E-bikes allow you to ride more laps of your favourite trail in the same time, or ride more epic adventures at the weekends. It’s not cheating, it’s getting out and riding more.
Many brands have introduced their own versions of e-Bikes and boast about hours of battery time or huge motor power but Focus have a different approach to their MTB e-Bikes which we instantly understood and liked.
Imagine the longest adventure you’ve done through the Lake District or Scotland and then imagine how much further or more adventurous you could have been with assistance? Or imagine getting back from work and being able to cover twice as much of your local trail as you would do on your normal bike. These are the main benefits of having a motor attached to your drivetrain and it’s this that gets us excited about the Focus e-bikes we now stock.
The Jam² is based on the normal Jam trail bike. 140mm travel alloy frame which utilises Focus’ F.O.L.D linkage system which is super fun and active whilst remaining nice and stiff through corners and rough sections. Geometry is spot on too, 66.5° head angle, 457mm chainstays and 74.5° seat tube meaning it pedals well it’s confident on the descents and agile in the corners.
The Jam² comes fitted with Shimano’s E8000 Steps system which feature most of the same settings as you’d see on a Bosch or Yamaha equipped equivalent e-bike like a boost mode and eco mode. The difference between those systems and the Shimano system though is what Shimano call their “Trail” setting.
When riding in Trail mode, the Shimano Steps motor uses a torque meter which cleverly matches the power you put into the cranks and delivers that extra power smoothly and subtly unlike other motors which can kick in with a jerk and hurl you backwards. It also smoothly removes the power when you start to coast, so your weight isn’t bumped forward.
So instead of that sensation of being pulled along, you get a feeling that the power in your legs has just grown by x10 and the extra power is simply aiding you which feels great when you realise you’re further up that technical climb than normal and you’re actually enjoying it! The main benefit of trail mode is on more technical sections of trail, where you are able to gauge how the bike is going to react much more, where some systems might give you a boost and mess up your rhythm, the steps system simply enhances your input smoothly. Even though Shimano were a little late to the e-bike party, this Steps system was worth the wait.
Focus have also developed their own battery to work with the Steps motor in their Jam² e-Bike and are the only brand allowed by Shimano to run their own power source like this.
Focus did this to drastically reduce the weight and impact of a huge battery on the ride quality as the standard battery is a lot heavier, bulkier and mainly unnecessary. By reducing the weight and size of the power source, Focus have managed to keep the characteristic of the Jam² as close to riding a normal Mountain bike as possible.
If you’re thinking of investing in an e-bike or even if you’re not, it really is worth trying one of these bikes to get a feel of the Shimano steps system and Focus Jam² working together. We have a demo bikes available in medium, large and extra-large and can show you some good routes around us here at Stif.