Focus has unveiled its new e-road bike, the Paralane², to great fanfare. It’s a lightweight, full-carbon road/adventure bike that uses the Fazua Evation motor system. Focus has produced this rather nice video to back up the launch, showing the bike being put through its paces in a number of different guises: a full-on road bike, a gravel grinder and a bikepacking adventure machine. Builds start at £5,399 and work their way up to an eye-watering £9,299 for the Paralane² 9.9.
You might be watching the video and thinking the bike looks familiar; if you’ve been visiting ebiketips for the last year or so then you might have seen it back in July last year when we were out in Italy for the Eurobike Media Days show. That was when the bike was first launched, although back then it was called the Project Y and it was a prototype. It doesn’t seem to have changed much from prototype to production bike, as you can see from last year’s video.
It might look like a road bike with a motor (and it is) but Focus has done a lot of work tweaking the Paralane² to make the most of the extra assistance on hand. In collaboration with DT Swiss there’s a new axle standard, Road Boost, which moves to the wider 110mm/148mm axle standard that’s used by most electric mountain bikes but with the smaller 12mm through axle that’s more common on disc-equipped road bikes.
The bike has plenty of clearance for bigger tyres too, if you want to take your riding past the tarmac. Tyres up to 35mm will fit, so you can tackle a bit of gravel easily enough, and Focus has CIA technology. That’s Comfort Improving Areas, rather than any spy gadgets built in. “The PARALANE² provides maximal compliance without losing power transfer”, says Focus.
The Fazua Evation drive isn’t new – we first saw it at Eurobike two years ago – but it’s moving into the mainstream as one of the most-used options for powering lightweight e-bikes. The motor and the battery are removable, leaving just the gearbox in place, which means you can use the Paralane² as a standard road bike if you like. Focus claims a sub-13kg weight for the bike (presumably for the top-dollar 9.9 build), so with the battery and motor removed that’s probably not much over 9kg if you fancy a day without assistance.
We’ve tried the Fazua system on a number of bikes now, including the Cube Agree C:62 Hybrid. Claimed output is 400W and 60Nm of torque, which would put it about on a par with Bosch’s Performance Line motor.
Let’s be clear: it’s not that kind of power. The assistance is more gentle than a full-fat mid motor, but there’s still enough there to be genuinely useful, and because the system is light and doesn’t drag when you’re not under power, it’s easy to keep a Fazua-powered bike rolling well above the assistance limit. Because of that the 250Wh battery tends to last for a long time: we’ve done plenty of 60-80km rides around Bath without running out of juice, and it’s not flat around here.
There are four builds of the Paralane² available for launch. They’re all basically road-oriented builds, so you’ll have to wait if you want anything like the bikepacking build they were showing at last year’s Eurobike. They all share the same frame and come shod with 28mm Continental tyres.
The cheapest build, the 9.6 (£5,499), gets the new Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset and DT Swiss RR521 wheels; the three lower-priced models all get these wheels, with the top-spec 9.9 rolling on posher DT Swiss ERC 1450 DB hoops. The 9.7 (£5,499) build gets mechanical Ultegra gearing (with hydraulic discs), the 9.8 (£6,339) is Ultegra Di2 and the 9.9 (£9,299) is money-no-object Dura Ace Di2. There’s other top-dollar upgrades on the 9.9 too, such as Easton EC90 Aero bars. All builds are available in four sizes: 51cm, 54cm, 57cm and 60cm.