- A mid-level cross country style electric mountain bike with remote lockout fork, Shimano Deore 9-speed drivetrain, powerful Bosch CX mid-motor, and mounting points for fenders, a rear rack, and bottle cage
- Seems oriented towards female riders because it comes in a smaller frame size option, uses 27.5" wheels vs. 29" on most cross country models, has an angled top tube and lower seat tube height, and uses adjustable-reach brake levers
- Purpose-built frame routes cables internally for a nice look and reduced snag potential, the frame, fork, wheelset, and saddle are color matched for style, weight is positioned low and center for optimal balance and handling
- The smaller Bosch Purion display panel is not removable and does not offer Micro-USB charging, the Bosch CX motor can be louder than some others and the chain is very close to the right chain stay, lower-capacity Powerpack 400 battery and slower compact 2 Amp charger vs. 4 Amp on some other models
Focus is a Germany based bicycle company that designs and produces higher quality e-bikes. They are part of the Pon Group which also owns Kalkhoff, Gazelle, and Faraday but Focus offers more of the sporty and mountain concepts which is what the Jarifa 27 Donna is… Actually, this bike spans a couple of categories in my mind because the frame geometry, 100 mm suspension fork and knobby wheels are cross-country capable but you get a remote lockout on the fork for easy transitions to concrete, a rear-mount kickstand, and mounting points for fenders, a rear rack, and bottle cage. In my opinion, it would be well suited to women because it comes in a range of four sizes that start at extra small. The top tube is angled and the seat tube is fairly low, allowing for people with shorter inseams to mount and stand over more comfortably. Even the 27.5″ wheelset seems to have been chosen to lower the overall height of the bike vs. a more traditional 29″ wheelset on many other cross country bikes. A few additional highlights that might suit female riders, who tend to be more petite, are the adjustable-reach brake levers which are connected to hydraulic disc brakes that tend to provide great stopping power without as much hand effort and fatigue. The slim ergonomic grips reduce hand numbness and are another nod to the urban+trail capabilities of the Jarifa Donna. And finally, the color scheme appears to be more femanine with purple and light blue accents. Focus went all the way with this design choice and has matched the frame, fork, wheelset, and saddle accents to the white theme. I’m not sure if it’s my personal favorite, but I cannot deny that white stands out from the side, especially at night, and is more reflective than black or some other dark color. The only downside here is that Bosch only produces a dark grey plastic housing for their motor and battery pack… and most shifter, brake, and electrical cables are wrapped in black plastic. Focus has used stickers to help the battery blend in, but we are seeing more internally mounted batteries and compact integrated motors now that make this setup look dated and clunky. In terms of performance, it’s fantastic, and I feel that the reputation of focus, premium Bosch drive systems, excellent 2+ year warranty, and reasonable $2.8k price point makes this a fantastic electric bike.
Driving this bike is the mountain specific Bosch Performance line CX motor. It offers up to 75 Newton meters of torque and is one of the fastest responding drive units I have tested. This is critical if you’re climbing steep trails and working through varied terrain. It might be overkill for a cross country model but you do get one unique advantage over the standard Bosch Performance line motor, and that is eMTB mode availability. Because the Jarifa 27 Donna was introduced in 2017, it’s possible that you may need help from a shop to get the firmware update that enables eMTB, but it could be worth it. Basically, in this mode (which replaces the Sport level) you get access to the full range of power output without having to click up and down on the control pad. It allows you to focus on the trail, steering, pedaling, and shifting gears and it works very well in my experience. I believe that this mode relies more on torque to extend the power band while all of the other assist options are limited and focused. The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over one thousand times per second! It’s a smart system that is also durable and well supported by a network of Bosch Certified technicians across America. In addition to the three signals that activate the motor, there is also shift detection built in that makes it easier for the chain to switch between the nine gears without as much banging and strain. Note however, that the smaller chainring does not provide as much clearance as a more traditional sized sprocket and thus, will drag and slap into the right chainstay more than average. This is true for most of the current-gen Bosch motors that do not have pulley wheel risers or mount beneath the stay. But, Focus includes a thick Neoprene slap guard to make sure you won’t get frame damage from the chain, and that’s nice to see.
