So you want to buy yourself an eMTB for € 4,000? Should you go for the high-end hardtail or the budget full-suspension option? We’ll tell you what to pay attention to so that you don’t waste your hard-earned money and who might be better off with the hardtail. We’ve also compiled a few tips for you to consider when buying.

You’ve been saving for months but can’t decide whether you should buy a hardtail or full-suspension eMTB? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain what to look for and what’s less important. Hardtails can be great all-rounders but without suspension at the rear, they’re usually less comfortable than full-suspension eMTBs. For moderate off-road use, usually, the only thing speaking for buying a hardtail is the price. If you’re planning on attacking the trails, you’ll be better off with a full-susser. But who is a hardtail for then and what can you expect to get for € 4,000? The FOCUS THRON² 6.7 and FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 both cost around € 4,000, so we let them go head to head to find out which is the better eMTB.

The Battle – FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 Nine vs FOCUS THRON² 6.7

For direct comparison, we put the FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 Nine hardtail head to head with the full-suspension FOCUS THRON² 6.7. Both cost about the same, come equipped with Bosch’s 85 Nm Performance Line CX motor, a 12-speed drivetrain, four-piston brakes and 29” wheels, allowing for a fair comparison. However, there are a few differences in the spec that have a direct bearing on the price. The JARIFA² 6.9 Nine is specced with the larger 630 Wh battery and Bosch SmartphoneHub which turns your smartphone into an onboard computer and navigation device. With roughly the same gear range, the shifting performance of the XT/SLX groupset is superior to the SRAM SX-Eagle drivetrain on the THRON2. The full-suspension FOCUS THRON² 6.7 offers 130 mm travel up front, 30 mm more than the JARIFA2, and at the rear. Both forks can be adjusted to suit the rider’s weight by adjusting the air pressure, though neither of them are high-end models.

The Bosch motor on the full-susser gets operated via the minimalist Purion combined display and remote. It’s not flashy but practical and comparatively affordable. The motor is powered by a 500 Wh battery, which also helps keep the price low. While the full-susser rolls on super wide and comfortable 29 x 2.6″ Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires, the hardtail is fitted with a set of 29″ x 2.25″ Schwalbe Smart Sam tires for less rolling resistance. Unfortunately, neither of the bikes come with a dropper post, which would allow you to drop the saddle at the push of a lever when you stop at traffic lights or before you hit a descent. No matter which FOCUS you’re considering, we would recommend upgrading this aspect of the spec. For a list of recommended models, check out our group test of 8 dropper posts at our sister magazine ENDURO. Unsurprisingly, the JARIFA² 6.9 NINE is the winner in terms of weight. At 22.58 kg, it weighs 1.16 kg less than the THRON² 6.7 despite the larger battery. The difference in weight is particularly noticeable in day to day life when you have to manoeuvre the bike through stairwells or load it onto a bike rack. Both bikes come equipped for everyday use. There are eyelets for mudguards as well as mounting points for a stand but neither of the bikes is approved to pull a trailer. For only € 100 more, you can get the EQ version of the THRON² 6.7 which comes as standard with mudguards, lights, luggage racks and a stand.

The FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 NINE in detail

FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 NINE | Bosch Performance Line CX / 625Wh | 100mm (f)
22.58kg (in size L) | € 3,999 | Manfacturer’s website
The Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain wins the duel for shifting performance.
In terms of comfort, traction and off-road performance, Schwalbe’s Smart Sam tires aren’t able to keep up with the Nobby Nic tires on the full-suspension bike.
The Bosch SmartphoneHub turns your phone into an onboard computer and navigation device. This is exactly what you want for the intended use of the hardtail.


€ 3,999


Motor Bosch Performance Line CX 85Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 625Wh
Display Bosch Smartphone Hub
Fork SR Suntour Raidon 100 mm
Rear Shock
Seatpost FOCUS Aluminium
Brakes Shimano MT420 203/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano SLX/XT 1x12 11-51
Stem FOCUS Aluminium 70 mm
Handlebar FOCUS Aluminium 720 mm
Wheelset Shimano MT501 29"
Tires Schwalbe Smart Sam 29"x2.25"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 22,58 kg
Perm. total weight 150 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 127 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

The Shimano MT420 four-piston brakes come with 203 mm rotors up front. With a maximum permissible weight of 150 kg, we would like a large rotor on the rear too.
The hardtail is powered by Bosch’s 85 Nm Performance Line CX motor which is fed by an integrated 625 Wh battery.
The low-volume tires and aluminium seat post don’t do much to add comfort at the rear. A suspended seat post or, better still, a dropper post with integrated suspension would significantly increase comfort.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 400 mm 440 mm 480 mm 520 mm
Top tube 597 mm 615 mm 634 mm 655 mm
Head tube 120 mm 130 mm 140 mm 160 mm
Head angle 68.0° 68.0° 69.0° 69.0°
Seat angle 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Chainstay 470 mm 470 mm 470 mm 470 mm
BB Drop 62 mm 62 mm 62 mm 62 mm
Wheelbase 1,162 mm 1,181 mm 1,189 mm 1,211 mm
Reach 410 mm 425 mm 440 mm 455 mm
Stack 632 mm 641 mm 656 mm 675 mm

