The FOCUS JAM² has been on the market for several years. Thanks to its proprietary battery system, the slender JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER is very easy on the eyes but unlike some of its predecessors, the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER offers more than just good looks.
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!
Click here for an overview of the best eMTB 2020 group test.
The FOCUS JAM² product range is huge: you have the option of an aluminium or carbon frame, different wheel sizes, and if that wasn’t enough, you also have the choice between the new Bosch Performance Line CX and the older Shimano Steps E 8000 motor. We chose the € 6,999 FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER, equipped with a Shimano motor, carbon front triangle and modular battery system not least because of its looks.
Components, weight and technical details of the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 Drifter
No other bike in the test field looks this good and the seamless battery integration unequalled. However, the sleek looks and low weight of only 20.49 kg (+2.2 kg for the additional T.E.C. battery pack) come at a high price: the 378 Wh internal battery of the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER provides only minimal range. Those who need more can double the capacity with the included, externally mounted T.E.C. Pack battery, but then there go the looks!
FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER
Motor Shimano Steps E8000 70Nm
Battery T.E.C. Pack 378 Wh
Display Shimano STEPS E8000
Fork FOX 36 Factory FIT4 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DPS Factory 150 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 150 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 4-piston/2-piston 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT 1x12
Stem Race Face Turbine R 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Turbine R 35 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss H1900 29"/27.5"
Size S M L
Weight 20.49 kg*
Perm. total weight 120 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 99 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no
additional T.E.C Pack battery (+378 Wh)
* without T.E.C Pack
Geometry and size of the FOCUS
Unfortunately FOCUS have limited the JAM² 9.9 Drifter to just two frame sizes. With 445 mm reach (L), it’s quite compact. The 470 mm seat tube prevents shorter riders from reaching for the larger frame size.
|Seat tube||410 mm||440 mm||470 mm|
|Top tube||582 mm||602 mm||622 mm|
|Head tube||120 mm||120 mm||140 mm|
|Chainstays||457 mm||457 mm||457 mm|
|BB Drop||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|
The FOCUS JAM² 9.9 Drifter on the trail
The size L FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER we tested is the largest (of three) carbon frames on offer. That means taller riders will have to accept a very compact riding position. That makes the bike comfortable on flat terrain but results in all your weight being concentrated onto the saddle as soon as you hit a steep incline. Unfortunately, that’s exacerbated by the wallowing rear suspension and the slack seat tube angle. This also means that you don’t have a lot of weight on the front wheel so you have to actively work at keeping it on the ground. With the T.E.C. pack mounted, the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER not only improves at technical climbs but it can also keep at them for longer. The extra battery adds range and shifts the centre of gravity forward. Despite this, the JAM²’s technical climbing capabilities can’t keep up with the best bikes in the test field. The shallow tread pattern of the MAXXIS Rekon+ tire doesn’t generate enough grip on loose ground.
FOCUS’ Tailored Energy Concept is great for short after-work rides. However, with the additional battery attached, the downhill handling suffers.
Going downhill, the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER has a split personality. Even with the T.E.C. Pack installed, it remains one of the more agile bikes in the test field. Despite raising the centre of gravity, the bike remains relatively balanced in the corners and offers enough grip. However, the front end sticks to the ground, so much so that it feels too heavy for active manoeuvres like manuals or small jumps. Without the T.E.C. pack installed, the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER suddenly feels it’s had its shackles removed and its handling improves immeasurably! Only the Canyon and Rocky Mountain come close to the JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER’s unpowered mountain bike-like handling. The bike is compact, short and agile, making it extremely easy to weave through trees and around obstacles on the trail and requiring minimal input even for wild manoeuvres, though the rear end could do with a bit more mid-stroke support for bunny hops or quick line changes. However, all this agility comes at the cost of high-speed stability, where the JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER feels more nervous and less forgiving than the Wild FS or the Levo. On flowy, man-made trails, the JAM² is hard to top on fun but rough, steep and fast trails are not its strong suit.
The FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER is the best Jam² we’ve ever ridden
Tuning tip: tougher and narrower MAXXIS Minion rear tire | 4-piston rear brake calliper | volume spacer in the shock
The FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: no other eMTB resembles it’s non-motorised counterparts as closely in looks and handling – but that’s only without the T.E.C. pack fitted. We recommend the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER for short after-work rides and light riders who don’t usually need a lot of battery capacity. Thanks to the additional T.E.C. pack battery, there is nothing to stand in the way of long rides either, especially considering the comfortable pedalling position. Oh, did we mention how sexy this bike is?
- looks amazing
- super agile, fun handling
- short range without T.E.C. pack
- loss in handling with the additional battery
- rear tire offers little traction
- 2-piston rear brake
You can find out more about the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 Drifter at focus-bikes.com.
The test field
You can find everything you need to know about our test for the best eMTB of 2020 right here!
All bikes in test: BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6 | Cannondale Moterra 1 | Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 | COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 | CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC | FANTIC XF1 180 Race | FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER | Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro | Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0 | Liteville 301 CE MK1 | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Moustache Samedi 27 Trail | Norco Range VLT C1 | NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1 | Orbea WILD FS M-LTD | Pivot Shuttle 29 | Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition | ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo | Trek Rail 9.9 | Whyte E-180 RS V1 | YT DECOY CF Pro Race
Relaxed and comfortable riding on surfaced roads, both uphill and downhill.↩
Easy climbs up trails with few obstacles, wide turns and a moderate incline.↩
Active and playful descents on easy trails with few obstacles, wide turns and a moderate slope.↩
Single-track climbs on challenging terrain. Loose ground, steps, roots, tight corners and occasionally extreme inclines.↩
Singletrack descents on challenging terrain. Loose ground, steps, roots, tight corners and small jumps as well as some very steep descents.↩
High speed descents on sometimes very rough trails with large jumps and obstacles that you can’t roll over.↩
The rating used for riding characteristics refers to the bikes in the group test and the current state of development of eMTBs. The best bikes managed to blend supposedly opposite riding characteristics, feeling both lively and stable at the same time. The handling describes the balance of the bike on downhill sections. The information regarding motor-power refers to the ride-feeling in the overall context of the bike and not exclusively to the motor – that’s why the same motor can present different values.↩
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: Felix Stix, Robin Schmitt, Jonas Müssig Photos: Finlay Anderson, Robin Schmitt, Felix Stix, Markus Frühmann