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Focus Paralane 2017

I've had a few weeks out on the all-new do-it-all bike the Focus Paralane, encountering a pretty wide range of Peak District autumn conditions, a bit of sun, a lot of rain and a fair bit of wind.

The Paralane is Focus's all-new premium comfort endurance hydraulic disc platform, starting at a very reasonable £1299 for the aluminium Tiagra hydraulic and going through to the awesome eTAP at £5699. Comes complete with Curana aluminium mudguards (please excuse mudguard integration in the pics, the Paralane was sent to us missing the rear mudguard bridge bracket). The bike tested is the Paralane full carbon 105 @ RRP £2399.

First impression out of the box: an understated look, carried across most of the range but with one or two wilder colour scheme variants if you really must. And just the sheer variety of tube detailing, such as the stepped fork and chainstays, the flattened lower seat tube and the top tube detail leading onto the head tube. Fatter tyres (28mm fitted, 35mm maximum), thru axles (Focus' proprietary RAT system), flat mount calipers, neat proprietary mudguard fitment into the frame and fork, low gearing (50:34T up front, 32T at the back), skinny 25.4mm CPX Plus full carbon seatpost, basically everything you might want on an all year round bike.

So, onto our Peak District testing ground, 8 rides totalling 200 miles and 4500m of ascent. It's clear very early on that this is no toy bike, it's a serious grown up race bike, with very sharp and predictable handling. Fast too. Not as vertically compliant as I was expecting - sufficiently comfortable but not quite in the same league as our favourite endurance bike the Bianchi Infinito CV. The geometry and top tube taper were just right for me, I'd say pretty perfect, I just needed to get the front end a bit lower stacking the spacers above. While I'm not a big fan of the (some might say) ugly RS505 brake/shifters (as distinct from the RS685s on the next model up the Paralane Ultegra @£2999), they give a great riding position, providing really good anchors out of the saddle and allowing a great range of back positions on the bars. Shame Focus haven't fitted their (I'd say perfect) flat-topped bar as they did in prior years, the bar fitted to the Paralane was a more mundane standard compact that I'd look to change were it my bike.

Verdict: Just what one might expect from Focus, at the racier side of endurance, cutting edge carbon technology, no massive head tubes or wallowy bottom brackets here just an honest fast all year round bike.

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