The FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER attracted all the attention in this group test. With its slim silhouette, a striking carbon frame and slick paint job, its looks immediately convinced our test team. But like a supermodel on a strict diet, the beauty of the Jam² is only achieved with some compromise – does the concept work?

For more information on the group test head to: The best eMTB you can buy

FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER | 20.56 kg (22.84 kg incl. T.E.C. Pack) | € 7,499

The FOCUS JAM² caused a sensation with its launch in 2016 and has been revised several times since. In this latest evolutionary stage, the bike now features a beautiful carbon fibre front triangle with 150 mm of travel and mixed wheel sizes. Focus’ Tailored Energy Concept (TEC) has remained the same – the bike features a permanently integrated 378 Wh battery, which, if necessary, can be extended by an external battery with the same capacity. This brings the total battery capacity up to 760 Wh for long rides. However, the additional battery will cost you an extra € 500.

The modular battery system won’t suit everyone. The JAM² is perfect for quick rides, but longer journeys are a compromise.

This € 7,499 bike does not make for an affordable pastime, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck. The suspension consists of a DT Swiss Hybrid F 535 fork and a hybrid F 535 shock. Shifting and braking is taken care of by high quality and reliable Shimano XT components. The positive overall impression is only clouded by the shallow profile of the MAXXIS Ardent and Rekon tires.

FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER in Detail

Fork DT Swiss F535 One 150 mm
Rear shock DT Swiss Hybrid R535 One 150 mm
Motor/Battery Shimano Steps E8000/T.E.C-Pack 378 Wh + 378 Wh
Drivetrain Shimano XT Di2 11-speed
Brakes Shimano XT 4 piston 200/200 mm
Seat post FOX Transfer Performance 150 mm
Stem BBB Aluminium 55 mm
Handlebar BBB Aluminium 780 mm
Wheels DT Swiss HX 1501 Spline
Tires Maxxis Ardent 29×2.4″ / Rekon+ 27.5×2.8″

Advantage and disadvantage
Although the T.E.C. pack doubles the range, the handling suffers significantly as soon as you add the additional battery.
Good mix
The concept with a large front and smaller rear wheel makes a lot of sense. However, the tires lack grip.
The angular lines of the carbon frame are very sexy. The air intakes at the front are there to to cool the internal battery.
Super slim
The battery is permanently integrated into the down tube, giving the bike an exceptionally slim silhouette.

Geometry of the FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER

Size S M L
Seat tube 410 mm 440 mm 470 mm
Top tube 582 mm 602 mm 622 mm
Head tube 120 mm 120 mm 140 mm
Head angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstay 457 mm 457 mm 457 mm
BB Height 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm
Wheelbase 1,182 mm 1,202 mm 1,215 mm
Reach 410 mm 430 mm 445 mm
Stack 618 mm 618 mm 636 mm

FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER in Review

Helmet TSG Trailfox Solid | Jersey ION Tee LS Scrub Amp | Shorts ION Bikeshort Scrub Amp | Shoes ION Rascal

Everything feels very familiar aboard the FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER. The seating position is upright and comfortable, and all the controls are within easy reach. The Shimano STEPS E8000 motor is predictably well-mannered and is very easy to modulate in Trail mode. Compared to the JAM² models that we’ve tested in the past, this model with its DT Swiss shock sits higher in its travel and doesn’t wallow on steep climbs. As a result, the bike climbs very willingly. Overall, the rear end is a little too harsh for our liking though. Unfortunately, the shallow tread pattern on the tires limits the JAM² on the climbs and descents in demanding terrain.

Tuning tip: Change rires and grips

Weighing in at 20.52 kg, it’s the lightest eMTB in the test field (excluding Lapierre) and you can feel it – but it is also the bike with the least battery capacity. Without the T.E.C. pack, the JAM² rides very directly, is super agile and requires little input from the rider when changing direction. The weight distribution is nicely balanced between the front and back wheels, making for very good-natured handling. The bike transforms every trail into a massive playground, always motivating the rider to play with the terrain. But when things get faster and steeper, the Focus lacks stability and composure. If you add the T.E.C. pack, you’ll gain range, but due to the additional 2.3 kg weight and its high positioning, you’ll have to accept noticeable compromises in handling.

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. stable


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Riding fun

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. poor
  2. top

Technical Data

Size: S M L
Weight: 20.56 kg (22.84 kg inkl. T.E.C. Pack)
Perm. total weight: 120 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment): 99 kg
Motor torque: 70 Nm
Battery Capacity: 378 Wh + 378 Wh (T.E.C.)
Travel (f/r): 150/150 mm
Wheel Size: MX (29" front, 27.5" rear)
Price: € 7,499

Rider type

Touring Rider 1
Trail rider 2
Extreme rider 3


The FOCUS JAM² 9.8 DRIFTER is one of the prettiest and lightest eMTBs on the market. Without the T.E.C. pack, it convinced our testers with very agile and lively handling, but at the cost of range. You can double the battery capacity, but then the handling suffers noticeably.


  • low weight makes for a very lively bike
  • beautiful design
  • easy and intuitive handling
  • long range with the T.E.C. pack installed


  • tires lack grip and puncture protection
  • nervous at speed
  • suspension somewhat harsh overall
  • front-heavy weight distribution with the T.E.C. pack

For more information head to:

For more information on the group test head to: The best eMTB you can buy

All Bikes in Test

Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 | Focus JAM² 9.8 DRIFTERGHOST HYBRIDE SL AMR X S 7.7+ LCGiant Trance E+ 0 Pro | Haibike XDURO AllMtn 8.0 FLYON | Husqvarna HC 9.0 | Intense TazerLapierre eZesty AM LTD Ultimate | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 900E | Mondraker Level RRScott Genius eRIDE 900 TUNED | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSRThömus Lightrider E1 | Trek Powerfly LT 9.9

This article is from E-MOUNTAINBIKE issue #016

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Words: Photos: Trev Worsey