The 2020 FOCUS JAM² NINE already convinced us with it’s great handling, but it had a few weaknesses regarding its spec. Focus promise to have addressed this, presenting their latest eMTB with a new, proprietary C.I.S. stem and sensible componentry. Can the JAM² 6.9 NINE deliver?
Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!
The 150 mm travel JAM² is positioned between the THRON² touring bike and the downhill-oriented SAM², making it the most versatile eMTB in FOCUS’ portfolio. Whether with an aluminium or carbon frame, Shimano E8000 or Bosch Performance CX motor, 29″, 27.5+ or as a mullet setup with 29″ up front and 27.5+ at the rear, the JAM² is available in nine different versions. Whatever your flavour, you’ll find a jam you like!
The FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE in detail
The 2021 model has a few innovative features up its sleeve. The fourth-generation Bosch Performance CX motor as already fitted on the predecessor now comes with the latest software update pre-installed, offering you 10 Nm more torque. However, you’ll only notice a difference when pedalling at a very slow cadence. We’re much more excited about the improved eMTB mode, which is tuned even more progressively and remains easy to control in rough terrain thanks to the so-called Extended Boost. The speed sensor is inconspicuously and securely integrated into the brake rotor and the Powertube battery offers a capacity of 625 Wh. FOCUS came up with a neat solution for the cockpit and developed their own stem featuring C.I.S. cable routing. The cables enter the stem and are then routed directly into the frame. It doesn’t get any tidier! Our test bike weighs 25.58 kg, offers 150 mm travel and rolls on 29″ wheels.
FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE
Motor Bosch Performance CX 85 Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 625 Wh
Display Bosch Purion
Fork FOX 36 FLOAT Rhythm 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DPS 150 mm
Seatpost Kind Shock RAGE-i 150 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/200 mm
Handlebar Race Face Chester 780 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss H1900 29"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Trail/Super Gravity 29" x 2,6"
Size S M L XL
Weight 25,58 kg
Perm. total weight 120 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 94 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no
C.I.S. cable routing
The bike is well-specced with components that are appropriate for a trail bike as capable as the JAM². We’re happy to see that our criticism from the previous review was taken to heart and the latest JAM² 6.9 NINE has been improved where it needed to be. The new Schwalbe Magic Mary tires with the Addix-Soft compound offer sufficient traction on every kind of terrain, featuring the Super Trail casing up front and Super Gravity casing on the back. Particularly heavy and aggressive riders will be happy about the significantly stiffer FOX 36 fork instead of the 34 on the previous model. Although it’s only the low-end Rhythm model, it responds very sensitively and offers enough reserves even on rough terrain with 150 mm travel. The 12-speed Shimano XT drivetrain performs as reliably as expected and the Shimano XT 4-piston brakes provide all the stopping power you need in combination with the 200 mm rotors.
With the new, fully integrated C.I.S. cable routing, you’ll no longer have to deal with that nest of cables in front of the head tube. There are very few Bosch equipped ebikes with such a tidy cockpit!
The geometry of the FOCUS JAM²
|Sattelrohr||400 mm||420 mm||440 mm||490 mm|
|Oberrohr||565 mm||592 mm||622 mm||652 mm|
|Steuerrohr||110 mm||115 mm||130 mm||150 mm|
|Kettenstrebe||447 mm||447 mm||447 mm||447 mm|
|Tretlagerabsenkung||19.5 mm||19.5 mm||19.5 mm||19.5 mm|
|Radstand||1,183 mm||1,210 mm||1,241 mm||1,274 mm|
|Reach||412 mm||437 mm||462 mm||487 mm|
|Stack||607 mm||612 mm||625 mm||643 mm|
Since the frame is the same as the previous model, nothing has changed in terms of geometry. FOCUS clearly don’t want to experiment, relying on their tried and tested geometry. The JAM² frame is rather compact with a tall front end and a relatively slack seat tube angle. This should make for a comfortable riding position, but will that actually be the case on the trail?
The FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE in review
We took the FOCUS JAM² to the Alps in search of some single track where we could put it through its paces. As expected, the riding position is very relaxed and upright. Those who enjoy long rides will appreciate the comfort generated by the sensitive suspension and the wide 29″ x 2.6″ tires. Bring on the all-day epics! It makes sense to activate the climb switch as you ride uphill, otherwise, the rear suspension tends to wallow when things get steep, further slackening the seat tube angle. Thanks to the powerful Bosch Performance CX motor, the eMTB climbs with ease and excels in technical terrain. With its agile handling, even hairpin bends don’t pose a problem and the eMTB mode is excellent at keeping the bike’s momentum going through rough terrain.
Once you’ve arrived at the top of the trailhead and eaten an energy bar to replenish yourself, the JAM² will already be looking forward to the descent. With the tall front end that FOCUS’ bikes are known for and the powerful Shimano XT brakes, the bike instils you with confidence on steep terrain and never has you feeling like you might go over the bars despite its rather compact geometry. Nevertheless, FOCUS’ eMTB remains agile and easy to manoeuvre through tight and fast corners, weaving back and forth like a hare. The bike is lively and playful as you chuck it through corners and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Its playfulness is less the result of the suspension, but more the result of the compact geometry, specifically the short rear triangle. However, you should avoid heavy compressions as these will quickly bring the JAM² to its knees and make it bottom out. It feels most at home on natural trails. The FOCUS handles rocks, roots, and even larger chunks without batting an eyelid.
Thank you, Focus! The previous JAM² 6.8 NINE was a great bike and with the updated componentry on the latest 6.9 NINE model, it’s become even better, making it the right choice for even more riders. It’s a comfortable bike that instils you with confidence and offers lots of room for error on rough trails. However, the rear linkage struggles with big bikepark-type hits. Steer clear of heavy compressions and you can just send it and have a lot of fun thanks to this trail bike’s intuitive handling!
- agile handling
- confidence-inspiring on the descents
- comfortable in every situation
- tidy C.I.S. cable routing
- rear suspension isn't supportive enough for hard compressions
- the fork stopper is a bit ugly
For more information about the FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE visit focus-bikes.com
It's finally here: The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!
Words: Philipp Schwab, Felix Stix Photos: Felix Stix