Focus SAM² Review

Focus Sam Squared Electric Bike Review
Focus Sam Squared
Focus Sam Squared Shimano E8000 Mid Drive Left Side
Focus Sam Squared Internally Mounted Downtube Battery Bolts
Focus Sam Squared Handlebar Di2 Ebike Shifters Left Sram Nx Shifters Right
Focus Sam Squared Shimano E8000 Electric Mountain Bike Motor
Focus Sam Squared Glare On Small Di2 Lcd Display
Focus Sam Squared Power Button Shimano Di2 Display Lcd
Focus Sam Squared Magura Mt5 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Focus Sam Squared Long Travel Enduro Suspension 170 Mm
Focus Sam Squared Fox 36 Performance Air 170 Mm Suspension Fork
Focus Sam Squared Trail Saddle Ks E30i Dropper Post
Focus Sam Squared Bone Rail Bottle Cage Or Tec Pack Mount Downtube
Focus Sam Squared Proprietary Fold Rear Suspension Design
Focus Sam Squared 11 Speed Sram Nx With Roller Clutch For Wheel Service
Focus Sam Squared Internal Battery Tube Pack
Focus Sam Squared Custom Shimano Ebike Battery Charger 4 Amp Magnetic Plug
Focus Sam Squared And Jam Squared
Focus Sam Squared Electric Bike Review
Focus Sam Squared
Focus Sam Squared Shimano E8000 Mid Drive Left Side
Focus Sam Squared Internally Mounted Downtube Battery Bolts
Focus Sam Squared Handlebar Di2 Ebike Shifters Left Sram Nx Shifters Right
Focus Sam Squared Shimano E8000 Electric Mountain Bike Motor
Focus Sam Squared Glare On Small Di2 Lcd Display
Focus Sam Squared Power Button Shimano Di2 Display Lcd
Focus Sam Squared Magura Mt5 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Focus Sam Squared Long Travel Enduro Suspension 170 Mm
Focus Sam Squared Fox 36 Performance Air 170 Mm Suspension Fork
Focus Sam Squared Trail Saddle Ks E30i Dropper Post
Focus Sam Squared Bone Rail Bottle Cage Or Tec Pack Mount Downtube
Focus Sam Squared Proprietary Fold Rear Suspension Design
Focus Sam Squared 11 Speed Sram Nx With Roller Clutch For Wheel Service
Focus Sam Squared Internal Battery Tube Pack
Focus Sam Squared Custom Shimano Ebike Battery Charger 4 Amp Magnetic Plug
Focus Sam Squared And Jam Squared

Summary

  • A full suspension enduro style e-mountain bike with long 170 mm air suspension by Fox, available in three frame sizes and two colors, excellent Magura hydraulic disc brakes
  • Near-perfect weight distribution, standard 175 mm Q Factor, super short chain stay length for snappy nimble feel, stealthy design with battery completely encased in the downtube
  • Optional TEC Pack battery mounts on top of the downtube and doubles range for $599, bottle cage adapter uses the same mount for stock single-battery riding, comes with a dropper seat post
  • Faster 4 Amp charger with magnetic plug, excellent two-year comprehensive warranty, cannot remove the display or battery easily for protection or charging off-bike, display interface requires some reaching to change menus, Shimano motor doesn't offer shift detection and delivers more of a hard start than smooth

Search EBR

Video Review

Trusted Advertisers

Introduction

Make:

Focus

Model:

SAM²

Price:

$5,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Mountain, Downhill

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, 10 Year Frame

Availability:

United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, Asia, South America

Model Year:

2018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

49.9 lbs (22.63 kg)

Battery Weight:

4.8 lbs (2.17 kg) (Optional TEC Pack 4.9 lbs)

Motor Weight:

6.35 lbs (2.88 kg)

Frame Material:

7005 Hydroformed Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

16.53 in (41.98 cm)17.32 in (43.99 cm)18.89 in (47.98 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 44 cm Specs: 17.5" Seat Tube, 22.25" Reach, 29.5" Stand Over Height, 34.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 30.5" Width, 75" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Burgundy Red, Iron Grey

Frame Fork Details:

Fox 36 Performance Air, 170 mm Travel, Compression Clicker with Lockout, Rebound Rebound, Boost Hub 110 mm Length, 15 mm Thru Axle Maxle

Frame Rear Details:

