On the last weekend of February, Peta Mullens pulled on her new Focus-Attaquer MTB kit and raced on the dirt for the first time in months, aboard her new Focus O1E. Although Mullens has a number of mountain bike national titles to her name, her summer had consisted of road racing until she lined up for the Otway Odyssey and the Great Otway Gravel Grind. She won both.
In the Otway Odyssey, a race Mullens has won several times, the new Focus O1E was her weapon of choice, having won on the Raven MAX the year previously. The bike had only just been built up, so it was a perfect time to look over the fastest bike in the women’s race, and one of the newest cross-country marathon full-suspension bikes to hit the market.
The Focus O1E
The Focus O1E was built in conjunction with mad Swiss shredder and XCO superstar Florian Vogel. The geometry is modern, with a 69.2 degree head angle, reasonably lengthy top tubes and low head tubes. The chain stay lengths are pretty moderate at 448mm, and with a 38mm BB drop that extra length should aid stability.
The rear triangle has no pivot, relying on flex through the full carbon stays to stay active. The rear end also uses the R.A.T system that Focus have developed, and other manufacturers are licensing. Basically by popping the conventional quick release lever, which has been preset at the right tension, and turning 90 degrees, the through axle comes right out. This means you get super fast wheel changes and the security and stiffness of a through axle.
The Focus O1E uses F.O.L.D technology, which is one of many silly acronyms in the bike industry. In this case it stands for Focus Optimised Linkage Design, and essentially allows a very supple early phase of travel with excellent bottom out resistance. In short, lots of supple suspension for traction, and plenty of ramp up for bigger hits to get the most out of the 100mm of travel available.
The shock sits very low in the frame, helping to keep the centre of gravity a lot lower. Mullens runs a twin lock out lever for both the rear shock and RS-1 fork.
The frame has internal cable routing, a tapered head tube, and the back end has been designed around Boost spacing with 148mm wide internal spacing.
The chain stay is super tall (and super long!) and no doubt helps with the lateral rigidity of the bike. You can see the Focus O1E has a mount for a small rear guard on the top of the swing arm. That’s pretty neat, and a good way to keep mud off the bike – as mud that piles up does just make the bike heavier.
The internal cables run external on the swing arm, which can aid servicing of bearings and drivetrains, and changing damaged sections of frame in a race village.
SRAM Eagle on the Focus O1E
It’s hard to miss the bright gold of the SRAM Eagle 12 speed drivetrain. Mullens has been a loyal user of SRAM components for years, and has clearly enjoyed the wide range of the 10-50t cassette, pairing it with a 34t chain ring for the Otway Odyssey.
Brakes are also SRAM, with Mullens using the Level Ultimate levers and 160mm rotors front and rear. These things have so much carbon and ti hardware I’m not sure I can list it all.
Suspension on the Focus O1E
Many racers are switching to the new SID, plenty are also sticking with the RS-1. It is heavier, possibly more finicky, but the riders who stay on the RS-1 rave about the small bump sensitivity. If the new damper finds it’s way into this fork, then I’d expect plenty of people will find the RS-1 trumps the SID for ride feel.
The RockShox Monarch rear shock is activated by the F.O.L.D. linkage – which is full carbon. The whole frame actually has a 6 year warranty on it. That’s impressive.
Rolling stock for Mullens
The super light SRAM Rise wheels are adorned with Maxxis 29×2.0″ tyres. They’re pretty narrow, but given that Mullens is used to riding on the rocks of Bendigo, clearly the trails of Forrest felt comparatively smooth.
The Rise 60 are under 1500g, which isn’t that easy to hit for a reliable 29″ mountain bike wheel.
Mullens’ cockpit on the Focus O1E
Even though her frame has a small head tube Mullens still has the stem almost right on top of the headset cap. The Syntace FlatForce stem also helps with some extra drop, and a lot of stiffness.
Mullens runs a Fizik saddle with braided carbon rails, and as it was the Otway Odyssey, had her spares in a seat bag.
We didn’t get a weight on the bike, but given the spec and tyre width, I’d suggest about 10.5kg with pedals. However, the rider, the stiffness, handling and suspension design of the bike will have gone a lot further to creating the result than just the bike’s weight.
If you want more details on the Focus bikes, check them out online.