Focus reshapes three mountain bike platforms

Full prices and close looks at new short-travel Spine, carbon SAM and Raven 29er

Following on from the success of the SAM enduro bike over the last two seasons, Focus has now entered the short-travel trail bike arena with the all-new Spine.

The Spine mates a 68.6-degree head angle to a 75-degree seat tube, and keeps the wheelbase nice and tight thanks to 428mm chainstays.

Carry-over design features such as full multi-fit internal routing (so it's mechanical or electronic-ready) plus internal runs for the dropper and rear shock.

First ride review: Focus Spine C 0.0 (3 stars)

The Spine’s flagship 0.0 model features a full carbon front triangle, full carbon linkage (which is standard on all models including the entry-level aluminium bikes) and a rear end that uses carbon seatstays mated to oversized aluminium chainstays. Focus MTB product manager Philip Klein told us the reason for adopting the aluminium chainstays was to ensure the right stiffness and a good strength-to-weight ratio. Weight however isn’t going to be issue as the Spine’s frame weighs just 1950g. Even the alloy version is no heavyweight at around 2400g.

The geometry looks good with a longer top tube and short stem hitting the current long front centre trend bang-on.

The Spine range starts at £1549 for the Elite model with RockShox Recon Silver 120, XT derailleurs, Deore crank, and a Monarch rear shock custom tuned for the bike, and Shimano hydraulic brakes. It rises to the Spine C 0.0 for £5699 with XX1, carbon wheels XMMC 1200 carbon wheels from DT, RS1 fork and Monarch XX hi-volume with dual remote lockout.

The spine factory sits one below the 0.0 superbike at £3899: the spine factory sits one below the 0.0 superbike at £3899
The spine factory sits one below the 0.0 superbike at £3899: the spine factory sits one below the 0.0 superbike at £3899

The Spine C Factory sits just below the top-end Spine C 0.0

Focus SAM goes carbon

The hugely successful SAM enduro bike has an all-new carbon frame for the Pro, SL and Team models. At 2400g for the frame Focus claims it’s the lightest enduro frameset available. The firm has also tweaked the numbers on the carbon model reducing the chainstay length down to 430mm from the alloy models' 438mm. The Sam C range starts at £2899 for the Pro version, rising to £3999 for the SL, and topping out with the Team at £4999. Two alloy models remain with the LTD at £1999, and the Factory at £2999.

First ride review: Focus SAM C Team (4 stars) 

The sam c sl features a rockshox pike up front, monarch rear shock and an x01 group for £3999: the sam c sl features a rockshox pike up front, monarch rear shock and an x01 group for £3999
The sam c sl features a rockshox pike up front, monarch rear shock and an x01 group for £3999: the sam c sl features a rockshox pike up front, monarch rear shock and an x01 group for £3999

The SAM C SL is the middle carbon offering

Focus Raven gets lighter and smoother

The 29er Raven was always a lightweight hardtail race platform, but the new for 2016 Raven Max has taken some of the knowledge gained from the super light Izalco Max disc road bike (790g for a thru-axle road frame) and applied it to the 29er platform. The new Raven Max tips the scales at just 885g, making it the lightest mass-production carbon hardtail on the planet.

Klein said the new Max Raven has a completely new carbon layup, plus extended seatstays that flow straight into the top tube, leaving the seat tube much less influenced by the stays. 

At the base of the seat tube there is no provision for a front derailleur (the Max is 1x only) and, so Focus's engineers have shaped the bottom few inches into a flattened leaf-spring shape allowing plenty of comfort giving flex. The seat tube dimensions have also been reduced allowing the use of a 27.2mm diameter seat post. Into which they’ve used the road-developed CEX comfort post with its unique double-spar seat clamp design.

At the back of the frame is the RAT thru axle system developed for Focus’s road and cyclocross bikes, and Klein said Focus is working closely with RockShox in the hope of getting the RAT system integrated into RockShox forks, too.

The fully rigid raven max factory has a new 425g carbon fork, making the chassis weight under 1.5 kilos!: the fully rigid raven max factory has a new 425g carbon fork, making the chassis weight under 1.5 kilos!
The fully rigid raven max factory has a new 425g carbon fork, making the chassis weight under 1.5 kilos!: the fully rigid raven max factory has a new 425g carbon fork, making the chassis weight under 1.5 kilos!

The Raven Max Factory

Along with the hardtail models there is also the fully rigid factory model with a new carbon fork. It's similarly light (425g) to the frame but has been designed to offer a smooth damped feel with the fore-and-aft movement in the legs.

The standard Raven also gets the new frame design and features, but is produced in a less labour intensive way which reduces costs significantly and adds a little weight. The new Raven Lite is also available in 27.5in versions and a women’s 27.5 bike too.

The base model Raven Elite is priced at £1499, with the range topping Max Team priced at £4999.

Warren Rossiter

Senior Technical Editor
Approaching two decades of testing bikes, Warren can be found on a daily basis riding and exploring the road and off roads of Wiltshire's Salisbury Plain in the UK. That's when he's not travelling the world to test the latest kit, components and bikes.
  • Discipline: Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Big, fast descents and rough surfaces like cobbles or strada bianca
  • Current Bikes: Decade Tripster ATR, Dedacciai Temarario, Cannondale Synapse, BMC Granfondo Disc Di2, Genesis Day One CX, Parlee Z Zero Custom, Storck Scenario Comp Custom, DMR Trailstar, Bianchi Pista, Cube SUV 29er e-bike
  • Dream Bike: Bianchi Oltre Disc, Bianchi Specialissima, Cannondale Slate, Buffalo Bike
  • Beer of Choice: Brew Dog Punk IPA
  • Location: Wiltshire, UK

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