Powergin the Jarifa 27 Donna is a standard Bosch Powerpack 400 battery pack. I’d call it average in terms of capacity, but the power can be used very efficiently if you shift gears thoughtfully. Unlike a hub motor, the mid-drive gets a mechanical advantage by leveraging the same gears you do to pedal with. You can even get a realtime update for how far the bike might go in each assist level by navigating to the Range menu on the display panel. Just hold down the minus key for a few second to switch from assist level readout to trip meter, odometer, and eventually range. These Powerpack batteries can be charged on or off the bike frame, have a sturdy loop at the top for safe handling and transport, and even have built-in LED charge level indicators so you can check on them occasionally during periods of disuse. I have read that storing Lithium-ion batteries in cool, dry locations is best, and that they will last longer if you store between 20% and 80% if you aren’t going to be using them for extended periods (in fact, that is how they often arrive, charged to ~30%). This battery does not offer as much range as the newer Bosch Powerpack 500 but it is slightly lighter weight and less expensive. Note also, that this bike comes with the Compact Bosch charger which provides 2 Amps of output vs. their larger 4 Amp charger… which I am guessing is another way to save money. It’s not a huge issue given the slightly lower capacity. As someone who stores his bikes inside, I usually remove the front wheel and battery when lifting or transporting with my car rack. This makes the bikes easier to work with and lighter to lift and is applicable here with the Focus Jarifa Donna. Both wheels offer quick release, the only part that is not easily removable is the display panel.
Interacting with the bike is very easy thanks to the mounting position of the Bosch Purion display. This the most compact model they offer, designed to keep your handlebars clean and clear, but it is not removable, does not have a Micro USB charging port that is active (just for software updates), and it does not offer as many readouts as the larger Bosch Intuvia. Some shops will actually upgrade the display panel for you if you pay extra, but for most applications, the Purion is good enough. I mention the USB port because of the urban use cases that this bike might work well for. If you wanted to use GPS or add a headlight and charge from the display, you would need to upgrade to the Intuvia. Anyway, you power the bike on by pressing the power button at the top of the display and then press + or – to add or remove assist power. There are four levels and I find myself using the lower two the most. Sport and Turbo are fun, but they drain the battery quicker, produce more noise, and sometimes take me faster than I’d like on technical trail sections. This, and most other electric bikes can easily be pedaled above the 20 mph top assisted speed, and they certainly cost downhill very quickly. There is no extra drag on the rear wheel because of the motor system but there is a touch of mechanical drag when pedaling due to the gearbox design of the motor. One quick tip about the display is that the buttons activate most easily if you press in near the screen vs. lower near the left edge. I didn’t understand this at first and was frustrated by inconsistent action. Near the base of the display is a walk mode button which you can press to initiate and then hold + to use. This can be handy if you are walking up a steep section of trail or taking a shortcut across some grass in a crowded area… or if you have loaded up the rear rack and prefer to walk vs. ride for safety. Not all electric bikes with the Bosch system have enabled walk mode but it did appear to work on this Focus bike. And finally, you can hold the minus key to cycle through different menus or hold it and tap the power button to switch units from miles to kilometers and back.
All things considered, I would rank this as a mid-level cross country bike with high-level motor systems and special attention to women riders. The nine-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain should hold up well under the rigors of mountain riding and mid-drive use, but will benefit from shift detection. You don’t get the Shimano Shadow Plus clutch that some Deore XT derailleurs offer (which tightens the chain and reduces slap) but the trigger shifter mechanism offers two-way action and a multi-shift low shifter. The 180 mm Shimano disc brakes are excellent for stopping and very easy to use. And the most unique thing here is just how the frame is setup with that shorter reach, lower stand over, and smaller size option. Note, the bottle cage might not fit an actual water bottle on the smallest frame, but at least it’s there for other accessories. It appears that Focus is no longer offering their proprietary Impulse drive system in the USA because their lineup of products is more limited… and perhaps they do not want to support additional systems without the same support that Bosch can offer. I think that says a lot about the Bosch motor and battery, that you can find a great number of dealers who are familiar with it and willing to provide service. I want to call out that the Bosch Performance Line motors support higher cadence RPM operation which means you can pedal up to 120 RPM vs. just 100 on some competing products from Shimano and Yamaha. You can always upgrade the fork on this bike and switch to tubeless on the tires for improved performance, but the motor is something you cannot easily swap later. So, even though it stands out a bit more in terms of integration and colors, it’s actually a big win here. If you wanted to improve comfort beyond the large knobby tires and 100 mm suspension fork, you could always swap out the rigid seat post for a suspension model like this, but it will raise the minimum saddle hight by a few inches so keep that in mind. BodyFloat, the company that makes this post, also has a lightweight version for riders in the 100 to 115 lb range that might be relevant to petite riders. Another suggestion for upgrading might be the plastic pedals, if you do not use clipless (clip-in) pedals, you could always swap to lightweight magnesium platform pedals that have adjustable pins like this, which provide more traction and durability and come in white to match your frame :)
