FIRST LOOK - FOCUS JAM2 E-BIKE - Dirt

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FIRST LOOK – FOCUS JAM2 E-BIKE

A sleek good looker that ticks a lot of boxes

This latest e-mtb from Focus not only has a more integrated look than most but also a spec list that shows this category is truly evolving. The Jam² promises a lot, but how will it perform?

Words: Sean White  Photos: Steve Jones

We’ve ridden an extensive range of e-mtbs over the last eighteen months and dug deep into what’s needed to get the best out of this type of bike. Our e-mtb guide highlights what we at Dirt now look for in both technology and components, and this testing has resulted in five key e-bikes making the 2017 Dirt 100 line up.

We saw the first photos of the Focus Jam² e-mtb late last year – it looked very promising and were keen to get a ride on one. With the smooth and uncluttered lines of the Specialized Levo appealing to many of us here at Dirt, the new 140mm travel Jam² looked to take things even further. With an integrated battery and the option for adding second unit for longer rides, this new Focus (in the Factory model we rode) was also spec’d with many of the key components we look for in this type of bike. So, does the Focus Jam² move e-mtbs into the next chapter?

DESIGN DETAIL

At the heart of the Jam2 design is the Shimano STEPS motor. The latest generation of this transmission allows Focus to apply exactly the same suspension kinematics to the Jam² as they have on their standard mountain bikes. The Shimano STEPS E8000 system is compact and the bottom bracket axle sits some way back, allowing shorter than average (for an e-mtb) chainstays. The small motor with its lower bulk casing leaves sufficient space for the F.O.L.D. suspension layout, giving the JAM² the same core as its unassisted brother, the 140mm travel JAM trail bike.

Although an e-bike will never be light, Focus have paid plenty of attention to keeping weight as low as possible. A one piece swing arm, triple butted aluminium tubing and their Stable Stiffness Per Size (SSPS) production method (ensuring that all sizes provide a near perfect ratio of weight to stiffness) shows that lower weight is certainly on the agenda for the Focus when it comes to the e-mtb category.

AIRFLOW: With the battery integrated into the downtube of the frame, Focus has engineered airflow ducts to assist with ventilation. Cool air flows through the ‘Airflow’ intakes into the down tube, where the battery is installed. Heat produced will escape through the lower down tube ports.

TAILORED ENERGY CONCEPT: This system gives the flexibility to tailor the battery capacity that you’re carrying on the bike. With a 378Wh battery integrated into the frame (a touch smaller than the standard 500Wh STEPS unit), the fitments on top of the down tube allow for a second battery of the same size to be used for a full day in the saddle, giving a max of 756Wh.

 

GEOMETRY:

With a 150mm of travel up front and 140mm out the back, the Jam² sits firmly in the trail bike category. The frame is built around a Boost 110/148mm fork and frame spacing and this Factory model runs 27Plus wheels – our choice when it comes to e-mtbs. The larger volume 2.8” rubber works well with the extra heft of this type of bike but Focus also offer the Jam² in various 29” wheel options.

Geometry is up to date, with a 66.5° head angle and 1225mm wheelbase on a size large frame. As mentioned before, the chainstays on the 27Plus models are short, at 457mm (on all frame sizes).

When it comes to sizing there are four options – S to XL. The largest XL frame runs a fairly middling 460mm reach (by modern standards anyway) but has a tall head tube of 160mm. A flat handlebar is standard spec on this bike, and will keep the front a touch lower, but the 760mm width may be a little narrow for some tastes. The shorter travel 120mm stroke dropper post could also be a compromise for taller riders too.

SPECIFICATION:

There are many details here which hit the spot for us and only the Yari fork made us pause for thought, should they have opted for something beefier? Elsewhere its all good, Plus sized Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres, Magura MT brakes, Shimano STEPS transmission, DT Swiss wheelset and Ergon grips are key players in making this a promising and very complete e-mtb act.

FRAME: 6066 aluminium, 140mm F.O.L.D. kinematic, 148x12mm through axle

FORK:  RockShox Yari RC, 110×15 mm QR, 150mm travel

REAR SHOCK: RockShox Monarch R

TRANSMISSION: SRAM NX

CRANKSET: Shimano STePS 8000, 34T, Shimano Chain Device

BRAKES: Magura MT5 / MT4, 200mm/180mm

WHEELSET: DT-Swiss XM 1501, 584-40, 148x12mm/110x15mm

TYRES: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.8, Folding

HANDLEBAR: Concept Trail, aluminium, flat, width: 760mm

SADDLE: fi’zi:k Tundra M5

SEATPOST: Concept Dropper Post, 31,6 mm, 412 mm, 120 mm travel

STEM: Concept Trail, aluminium, 31.8mm

PRICE: £4399

focus-bikes.com

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