Combining both ‘speed and liberty’ the Paralane is just at home in a Gran Fondo as it is exploring all those tucked away gravel roads. Cyclist recently road tested the Factory model during the Big Ride Snowys trip to see if this really was a bike comfortable across multiple terrains.
Photography: Damian Breach
Jumping onto the Focus Paralane I couldn’t help but feel it would be a case of ‘comfort, speed and performance – pick two’. And while there is no chance of me mistaking this bike for my race steed, I was struck with how well the Factory manages to deliver on all three of those performance criteria.
The relaxed geometry by no means stopped me railing the Perisher and Thredbo descents. Schwalbe One 30c tyres – at close to 60 PSI – hugged the corners like and smoothed out the roads to the point of making the whole ride feel like it was on hot-mix. The difference in road feel and feedback was so smooth in fact I stopped once to check if I had a flat tyre. All this on a tubeless-ready wheelset running inner tubes (tubeless would be even smoother).
Shifting comes via SRAM’s Apex 1x groupset with single 44-tooth chainring coupled with an 11-36 11-speed cassette. No excessive gaps in gearing but with more than enough range for the steepest of ascents (and descents). Hydro disc brakes – an impressive addition at this price point – pull up the Zipp 30 Course wheels.
While many bikes promise to deliver everything you’re looking for, few achieve it. The Paralane is truly a machine that if circumstances stated you could only own one bike, this should absolutely be part of the discussion. Commute on slicks during the week. Swap in some gravel road, nobbled tyre, wheels for a Saturday ride with the kids. Flip the slicks back on for the Sunday bunch ride with your roadie mates. It won’t beat you up. The 1x means even less drivetrain maintenance. And if the other riders stopping at the cafe to admire our rigs were anything to go by, you’ll also have a rig that is both functional and an object of desire. To me, there’s little more you could ask for.
Stay tuned for a full review of the Focus Paralane Factory in an upcoming edition of Cyclist. Subscribe and never miss an issue. We’ll even throw in a little extra gift from the guys at Attaquer just to say ‘cheers!’.
Focus Paralane Factory specifications
Focus Paralane Factory
SRAM Apex 1x 11-speed
Zipp 30 Course
Focus Concept EX handlebars, Concept stem, Concept CPX, 25.4x 340mm seatpost and Fi’zi:k Antares R5 saddle.