24 Sep 2018

The longest travel eMTB to roll through our doors yet, the Focus SAM2 claims to have the most 'conventional' handling on market, riding as similarly as possible to a regular Enduro bike. Too good to be true? Let's find out.

The not-so-minor details

Product

Focus SAM2 6.8

Contact

Focus Bikes

Price

7499

Weight

21390

Positives

Geometry does look reasonably un-ebike.
Relatively lightweight.
Slick battery integration and low centre of gravity.

Negatives

Standover height is pretty tall.
Cluttered handlebar with chunky Shimano mode shifter.


What makes the SAM2 standout?

Focus are all about making their e-bikes handle, as much as possible, like a regular mountain bike. You’ll notice that the geometry of this one is fairly compact out back, with a rear-centre of 455mm, certainly on the short side in the world of eMTBs. That’s music to our ears. Given its gobs of travel and alloy frame, the weight is impressive at 21.39kg.

Just a little battery though.

Key in giving the bike a ‘normal’, lively ride is the use of a smaller and lighter battery than most of the competition. At 380Wh, the capacity could be a drawback, but the trade off is a reduction in weight, as well as allowing the mass of the battery to be kept low in the bike. Theoretically, the standard battery should be able to get you up to three fast hours on the trails, but if you want to go longer or climb higher an additional battery can be mounted to the bike, bolting on to the frame atop the down tube. (Though keep in mind, this adds 2kg and a few hundred dollars.)

The on/off button the top tube is lovely and tactile. Note the relative clutter on the left hand side of the bar. Not the prettiest!
You can add an additional 380wH battery here if you’re looking to go long. It’s a smart solution we think, giving you the best of both worlds.

Long legs.

The sheer volume of travel is worthy of mention too. With 170mm front and rear, it’s got a lot of cushion for the pushin’. Bring it on, we say – with the Shimano e8000 motor taking the sting out of the climbs, why not give the bike long legs for the way back down?

The F.O.L.D linkage design drives 170mm of rear wheel travel from a long-stroke Fox DPS shock.

Speaking of the Shimano motor, we’re itching for the arrival of a smaller, simpler mode-shifter for their system. The big paddles are unnecessarily chunky, making it impossible to run an under-bar dropper post lever.

Conventional rubber.

While much of the eMTB world rolls on 27.5+ tyres, the SAM2 runs on more regular rubber, with Maxxis Minions in a 2.4 and 2.5″ width. A reduction in volume should mean more precision, better support and possibly tougher tyres too, but will the trade off in traction be acceptable?

We’re looking forward to this one. It’s nice to have a bike that wears its design goals on its sleeve so clearly.

Rather than Plus rubber, the [email protected] is on conventional 2.4/2.5″ Minions.

Check out more of the Focus 2019 range here, in our range overview vid!