Fox Float DPS Performance EVO Air, 170 mm Travel, Compression Lever (Firm, Medium, Open), Rebound Adjust, Boost 148 mm Hub, 12 mm Axle with 6 mm Allen Key

Attachment Points:

Bottle Cage Adapter

Gearing Details:

11 Speed 1x11 SRAM NX Derailleur with Roller Clutch, 11-42T Cassette

Shifter Details:

SRAM NX Triggers on Right (One-Way High, Four-Shift Low)

Cranks:

Shimano FC-E8000, Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm Length, 34T Narrow Wide Tooth Steel Chainring with Plastic Chain Guide, 175 mm Q Factor

Pedals:

Concept Plastic Platform

Headset:

Acros, Threadless, Internal Cartridge Sealed Bearing, Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-1/2"

Stem:

BBB, 0° Rise, 55 mm Length, Two 10 mm Spacers, Two 5 mm Spacers, 31.8 mm Clamp

Handlebar:

BBB, Low-Rise, Alloy, 760 mm Length, 9° Backsweep, 20 mm Rise

Brake Details:

Magura MT5 Hydraulic Disc with 203 mm Front Rotor and 180 mm Rear Rotor, Quad Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Magura MT5 Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Flat, Rubber, Locking

Saddle:

Focus Branded, Trail Saddle

Seat Post:

Kind Shock E30i Dropper Post 150 mm Travel

Seat Post Length:

200 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

Race Face AR30, 30 mm Width, (584-30), Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, Novatec Hubs, 32 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14G Diameter, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Maxxis Minion DHF Front 27.5" x 2.5", Maxxis Minion DHR Rear, 27.5" x 2.4"

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

35 to 70 PSI, 2.5 to 3.4 BAR, Tubeless Ready, EXO Protection (Puncture Protection), 3C, Maxx Terra (Emphasizing Grip, Softer Rubber)

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Rubberized Slap Guard, Smart Rack Downtube Bottle Cage Adapter, Optional TEC Pack 378 Watt Hour Battery $599

Other:

Non-Removable Downtube Mounted Battery Pack, 2 lb 4 Amp Charger, Maximum System Weight 286 lbs (130 kg), Maximum Rider weight 230 lbs, Magnetic Energy Bus Charging Standard, Airflow Channels (To Cool Battery and Motor)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Shimano STePs E8000

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

70 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Focus

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.5 ah (Optional TEC Pack for 21 ah)

Battery Watt Hours:

378 wh (Optional TEC Pack for 756 wh)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Shimano Di2, Fixed, Color LCD, Backlit, Adjustable Brightness (Hold Circle Button to Enter Settings, Use Left Shifters to Navigate)

Readouts:

Battery Indicator (5 Bars), Assist Level (Off, Eco, Trail, Boost), Speed, Odometer, Trip Distance, Range, Trip Time, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Cadence RPM, Clock, (Advanced Settings: Clear Trip Meter, Bluetooth Pairing, Ant+ Pairing, Lights, Brightness, Beep On and Off, Change Units, Language, Shifter Quickness Adjust + and - 16, Rear Derailleur Protection Reset)

Display Accessories:

Trigger Shifter Buttons on Left (Small is Up, Large is Down, Can Reverse in Settings), Optional Shimano E-TUBE Bluetooth App

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Off, Eco, Trail, Boost 300%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

