Sure, this bike is labeled entry level, almost a curse word for bike snobs. Even with that damning title, the Focus Variado 2.0 is a racy, stylish steed worth every penny. It’s so good, you might forget it’s not carbon. Gasp.

Shimano 105s all the way around with Concept SL wheelset. It’s light enough to stay climb-ready, even with an aluminum frame. It’s a stiff ride, and the geometry is all race. This isn’t a touring bike with a Euro paint job and an inferiority complex. Focus has made a bike that fits in with rigs with much bigger price tags and similar things to offer, especially in the group set department. 105 on most other brands is at least $1,750 or more on an aluminum frame, while Focus is looking for $1,600 or so. Get in to the right shop (wink, wink) and that tag slips a touch, with a very cool sticker thrown in for free.

It’s a seductive deal. Make the very best of it.