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.

FOCUS JAM² 9.9 Drifter | Shimano Steps E8000/378 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 20.49 kg (size L)
€ 6,999 | manufacturer website

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!

Super slim
Without the T.E.C. pack, the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER could be easily mistaken for a regular mountain bike with its slender down tube.
Exemplary
The cockpit of the FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER is super tidy and clean despite the cables required for the drivetrain and mini Shimano display.
We don’t understand
Shimano’s new 4-piston XT brakes perform brilliantly up front, offering excellent braking power. Unfortunately, FOCUS spec the much less powerful and prone to fade 2-piston calliper at the rear. Why?

FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER

€ 6,999

Specifications

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"

Technical Data

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

Specific Features

additional T.E.C Pack battery (+378 Wh)

* without T.E.C Pack


Sexy but no grip
The looks of the tan wall MAXXIS Rekon+ tire suit the FOCUS JAM² perfectly. But it doesn’t offer the best puncture protection or traction.
Stiff breeze
Besides channelling in air to cool the battery, the ventilation ports also act as cable inlets for the internally routed cables without letting them rattle.
Pit stop
The T.E.C. pack gets attached to a special rail on the down tube without the need for tools. Changing your setup to suit quick post-work rides or alpine epics only takes seconds.

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.

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°
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
Helmet Fox Flux MIPS Conduit | Backpack Fox Utility Hydration Pack | Shirt Mons Royal Phoenix Enduro | Shorts LEiWAND Lindkogel | Knee pads ION K-Lite Zip

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

Riding Characteristics

7

Agility

  1. sluggish
  2. playful

Stability

  1. nervous
  2. stable

Handling

  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

Application

Forest road

1

Flow trail uphill

2

Flow trail downhill

3

Technical single trail uphill

4

Technical single trail downhill

5

Downhill tracks

6

Conclusion

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?

Tops

  • looks amazing
  • lightweight
  • super agile, fun handling

Flops

  • 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


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