May 10, 2013
Despite mountain bikes coming with disc brakes as a matter of course for a decade, at the elite level of the cyclocross world they're still on cantilevers
Despite mountain bikes coming with disc brakes as a matter of course for a decade, at the elite level of the cyclocross world they’re still on cantilevers. This won’t last forever though. With the governing body permitting discs on bikes at all levels of racing and integrated hydraulic brake/shift levers poised in the wings, the days of the cantilever are numbered. All it will take is for one World Cup race to be won on discs and we’ll see a slide to reliable and predictable braking.
Which all makes this Focus Mares a fascinating bike to have in on test. To mix metaphors a little, this bike is reminiscent of the Canon 1v, the 35mm film camera which was released in 2000 as Canon’s pinnacle of SLR film cameras. After that, all of its efforts went into digital camera technology and the 1v has never been super-ceded. And so it is with the Mares CX 2.0. This is probably as good as a cantilever-equipped ‘cross race bike is going to get from the brand. After this, all of its efforts will surely go into making better and better disc machines.
Our test bike was solid to accelerate and the electronic shifting was intuitive. The frame is comfortable; both to ride and to shoulder and it’s hard to believe that the fork and frame of a disc-equipped bike of tomorrow will be as supple with all the extra reinforcing they’ll need to cope with the stresses. Only the slightly cheap/robust wheelset seemed out of place – but they’re good enough for training on and you’re bound to have a set of carbon tubs for ‘best’, aren’t you? If you don’t, there’ll be plenty for sale secondhand shortly…
Overall: A true fire-breathing, race machine in the latest and last version of old-school cool. This is as good as a canti-brake cyclocross frame is probably going to get.