Focus Bikes originates from Germany and has its administration and production facilities based in Cloppenberg. The company which was founded in 1992 by Mike Kluge, a former cyclo-cross world champion, has a history of sponsoring professional cycling teams and champions over the last 2 decades.
The bike in question for this review is none other than the Focus Raven, a 26inch carbon hardtail that is designed for serious trail action. First up, here are the specifications of the kit the bike came:
Frame: Focus Raven XC Full Carbon
Fork: Fox Float RL
Drivetrain: Shimano XT
Brakes: Magura MT2 hydraulic disc brakes
The bike frame tested was the 2011 version. Aside from aesthetics, everything else is the same for the 2012 version.
In light of the evolving trends in the mountain biking scene, Togoparts contributors Dean Koh and Chiu Ling will give their opinions on the Focus Raven. Dean started doing mountain biking about ten years ago and is still riding a 26inch mountain bike. Sports junkie Chiu Ling who is relatively new to the world of cycling is currently using a 29inch mountain bike.
The Focus Raven was certainly designed for high performance. Comfortable and responsive, ride quality is excellent. Pedal transmission is instantaneous and you will definitely look forward to weekend trail rides with it. With its full carbon frame and standard XT components that it has been matched up with, the bike is not only light and agile, but handling and responsiveness is great. Due to the smaller wheels (against my 29inch bike), I felt the responsive steering was an advantageous for sharp turns on the trail. On the whole, the Focus Raven is definitely easier to manoeurve.
As I am already accustomed to a 29inch bike, one of the evident differences I felt was the need to pedal harder and the significant increase in feedback (vibrations) from the bicycle I was getting while out on the trails. Nonetheless, the Raven Focus will be ideal if what you are seeking for is a workout and being more in tuned with the feel of the trails which are largely the sentiments of old-time mountain bikers. After all, a smaller machine will give you greater flexibility to do funny stunts on the trail. On the whole, the Focus Raven is a 26inch high performance mountain bike that rides very well.
I am quite used to the Scott aluminium hard tail mountain bike which I had since almost 10 years ago (gosh) but picking up the Focus Raven made me rediscover the fun factor in riding a hard tail mountain bike. In fact, I felt so at home and comfortable with the Raven that I rode the bike down a short of flight of stairs which I normally would not even try with my Scott.
On the trails, the Focus Raven felt very lively and responsive-the carbon frame really soaks up the bumps and the great handling ability made me feel more ‘brave’! Aesthetics-wise, the matte two-tone white and blue colour scheme definitely gets a nod of approval and I particularly like the huge “Focus” motif across the bottom of the down-tube (see above photo). Another thoughtful touch is that the brake and shifter cables run internally through the frame so it keeps everything nice and neat.
Whether you are considering an upgrade to a carbon hard tail mountain bike or starting out with mountain biking, the Focus Raven is a worthy choice given its fun appeal and great handling abilities. The Raven is also available in 29er and 650B models as well. The Focus Raven range retails from three grand onwards. You can get the Focus Raven via Entro Cycles & RAD Station.