Last time, we showed you our latest road bikes in a shop – our run of the Focus Izalco Max. Topping out that selection was the AG2R team replica model. This is Focus’s very top offering and is a stock build that comes out of the box with full Super Record group, Fulcrum carbon tubular wheels, and a Fizik front end, just like what AG2R rode to Tour de France team victory (not to mention the podium). This was undoubtedly the model we were most excited to bring in. It turns out, we weren’t the only ones feeling the excitement. Not even a week after putting it on the floor, we had someone wanting to take it home.
While we love Super Record and believe it to be as good as it gets, the bike’s new rider had other plans. While he too likes Campagnolo, the majority of his race bikes are Shimano, so this one had to be dressed in Dura Ace. Of course going from Super Record to Dura Ace is not exactly an upgrade but rather a lateral move, the details we got to spec out the rest of the bike with are what made things special.
First thing first, tracking power. When it comes to power meters, SRM is the absolute best of the best. The Dura Ace SRM was the natural choice for this build. It’s pretty incredible how well they we able to integrate the new 9000 chainrings and aesthetics onto the 7800 style crank arms needed for the power unit.
One of our only complaints about Shimano is their bearings. Specifically, the ones found in the bottom bracket and the bushings in o the derailleur pulleys. Sure they are solid and durable, but they have got to be the slowest spinning from any manufacturer. Behold, Ceramic Speed. Made in Denmark, these cermaic bearings are the best you can get. We’ve recently started stocking their products again and have been trying to put them on all of our builds. While they probably wont make the difference in winning you a sprint or not, the smoothness and lack of friction of these bearings is truly mind blowing and there really is just something special about the feel of how they ride. This bike is outfitted with their standard derailleur pulleys and their elegant PF30 to 24mm conversion bottom bracket.
We didn’t stop there. The bearings in the Fulcrum Racing Speed were already incredibly smooth but why stop at just the pulleys and BB? Inside this little white jar was a kit of loose ceramic balls for the Fulcrum/Campy hubs.
One thing we can admit that the Dura Ace group does have over Super Record is the brakes and their new ultra smooth Cables. The 9000 brakes are hands down the most powerful and best feeling road caliper brakes out there. Paired with the new coated Shimano cables, you get the smoothest brake lever action possible. Combine that with the incredible brake track on the Fulcrum 35s, you’ll wonder why anyone is even talking about disc brake road bikes.
The last thing to upgrade was the saddle and seatpost. Stock, the bike comes with a kium railed Arione and the lone OEM part on the bike, a Focus house brand seatpost. We swapped the saddle for an all black Antares R1. Our rider needed a zero offset post so we went with the oh so light and beautiful Zipp SL Speed.
And there you have it, our first Izalco Max to go out the door and done in proper AC style.