The new SAM² 6.9 is the downhill machine in FOCUS’ eMTB range. With its new rear suspension system, Bosch Smart System motor and maximum suspension travel, it’s designed to shine on tough descents without tiring you out too quickly uphill. Is that the only thing the € 7,899 SAM² 6.9 can do, or is it capable of more?

FOCUS SAM² 6.9 | Bosch Performance Line CX/750 Wh | 180/170 mm (f/r)
27.1 kg in size L | € 7,899 | Manufacturer’s website

In FOCUS’ JAM², JAM² SL and SAM² trilogy, the SAM² is the eMTB for the rough stuff. For the current model year, it has been updated with a Bosch Performance Line CX Smart System motor and a big 750 Wh battery. While they were at it, FOCUS also bumped the travel to 180 mm at the front and 170 mm at the rear, which makes the SAM² 6.9 the longest-travel competitor in this test, together with the KTM Macina Prowler. At € 7,899, the SAM² is comparatively affordable, and at 27.1 kg, also the heaviest eMTB in this test.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2023 – 30 models in review

Body positivity instead of calorie counting – The new FOCUS SAM² 6.9 in detail

Would weightlifters ask themselves whether they’re too heavy for their sport? Probably not, and that’s exactly how the FOCUS sees it. As the most downhill-oriented eMTB in FOCUS’ portfolio, the SAM²’s got some heavy lifting to do, so compromising on trail performance for the sake of saving weight just wouldn’t make sense. Like the MERIDA and Moustache, the FOCUS features a full aluminium frame with a rather bulbous motor area and big chunky weld seams which, at first glance, make it look a bit rough. Compared to the JAM², which plays in a similar category, the SAM²’s proportions fit its beefy look better. The Bosch Smart System motor is tilted upwards, allowing you to remove the battery from the bottom of the downtube. As a nice addition, the battery can be secured with a key lock. The round rubber cover on the charging port is a bit flimsy, but easy to operate. Almost a must for a FOCUS, and a welcome addition for the SAM², are the USB charging port on the top tube, the C.I.S. stem for internal cable routing, and the frame bag on the down tube (to see pictures of the latter head to our JAM² review). On the other hand, FOCUS are breaking with the family tradition of the linkage-driven single pivot design, replacing it with a brand new version of their proprietary F.O.L.D. system, which now relies on a four-bar linkage with horizontally mounted shock. This provides more progression and should therefore harmonise better with the SAM²’s coil shock. FOCUS also throw in a new two-tone paint finish, which heralds a new era in design language for the German manufacturer.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. The skid plate on our test bike had a few close encounters on rough terrain. FOCUS have already recognised the problem and will be delivering the production bike with a skid plate with more ground clearance.
The Bosch Performance Line CX Smart System motor is integrated into the frame and tilted upwards. This allows you to remove the battery from the bottom of the downtube. An upgrade tip for all racers: for an additional €800, the SAM² is also available with Bosch’s CX Race motor.
Pastafarians will feel at home with the C.I.S. stem in front of them, which routes the cables internally through the headset. After all, the cable routing is strongly reminiscent of a nice plate of pasta: beware of the flying spaghetti monster!
The square thing goes into the round one: while the rubber cover of the charging port looks and feels cheap, it’s fairly easy to operate.
The FOX DHX coil shock harmonises well with FOCUS’ new proprietary F.O.L.D. rear suspension system. Unfortunately, the shock itself offers very few adjustment options, requiring you to upgrade to a stiffer spring if you need more support.

The spec of the FOCUS SAM² suits its downhill-oriented purpose pretty well but also has a few blemishes. The suspension consists of a high-performance FOX 38 fork with finely adjustable GRIP2 damper in the fancy factory orange finish and a matching FOX DHX coil shock, which ensures sensitive response, but unfortunately forgoes a compression dial: if you want more support outback, you’ll have to buy a stiffer spring. The SAM² rolls on beefy Schwalbe Magic Mary tires front and rear, with the Super Trail casing up front and Super Gravity casing at the rear. Heavier or aggressive riders should upgrade the front tire to the tougher Super Gravity casing – the additional 150 g are negligible for a bike in this class. Speaking of upgrades: If you’ve always wanted to know how the new Bosch Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition motor performs, for an extra €800, the FOCUS SAM² 6.0 is the most affordable gateway to Bosch’s racing dimension.