Trusted Advertisers



Written Review

To date, Focus has introduced three electric mountain bikes in the US that utilize the Shimano E8000 mid-motor and a proprietary downtube-integrated battery pack. The SAM² is their enduro model with long 170 mm Fox suspension, but I have also covered the JAM² trail model with 140 mm RockShox suspension and the BOLD² cross country hardtail model with 120 mm RockShox suspension. Honestly, there aren’t many enduro/downhill specific models to choose from on the market right now, but what really separates the SAM² in my mind is its completely hidden battery pack. My understanding is that, to date, Focus is the only company that has produced their own fully custom Shimano battery solution. In it’s stock configuration, the SAM Squared doesn’t offer the high 504 watt-hour capacity as something like the Pedego Elevate, but it does have the ability to accept a TEC Pack add-on battery to jump from 378 watt hours up to 756 watt hours. For those who aren’t planning to ride as far or utilize the highest levels of assist, the bike offers a lighter, stealthier, better balanced solution. Priced at $6k, the SAM² offers all of the high-end components you’d expect from an enduro model such as Fox suspension front and rear (36 Performance fork, EVOL rear shock, both custom tuned), an 11-speed SRAM NX drivetrain, wheel-specific Maxxis tires (the front is slightly wider, offering larger knobs for enhanced control), lightweight Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes with quad piston calipers (203 mm front, 180 mm rear rotors), and a Kind Shock dropper post. Additionally, the bike is being produced in three frame sizes and two colorways. Focus offers the same impressive two-year warranty as all Pon Group companies (Gazelle, Kalkhoff, Faraday, Cervelo, and Santa Cruz), and is sold through a global network of leading dealers. It’s a beautiful high-performance electric bike that was built around a non-electric frame. The original SAM enduro bike was adapted for electric with the purist system Focus could find, and that was Shimano. The motor delivers a narrower 175 mm Q Factor, one of the shortest effective chain stay designs because of where the spindle is positioned, and even the display and control pad are skeuomorphic in design (resembling a tiny bike computer and trigger shifters vs. a large display and rubberized button pad seen on many competing products). In my opinion, this purist approach results in some missing features and overloaded interfaces… but it’s respectable, and the bike is certainly a blast to ride. The biggest trade-off may be that the downtube battery is not easily removable for off-bike charging and storage. This means that the bike will always weigh ~50 lbs vs. ~45 lbs if you could remove the pack, and that it may be inconvenient to charge (needing to be positioned close to a wall outlet and ideally stored in a cool dry location). With custom airflow channels built into the downtube, a smartly designed “Bone Rail” for the second battery or bottle cage, and proprietary Fold rear suspension design… there’s a lot to fall in love with here, and I’ll go into more detail below.

Driving the bike is a 250 watt nominally rated mid-drive from Shimano. This is the E8000, a mountain-specific motor that boasts a peak torque rating of 75 Newton meters and 120+ RPM pedal support. It’s one of the most powerful Class 1 ebike motors I have tested, and it kicks on hard. There’s almost a clunk when going from unassisted light pedaling to engaged assisted pedaling… but I usually ride in the highest levels of support, so it’s more noticeable. The motor controller listens for rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque in order to activate. The more energy you put into the system, the more support you will get. Centerdrives tend to be more efficient because they can leverage the multi-speed pedal drivetrain that you control by shifting gears. When approaching a hill, I usually shift down into a lower gear to prepare for increased leg work and then pedal faster to maintain speed going in. Both you and the motor will benefit from proactive shifting like this, and it won’t fade out with those higher pedal speeds the way that the urban-focused Shimano E6000 motor does. The experience is mostly great, but unlike Bosch and some Bafang systems, the Shimano motor system does not offer shift detection/protection. It’s an advanced, super responsive, design that relies on you to ease back as you shift… as you would normally do to avoid mashing and jumping gears. My own experience with electric bikes has led to a more proactive and delicate shifting technique. It’s not just my legs putting power into the chain, sprockets, and derailleur; there’s also a very powerful motor contributing up to 300% support. The peak watt output is 500, double the nominal rate, and that’s exactly what you want for climbing steep trails (so you can enjoy descending them), just be conscious of how you interact with the bike. Some riders might appreciate the “instant on” feeling of the motor and faster shifting, it’s very capable and more raw than some of the others I have tested.

