Focus Bikes is a bicycle manufacturer based out of Cloppenberg, Germany. Its German roots are attributed to company founder, Mike Kluge, a former world cyclocross champion. Focus Bikes are well known in the United States, particularly in the world of cyclocross.
The bike in this article, the 2018 Focus Mares Force 1 is intended for the world of cyclocross racing. If you caught my earlier video about using a cyclocross bike as a gravel bike (real world experiences), you’ll see how myself and others use these bikes for riding and racing on gravel roads – such is their versatility.
The Focus Mares line of cyclocross bikes has been on the market for several years, but during that time, Focus has continually worked to improve the bike.
Love it or hate it, the “Yellow Freestyle” paint on the 2018 Focus Mares Force 1 CX rig stands out from the crowd.
Starting at the front end of the Mares CX, the headtube is shorter than compared to some gravel bikes. As this bike is designed purely for cyclocross racing, the geometry has been optimized for that, meaning on a gravel road, handling is going to be a little twitchier than some may be used to, or comfortable with.
Pretty much the norm these days, the all-carbon fork is tapered from 1 1/8″ at the top, to 1 1/2″ at the bottom of the fork’s steerer tube.
The Mares Force 1 utilizes Focus’ R.A.T floating axle technology at both ends of the bike. Be sure to watch our video about the Focus R.A.T. system and how it works.
As the Force 1 nomenclature in the name of this Focus model implies, it is fitted with SRAM’s Force 1 mechanical shifting / hydraulic brake drivetrain.
1x / single chainring drivetrains aren’t for everyone, but there is no denying they make perfect sense for cyclocross. In the world of gravel riding and racing, more and more manufacturers are riders are spec’ing 1x systems on their bikes (we canvassed several riders about 1x and 2x in this video). Focus spec a 42 tooth chainring on the crankset.
Hidden from view is the PF30 bottom bracket.
SRAM has put considerable time, money and effort into the development of the SRAM Force 1 groupset. One cannot question how well they work.
The SRAM 1 Force rear derailleur features a clutch, which eliminates derailleur bounce and chain slap. Cassette with the 2018 Mares Force 1 CX bike is a SRAM PG1170 11-32 ratio.
Despite the almost bulletproof nature of SRAM’s 1x drivetrains, Focus wisely install an anti-chain drop – to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
The Force 1 model of the Focus Mares comes stock with Continental Cyclo-X King tyres, measuring 700c x 35mm. There is still a good amount of clearance all around the tyre, making this bike a good candidate for crossing over to the dark side – the fun side – gravel riding and racing!
The cable guide in the above photo is also an indication you can use a 2x drivetrain with the Focus Mares Force 1.
Above, notice the empty cable port just behind the headtube. Another indicator the Mares can be fitted with a 2x drivetrain.
Uber cool colorway on the seat tube and a second bottle cage mount – another indication that Focus didn’t intend this bike to be cyclocross only.
The Focus Mares CX frame is 100% carbon, even down to the curved brake bridge.
Focus utilizes the flat-mount design for mounting brakes to their bicycles. 160mm brake rotor up front.
Flat-mounting for the rear brake, along with a 140mm rear disc brake rotor.
The Focus Mares Force 1 CX rig is priced at $US 3,999.00 and should be hitting the stores soon. I don’t need another bike, but… 🙂
I’m wondering how long it will be before we see one of these beauties at a gravel ride or race…?
Be certain to visit the company’s website at the link below for all of the scoop on this sweet bike!
Thanks for reading.