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We review the Focus Mares 105, testing if this mid-range 'cross racer can take us all the way.

Best for...
Taking the edge off lumpy offroad courses
Frame
Mares Disc, carbon
Fork
VIP FCBFF-11-L,STECK12,STRAIGHT
Gears
Shimano 105
Brakes
Shimano RS505 hydraulic disc
Wheels
Alex Rims CXD-4, 622-19, 142x12 / 100x 12 thru-axles
Finishing kit
Concept
Price
£2299
Overall Score
8
+
Frame tuned for more comfort on unforgiving 'cross courses
None

With a superbly finished carbon frame and fork, intelligently selected Shimano 105 components more or less throughout and some natty features thrown into the mix the Focus Mares promises to be a very solid performer. Designed as a mid-level cyclocross bike, it is marketed as an 'out the box' racer.

With refreshing round tubes throughout, this current iteration of the Mares has stepped back from previous versions where shaped and curving tubes dominated. Adjusting the size and placement of the carbon they have tuned the ride into less of an all out stiffness monster, blending in more comfort for a better long-term ride. Make no mistake, stiffness in cyclocross is a benefit, but an hour of battering can take its toll on your speed and stamina so it seems manufacturers of top end machinery like this are taking note. Not all performance comes from efficient energy transfer.

The 105 groupset, one step below Ultegra, is every bit as functional as its big brother, so it is nice to see it sprinkled liberally throughout the Mares - a good economical choice. The brakes are nothing short of superb, with minimal maintenance requirements married to maximum stopping power and 'feel' for feathering the brakes on long descents or with cold hands. Shifting, of course is excellent too.

So an excellent race bike for an excellent price, with components that will weather plenty of abuse through your racing season. The frame gives a healthy nod to comfort, so not only will this bike race, it has perfectly good manners for having fun on your days off too. Full internal cable routing makes it all neat and tidy too, adding to the already slick look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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