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Focus Bikes

Ride Beyond

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In 1992, Mike Kluge founded Focus Bicycles, with the goal of building bicycles that he would ride. As a pro road, mountain, track, and cyclocross racer, Kluge knew exactly what he wanted from his bikes that other brands weren’t offering. Starting with a cyclocross bike, Focus quickly added mountain bikes and road bikes that were just as competitive as he was.

Today, the German brand has grown from a small firm started by a former racing champion to a massive bicycle company with models and sponsorships around the world. Models like the Sam2 pedal-assist electric mountain bike exemplify their future, while the legendary Focus Mares cyclocross bike keeps their roots strong. They may not be well-known in the US, but their offerings are among the best in the industry.

Focus Sam2 and Jam2

More Mountains, More Trails, More Excitement

Few people derive pleasure from the painful part of climbing. Focus Bikes, always on the forefront of cycling performance and development, have developed a broad line of pedal-assist mountain bikes for every situation and style of riding. The crown jewels of their e-MTB line are the Focus Sam2 and Focus Jam2 (said as “Sam Squared” and “Jam Squared” respectively), which combine the high performance of their Sam and Jam full-suspension mountain bikes and add just a little bit of help to get to the fun part of any mountain bike ride: the descent.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of riding any pedal assist mountain bike is how much adjustment is required to ride like you would with a normal bike. Focus aims to change that, and to do so they’ve done two things: upgraded their FOLD suspension system and focused on keeping weight as low and minimal as possible.

FOLD suspension isn’t a new thing to Focus; instead, it has been revised for e-bike use. FOLD (FOCUS Optimized Linkage Design) is a multi-linkage suspension design that incorporates a regressive and progressive suspension kinematic. The entire rear triangle is one piece, and rigid, with no suspension affecting flex or pivots to add weight. Lower mass to move makes your suspension more sensitive to smaller bumps, but the progressive suspension part prevents the suspension from bottoming out. Throw in the additional weight of the motor, and traction is very high.

An oft-cited downside to pedal-assist bikes tends to be weight, and how much of it there is. As such, Focus worked on cutting weight with a smaller battery. Called TEC (Tailored Energy Concept), a 380Wh battery (compared to the typical 500Wh) is housed inside the down tube, and paired with a Shimano STEPS drive system. This not only looks neat, but lowers weight; because the battery is smaller, the down tube is can be smaller without sacrificing stiffness. The result is a bike that weighs on average of six pounds less than most of the competition. For bigger rides, Focus has developed an additional battery that slots atop the downtube. This boosts total battery life twice as much to 756Wh, at just an additional five pounds

The Focus Jam2 is offered in two wheel sizes (27.5”+ & 29”) with 140mm travel front and rear, while the Focus Sam2 is offered in just one model with 27.5” wheels and 170mm travel. Both have set out to redefine the pedal-assist mountain bike and it’s performance capabilities. With this level of integration and tech, they’re no doubt some of the best e-mountain bikes on the market.

Focus Bikes: a History

From Cyclocross to the Big Leagues

Focus Bicycles is a bit of an unknown in the US. Outside of the cyclocross world, few know them for anything. However, Focus has a rich history of pushing the boundaries on design to deliver products that perform better than the competition. Models like the Focus Mares, Izalco Max, and Sam show their dedication to their craft, in a way that is uniquely German.

Focus Bicycles started in 1992 under multi-discipline racer Mike Kluge. Their first bike, a cyclocross bike, was one of the first to use Magura hydraulic brakes. His attention quickly moved to mountain bikes, which were all produced keeping both price and performance in mind. This “value for money” aspect in their bicycle production was one of the main reasons behind the massive success of their bicycles, and why their bikes continue to be popular today.

After the near-instant success of their mountain bikes, Focus expanded to traditionally-German commuter bikes and road bikes, and grew their sponsorship of world-class athletes. Their input was instrumental in Focus’ ability to introduce new models and new technologies.

Today’s version of Focus is radically changing, while maintaining their roots. Kluge, when asked what he would choose were he to have one bike, said “I think the e-bike. It depends, some people say the e-bike is cheating but I don’t see any cheating in it. I enjoy it and it brings a smile. I also have a smile with my Enduro bike when I’m on some crazy trails and doing jumps. E-Bikes will be a big part of the future.” This thought is reflected in their wide range of pedal-assist mountain, road, and city bikes. Each offer high performance, and even higher value for the money.

With their featherweight Focus Mares cyclocross bike, super-capable e-mtbs like the Focus Jam2, and the award-winning Focus Izalco Max Disc, Focus Bikes provide a wide range of bicycles for nearly every discipline. They might be a bit player in the US now, but that is sure to change.

Focus Road

Izalco Max, Paralane, Mares

From the start of Focus’ inception, they have pushed the envelope of performance in the cycling world. Lighter, faster, and more aggressive than the competition, Focus Bicycles has always based their product development on feedback from athletes. The result is a comprehensive line of road and mountain bikes that aren’t just faster than the competition; they’re well-designed and offer fantastic value for the money. Bikes like the Focus Mares and Paralane illustrate this perfectly.

Perhaps the poster child of Focus’ dedication to performance is the Focus Mares. Since the sport’s early days in the US, Focus has offered a cyclocross bike. The Mares wasn’t just borne from three-time cyclocross champion Mike Kluge, but of time under the likes of Hanka Kupfernagel and Jeremy Powers. Focus offered full-carbon, disc-brake, through-axle bikes while other brands were still debating if this ’cross thing was for real. Other staples of the refined Mares line are a flattened top tube for easy shouldering and the brand’s RAT—Rapid Axle Technology—through-axle for some of the fastest wheel changes possible with a through-axle.

Racing success isn’t just regulated to cyclocross, but on the road as well. The Focus Izalco Max features race geometry and an ultralight carbon frame, at just 730 g for a rim brake frame (56 cm), and 740 g for a Izalco Max Disc (56 cm). Focus has also introduced what they call Stable Stiffness Per Size (SSPS), which adjusts frame material and stiffness across the size range to ensure each size is as light as possible without sacrificing stiffness and responsiveness.

Focus doesn’t just “focus” on the racing aspect of drop bar bikes, and the Focus Paralane endurance road bike is evidence of this. Designed for all-day rides, the Paralane uses typical endurance bike geometry, Focus’ SSPS, and disc brake-only design. This makes for an animal of a bike: a 900g frame that fits 700 x 35c tires with ease, with a nice, low bottom bracket that makes the bike feel extremely stable over all kinds of terrain. Many bikes claim versatility despite being planted in the road bike realm, but the Focus Paralane is among the very best in class.

Focus Mountain

Focus Jam

As part of a wide range of bicycles, the Focus Jam offers excellent value while packing in Focus’ best tech. Focus’s ‘rocker link within a rocker link’ FOLD suspension puts the shock low and central for optimum handling, while keeping the sag point nice and supple over rough stuff, and firm over bigger hits. The result is a bike that offers stout climbing ability and stronger descending characteristics.

All it takes is one ride

Come talk to one of our Focus Bikes experts today

At Contender Bicycles, our best tools for selling bikes are the people who ride them. Everyone at Contender Bicycles has extensive experience riding bikes across many brands. If you have any questions regarding Focus Bikes or want to discuss build options, email us at info@contenderbicycles.com or by phone at Contact Us.

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