Supposedly nothing rhymes with orange: The FOX 38 suspension fork in the fancy Factory Orange finish stands out like a sore thumb. On the trail, its first-class response blends in perfectly with the overall concept.
To pull the battery out of the down tube, it makes sense to lay the bike on its side or turn it upside down. The battery itself features a key lock, which allows you to secure it in the frame – but you don’t have to.
Caution low voltage! The USB socket doesn’t need a high-voltage warning. While you can use it to charge your phone while riding, with some smartphones the current barely maintains the battery level.
The airport staff must have gone through our bags. The down tube features two mounting bosses for FOCUS’ small but very practical frame bag. Head to our JAM² review for some pictures.


€ 7,899


Motor Bosch Performance Line CX 85 Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 750 Wh
Display Bosch Kiox 300
Fork FOX 38 Factory E FLOAT GRIP2 Kashima 180 mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX 170 mm
Seatpost Post Moderne 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano DEORE XT/ SLX 1x12
Stem FOCUS C.I.S. 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Atlas 820 mm
Wheelset Mavic E-Deemax 30 29"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary, Super Trail, ADDIX Soft/Schwalbe Magic Mary, Super Gravity, ADDIX Soft 2.6/2.6

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 27.1 kg
Perm. total weight 150 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 122 kg
Trailer approval yes
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

Toolmount bag

Tuning tips: Upgrade the front tire to the Super Gravity casing for more downhill capability. | Shorten the handlebars | Get a weightlifting belt to load the bike into a car or to carry it out of the basement.

Misappropriation: What is the FOCUS SAM² 6.9 uphill, downhill and sideways?

Although the FOCUS SAM² was designed specifically to go downhill, we took the freedom to embark on longer tours and big climbs – and were pleasantly surprised! The high front end and steep seat tube make up for the long reach, ensuring a fairly upright pedalling position that’s perfectly suitable for long tours. The rear suspension provides excellent small bump compliance, ensuring a high level of riding comfort and thus making the SAM² a trusted companion for long tours together with the practical everyday and touring features. These include a USB charging port, a frame bag, kickstand mount and Bosch’s Quality-of-Life functions (navigation, eBike Lock). If you want to tow a trailer, go ahead, because the SAM² is trailer approved. When making your way to the trailhead on singletracks, you won’t be disappointed either. The rear suspension generates plenty of traction, while the front wheel always remains planted on the ground. The Bosch Smart System motor pushes willingly, allowing you to clear nasty steps and obstacles. Only on tight, twisting climbs does the long, heavy SAM² struggle a little, requiring a lot of rider input to manoeuvre. And it’s a similar story when you head your way back down into the valley on moderate trails, where passive riders will struggle to bring the SAM² to life. Active riders, on the other hand, will realise that the suspension provides significantly more support than you might think. With the right input, the SAM² is even more flickable than its smaller brother, the JAM².

Are we there yet? The SAM² only goes uphill because it has to – the fun starts on the descents. That said, it still delivers a very decent performance both uphill and on longer tours.
Let gravity do its thing and follow! The FOCUS SAM² really comes to life downhill, where it ensures excellent composure.

If you drop from a blue trail into a double black diamond, the SAM² suddenly comes to life. Longer = faster, and the SAM² is one of the longest eMTBs in the entire test field. With the adjustable headset cups in the “slack” setting, it also has one of the slackest head angles (63.5°). But there’s more to life than sheer numbers – and that’s exactly how the SAM² sees it. Perfectly in line with its geo tab, the FOCUS ploughs its way through techy gnar with stoic composure, but at the same feels nimble, showing the KTM Prowler and Cannondale Moterra that the two character traits aren’t mutually exclusive. On particularly gnarly sections, the suspension gobbles up all sorts of impacts. While at 820 mm, the handlebars are rather a handful for quick direction changes, they help you hold the line on demanding terrain.

The FOCUS SAM² 6.9 is the ideal companion for base jumpers, cliff divers, waterslide testers and downhill skiers who prefer to flow with gravity on their day off rather than work against it.

