The Focus Project Y might just be the drop bar e-bike we’ve been waiting for. Announced today at the Eurobike Media Days in Kronplatz, Italy, the new bike is an exceptionally light example of the breed, and it features some of the slickest integration we’ve seen yet.
Teased in three variants including a straightforward road build, a knobbly-tyred ‘crosser, and a full-on bikepacker’s adventure setup, Project Y is the name Focus is currently giving this as-yet unnamed machine.
The Project Y in bikepacking guise Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
The principle is pretty simple – it’s a full-carbon drop bar e-bike with a very neatly integrated power system made by Fazua, with a nominal 250W output. The battery and motor are housed in a single large casing, which drops out of the frame when the release button on top of the downtube is depressed.
Drive is transmitted to the gearbox in the bottom bracket shell via a substantial tri-lobe joint. With the battery/motor unit removed, only the gearbox remains, and the bike can be ridden just like a normal, non-assisted machine.
Drive is transferred to the gearbox via a tri-lobe joint Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Practicality was clearly a key concern for the Project Y. There’s provision for proper mudguards and 32mm tyres, or 35mm rubber if you’re staying fender-less. Front derailleurs are optional, too, and cable ports can be blanked off neatly where they aren’t needed.
The large button on the left releases the motor/battery unit. Cable ports are easily blanked off Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Focus brought three different high-spec Project Y builds along to the Eurobike Media Days. The dark blue machine is the lightest and sports a fairly conventional Shimano Dura-Ace Di2-based build.The light blue version is more cyclocross oriented, marrying Dura-Ace Di2 levers to an XTR rear derailleur and a big 11-40T cassette, plus a single narrow-wide 42t FSA chainring.
Would you bikepack on an e-bike? Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Perhaps most distinctively, the ‘gravel green’ Project Y was on show with a full complement of bikepacking bags and glorious skinwall Challenge Chicane tyres. Gearing was similar to the ‘cross machine, but with a compact double in place of the 1x crank.
Oh God, not another standard
The XTR Di2 rear derailleur is needed to accommodate the 11-40t cassette Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
We can hear the groans already, but the Project Y features ‘Boost Road’, a ‘standard’ so new that it doesn’t actually exist at all yet. This entails a 148x12mm rear axle and a 110x12mm front, the former necessitated by the extreme chainlines that 1x setups produce. Naturally, this means your standard wheels will not work – please consider them obsolete as of now.
Absence (of weight) makes the heart grow fonder
This ‘cross build mixes road and MTB components Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
It’s fair to say that weight is one of the real sticking points with e-bikes. The immense heft of most current offerings means that riding them un-assisted isn’t the most rewarding experience, and that’s a particular concern for standard e-bikes which are limited to 25km/h in the EU.
The Project Y aims to change that, with the dark blue road build coming in at a claimed 12.5kg for a medium.
That’s still portly for a normal road bike, but it’s comparable to a heavy-duty steel tourer and it’s exceptionally lightweight for an e-bike.
Focus Senior Product Manager Andrew James says the motor is there to complement your riding rather than simply zooming everywhere at ridiculous speed, so it will be interesting to find out how the bike fares in the real world.
Pricing and availability for the Project Y has yet to be confirmed, and Focus hasn’t even announced the official launch date yet.
Could this be be the drop bar e-bike you’ve all been waiting for? I won’t pass judgment until I’ve ridden one, but I’m more than a little bit intrigued.
Tell us what you think, and click through the gallery above for more photos.