- A super clean looking hardtail electric bike with unique side-swivel battery, the display gives you access to many advanced mode settings including shift sensing delay and climb assist
- Available in three sizes for improved fit, the high-step diamond frame is stiff and mounts well on hang style racks, quick release wheels with thru-axles for improved strength
- Large battery capacity for longer rides, upgraded gen 3 Impulse motor with up to 100 Nm of torque output, relatively light thanks to the air fork (remote lockout on the fork and remote drop on the seat post)
- The display is kind of thick and not removable but it does swivel and has a Micro USB charging port built into the back, limited mounting options at the rear of the bike for adding a rack
The Jarifa I29 Pro is a hardtail cross country style mountain bike with 29 inch wheels for smooth fast performance on trails. Driven by the new Impulse 3.0 mid-drive motor system, it operates efficiently (running off a 36 volt battery) and offers even more torque than some of the big competing brands like Bosch, Yamaha and Brose. Delivering up to 100 Nm of torque and leveraging 11 sprockets on a SRAM GX drivetrain. The bike is an excellent climber but it produces more noise than past Impulse systems I’ve reviewed. Coming back to the wheel size for a moment, more power is required to leverage and move the larger diameter and increased tire weight so some of the upgraded power is spent right a way there. It’s nice to see an update from one of the most compact and adjustable centerdrive systems on the market, and the motor casing looks great… blending into the bottom bracket area – not hanging below the chainring at all.
The Impulse battery, display and motor work together with physical shift sensing and a deep set of options that are user accessible. Most electric bike displays don’t give you the depth and control that this one does (such as shift sensing response time and climb assist activation… where you say how long the motor keeps going even after your pedal torque drops). This lets you dial things in on the bike side instead of adapting and compromising on the human side. Even the readouts on the display are deeper with detailed infographics on the battery level as well as a percentage indicator! You can dig in pretty deep and almost get overwhelmed at first but it’s nice that you don’t need to download an app to access this stuff… it’s all built in from the start. Speaking of apps, you can sync the display to a mobile device and have it read out turn by turn GPS directions (relayed through an Impulse specific app) and the way it’s designed, your phone can be stowed the whole time… meaning it’s kept out of the way and using less power than if you had a second display going.
Unfortunately, in my opinion the Impulse display itself is a bit vulnerable because it’s more permanently fixed to the center of the handlebars which do not curve up around it, offering no protection in the event of a crash. Thankfully, the display does pivot forward and back to help you reduce glare and get a nice view but not being able to remove it sort of irks me. Especially given this is an off-road bike which is more prone to drops… it doesn’t even come with a kickstand. In my opinion, the display is also not that pretty, just thick plastic slab with grayscale readouts. It’s much different from the slim metal designs Impulse has used in years past and from the sleek designs of the competition like Bosch and Yamaha. This Impulse screen size is fairly large and you can adjust backlighting but the overall quality of the bezel doesn’t match the smooth aesthetic of the button ring used to operate it (mounted near the left bar) or the premium feel of the RockShox air fork and seat post dropper. Even the battery pack, which is perfectly integrated into the downtube, outshines the display panel.
This ebike rides well, weight is positioned low and completely integrated with the frame. The battery pack swivels in from the side leaving enough room on the seat tube for a bottle cage or other accessory. I love that it includes bosses here for mounting. When charging the pack, there’s a magnetic EnergyBus port on the side that sends both power and data (useful for software updates or diagnostics) and of course you can charge the thing on or off the frame. Keep an eye on the little magnetic cap for the charging port however as this part frequently goes missing if you forget and put it down, a little string leash might help resolve that and I’d love to see an option like this not just from Focus but all of the brands that use the Rosenberger EnergyBus design. Given the more standard 36 volt rating of the pack I was delighted to see a higher amp hour rating of 16.75 ah. That’s over half a kilowatt hour of capacity total which means you can go further on each ride.
The overall weight of the bike is at ~50 lbs which is on par with what I’d expect and the traditional diamond frame is rigid and strong. They chose a gloss red color scheme here which follows some of their other unique paint jobs from the past (purple, dark green) and it’s balanced by the black battery and sparkly black accents. I’m not sure the sparkles were necessary and considering that they don’t match the battery shell… the whole thing left me delightfully confused. There were also seams on the paint in some places that made me feel like the bike was wrapped vs. actually painted and glossed over. The bike I tested was one of the first in the United States and I don’t want to get too hung up on the aesthetics because they might be refined with the final version but it certainly was different. Focus is a premium European brand that makes sporty ebikes, the kind of stuff you’d take on a trail or hit higher speeds with. The Jarifa I29 Pro goes up to 20 mph making it a Class 1 model, most widely accepted on trails in California and other states. With some adjustment, the system should be very responsive and overall it performed well for me but not perfectly. I had a better experience with some other Focus models using the same Impulse 3.0 drive system so I’m guessing that some of the settings had been changed before my test rides. I did try to adjust them myself on the fly but had limited success. Your feedback is welcome here and again, I trust the brand and enjoyed the product overall… just felt like a few things could use some refinement. I would love to see bosses at the rear for adding a carry rack because this would make an awesome commuter slash weekend warrior. As it stands, there are some bosses for a fender and support struts which might be adaptable for racks but might not. Given the ~$4,300 price tag, this is not a cheap electric bike, especially for a hardtail. There are competing full suspension models priced similarly that also come in a range of sizes but their build quality and component group is often lower. You do get a lot of unique drive modes and a custom battery pack here but the novelty of those design elements has been eroded by the Bulls system and others that are tightly integrated, quiet and responsive. The biggest difference here would be physical shift sensing which could reduce wear on the sprockets and chain while shifting off-road… it’s too bad I couldn’t demonstrate these systems more clearly in the video but I still enjoyed the bike. Big thanks to Focus for partnering with me for this review.
