Bike Check: Renny’s Focus Izalco Max ENVE

All this winter, this long, loooooong winter, Renny’s been flogging his Focus Izalco Max around the roads of greater Victoria. After putting the Izalco through all that abuse, the Izalco’s earned an upgrade so, fresh for summer, a shiny new set of ENVE 4.5 SES hoops have been added. I mean, all I got for riding through winter was an extra tough set of calluses, but Renny did put the Izalco through some crazy mileage. While the ENVE upgrade was the main impetus for a bike check, it’s entirely likely Renny only let us borrow his bike in the hope that people would stop asking about that sparkly BENZ 500 sticker job. We will explain that, eventually. But, unfortunately for him, 90% of you won’t read that far (it is like, 2.5 whole paragraphs away. TLDR: pretty bike)

We’ve been rather forthright with our affection for Focus’ Izalco Max platform, even reviewing the new Izalco Max Disc version, also with ENVE 4.5 AR Discs. It’s super light, aesthetically spot on, and still rides incredibly well. Renny’s not really know for holding onto a bike too long if he doesn’t like how it feels, but the Izalco’s already had an admirably long run in his stable. The Germans behind Focus have put their time in continually refining the Izalco Max platform, and it shows.

So then: those ENVE’s. Yeah, yeah, we’ve been over this and you all know the basics. Fancy carbon hoops made in America, with a penchant for very sharp aesthetic design in addition to their more science based lab work. But the small company hasn’t grown so quickly based on looks alone. SES stands for ‘Smart ENVE Syetems’ — a reference to their work with aerodynamicist Simon Smart, who cut his teeth in the high pressure Formula 1 circuit. Together, Smart and ENVE have been pushing forward with wider rims for road bikes. Renny’s 4.5’s are designed around a 25mm wide rim. Yeah, those are 25mm Conti GP 4000’s. ENVE’s width noticeably widens the contact patch of the GP’s, significantly improving handling.¬† The 4.5’s are in the aero range, with a 48mm depth up front and 56mm out back to maximize aero benefits without really messing with the bikes handling. The last neat feature ENVE’s added to their 4.5’s would be the textured brake track on the rim version, which are supposed to significantly improve the initial brake bite – a very welcome change for anyone familiar with carbon hoops ‘unique’ braking characteristics.

For the rest of Renny’s build, there’s a full compliment of Shimano Ultegra parts. This includes Stages Ultegra power meter in the cranks, giving Renny all the numbers, all the data, all the time. PRO Plt ergo drop bars are attached to a 130mm -6 3T stem, and wrapped in California buds, Supakaz’s very swank¬† ‘Super Sticky Kush’ tape. Last, there’s Focus’ house brand seat post, which looks weird but actually lends an appreciable improvement in ride comfort. It’s crazy light, and lends a little fore/aft flex that helps balance out the super stiff Izalco Max frame.

Click images below for a full gallery of details on Renny’s Izalco // 500 BENZ edition