Focus makes some world-class bikes, and the Cayo 3.0 brings Tour-ready to your local group ride.
It was a big step. I've been pretty confident with my Focus Variado, but it was time. My old aluminum road bike was still holding on strong, even after years of riding in wet, in mud, on rough roads and with less than consistent maintenance at times. But the allure of carbon beckoned, and it was a shop-wide consensus that it was time to go Cayo.
I ordered up the Cayo based on geometry and components. The frame itself is one of the closest I've seen to the geometry of my beloved Focus Mares AX, and that nearly sealed the deal right there. The other is Focus' carbon lay-ups. While many brands will offer the same frame in a number of different lay-ups at different price points, Focus only offers their highest modulus carbon, making it the same weight and ride quality of the next frame up.
For components, I was always going for the 11 speed mechanical Ultegra. I rode that groupset last spring on a BMC GF02 Disc and loved the range, the crispness and the durability of the workhorse component group. To move to a standard crankset, we did add the Jason Lowetz heritage DuraAce crank, a silver 53/39 that's been bouncing around the shop and onto different bikes for more than a few years. We also swamped to an 11-25 cassette, just as much because I like a tight gear cluster as that I need any sort of top end.
The first test of the Cayo was a blustry, cold Tuesday Night Ride, with a few more to follow. The fit was perfect; that might be the biggest reason I always seem to end up on the brand. As many great companies, designs and bikes we carry and I get excited about, when I look in the garage, there are a lot of German bikes hanging around. Using the fit info from the Guru Fit System at the shop, the bike was dialed from day one.
On the return leg of TNR, with a bit of a crosswind and as we hit the hour and a half mark, I checked in. The bike felt responsive and stiff out of the saddle, and really took off in a sprint. Perhaps the most marked quality was how well it handled. The bike turns on a dime and lets you be very aggressive in the corners, which helps me save energy by taking the fastest line possible.
The big test was the Shortcut. On the way back, we take a sharp, high speed right hand turn past the Fruit Company onto Kroupa Road. A number of us have taken to riding across the gravel driveway and perhaps a touch of the thick lawn to save a few seconds. The bike floats over rough stuff. It was so smooth a ride, in fact, that I was convinced the bike would be perfect for a firm gravel road race. Armed with the Belgium (23mm) rims and some 28mm tires, it would be a crusher, and I would have ridden it at Lowell if not for our vacation plans after. I didn't want to risk my prized new ride!
That vaction was a very unique chance to test out the bike on a mountain. We spent two days on Mount Mitchell. Sprinting up a two minute hill on Tuesday Night is one thing, while riding up a steady grade for two and a half hours is something else entirely. It was perhaps here where you feel the stiffness of the bike. Every ounce of energy goes into the crank and into the road, even at slow speeds. At 250 Watts or 600, the bike gave me back everything I put into it.
The Cayo is already becoming one of the go-to bikes in Traverse City, and you'll only be seeing more of them around as people check the bike out.