- The bike comes in three different sizes so you can dial in fit, that’s important given the larger battery capacity which could have you riding further and the cross country / trail orientation
- Beautifully integrated battery pack, it blends in perfectly with the black paint accents on the downtube, you can charge it on or off the bike for convenience
- Even though this electric bike only comes in one color scheme, I love that they color matched the saddle and fork… it looks pretty nice with the upgraded Continental XKING tires
- Both wheels feature quick release! This makes for easier flat fixes on the trail and reduces space if you’re transporting the bike in the trunk of your car, the battery also comes off easily for reducing weight by about 7 lbs
- The suspension fork and seat post have remote switches so you can lock them out or drop them respectively, this is handy when you’re really focused on riding a challenging section of trail or ging fast and want to maintain a balanced pedaling position
- There is a set of bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! This allows you to mount a bottle cage for liquid storage or add a mini-pump or light weight folding lock to the frame without having to wear a backpack or add a rack, note that the battery rotates out sideways so it shouldn’t collide with accessories you put here
- Beautiful drivetrain with a quality SRAM 11 speed cassette in the rear (with SRAM GX derailleur) and a bash guard on the chain ring up front, the motor is integrated nicely – tucked up higher than the base of the chainring for maximized trail clearance and protection
- The large 29″ tires feel steady and balanced, you get improved rolling momentum and comfort riding over cracks and bumps as well as increased cushion from the larger air capacity but they do lift the bike a bit, these wheels are good for cross country riding and would also suite taller riders who get the largest frame size
- 15 mm thru-axle up front and 12 mm axle in the rear, these increase stiffness and wheel strength, great for off-road riding but also make it easier to line the wheels and disc brakes back up up if you take them off using the quick release
- Focus has been a leader in the European bicycle space since it launched in 1992, founded by a cyclocross racer, and they really test their bikes thoroughly… parts are assembled and tested in Germany
- The I29 Pro uses the latest third generation Impulse motor which offers 100 Newton meters of torque! That’s more than Bosch or Yamaha, I wasn’t able to test on super steep grades but it felt good around the streets and stayed fairly quiet (a bit louder than the older gen 2 motors)
- The charger fills this battery 50% faster than most others I see because it’s rated at 3 Amps output, it looks nice and uses the EnergyBus magnetic port (so you won’t bend pins if it gets snagged or tripped over)
- Overall, the bike is pretty stealthy looking, all of the cables are internally routed, you don’t have extra cables like motor inhibitors adding clutter (because it relies on torque and cadence sensing) and the battery and motor meld with the frame
- I love that the display panel has a micro USB charging port on the back! With the right cable you could charge your phone or other portable electronics like a headlight
- It’s great that the bike offers physical shift sensing so you can avoid mashing gears and prematurely wearing out the sprockets and chain… I’m not sure it was adjusted correctly on the demo bike I was riding because I experienced some mashing
- There are lots of information readouts on the display including things like climb assist (so you can adjust how the bike responds to torque and cadence while pedaling), shift sensing delay and even turn by turn GPS feedback when synced with a smart phone
- I love to outfit hardtail bikes with racks and use them for daily commuting during the week and then trail riding on the weekend, unfortunately this one does not have a full set of rack bosses so your options for storage are limited, you might be able to use the fender boss and side support arm bosses or get a beam racks like this but note that it would have to be the one that bends up to not collide with the rear wheel, there’s also limited space to mount it given the seat post dropper (you can’t mount to the portion that slides up and down, just the base)
- The frame design is pretty traditional with a high diamond shape, this improves strength but also raises stand over height, keep this in mind if you’re a shorter rider (note the smaller frame size options)
- It might have just been that I was riding a demo bike but I didn’t see any kind of slap guard on the chainstay? If you’re riding off-road and using a higher gear (perhaps coasting) the chain can bounce around and chip the paint on the right stay, at least having a clear sticker would be nice
- The charger looks nice and isn’t especially heavy but isn’t as compact as some others I see, maybe they had to make it larger to dissipate heat since it charges faster? If you’re putting it in a backpack it could take up more space but I like that one of the plugs comes out of the side to make it more compact when coiling
- I’d welcome feedback on this point but I believe the battery pack had to be charged, locked onto the frame and then powered on before I could power up the display? Some other packs don’t require that extra step, you just power up the display and go
- The battery mount has you sort of twisting the pack onto the downtube from the left which is neat but a little confusing at first and sometimes it sticks (I was testing a brand new bike so perhaps it wasn’t broken in yet?) I noticed that it also rattled a bit once fully mounted, it just wasn’t as solid as some other mounting designs
- The display is sort of thick and chunky looking and I felt like the wires in the back could get bent if you angle it all the way forward, it’s also not removable… which could put it in harms way if you’re dropping a large hill and lay the bike down (some other displays can be taken off to avoid this sort of situation)