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Sneak Peak at the Focus Raven 29er

Posted by: Jens Raz |May 9, 2012 2:23 AM
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First Impressions of the Focus Raven 29er

Written by: Jens Raz

Focus will be officially unveiling the Raven 29 at the Sea Otter Classic Expo this weekend. MTB Race News had a sneak peak prior to the big event. Read our full report below.

I have been riding the Focus Raven 29er for the last week and am thoroughly impressed.  The frame is light,  just about 1,200 grams. The complete bike, in a size large, weighs in at an impressive 22.13lbs with tubes (stock except for an Elite Thompson seatpost).  There are beautiful lines, very nice component choices, and a few unique twists.                                                                                                                    

It becomes quickly apparent from the attention to detail that Focus has paid to the bike, that a true mountain biker has designed the frame.  There is a tapered head tube, full internal cable routing, chain stay post mount disk brakes (internally routed of course). One of the main standouts is the option to run the cable for a dropper seatpost internally through the frame as well With a dropper seatpost the bike not only climbs like a goat, but also allows you descend much quicker while saving your family jewels from the perils of a raised seat in a rock garden.

The brakes are also truly impressive.  The Maguras MT8s have a great initial bite and do not require any effort to haul the bike from light speed to a quick stop. If anything, the rear brake is almost too good.  Coming stock with a 180 front and 160 rear rotor, the rear can even go up to a 180mm rotor.

Initial riding impressions:

The Raven is a truly fast climber that allows climbing in 1-2 gears higher than on a heavier bike (in my case compared back to back with a 29er 3 full-suspension aluminum bike at 28.5 lbs). This is a good thing as the stock Raven sports a big 28 tooth inner chain ring.

The bike truly shines on fast and tight singletrack.  In Southern California, it is hard to imagine going faster than on this bike on the majority of trails such as Holy Jim or the San Juan trail in Orange County.   

Long-term report to follow. Meanwhile you will be able to see a few of these still rare bikes at Sea Otter this coming weekend (and even test ride if you are lucky)!

 The Good:

  •      Light and stiff frame with seductive seatstays!
  •      FOX 32 Terralogic with Kashima coating (you know, the "brain" fork)
  •      Option to run a dropper seat post cable internally through the frame!
  •      Amazing brakes (Magura MT 8s)!
  •      The XTR shifter offers the ability to shift up 2 gears and down 3 gears with one stroke.
  •      Nice mix of components (Crank Brother Cobalt 3 wheels at 1500 grams, XTR cassette, shifters, FSA SK-K Cranks, stem and bars, Fizik Tundra 2w/Braided Carbon rails)


 The Bad:

  •      Grips are, hard and not comfortable.
  •      A longer seat post is required for an 80-84 cm saddle height
  •      Lack of chain stay protector

Happy Trails.

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