Powering the motor and color backlit LCD display unit is a tubular battery pack that is installed in the downtube by two long bolts. You can see the bolts below the downtube and their attachment point along the top. A thin black metal piece called the “Bone Rail” acts as a large washer for the two bolts and doubles as a mounting point for bottle cages and other accessories or the TEC Pack and Smart Rack plastic accessory mount. Both the TEC Pack and Smart Rack are easy to click on and off of the Bone Rail and this modular system is what really shines on the latest round of Focus electric bikes. For someone like me who is a lightweight and very active rider, the JAM² and SAM² are near perfect in optimizing frame balance (keeping weight low and center), stealthiness (keeping drive systems hidden), and performance (offering enough juice to last several hours of rigorous riding). During Interbike 2017, I was able to see what the tubular battery pack looks like because Focus had one outside the frame. I took a photo which can be seen in the video review or scrolling through the thumbnails above. It has the same LED charge level readout as the external TEC Pack (despite being completely unusable and hidden) and is encased in plastic, then mounted inside the downtube. I’m told that there are air channels on both sides of the pack that go from the large plastic vents near the head tube down to drains on either side of the motor. This allows air to circulate and cool both the motor and battery while allowing dust and water to drain out. It’s a neat design that reminds me of a vintage sports car with a hood scoop. Both the internal battery and optional TEC Pack offer 36 volts and 10.5 amp hours, which is a bit low for the 2018 season (many competitors are offering 500 watt packs), but again… you can combine the two to create one of the highest-capacity products in the space. The additional battery does cost $600 extra, but it can be charged off of the bike… So many cool scenarios come to mind for me, like relay races or camping trips where riders may share packs and deposit them to charge in different locations along the way. You can swap between the same TEC Pack between the BOLD², JAM², and SAM² which is very cool, and allows for a range of price points (starting at $4,499 with the BOlD²). If you do have a TEC Pack, note that it will drain independently from the main battery when plugged in. These packs do not balance evenly when charging and discharging the way that the Bosch system does (which you can see on some Riese & Müller models). In fact, you must charge the bike and then the TEC Pack separately. This could be a pro or con depending on how you ride, maybe you always want to keep the main pack as a reserve tank and cycle+charge the TEC Pack each time? Focus has made a custom charger to go with their proprietary battery design, and I really like it. Rather than a friction plug, it uses a magnetic Rosenberger plug that will easily pop out if tripped over. The charger itself is a bit large, but delivers faster 4-amp charging. It’s my preference compared to the larger stock Shimano charger, and I like how it plugs into the base of the top tube vs. down by the crank arms and motor which seems vulnerable on so many competing ebikes.

Operating the bike is fairly straightforward, but physically separated at times. What I mean is, after you have charged the battery or batteries, and are ready to turn the bike on, you have to hold this power button on the top tube for a couple of seconds until it slowly lights up. When filming the video review, I pressed this button for just one second and it did not activate. At this point, the Shimano Di2 display panel blinks on in color, and shows your battery level with five bars, current speed, and assist level. It’s clean, stays out of the way, but is not removable, does not have a Micro-USB charging port for accessories, and is very far to reach if you want to switch views. There’s a little rubber circular button on the base of the display that lets you cycle through trip distance, average speed, timer and some other readouts… but there’s no way to reach this while riding unless you completely remove your right hand and reach over very carefully to press the little circle. I did this while filming during part of the ride and felt a little precarious. It’s a far cry from most of the other major display and control pad designs like Bosch, Yamaha, and Brose which are large and easy to reach. Usually, you can adjust assist and menus by reaching over from the left and pressing an i or mode button. Even this can be sketchy if you’re navigating technical mountainous terrain, which is exactly what the SAM² is built for. So, I wouldn’t recommend utilizing these sub readouts unless I was fully stopped… and make sure you pull of the trail to do so, so you won’t get rear ended. The good news is, you can easily change assist levels by pressing the trigger shifter buttons on the left. Navigating from no-assist to Eco, Trail, and Boost is satisfying because you feel and hear this click, like shifting gears on a traditional bicycle. It’s just an illusion, a skeumorph, as no cables are being pulled, just electronic signals being sent to the display panel control system. For those who wish to adjust the clock, brightness, turn off the beeping noise (associated with changing assist levels) or explore other options, just hold the rubber circle button on the display for several seconds to get into the settings menu and then navigate up and down with the left shifter buttons. You can get even more options by downloading the Shimano E-TUBE app for your smartphone and syncing it, and you can also connect ANT+ devices to track biometric data. Considering there are only three buttons here (the up and down shifter buttons and the little circle rubber button) I feel like the menu system is very well laid out and easy to use. I just wish that Shimano had replicated the little rubber circle button on top of or on the side of the left trigger/button mount so it could be utilized more conveniently. All things considered, the cockpit on this electric bicycle is one of the cleanest and simplest I have tested, it’s also well protected and not distracting. However, the display isn’t always easy to read because of its small size, dark smoked plastic lens, and fixed position (think glare) but the tactile click of the shifter buttons works great once you know the bike is turned on. Since each level of assist is associated with a different color on the display, there’s this associated “glance” experience where you don’t necessarily need to read in order to know what’s going on… unless you’re color blind. Going a bit further with the criticisms, for an e-bike that looks so stealthy in some ways, why is the on/off power button so large? It does look sturdy, but I’m not sure it needed to be backlit with blue vs. red (which wouldn’t be as distracting during night rides). It does take those few seconds to boot up, so perhaps the LED light ring was introduced as a strong signal to not press again out of impatience.

