First-time racers will beneﬁt from an impressive frame, and the kit could be upgraded.
Ride & handling: Not fast but confident and reliable
If Carlsberg designed bikes then they would probably combine creamy white, metallic espresso and misty blue in a paint scheme that will turn heads wherever you’re riding. Aesthetics aside, the Focus gives a solid, if heavy, ride.
This bike cruises well and absorbs the lumps and bumps of the Tarmac, thanks in part to the skinny seatstays. Getting it up to speed, however, isn’t slick. This is a heavy bike.
That’s thanks largely to the wheels and gearing – the bike we tested had a triple chainset with a rear 12-27 block, which gives a huge spread of gears but adds some serious weight. All this means that exploding out of the saddle isn’t as easy or instant as with other bikes.
The handling isn’t the quickest – which is probably a good thing on an above-entry-level bike – but it is ﬂuid, and shifting is clean and slick.
Hills are a bit of a slog, again largely due to the extra weight that the Donna carries. Descending on this bike is fun, though; the sloping top tube allows for a low and aero position and this time the extra weight is your friend.
With this spec the Izalco Donna is deﬁnitely not a sprinter’s bike, despite the stiff, fat, front triangle and substantial bottom bracket. Realistically, you’re probably not going to be setting your fastest ever splits on this bike. But the longer we rode it, the more we liked it, and the German engineering inspires conﬁdence.
Nevertheless, it is a reliable ride and if you’re lucky enough to have two bikes, it would be a perfect winter trainer, especially if you can stretch to the Izalco Donna 1.0 as your pure racing machine.