All the way up to the snowline: a ski mountaineer starts out on his FOCUS bike
The Black Forest 29er is our February bike of the month
When Roman Dirscherl sets out on a new ski expedition, not only does he take his skis but, with increasing regularity, his trusty FOCUS Black Forest 29er is becoming indispensible. Especially as spring approaches, he has to go further and higher to reach the snow, so the MTB is the perfect extra item of equipment. Fully loaded, his skis on his back and ski touring boots rather than cycling shoes on his feet, the water-rutted forest roads into the Alps are soon tamed under the big 29er wheels. The extra-large hoops make their way uphill surefootedly, whilst later, on the downhill run back home, the wide Riser handlebars make for a really fun descent. The bike has a compact riding position and, thanks to the optimised stem angle, a tight steering response that almost provides the flair of a full-sus All Mountain bike.
“The Black Forest is the perfect bike for mountain freaks who spend all their free time out in the Alps and need a bike that can be used in all seasons. You'll never part me from this bike,” says Dirscherl with a grin as he sends greetings (sadling without an accompanying photo) from the Italian Alps to the German cycle manufacturers.
Even leisure riders, who swear by this bike as a tool for keeping themselves fit and who select their sports gear based on the widest possible range of different uses, have long understood the advantages of the larger wheels and knobblier tyres: they offer greater comfort, greater riding enjoyment and more variety than 28 inch cross bikes. The short cut through the forest is no problem on this 29er, and the current vagaries of winter weather can do nothing to stop riders keeping fit out of doors, even in February. To keep the bike within financial reach for the leisure market, the Black Forest 29er offers a more affordable alternative to the FOCUS carbon model, the Raven 29er. For the perfect ride feel, the aluminium frame of last year’s model has been improved and the frame geometry has been adjusted in line with the top of the range. “Short wheelbase, short chain stays, curved seat tube, relaxed stem angle,” explains product manager Fabian Jaekel as he runs through the Black Forest's hallmarks.