- This would be a great platform for cross country riding or “all terrain” commuting because it has rear rack and fender bosses, the 27.5″ wheel diameter might be easier to stand over than a 29″ for petite female riders and the frame comes in four sizes to ensure a great fit
- I’m a fan of light colored bike frames because they increase your visual footprint from the side, this is especially relevant if you do ride to work or school and end up in low-light conditions
- Great attention to detail with the protective alloy chainring guard and neoprene slap guard, these should protect your pants or skirt from snagging and keep the frame in good shape when riding over rough terrain
- Both wheels offer quick release for easier trail maintenance, portability, storage, and reduced weight if you need to lift the bike (and the battery can be easily removed as well)
- The fork offers remote lockout making it easy to transition from trails to pavement with optimal efficiency, the ergonomic grips were a nice little upgrade in terms of comfort
- Bosch produces one of the most reliable motor, battery, control system combinations in the industry according to a lot of the shops and end users I speak with, the weight of this system is positioned low and center on the frame and you get a solid two year comprehensive warranty with five years on the frame from Focus
- The frame is purpose-built to be electric and the cables are all internally routed for a clean look with better protection, I appreciate that the bike also comes with a kickstand while many electric mountain bikes do not
- Because the Focus Jarifa 27 Donna is outfitted with the Bosch CX motor, it can offer eMTB mode with a software update, this changes the sport level of assist to a full-range output mode that behaves more like a torque sensor… you don’t have to switch levels while riding to get more power, just push harder (which happens automatically when climbing much of the time)
- Focus did a great job matching the frame, fork, wheelset, and saddle (which are all white or have white accents), this is what you might expect for a higher priced ebike but I think the price is pretty good for a Bosch CX drive system at $2.8k, the only challenge is that the black battery and motor casing do not blend in quite as much
- I was super impressed that this bike had bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! unfortunately, there does not appear to be enough space to actually fit a bottle rack on the smallest frame size (that we were reviewing) but you could still use these for a mini-pump or folding lock and it might work with even more accessories on the large frames
- Minor gripe here, but it sounds like the color scheme hasn’t fully resonated with a lot of the potential buyers who saw the bike at the New Wheel in Marin, I noticed that the battery and motor are not as integrated into the frame as some other Bosch powered electric bikes like the comparable BULLS SIX50 E 1.5 here but that may have to do with the smaller frame size availability and making room for an angled top tube which can still allow for a downward battery interface vs. side slide-in
- Bosch motors are extremely responsive and the CX offers great power delivery but it also produces more noise than the standard Performance line product, especially in the highest levels of assist and when pedaling at a faster RPM
- The Bosch Purion display panel is compact and possibly more durable than the larger Bosch Intuvia but it is not removable, does not have a functional Micro-USB port for charging, and does not offer as many readouts such as shift recommendation, average speed, max speed, and timer
- Bosch is now offering a 500 watt hour battery pack which offers 25% more capacity and range but only weighs 0.4 lbs more, that would be nice to have on this bike but perhaps they went with the Powerpack 400 to keeep the weight low, the good news is that you can get a Powerpack 500 later and it works with the same mounting interface
- Compared with some other mid-drive motors, the Bosch Performance Line offers shift detection and is extremely responsive for starting and stopping but the chainring is a bit smaller and relies on a reduction gear to spin 2.5x for every crank revolution which does add some friction and noise (even when pedaling unpowered), the bike coasts just as efficiently and offers great range under power but you might be dealing with just a bit of extra friction as you pedal
- Some of the more affordable Bosch powered electric bikes now come with the 2 Amp compact battery charger which is lightweight and small but takes longer to fill the battery, it actually makes sense with this e-bike because of the smaller battery size but is a minor gripe for me
- Official Site: https://www.focus-bikes.com/de_en/24362-jarifa-27-donna.html
- More Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/YrdfT4N8QLGgYox22