After 2 seasons on that bike, even with 2 professional bike fits, a 90mm stem (shortest available) and 20mm spacers under the stem, I felt that the bike was too long and too low for me. The bike itself was great and was much more bike than I'd ever need, but I would often have upper back and shoulder pain during long rides. So I began my search for a new bike with the some strict criteria:
- Geometry & Comfort: being comfortable for me is way more important than outright speed. I need something less aggressive than my BMC and didn’t beat me up after a long day. I do not consider the ride quality of the BMC to be harsh, but it does transmit the road imperfections up to the rider even with 28mm tires. That’s probably an advantage for most of you, but I hope a smoother ride and more upright rider position would help with the pain I’ve been experiencing.
- Weight: This is of course the weightweenies forum so I wanted something which could be built up to be sub 7kg ready to ride. The BMC was 6.8kg with pedals so that’s my target weight. I’m surrounded by mountains and since I’m climbing at a snails pace (<15km/h), aerodynamics means nothing to me, but weight is still important. Also, I enjoy the climbing much more than the descending.
- Disc brakes: I’m often riding long alpine descents on carbon clinchers. Plus I just purchased a new set of carbon disc brake wheel set this past summer and I want to use them on the new bike.
- Tire Clearance: 32mm minimum and and more is better. If I could use the bike for some gravel riding, that’d be a major plus.
- Specialized Roubaix and Trek Domane: geometry should work well, but I’m not fond of the extra weight and complexity of the suspension systems.
- BMC Roadmachine, Cervelo Caledonia/R3, Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Basso Diamante SV: geometries are still aggressive for ‘endurance’ models.
- Merida Scultura Endurance: the 1150g frame was too heavy for my liking and would hinder my ability to reach my target weight
- Rose Reveal: good weight, but the geometry doesn’t work since I’m between sizes.
- AX Lightness Evo Disc: good geometry and weight, but outside my budget.
- Open MIN.D: geometry and weight are good, but put off by the ISP and price.
Unfortunately Focus decided to discontinue the lightweight 9-series Carbon SL frame for 2021, so I had to look for a store that still had a remaining 2019 or 2020 model in stock. I emailed pretty much all the bike stores in Europe that Focus had sold the bike to and after a month of searching I found one in Germany that still had a 2020 Paralane 9.8 in my size 51. It was red and already Ultegra Di2. Bonus!
I plan to transfer over some parts (wheels, saddle, bars) from my BMC to the Focus and according to my spreadsheet it should be around 6.9kg. More to come...
Picture from the bike store before the bike was packed up and sent to me. According to the store owner, it was 8.3kg with the flat pedals.