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Focus Thron 6.9 review

Good spec let down by conservative geometry

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £3,099.00 RRP | EUR €2,999.00
Pack shot of the Focus Thron 6.9 trail mountain bike

Our review

Good-looking bike with a lot of potential, but conservative geometry holds it back
Pros: Poppy, supportive and supple suspension; powerful brakes and top-performing drivetrain; sleek-looking frame with no external cables
Cons: Geometry is compromised for descending; you’re locked into using Focus’s own CIS stem; if you’re a really hard rider, the tyre casings may be too thin
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Focus says the Thron 29er’s geometry makes it super-fun to ride, whether razzing local trails or heading out on an all-dayer.

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During testing, the price of the 6.9 rose from £2,899 to £3,099, but there is a cheaper 6.8 model for £2,299, too.

Focus Thron 6.9 details

  • Integration station: Focus’s Cockpit Integration Solution (CIS) runs cables through a port in the stem and then the frame. It looks neat, but locks you into using the stock stem
  • Mount up: The Thron trail bikes share their rear triangle with the Thron EQP bikepacking/commuter rig, so the 6.9 has pannier, mudguard and kickstand mounts. They’re discreet, but unusual on an MTB
  • Mix and match: While the main drivetrain components are Shimano Deore XT, Focus saves cash with a Deore chain and cassette. They still work well, though

Focus Thron 6.9 frame, geometry and suspension details

The Thron’s 7005-series alloy tubes have been hydroformed to create a clean look, enhanced by internally routed cables that enter at the stem rather than via cable ports on the side of the frame.

However, because there are no external cable bosses, this means you’re locked into using Focus’s C.I.S. stem to route the bike’s cables.

There are two sets of bottle cage bosses inside the front triangle, along with a steering-limiter headset that stops the fork from turning far enough for its crown to hit the down tube.

Unusually, there are mount points for a pannier rack and kickstand on the swingarm. This is because the Thron shares its rear triangle across the lineup which also features a city bike. You’ll also find some more common integrated chain slap protection.

The 130mm travel, linkage-driven single-pivot suspension design – that uses Focus’s F.O.L.D. kinematics – is claimed to be super progressive with plenty of off-the-top sensitivity and bottom-out resistance.

The design of the rear shock’s upper linkage bolts means they aren’t accessible when the bike is fully extended and, to tighten them, some disassembly of the linkage is required.

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)75757575
Head angle (degrees)66.666.666.666.6
Chainstay (mm)435435435435
Seat tube (mm)125150170170
Top tube (mm)572605640677
Head tube (mm)100110130160
Fork offset (mm)46464646
Bottom bracket drop (mm)35353535
Wheelbase (mm)1,1391,1731,2111,253
Stack (mm)605615633660
Reach (mm)410440470500

Geometry-wise, Focus attempts to blend agility with stability, so there’s a fairly steep 66.5-degree head angle and short 435mm chainstays matched to a generous 470mm reach and 1,211mm wheelbase (large).

There’s also a 75-degree effective seat tube angle, measured with the seatpost set to the same height as the top of the head tube

Focus Thron 6.9 specifications

At its initial £2,899 price, the Thron’s parts seemed like a bargain and even at the higher RRP it’s still pretty good value.

Fox’s 34 Rhythm fork and Float DPS Performance shock handle damping duties. The drivetrain is made up of a Shimano Deore XT M8100 rear mech, shifter and cranks, with a Deore M6100 chain and cassette subbed in to save money.

You also get XT brakes, with a four-pot caliper up front and a two-pot at the rear.

Rodi rims on Novatec hubs are wrapped in Maxxis tyres, made from one of the brand’s less tacky rubber compounds.

Focus Thron 6.9 ride impressions

Male cyclist riding the Focus Thron 6.9 trail mountain bike over rough ground
The Thron was fun to play about on thanks to its supportive suspension.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

While the Thron looks good, its aesthetics don’t translate to top performance on the trail.

Its geometry is its Achilles heel, on both climbs and descents. The steep angle could do with being made steeper because, when seated, it positioned my weight too far behind the cranks.

I had to compensate by shifting onto the nose of the saddle and lowering my chin towards the bar. The short chainstays increased the problem, moving my weight even closer to the rear axle.

Male cyclist riding the Focus Thron 6.9 trail mountain bike over rough ground
Its ride characteristics are much better suited to trail centre loops rather than off-piste singletracks.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

On the downhills, the conservative head angle accelerates the steering and creates twitchiness when speeds rise, even if gradients are tame.

