Focus releases new SAM² ebike range

The motto for Focus's latest SAM² range is "designed-for-down"

Pack shot of the Focus SAM2 full suspension mountain ebike

Focus has centred the latest design of its SAM² e-MTB around making the most of the downs, using the motor as a tool to help get riders back to the top to thrash another lap out on their favourite gravity-filled trail.

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That’s not to say it’s a downhill bike with a motor, but it has the pedigree for some seriously burly action.

Focus SAM²
Focus now runs a Bosch rather than Shimano motor on both models of its SAM².
Focus Bikes

4 things you need to know about the new Focus SAM²

  1. Even though it’s sold with 29in wheels, the new SAM² is compatible with both 29in and 650b wheels, so you can run either a 29in setup, a mixed 29/650b ‘mullet’ setup or two 650b wheels.
  2. There are now four frame size options from small to extra-large, covering reach figures from 430mm to 510mm. This is a big improvement over the largest 455mm reach figure on the old model.
  3. Focus has dropped Shimano for its drive units, instead choosing to run Bosch’s latest Performance CX Gen 4 motor and integrated, but removable, 625Wh Powertube battery.
  4. Internal cable routing now starts at the stem with Focus’s C.I.S. (Cockpit Integration Solution). Focus has done this to keep the ebike cockpit as neat as possible.

Focus SAM² suspension details

Focus has kept its F.O.L.D. (Focus Optimized Linkage Design) platform –  the kinematics used across its range of full-suspension bikes. However, every model is tweaked to achieve the desired performance.

The single pivot, linkage driven design for the SAM² uses a two-phase system. It has a regressive leverage curve for the first 30 per cent of travel meaning that it takes a fair bit of force to get the rear-end moving, but is then at the highest leverage ratio (most supple) around the sag point. For the last 70 per cent of travel, the suspension then ramps up progressively to help increase mid-stroke and end-stroke support.

FOX Van Performance Coil rear shock
The SAM² 6.9 gets a Fox Van Performance Coil rear shock.
Focus Bikes

Through a 65mm stroke shock, the SAM² delivers a bump swallowing 170mm of rear-wheel travel.

Focus says it has designed the platform to be used with both air and coil shocks. Lead engineer Fabian Scholz says: “Coil shocks need a more progressive leverage curve than air shocks because an air shock builds more progression itself through the compression of the air. With the SAM², we found a nice balance where both air and coil shocks work at their best individual characteristics”.

The bike is designed around a 170mm travel fork and Focus has embraced the bigger is better culture and taken advantage of both Fox and RockShox’ new 38mm stanchion chassis to add stiffness to the front of the bike.

Focus SAM² frame and geometry details

Focus is still using aluminium as its frame material of choice on the SAM², but the sizing of the new bikes is where you’ll find the biggest updates.

The old bikes maxed-out at a reach of 455mm on the size large. There are now four models ranging from small (430mm reach), medium (450mm), large (480mm) and extra-large (510mm). These will offer more people the opportunity to find a bike that fits them and is pretty much bang-on trend with the latest sizing seen on modern, gravity-based mountain bikes.

The head angle remains the same at 65 degrees, although it will drop to a slack 64.1 degrees with a 650b rear wheel in the low setting.

The effective seat angle has also steepened by 1-degree to 76 degrees, showing Focus hasn’t overlooked getting the rider in a comfy position on the climbs that will lead them back to the top of their favourite downhill trails.

The Focus SAM2 full suspension mountain eBike has a flip switch
The Focus SAM² has a flip switch.
Focus Bikes

The one-piece rear triangle features a low and high position axle mount that changes the chainstay length by 20mm. For the 29in wheel this is set at 450mm, but with a 650b rear wheel you can choose either the high option, leaving the rear centre at 450mm, or the low setting which drops the chainstays to 430mm.

This setting also raises the bottom bracket 10mm, which puts the geometry back inline with the standard 29in wheel setup.

Seat tubes lengths seem sensible choices, going up to a maximum of 490mm in extra-large, so you should be able to run a long dropper post or size up if you’re looking for a stretched-out ride.

Focus SAM²
The Focus SAM² 6.9 has a Proxim W350 saddle sitting on 31.6mm Fox Transfer RL Factory dropper seatpost.
Focus Bikes

Focus SAM² geometry (29in wheel size)

 S M L XL
Head tube angle: (degree) 65 65 65 65
Seat tube angle: (degree) 76 76 76 76
Seat tube length: (cm) 41 42 45 49
Top tube length: (cm) 58.7 60.8 64.2 67.6
Chainstay length: (cm) 45 45 45 45
Bottom bracket drop: (cm) 2 2 2 2
Head tube length: (cm) 11 11.5 13 15
Fork construction height: (cm) 58.1 58.1 58.1 58.1
Pre-raked fork: (cm) 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
Wheelbase length: (mm) 1,215 1,236 1,273 1,311
Standover: (cm) 80.7 80.9 82.7 85.4
Stack: (cm) 62.9 63.4 64.8 66.6
Reach: (cm) 43 45 48 51
Stem: (cm) 5 5 5 5
Crank: (cm) 16.5 16.5 16.5 16.5

Focus SAM² frame highlights

Focus uses the 148 x 12mm Boost standard hub spacing for the rear wheel, and a post-mount 203mm brake mount. This means you can’t run a 200mm SRAM disc on the rear, but Focus has overcome this.

