While Focus have brought some amazingly well designed bikes to the table over the last years, in some ways there was a wide gap in their trail bike range. Until now that is. With their new 140mm Jam platform, Focus finally hit the nail on the head for those wanting a hard hitting bike from the German company renowned for their engineering prowess.
Designed from the ground up around their new F.O.L.D. suspension system, the new Jam frame runs 140mm of travel via twin rocker links. A main rocker link and a smaller guide link allowing tuned travel characteristics and a solid, stiff rear end. Divided into two parts, travel within the lower 30% of travel works digressively for small bump sensitivity, smoothing out the trail chatter and keeping your rear wheel planted. For the remainder of the travel, the spring rate is progressive.
A firm feel is key throughout the remaining travel, delivering more feedback the further you push through. Weight distribution is completely centralised, the F.O.L.D. suspension positioned low within the frame proving a very good centre of gravity. That beautifully designed rear triangle is not just a pretty after thought, its feather weight one piece design runs no bearings (all bearings are in the links and main frame) which further improves small bump compliance thanks to its low unsprung weight. Up front, no corners have been cut in making one of the lightest and stiffest fames possible. Exceptional design, both aesthetically and in its engineering across both aluminium and carbon fames, especially around the head tube. Both frames also feature Focus’s dialled internal cable routing via the left side of the head tube.
Geometry is on point with the current crop of trail weapons, a relatively slack 66.8° head angle, longish top tube and responsive 425 mm chainstays point towards a very fun ride. Focus paid particular attention to achieving a balance between the reach and the stack height, which means the bigger frame sizes don’t just have a longer top tube but also a longer head tube. Super short stack heights must be a thing of the past by now, especially on bikes that are pointed downhills on a regular basis?
Six different builds will be available, split down the middle between carbon and aluminium. Both top of the range models rock SRAM XO1 Eagle with 150mm Pike RCT3 forks, then the models below run a very assorted mix of the who’s who of MTB components. Some spec’d beautifully, some strangely. Focus letting us know that they aim to use components that balance dollar value against the most positive aspects of how they’ll make the bike ride. Whatever the case they definitely look the goods, the Jam frame looking like one that’ll stand the test of time that will need component swaps down the track anyway.
With Focus running this new suspension platform on their new XC oriented O1E bike, you can bet that F.O.L.D. will be appearing on more frames in the Focus range as time goes by. Especially seeing that the same linkages can be used across all sizes unlike many bikes out there. German precision indeed.
The mag has just received this tasty looking machine which we will be test riding throughout summer. Be sure to check back in next issue to read our full trail notes. Right, now let’s go hit some trails!