A look into the new Focus Sam

From a distance, the Focus ‘Sam’ has always looked like such a sweet and innocent little creature, however hidden beneath its attractive facade is a raging bull that was born ready to attack at a moment’s notice any piece of trail that gets put in front of it.

Because of this ‘never fear danger’ personality, the Sam has constantly been one of the most popular long travel trail bikes on the market. Fresh for 2019, Focus have overhauled their 170mm mountain slayer with a heap of updates including a brand new F.O.L.D. suspension design and the frame’s rear triangle is now a one-piece design. The new bike also sheds a heap of weight from its predecessor. In fact, Focus claim the reduction to be upwards of a whopping half a kilo in frame weight alone.

The heart of the new bike is its F.O.L.D. suspension (Focus Optimized Linkage Design) which is activated via 2 alloy links sitting directly above the shock. Focus first debuted their unique F.O.L.D. concept in their mid-travel ‘Jam’ trail bike a couple of seasons ago. By utilizing the F.O.L.D. design in the new Sam Focus’ engineering team have tuned the Sam’s suspension curve exactly how they wanted. Focus engineers start with a regressive curve which means as it moves through the first 55mm of travel the suspension gets softer & more plush for the smaller hits. Only then does it transition to steeply progressive firming up towards the end of its 170mm of travel so the bike won’t have that harsh feeling it you send it off a big drop and the travel maxes out. A one-piece rear triangle with no bearings close to the rear axle creates a stiff system that transfers power to the ground quickly, while the main link, guide link and shock create a low center of gravity and are sitting close together.

We’re loving the frame lines of the new bike, with the line of the top tube running parallel to the seatstays. As you’d hope for with a bike that has this much travel, the Sam features a nice and slack 64.8° headangle. The seat tube angle is 75° and it’s chainstays are nice and short measuring at 428mm for all frame sizes. The bikes reach length is 460mm for the size large frame, and the same size frame then delivers a total wheel base length of 1221mm. All of those figures sound pretty spot on to us.

The new bike is again 1x specific, and gets ISCG 05 tabs for a chain guide. It also fits a full size water bottle in all frame sizes, which mounts in the traditional position on the inside of the bike’s downtube. The carbon frame see’s internal cable routing from front to rear, however the alloy version only features internal cable routing through the front triangle and external for the rear end. Both versions feature Boost 148 spacing, RAT thru-axle, and 180mm post mount rear brake.

The new Sam models will be landing on dealer floors across Oz right around the time that you’re reading this.


  • Rear wheel travel: 170 mm
  • Wheel size: 27.5″
  • Full carbon frame option
  • Full alloy frame option
  • 64.8° head angle
  • 428 mm chainstays
  • 12 x 148mm rear spacing
  • 3 Sizes: S-L