The FOCUS THRON² 6.7 in detail

FOCUS THRON² 6.7 | Bosch Performance Line CX / 500Wh | 130/130mm (f/r)
23.74kg (in size L) | € 3,899 | Manfacturer’s website
It significantly increases the bike’s comfort, your confidence and the fun you can have.
The € 100 that you save compared to the hardtail is best invested in a dropper post upgrade. Rigid seat posts should be a thing of the past on eMTBs.
The 2.6″ wide Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires are a good choice for trail use and score in terms of comfort, profile and durability. However, they lack grip in wet conditions and puncture protection on the trail.


€ 3,899


Motor Bosch Performance Line CX 85Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 500Wh
Display Bosch Purion
Fork Rock Shox Recon RL 130 mm
Rear Shock SR Suntour Edge LOR 130 mm
Seatpost FOCUS Aluminium
Brakes Shimano MT420 180/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM SX Eagle 1x12 10-50
Stem FOCUS Aluminium 60 mm
Handlebar FOCUS Aluminium 760 mm
Wheelset Rodi Tryp 30/ Novatec D162/D041 29"
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29"x2.6"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 23.74 kg
Perm. total weight 120 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 96 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

available with everyday accessories

The minimalist, one-piece BOSCH Purion display and remote is a good choice for purists.
The RockShox Recon RL fork is an entry-level model and you’ll have to spend more if you want more performance.
The 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain and smaller battery keep the price of the full-suspension option at the same level as the hardtail.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 400 mm 440 mm 470 mm 500 mm
Top tube 584 mm 603 mm 627 mm 651 mm
Head tube 115 mm 130 mm 147 mm 163 mm
Head angle 66.8° 66.8° 66.8° 66.8°
Sitzwinkel 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstay 455 mm 455 mm 455 mm 455 mm
BB Drop 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm
Wheelbase 1,175 mm 1,196 mm 1,223 mm 1,249 mm
Reach 415 mm 430 mm 450 mm 470 mm
Stack 610 mm 624 mm 639 mm 654 mm


Take a seat aboard the FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 Nine followed by the FOCUS THRON² 6.7 and you’ll immediately notice the difference in riding position. On the THRON² 6.7, your position is a lot more stretched. In contrast, the upright and relaxed riding position aboard the JARIFA² hardtail means you have less pressure on your hands and a better view of your surroundings – a bonus when sightseeing. Together with its direct and agile handling, it has the edge over the full-susser in winding city streets and traffic. This is where the hardtail is able to play to its strengths with its lower weight, steeper head angle and narrower handlebar. With the help of your smartphone and the COBI.Bike app, the Bosch SmartphoneHub on the JARIFA² turns into an intelligent control centre for navigation, listening to music and tracking your fitness. If you want to leave your smartphone at home, there is a small, somewhat rudimentary display for basic riding data, similar to what you’ll find on the Purion. Even if the navigation feature of the COBI.Bike app is a little slow, the SmartphoneHub is great to have on long rides and in city traffic.

Even if their intended uses seem to overlap on paper, the FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 Nine and FOCUS THRON² 6.7 differ in their capabilities.

The lack of comfort aboard the FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 Nine compared to the FOCUS THRON² 6.7 becomes evident the moment you encounter cobblestones and poor roads. This isn’t just due to the missing shock but also the narrow 29 x 2.25″ Schwalbe Smart Sam tires. You could easily increase the level of comfort on the hardtail simply by fitting higher volume tires. Due to the durable but hard rubber compound of the tires on both bikes, they’re compromised on wet off-road terrain as they offer too little traction compared to performance eMTB tires. Bumps on gravel and forest paths get swallowed up by the chassis of the FOCUS THRON² 6.7, while the rear of the JARIFA 2 passes them on to the rider in an unpleasant way. This is where the THRON² full-susser shows its advantages in terms of braking performance, traction, grip and safety. As soon as you head down a trail, the difference in comfort becomes even more obvious. The full-suspension bike is significantly more fun on the trails than the hardtail and the feeling of confidence it instils in the rider due to the additional traction is on a different level.

Which bike should you buy?

