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SOC16: 2017 Focus Mares CX cyclocross bikes get flat mount disc brake updates, more

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By way of introduction, Focus’ owner simply said “Cyclocross is in our DNA.” And with Jeremy Powers, currently ranked #8 in the world, racing on their bikes and very happy with the frames, its somewhat fitting that they carry over mostly unchanged for 2017.

The big change is the move to flat mount disc brakes on both carbon and alloy frames. And all of the carbon forks, which are spec’d on every model, were redesigned with internal brake hose routing. There’s a foam channel inside to guide the brake hose through it. Since that required a complete redesign, they used that opportunity to switch from 15mm thru axles to 12mm, dropping a few extra grams. The exact amount of weight savings for the fork is TBD.

Other than the flat mounts, the frame stays the same really since that change didn’t require new molds. It’s still sub 900g for the carbon frame. Graphics and spec are all updated, check out the complete line below…


The top level bike is the Mares CX Force, which gets a SRAM Force 1 group and DT Swiss Spline R23 wheels. The entire line gets Schwalbe’s tubeless-ready X-One tires.


Below that is the Rival (A-Class CEX CD4.0 wheels, up front), Ultegra (DTS Spline R24) and 105 (A-Class CEX CD4.0) models for the carbon fiber bikes.




The forks spec’d on the carbon bikes use Focus’ RAT thru axle, which requires only a 1/4 turn to pull out once the lever is opened. Powers said that lets them swap wheels in the pits in under a minute, meaning the second bike can be ready with time to spare as he loops around the half lap before passing the pits again.




All of the frame, carbon and alloy, get RAT thru axles at the rear, too.


Their chain guard prevents it from dropping off the inside and originally was added to prevent things from going south as riders backpedalled leading up to the barrier dismounts. But, it weighs about 50g and can easily be removed from its ISCG05 mounts now that 1x narrow/wide rings have gotten so good.


The top two carbon bikes get their Concept CPX carbon stems…


…and CPX Comfort carbon seatposts. The post builds in measurable compression flex and is available in straight and setback designs.


The carbon frames use a larger PF30 BB shell (with adapters for Shimano-equipped bikes), but the alloy bikes get threaded shells.


The alloy bikes get two models, starting with this 105 equipped bike rolling on DT Swiss R522 wheels. Below it is the Tiagra 2×10 bike with the same wheels. All of the Shimano equipped bikes have double chainrings up front.

The alloy bikes also have a carbon fork with internal hose routing and flat mount brakes, but switch to a standard threaded thru axle rather than the RAT system. It does switch to 12mm axles, too, though. Note: The bikes shown here are all pre-production and may not have correct spec.


The chainstays are shaped to give a little.


Rack and fender mounts come standard on the alloy bikes, not the carbon ones.


Last up is the Mares AX Commuter with Tiagra 2×10 and DT Swiss R522 wheels with Schwalbe G-One tires. Fenders come stock, but it uses their alloy fork with standard disc brake post mounts.

Pricing for all is TBD but should be announced by end of April, bikes available in early August.


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matthew moseley
matthew moseley
8 years ago

the whole flat mount thing seems like such a waste

narrower footprint for less even torque distribution (c/f radially mounted moto/sports car calipers)

another pair of mounting bolts, for a total of 4 per axle.


someone please enlighten me?

8 years ago

I’m not sure force distribution is a limiting issue. As for the whole flat vs post, I thought its main goal was to minimize caliper/mount size to fit inside the rear triangle on most bikes as well as make the whole thing cleaner fir users more concerned about aero. On the front it doesn’t seem to offer any real benefit. Flat and post are both radial mounts (minimizes flex to improve brake feel). My $0.02

8 years ago

The biggest issue with the flat mount to me is that it locks you into a rotor size. I am a big guy, at fit, so called ‘race weight’, I am 86kg odd. 140’s are just not enough for me and where the rotor size affects both pulling up power and modulation, I need/want something bigger to feel like I won’t tax the brake too much. With the flat mount, it just gets messier to try and fit a larger rotor.

I also don’t like how the mount is almost internal to the fork and frame. If it’s off, then it looks to be very hard to reface, meaning you will have to relay on shims or whatever to get the calliper line up correctly.

And a different ‘standard’ just to eliminate some airflow drag? Seems like over kill for very little gain.

8 years ago

I’m pretty sure on the fork side, going from say 140mm to 160mm is relatively easy (as easy as post mount). Rear? Not so much unless the frame is specifically designed for it.
My comments on aero/packaging are for rear only.
Also, you aren’t big. Shimano tested their 140mm way above your weight, but your preference for modulation stands. 160 mm may not offer more useable ultimate power but it will offer better modulation and reduce required lever force.

8 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Probably right about the front thinking about it. And 160? I actually run a 180, the modulation and ability to gradually put in power with little effort is a joy, especially through the front. I do 160 on the back. Sounds mad but if you aint tried it… 😉

A long time ago I used to run a 140 on the back and found it to be, well, horrid. Things might be different now with the new crop of brakes but I was running the 140 through Hope brakes and for the most part they were about 10 years ahead of everyone else in terms of performance.

8 years ago

The updates shouldn’t be a deal breaker for y’all. I’ve be rocking my mares00 for a few years now and hands down its one of the most versatile, fast properly designed bike out there. It’s my cross bike, winter bike, gravel bike and with 25c’s and a gearing change is my ugly weather road bike. For cross, the geo is best appreciated the faster you go, for road it does get a bit twitchy over 25mph. This is one of those bikes you buy and keep for many years. Plus they look fast!

8 years ago

@moseley: The bike industry is dysfunctional yet profitable, that’s why.

8 years ago

FocusBikes, put a real head tube on it and then we’ll talk. When you don’t have a single pro slamming their stem, it might be time to make it a little taller. I would need 45-55mm of spacers to get the right height for my reach! My current 25mm of spacers only looks slightly dorky right now.

8 years ago

@Bones, I couldn’t agree more.

@pgm, the stack on the Mares is already one of the highest in the industry. That said, I am running 2cm of spacers and wouldn’t mind a taller headtube.

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