The Focus SAM² will allow you to enjoy downhill routes without the chairlift, or simply more times than would be possible on human power alone. It’s a beautiful product with one of the best drive systems, but there are some compromises. It’s a purist electric bike in almost every way, but it’s intended for skilled riders who know how to shift. You won’t be dropping the chain thanks to a narrow-wide chainring and full-surround guide. You could replace the chainring with another standard component because it isn’t using a reduction system like the Bosch Performance Line motors (and there isn’t any pedal friction). I enjoyed cycling from the city of Santa Cruz, California out to Wilder Ranch and up to the picnic table lookout. Focus marketing rep Andreas Krajewski rode a JAM² while I was mostly on the SAM² and swapped back and forth a bit. It’s interesting that this model went with narrower 2.4″ and 2.5″ tires vs. the larger plus sized tires of the JAM² which offer more float and deflection. I was a little surprised that the drivetrain on the SAM² didn’t offer 11 to 46 teeth (it goes 11-42) and I welcome input from Focus reps or riders here on why that might be. The frame is manufactured in Taiwan but all bikes are assembled in Cloppenburg Germany at Focus headquarters (Derby Cycles). The parent company, Pon Group, is based in the Netherlands but the company is also present in Stuttgart Germany, where Andreas is from originally. I’m told that the bikes are tested in a climate chamber, which is pretty cool, and I want to highlight again the patented linkage design and how both shocks are custom tuned to work with the SAM kinematics. There’s a higher level of precision and engineering here that reflects the peer companies like Bosch, Mercedes, and Porsche who are also present in Stuttgart. I’m not advanced enough to comment too much on the Fold rear shock design, but was told that 30% is sensitive for small bumps and that it becomes more progressive with 70% going towards bigger hits. I certainly like the vertical shock, how it frees the main triangle for lifting the bike and using the TEC Pack. Note also the hollow spindle, lightweight crank arms, and Race Face AR30 rims. I wasn’t a huge fan of the saddle, it’s rounded on top vs. more flat and just didn’t feel as good as some Ergon and Specialized products for my body. Much of the climbing done in this video felt fast, but I never got above 11 or 12 mph despite being in the highest level of assist and spinning pretty rigorously (you can even see Andreas standing and working hard for many sections, I suspect he was not in the highest assist). I reached ~27 mph on descents, being careful with the blind curves of this trail. The newest Focus electric mountain bikes were built as bikes first and then adapted for assist… and that’s the idea behind the “squared” naming. It was fun testing the SAM2 on a longer ride and I want to thank Focus for partnering with me on this post and Andreas for going on camera. I’ll do my best to answer comments below and welcome your feedback, photos, and connection in the Focus electric bike forums.

Pros:

