Germans and Italians played nicely together by the seaside today at the 2014 Focus bikes showing. Hosted at the glamourous Pilu restaurant by the waves of Sydney’s Freshwater Beach, the setting was hard to top. Flow valiantly avoided the temptation to grab a Moretti and park up for the arvo, instead we got to work picking our favourites out of the new range.
Crouched menacingly in the corner of the room we found SAM, our unashamed favourite of the new range. The swarm of 160mm-travel 650B-wheeled bikes hitting our shores at the moment is hard to miss, and we welcome the German addition with open arms.
With a 160mm front and rear, including the sickeningly good Rockshox Pike, 650B carbon Reynolds wheels, Reverb Stealth post and a SRAM XX1/X01 drivetrain we’re already giving the SAM a big ‘hell yeah’.
The angles are slacker than a Byron Bay dole bludger and the weight is 13kg on the nose, which is tidy indeed for an alloy-framed bike. Off the shelf the top of the line SAM will set you back $5999, but there are two lower-specced versions from as little as $3400.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Raven, sharing the same wheel size as the SAM but that’s about it. The full carbon cross country hardtail is a bold looker, and is sure to get the froth forming at the corners of the mouths of plenty of racers who aren’t convinced by 29ers.
It’s an eclectic mix of components; XT cranks spin on an FSA bottom bracket, with Magura brakes and Rockshox fork. We’re a little surprised to see quick release rear axle, given that the cheap Black Forest models are 142x12mm. $3399 is the price you’ll pay to ride this particular Raven.
We wish we could stop thinking about cake… hopefully this bike is equally delicious as its baked namesake when you get it onto the trails.
For under $2200 this bike will be in the sweet spot (half-arsed cake pun) for a lot of riders; it’s a beautifully finished frame for the money, with a sensible, no-fuss spec that will appeal to the weekend warrior. The Reba fork is a superb performer for the price and a 3×10 SRAM drivetrain leaves you with gears aplenty for tired legs after a day at the cake shop, erm on the trails.
The frame has been updated from last year to include a 142mm rear axle and the cables are all routed internally, which is great touch at this price point.
We’ll bring you more from the Focus range soon, as well as a test of the SAM in the very near future.