It has been a couple of years since we last rode a Focus SAM (read the review here) but the good vibes of that bike have lingered - it stands out in our memories for its no-fuss, well-executed alloy build, surprisingly low weight, super grippy suspension and an ability as an all-rounder that belied its long travel.
The not-so-minor details
Focus SAM C Team
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Well matched suspension.
Clean lines and neat spec choices.
Cockpit seems sub-par.
Well now SAM makes a return, but this time in carbon, with updated geometry and construction to put it in the upper echelons of Enduro contenders.
We’ve got the top tier SAM C Team on review, at a hair under nine thousand dollars. That’s a lot of bucks, so we’re hoping for a lot of bangs. It certainly looks the part; the angular flattened surfaces of the mainframe are really special, and its carbon from end-to-end, excluding the linkage. (Speaking of carbon, an alloy bar is a bit of a letdown at this price.) From the driveside, it’s one of the cleanest bikes out there, thanks to all the internal cables entering on the non-driveside of the head tube.
Travel is 160mm at either end, and suspension is handled by the praiseworthy combo of the Monarch Plus and Pike RCT3. There’s something reassuring about having one brand handling both front and rear suspension, and our initial rides have confirmed exceptional balance between the two items. Ease of setup is a big plus! Less time faffing, more time shredding.
A SRAM XX1/X01 drivetrain promises silent, precise shifting and the use of Matchmaker clamps for the brakes/shifter/dropper shows that Focus haven’t overlooked the details either. For a bike that’s probably going to be used for some Enduro racing or at least serious descending, we would have liked to see the a chain guide specced, but it’s an easy addition.
In keeping with the Germanic roots of the bike, it rolls on Continental rubber. The spec sheet tells us the bike should have a Trail King up front, but our test bike has the aggro looking Kaiser tyre in a 2.4″ – front end bite won’t be an issue! The sidewalls of these tyres feel seriously tough.
The geometry looks good on paper, with a short 430mm rear-centre and 65.8 degree head angle. A 60mm stem is about 10-20mm longer than most of its rivals, so it’ll be interesting to see how the steering compares.
Finally, the weight of the bike is worth noting. 12.84kg is impressively light, especially as the tyres are nice and meaty, which gives us hope the Focus will climb well enough to leave us with enough energy to enjoy it clear potential on the descents. We’ll have a full review up soon!