Do you get excited about a new bike? I do! Every year there are tons of new bikes but there are just a few that stand out for me. Hands down the most exciting bike I am carrying for this coming season is the Focus Paralane. The Paralane Focus’s first real “endurance” bike. Before we go further let’s take a look at what an endurance bike is and what a Paralane will do for you that other bikes don’t.
“Endurance” what’s that? I find endurance lacking in description as a category but here is how I would best describe it compared to a traditional “racing” bike; endurance bikes are designed for overall comfort but still have the performance of a race bike. The “comfort” part for most bike brands comes from geometry changes, namely a shorter top tube and/ or taller head tube. Also “endurance” bikes are generally not as “stiff” with the frames incorporating so flex in the design to reduce the feedback from the road surface. There is also a trend towards wider tires out there and disc brakes.
With the Paralane they tackle all three areas (geometry, design and tire width) but stand out in one-tire width. I see a lot of gimmicks out there that improve comfort from road shock but tire width does more than any “flex” built into a frame can do. The Paralane comes stock with Schwalbe 28 or 30 mm tires and has room for 35mm tires if you want with room to spare. A high quality tire (high thread count and flexible casing) is much better at soaking up both road vibrations and potholes and Schwalbe have all of those features. Before you your first test ride you might be thinking “The tires will make the bike slow.” but you will be surprised how efficient bigger tires are on smooth roads and are much better on rough pavement than those skinny ones...
Fenders? Okay the bikes come stock with low profile sturdy fenders that can come off with an allen wrench and 3 or 4 minutes of your time. Why do you want fenders? So many riders skip a ride when it is wet out, cold feet and a wet back are not that much fun. If you commute to work or just the kind of rider who will go out in the weather these are great but if you skip those days then the fenders are going to make it so you will go out there in comfort. Ride more!
Frame design-just one. With Focus as a brand they offer one high quality frame in the Paralane model and then change the parts to meet your budget needs. What is important with the great frame on every model is that you get a light, responsive frame on every model, no need to upgrade. Later after a lot of riding you will be happy to upgrade the parts to even the highest levels available and feel good about it. Focus does this with all of their bikes in the line road, mtn or cross and I love that.
Finally let’s talk about adventure. Over the last few years there have been a number of riders who are exploring old roads, some paved and some not. “Gravel” riding or adventure riding has been booming. There is less of a chance of vehicle traffic disturbing your fun time and the Paralane begs to be ridden on the road less traveled. Check out the video and see what you can do on this bike!