Size S M L XL
Top Tube 578 mm 608 mm 637 mm 671 mm
Seat tube 390 mm 420 mm 440 mm 460 mm
Head tube 100 mm 100 mm 120 mm 140 mm
Head angle 63.5/64.5° 63.5/64.5° 63.5/64.5° 63.5/64.5°
Seat angle 77.5° 77.5° 77.5° 77.5°
Chainstays 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm
Wheelbase 1,229 mm 1,259 mm 1,293 mm 1,332 mm
Reach 440 mm 470 mm 495 mm 525 mm
Stack 623 mm 623 mm 641 mm 659 mm
Helmet Oakley DRT5 | Glasses 100% S3 | Hip Pack EVOC Hip Pack | Jersey Monserat F07
Shorts Monserat SP01 | Kneepad Pearl Izumi Elevate Knee Guard V1
Shoes Specialized 2FO Cliplite | Socks Riding Culture

Who should take a closer look at the FOCUS SAM² 6.9 and who should look elsewhere?

The FOCUS SAM² 6.9 is the ideal companion for base jumpers, cliff divers, waterslide testers and downhill skiers who prefer to feel at one with gravity rather than work against it. It’s also a good option for bombed-out trails with nasty brake bumps and shot berms, where it ensures great composure – and the robust build promises a long service life. Moreover, the SAM² 6.9 inspires huge amounts of confidence, encouraging you to tackle rough trails. On the other hand, if you’re after a very light and nippy bike, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Riding Characteristics


  1. unbalanced
  2. coherent


  1. cumbersome
  2. clever


  1. flop
  2. top


  1. low
  2. high


  1. demanding
  2. intuitive


  1. boring
  2. lively

Intended Use

Gravel roads

Technical climbs

Flowtrail descents

Technical descents

Conclusions about the new FOCUS SAM² 6.9

If the laws of physics suddenly changed and gravity took you both up and down the mountain, the SAM² would have what it takes for a top ranking. Although it cuts a good figure on tours and easy uphills, these should only be a means to an end onboard the SAM². Downhill, FOCUS’ trail monster shines with great composure, excellent suspension and good features – all wrapped up with a fair price tag. As a result, the SAM² 6.9 really shines as a specialist, but not as an all-rounder in this group test.


  • Inspires huge amounts of confidence
  • Excellent composure and tons of reserves
  • Sensitive rear suspensión


  • A few pounds too many (but in return a nice set of love handles)
  • Motor area looks a little rough

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2023 – 30 models in review

All bikes in test: Berria Mako Hybrid GT LTD (Click for review) | Bulls SONIC EVO SL EN-1 (Click for review) | Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT1 (Click for review) | Flyer Uproc X 9.50 (Click for review) | Focus SAM² 6.9 | Focus JAM² 6.9 (Click for review) | Focus Jam² SL 9.9 (Click for review) | Forestal Siryon Diōde (Click for review) | Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Ltd (Click for review) | Haibike Lyke CF SE (Click for review) | Ibis OSO (Click for review) | KTM Macina Prowler Exonic (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 975 (Click for review) | Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR LTD (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11 (Click for review) | Orbea Rise M-Team (Click for review) | Orbea WILD M-LTD (Click for review) | Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01 (Click for review) | Pivot Shuttle LT Team XTR (Click for review) | Radon Deft 10.0 (Click for review) | Rotwild R.X735 Ultra (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Heckler MX XO1 AXS RSV (Click for review) | SCOTT Lumen eRide 900 SL (Click for review) | Simplon Rapcon Pmax TQ (Click for review) | Specialized Turbo Levo Expert (Click for review) | Transition Repeater AXS Carbon (Click for review) | Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS (Click for review) | UNNO Mith Race (Click for review) | Yeti 160E T1 (Click for review)

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Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Mike Hunger, Peter Walker

About the author

Rudolf Fischer

In his previous life Rudolf was a dab hand at promoting innovation, putting his brain behind big-ticket patent assessments that easily ran into six-or-seven-plus figures. These days, the self-confessed data nerd’s role as editor at DOWNTOWN and E-MOUNTAINBIKE is no less exciting. Given his specialism in connectivity, Rudolf’s often placed on the front line of future mobility conversations, but he’s also big into testing new bikes–both on the daily as a committed commuter and intensively for our group tests. The business economist graduate is as versatile as a Swiss penknife, and that’s no hyperbole. Away from two wheels, his background in parkour means he’s a master of front, side and backflips, plus he speaks German, English, French, Russian and a touch of Esperanto. Japanese remains woefully unmastered, despite his best home-learning attempts. Good to know: Rudolf’s sharp tongue has made him a figure of fear in the office, where he’s got a reputation for flexing a dry wittiness à la Ricky Gervais... interestingly, he's usually the one laughing hardest.