This caused me to lean further over the back of the bike to compensate, which unweighted the front wheel, further reducing steering control.

When my weight was rearward, the bike got knocked off-line more easily by bumps and rocks. On steeper sections, the front end was hard to keep in check without being overwhelmed, a problem not helped by the fairly flexy Fox 34 fork.

Running more sag on the rear shock helped give the bike a more rearward weight bias, improving control on the descents. However, I then had to rely on the damper’s climb lever to eliminate pedal bob.

Thankfully, the suspension is impressively progressive and, despite being run softer than it should, it resisted bottoming out well whether I was seated while climbing and hitting chunky holes or clattering down a rough section of trail centre. There’s plenty of mid-stroke support, too, which makes it easy to pop the Thron from one line to the next.

The back-end is also supple at the start of its travel, even when running less sag, which helps to create grip and keeps seated riding comfortable. The F.O.L.D. suspension has to be Thron’s best asset.

Male cyclist riding the Focus Thron 6.9 trail mountain bike over rough ground
Even though its price increased during the test period, it still represented good value for money.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

On flatter or slower trails, the ease with which the Thron can flick between lines makes it a hoot to ride and it will appeal to new-school riders.

However, a slacker head angle wouldn’t take much away from its peppiness but would make it much more stable and composed on faster, rougher, steeper descents.

Despite the chainstay protector, I noticed quite a bit of chain slap noise. The internally-routed gear line rattled quite badly, too, although the brake and dropper cables didn’t have the same problem.

One of the biggest frustrations was the dropper post remote, which is mounted to the rear brake lever via an I-SPEC EV adaptor.

This looks neat, but, with the brake in a comfortable position, I couldn’t get the paddle far enough outboard to reach with my thumb, so had to remove a hand from the bar if I wanted to drop the post. To fix this problem, Focus could look at supplying it with a dedicated bar clamp.

Male cyclist riding the Focus Thron 6.9 trail mountain bike over rough ground
On steeper trail, the geometry meant it got out of its depth quite quickly.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

The hard-feeling, EXO-casing Maxxis tyres are fine in the dry, except on loose rock, where they feel undamped, but struggle to find traction in damp, greasy or wet conditions. For the price, I’d expect chunkier, grippier rubber.

The Shimano brakes and drivetrain were faultless, and I was never left wanting more gears or power. The Focus-branded grips, while soft, weren’t massively comfortable thanks to a flange around their outer circumference pushing on the palms of my hands.

I didn’t find the saddle hugely pleasing to spend prolonged periods perched on either.

Focus Thron 6.9 bottom line

Pack shot of the Focus Thron 6.9 trail mountain bike
I liked the muted green colour.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
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Although most of these criticisms are fairly small and could be rectified with some spec changes, it’s the Thron’s geometry that really holds it back, making it better suited to trail-centre cruising than singletrack smashing.

How we tested

We put four do-it-all full-sus trail bikes, at the super competitive price point of £3,000, to the test on our local trails to find out which is the best you can buy right now.

Trail bikes are designed to handle everything from bridleway bashing to the odd uplift day, but categorising a trail bike by its geometry or suspension travel is becoming harder because bikes are getting lower, longer and slacker with more squish.

Generally, though, you should expect 130mm to 150mm of travel, plenty of standover room, a decent reach (the horizontal distance from bottom bracket to head tube, which affects how a bike feels when stood up on the pedals) and a stable head angle, between 64 and 66.5 degrees.

Also on test

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €2999.00GBP £3099.00
Weight 15.86kg (L) – without pedals
Brand Focus

Features

Available sizes S, M, L, XL
Headset Acros
Tyres Maxxis Dissector EXO TR 29x2.4in (f), Maxxis Rekon EXO TR 29x2.4in (r)
Stem Focus CIS, 50mm
Shifter Shimano Deore XT M8100
Seatpost KS Rage-i dropper, 150mm
Saddle Focus Trail SL
Rear Shocks Fox Float DPS Performance
Rear derailleur Shimano Deore XT M8100 (1x12)
Handlebar Focus, 760mm
Bottom bracket Shimano
Grips/Tape Unbranded
Frame 7005 aluminium alloy, 130mm (5.1in) travel
Fork Fox 34 Float Rhythm, 130mm (5.1in) travel
Cranks Shimano Deore XT M8100, 32t
Chain Shimano Deore
Cassette Shimano Deore, 10-51
Brakes Shimano Deore XT M8120, 180mm rotors
Wheels Rodi TRYP 25 rims on Novatec D041 (f)/D462 (r) hubs