A high tech bike but make sure you pay attention to the sizing.
When it comes to cutting-edge competition road bikes, they don’t come much more loaded with the latest tech and trends than the Focus Cayo Disc. The German firm hasn’t made concessions to comfort or a more female friendly fit with this Donna version though.
Frame and Forks
If you compare the small sized Donna version with the extra small unisex Cayo Disc you’ll find that the frames and forks are identical in construction, with just some pink detailing to differentiate it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as many women we know actually prefer the fit of a man’s bike to a female-specific frame.
It’s worth noting that the small comes up large compared to the other bikes here, particularly in terms of the long cockpit reach created by the rearward curve of the seat post. That meant all our testers ended up with the saddle a long way forward on its rails to get a comfortable position, and going down a size might actually give you a better overall fit.
It’s definitely worth sizing correctly if you like an unapologetically combative feeling bike complete with unique but super simple to use 12mm diameter twist lock axles for extra stiffness and security and direct mount disc brakes.
Rather than the cable operated brakes you’ll find on some cheaper bikes, this Cayo Donna Ultegra comes with Shimano’s excellent hydraulically operated brakes. This might sound scarily high-tech, but because the brakes automatically compensate for pad wear they’re actually much easier to live with than cable brakes. The levels of subtle control compared to conventional rim brakes – particularly in the wet – are outstanding too, and Focus use mid-sized 160mm brake rotors for extra power.
The slight weight penalty they add is concentrated at the centre of the wheel and right down low on the bike too so its actual physical effect is minimal. The full set of Ultegra gives a good spread of gears for steeper climbs though, so you can spin smoothly in the saddle rather than having to stand up and strain on all but the steepest hills.
The DT Swiss wheels are light for disc ready wheels too, although the Schwalbe Durano tyres are a sturdy rather than sporty choice on an otherwise very race focused machine.
The finishing kit is Focus own brand with a carbon stem as a lightweight highlight and their own unique CPX Plus seatpost with a hoop at the top designed to act as a shock absorber under the Fizik women’s saddle.
While the seatpost and skinny rear seatstays are designed to damp shock from the road, it’s obvious straightaway that the Donna has a very direct feel. The long stretch to the bars caused by the big frame, the rigid DT Swiss wheels as well as the stiff carbon stem makes for an unforgiving position if you’re riding on less than perfect roads.
The upside of this frame and fork stiffness, plus the extra precision added by the large diameter axles and very stiff wheels make for an extremely precise and accurate steering and handling feel. The long frame also puts you in an automatically aggressive mindset so if you don’t find your shoulders burning from it, you’ll be in the ideal position for burning off the bunch.
The excess grams are hidden in the best possible place too, so despite the heaviest wheel and overall weight on test the Focus still feels reasonably – if not remarkably – responsive when you put the power down hard. We’d definitely swap the tyres though as the Durano tyres undermine it’s full performance potential with a leaden feel and reluctant roll compared to some lighter, livelier rubber.
Pros: Outstanding all-weather braking performance
Cons: Unforgiving ride quality and riding position
- Price: £2,299
- Contact: focus-bikes.com