When it comes to off-road capability, the FOCUS THRON² 6.7 is the clear winner. Due to its improved traction, greater feeling of confidence and higher level of comfort, it pulls away from the FOCUS JARIFA² 6.9 Nine as soon as you head off-road. However, with the Bosch SmartphoneHub, its larger battery and thus increased range, as well as its relaxed riding position, the hardtail makes up a lot of ground if you’re out and about in the city and on smooth paths. That said, the FOCUS THRON² 6.7 certainly isn’t bad in these situations and scores for the added comfort over the hardtail. If we had to choose one of the two eMTBs, it would be the FOCUS THRON² 6.7. It’s the more versatile bike and hardly shows any weaknesses in this battle. We would immediately invest the € 100 that you save on the FOCUS THRON² 6.7 in a dropper post, allowing you to have even more fun and freedom of movement on the trail.

Do you need a full-suspension eMTB or will a hardtail do the job?

The eMTB you buy should be suitable for your intended use. If you prefer a relaxed riding style and mainly stay on paved roads and paths, a hardtail can be a good choice. An upright riding position combined with high-quality and, above all, comfortable contact points keep your back pain-free and allows you to take in your surroundings. Due to the lack of a shock and the associated pivot points, a hardtail requires significantly less maintenance than a full-suspension eMTB. Hardtails can also be at an advantage for commuting as you’ll easily be able to fit a rack and mudguards. If you’re not going to stay on paved surfaces but also plan to ride along gravel, forest and meadow paths on a regular basis, you’ll have to carefully weigh up whether to invest your money in a hardtail or a full-suspension eMTB. In terms of traction and comfort, the full-suspension option is clearly ahead of the game, though you’ll usually get lower-end components or a smaller battery for the same price. On the other hand, those who like riding trails can’t avoid having to buy a full-suspension eMTB. For beginners without a lot of trail experience, there are benefits to full-suspension in the city too. Not only do you get significantly more comfort and traction than with a hardtail but you’ll also feel safer and more confident. Small bumps are absorbed at the front and back, making it easier to stay in control of the ebike in every situation. Depending on how actively you ride, how demanding the trails are and how important trail performance is to you, it pays to invest more money. Especially in terms of suspension, the differences between entry-level models and more expensive, high-performance forks and dampers are enormous. For a list of exciting bikes, check out our budget group test (available here) where we looked for and found the best eMTB under € 5,500.

Before buying, you should ask yourself how you’re going to use the bike. What is the use of a large battery if you want to commute in winter and the eMTB doesn’t have any eyelets for mudguards? Factors such as the correct frame size and the bike’s overall concept take precedence over individual components. It’s not important whether the ebike is equipped with a SRAM or Shimano drivetrain, what matters is the gear range. It doesn’t matter whether the bike is equipped with a motor from Bosch, Shimano or Brose nor is the size of the battery overwhelmingly important. The motors on the market today all perform brilliantly and ‘only’ 500 Wh is usually more than sufficient. Ultimately, what matters is the handling and the integration of the parts into the overall concept of the bike and not whether it comes with a Bosch motor or 27.5″, 29″ or mixed wheel sizes! So, ask yourself what you need and which concept best suits those needs instead of worrying about individual components.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider before buying


  • go for a test ride and decide for yourself how important the comfort, feeling of confidence and ride feel of a full-susser is to you.
  • buy an eMTB with a dropper post or upgrade to one. This not only gives you more freedom of movement on the trail but also in everyday life. You’ll no longer have to get off the saddle at traffic lights, simply dropping the saddle to get your foot on the ground instead: regardless of whether you ride a hardtail or a full-susser.
  • buy dropper posts with integrated suspension – the ultimate option for a hardtail! There aren’t many that are worth the money but you do get them. A model we can recommend is the Merida TEAM TK with suspension.
  • fit 2.4–2.6″ wide tires for more comfort and braking traction. Good tires are black gold.
  • adjust the contact points to make the ride a lot more comfortable. Everyone has different preferences. You’ll just have to experiment until you find something you’re happy with.


  • overestimate the battery capacity you need – 500–630 Wh is usually sufficient. Larger batteries and dual battery solutions only become necessary on very long all-day rides with lots of climbing. If you’re not emptying the battery, you’re carrying around unnecessary weight. The additional weight usually harms the handling of the bike. Modular systems with range extenders give you the best compromise between range and handling.
  • be blinded by high-tech components and technical features. While they can make a difference, not everyone needs them. It might be worthwhile to choose the cheaper build and to have individual components and accessories retrofitted at your trusted dealer.
  • save on the brakes. We recommend four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors on an eMTB, regardless of whether it is a hardtail or full-susser, whether you’ve got a beer belly or you’re a flyweight.
  • ignore the suspension. The fork and shock should be set up specifically for you, otherwise even the best suspension is useless. And don’t forget: the shock and fork need care and maintenance at regular intervals, otherwise, their performance will suffer.

You can find more tips in our buyers’ guide.

Helmet Bell Sixer MIPS | Shirt Zimtstern Timbaz | Shorts Zimtstern Trailstar Evo | Shoes ION Scrub Amp

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Words: Photos: Robin Schmitt