the stylish urban bike market (not to confused with more utilitarian commuters with which Focus is already very heavily invested) but its new Planet line looks remarkably well sorted regardless with its double-butted alloy frames, well chosen upright-yet-nimble geometries, battleship-like grey matte powdercoat finishes, and weather-tolerant disc brakes used throughout.

Highlighting the range is the Planet 8, which includes a maintenance-free Gates Carbon Belt Drive system linked to a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal rear hub, keen sliding dropouts, full-length chainguard, fat Schwalbe Kojak slicks mounted on Focus's own Project lightweight aluminum clincher rims, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and a stylish box-crown aluminum fork for US$1,000/€1,000.

For riders that prefer a conventional drivetrain (and more gearing options) there's also the Planet 28, which uses the same frameset but a standard 3x9 Shimano SLX transmission and Truvativ Stylo 3.3 crank for US$1,400.