Hyde's race bike is based on this Shimano 105-equipped 2015 Focus Mares cyclocross bike we're currently reviewing for Issue 27. © Cyclocross Magazine

World Cup ready racing rig. © Cyclocross Magazine

The Build:

Our test bike was a workingman-friendly, Shimano 105-equipped model, complete with cantilever brakes, a plethora of house-brand components, Avid Shorty 4 cantilever brakes, Fulcrum 7.0 wheels dressed with the faux-skinwall Schwalbe Rocket Ron clincher tires.

It’s a practical, value-oriented build, one that was largely sufficient for working pro Molly Cameron to race in China.

It’s hard to find fault with the build, especially for a workingman build, and it’s a pretty race-ready spec that won’t hold you back. Of course, we’d prefer to have a wheel and tire set that would handle lower pressures so you’re not instantly lusting after race wheels (think tubeless rims and tires), but for inner tube lovers, the Rocket Ron tires are really hard to beat. They’re grippy, relatively supple, handsome and have a decent volume.

The Ride:

The Focus Mares is a winner. While it didn’t get me to the top step of the podium, and I had trouble not pinch-flatting on the stock equipment, the geometry, with the taller head tube, is nearly perfect, and the ride quality has improved.

The taller head tube certainly makes it easier to get into a comfortable position, and the front end doesn’t feel overly stiff like the older model did. I’ll admit that part of it could be psychological, but now that there’s an actual head tube, as opposed to just a stack of spacers in place of a head tube, there seems to be a bit more give on big hits.

For the complete and comprehensive article on the full ride and our final verdict, get your back copy of Issue 27 or subscribe to our Digital All-Access post (also available instantly on here and on iTunes).

2015 Focus Mares cyclocross bike. © Cyclocross Magazine

The 2015 Focus Mares includes built-in measures to prevent chain drops. © Cyclocross Magazine

Focus Mares CX 3.0 Full Specs:

MSRP: $2750
Frame: Mares CX P2T 10 carbon disc
Fork: Mares CX P2T 10 carbon T4
Weight: 19.5 pounds, 12.2 pounds without wheels
Shifters: Shimano 105 11-speed
Derailleurs: Shimano 105
Crankset: FSA Gossamer
Brakes: Avid Shorty 4
Cockpit: Concept EX stem, Concept EX bars
Seatpost: Concept EX
Saddle: Concept EX
Wheels: Fulcrum CX 7.0
Tires: Schwalbe Rocket Ron Focus Edition
Warranty: 6 years
Country of Origin: Taiwan

Also be sure to check out Stephen Hyde’s Pro Bike Profile, which won the 2014 KMC Cyclo-Cross Festival, Day Two.