Focus SAM²
The Focus SAM² comes with a chainguide and chainstay protection.
Focus Bikes

Other frame features include an integrated chainguide and fork bump stop, as well as hefty chainstay frame protection.

The rear brake and gear cables are routed internally from the stem using Focus’s C.I.S. to achieve a neat-as-possible cockpit. There is the potential to guide them into the down tube as per most bikes, though.

Focus SAM² models and pricing

There are two models available in the new SAM² range. Both use the same aluminium frame and Bosch Performance CX Gen 4 motor, which delivers 85Nm of torque.

Both also use a 625Wh Bosch Powertube battery, which is locked in place with a key, and a Bosch Purion display – Bosch’s simplest and cleanest handlebar display.

Focus SAM² 6.8 specifications

The SAM² 6.8 is the lower-priced bike at £4,999. A few of the highlights include RockShox’ new burley Zeb fork with a Charger R damper, 170mm travel and a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ rear shock.

Because the frame has a 203mm brake post-mount, the SAM² 6.8 boasts massive 220mm rotors with SRAM Code R brakes. It also uses SRAM GX Eagle for shifting duties with an NX level cassette.

Schwalbe’s Magic Mary tyres come fitted 29 x 2.6in with a Super Gravity casing on the rear and a Super Trail upfront, both in the soft compound, which is great to see.

  • Frame: 7005 hydroformed aluminium, 3D forging, 170mm F.O.L.D. kinematic, 148×12 mm thru-axle, internal cable routing, post-mount 203mm
  • Fork: RockShox ZEB 29 Boost, Charger R, DebonAir, 110×15 mm, 44mm rake, 170mm travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, 230/65mm
  • Motor: Bosch Performance CX Gen4, 85Nm, 250W
  • Battery: Bosch Powertube, 625Wh, removable, lockable
  • Control unit: Purion
  • Mech: SRAM GX EAGLE
  • Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1230 Eagle, 12-speed 11-50
  • Cranks: Samox EC40 ISIS
  • Chain ring: Front, 34
  • Handlebars: Focus Trail, aluminium, risebar, 780mm, rise: 30mm, backsweep: 9-degree
  • Grips: Focus Locker SL
  • Stem: Focus C.I.S. integrated, 50mm, 0-degree, 35mm, aluminium
  • Headset: Acros AZX-212 AH [1-1/8in, tapered, 44/286-ZS56/40]
  • Saddle: Focus Trail SL
  • Seatpost: Kindshock Rage-i, 31.6mm
  • Brakes: SRAM Code R 220 / 220mm rotors
  • Rims: RODI TRYP30 Focus
  • Hubs: Novatec D041, 15x110mm thru-axle / Novatec D162 Disc, 12x148mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6 Super Trail Soft (front), Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6 Super Soft (rear)
  • Colour: Milk Brown
  • Weight: 25.95kg

Focus SAM² 6.9 specifications

The top model SAM² 6.9 costs £5,999 and comes with a 170mm Factory level Fox 38 fork and a Fox Vanilla Performance coil shock.

Shimano XT four-pot brakes with 203mm rotors provide the stopping power, and gear changes are taken care of by a Shimano XT shifter and mech mated with an SLX 12-speed cassette.

This model also uses the same Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres as the SAM² 6.8.

  • Frame: 7005 hydroformed aluminium, 3D forging, 170 mm F.O.L.D. kinematic, 148x12mm thru-axle, internal cable routing, post-mount 203mm
  • Fork: Fox 38 Float Factory 29, E-Bike, Grip 2, 110 x 15mm, 44mm rake, 170mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Van Performance Coil, 230/65mm
  • Motor: Bosch Performance CX Gen4, 85Nm, 250W
  • Battery: Bosch Powertube, 625Wh, removable, lockable
  • Control unit: Bosch Purion
  • Mech: Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed
  • Shifter: Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX M7100, 12-speed 11-51
  • Cranks: Samox EC40 ISIS
  • Chain ring: Front: 34-tooth
  • Handlebars: RaceFace Chester 35, aluminium, 780mm, rise: 35mm, backsweep: 8-degree
  • Grips: RaceFace Getta Grip
  • Stem: Focus C.I.S. integrated, 50mm, 0-degree, 35mm, aluminium
  • Headset: Acros AZX-212 AH [1-1/8in, tapered, 44/286-ZS56/40]
  • Saddle: Proxim W350
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer RL Factory, 31.6mm
  • Brakes: Shimano XT M8120, four-piston. 203 / 203mm rotors
  • Rims: RaceFace AR30 Offset
  • Hubs: Novatec D041, 15x110mm / Novatec D162 Disc, 12x148mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6 Super Trail Soft (front), Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6 Super Gravity Soft (rear)
  • Colour: Milk Brown
  • Weight: 25.95kg

Both bikes are claimed to weigh 25.95kg.

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We’ll be getting a review up soon.