  • The Shimano STePs E8000 motor is compact, tightly integrated into the bottom bracket area of the frame, it blends into the black colors, it’s also narrower than many other ebike centerdrives right now with a 175 mm Q Factor so your leg and feet position feel more like a traditional bike, the spindle is positioned further back so it supports a shorter chain stay length for snappy ride feel, and it spins well above 120 RPM which is slightly better than the other leading motors such as the Bosch Performance Line, Brose, and Yamaha PW-X which assist up to 120 and then back off
  • The battery is completely hidden and protected inside the downtube, it might even go undetected for those who prefer a stealth looking electric mountain bike, Focus and Shimano have a close relationship and this battery design is unique to these bikes (the SAM², JAM² and BOLD²)
  • Weighing in at ~50 lbs, this is one of the lightest full suspension long-travel enduro electric mountain bikes being sold right now in the US, especially with such a capable motor and battery pack, the optional TEC Pack doubles range and only adds ~4.8 lbs
  • Focus is refining their product lineup in such a way that you can opt for electric or non-electric but get the same geometry, look, and ride feel… The SAM², JAM² and JAM provide this option
  • The charger puts out 4 Amps, making it about twice as fast as most standard chargers, and it’s compact and lightweight at ~2 lbs, the plug connector is magnetic and will pop off vs. bending or tipping the bike if tripped over, it’s an upgrade over the stock Shimano charger in my opinion
  • You shouldn’t have a problem with chain drops on this e-bike because the front sprocket uses narrow-wide teeth to improve grab and reduce slip, there’s also a plastic full-surround chain keeper in place of a front derailleur
  • I like that Focus is using a traditional sized chainring because it makes switching sizes easier than the proprietary rings offered by Bosch and TTIUM, there is also very little resistance when pedaling because there’s no reduction gear gearbox to match a stepped-down chainring
  • For those who reside in markets where the Pro model is sold, with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, it’s neat that the Shimano display is used for both assist level and shifting and is powered off of the main battery pack vs. an independent cell like some other e-bikes I have see (specifically, the Stromer ST2 S)
  • The front and back tires use different tread patterns to optimize handling and ride efficiency, the front is slightly wider while the rear is a bit shallower and uses smaller knobs, both tires are from Maxxis and offer EXO puncture protection
  • Great aesthetics, available in two colors with matching accents on the fork, I appreciate the thick rubber slap guard on the right chain stay to reduce nicks and scratches
  • There are air channels on either side of the downtube that vent upwards and drain downwards to promote cooling of the battery pack and motor, I was told that water and dust can get in without wrecking any of the electronics
  • The display offers a good range of power adjustment (three assist levels) and readouts on its own, but you can use the smartphone E-TUBE app from Shimano to further refine and adjust the two higher assist levels or your Di2 shifting setup depending on which model you buy, you can also pair the bike with an ANT+ heart rate monitor for biometric feedback
  • Powerful, high-quality hydraulic disc brakes from Magura, the two-finger levers offer adjustable reach to fit different hand sizes and since this e-bike comes in three frame sizes, quad piston calipers allow for faster cooling and offer more power when you really need to stop… both important factors on an enduro/downhill ebike
  • It’s really neat that the downtube “bone rail” system can be used for a bottle cage if you aren’t using the TEC Pack battery, the Tec Pack comes with a quick release bottle adapter so you can swap between the two, so many electric bikes are not able to fit bottle cage bosses or they just skip them… so it’s cool that the SAM² solved this in a way, note also that the downtube mount is adjustable and could work with a folding lock, mini pump, or other accessory using the same plastic plate as there is plenty of room because of the vertical (inverted rear suspension) and proprietary Fold linkage design
  • Focus developed a new rear suspension design that is used on the SAM, and JAM series called Fold, it allows for 30% travel on smaller bumps and and reserves 70% for larger hits, it should reduce bobbing and compete well against standards like Horst Link four bar
  • I’m a big fan of seat post droppers, they make it easier to mount the bike and more comfortable to transition from bumpy or downhill sections and jumps to cross country or road… so it’s nice that you get one with this electric bike
  • The SRAM NX derailleur comes with a roller clutch (the little circle lock button on the side) that can lock the derailleur in a down stretched-out position for easier rear wheel and drivetrain maintenance
  • It’s neat that you can choose from the SAM² with long travel or the JAM² for more trail riding types of applications and pay the same price vs. having a big premium
  • The motor was designed to create very little pedal resistance and I found that I could pretty easily pass the top assisted 20 mph speed without feeling drag as I would on some other gear reduction mid-drives
  • More brands are opting to use color LCD displays and trying to make peripheral communication possibly by associating a color with each assist level so you don’t have to look down, you can see that here with white for off, blue for eco, green for trail, and yellow for boost
  • Minor detail here but the optional TEC Pack battery has a capacity readout LED system, so you can tell how full it is when off the bike, I was impressed on the relatively low $600 price point of the TEC Pack as well
  • Weight is balanced well here, both the motor and battery are placed towards the center and low on the frame for improved handling and they are both sprung, there is very little unsprung weight on these electric bikes so the suspension can perform optimally

Cons:

  • Many of the Bosch, Brose, and Yamaha display panels are now offering Micro-USB ports so you can plug in portable electronic devices and get power on the go, this would be handy and nice to have if you use your phone for GPS or maybe the E-TUBE app from Shimano, but this display did not have any sort of USB port that I saw
  • The display panel is compact and durable, protected well by the handlebar, but it isn’t removable or adjustable and the LCD is pretty tiny, in some of the bright outdoor photos above you can see how it’s not super easy to read
  • The tiny round button at the bottom of the display panel could be a bit difficult to press when wearing gloves and it’s positioned out of reach while steering, I wish this button was duplicated on the housing for the left trigger buttons so I could adjust readouts while pedaling without taking my hand off
  • The primary battery is not designed for removability, it can be removed for replacement but this requires taking off the motor unit and sliding the pack down through the bottom bracket area, the downside is that you’ll need to park the bike closer to a power outlet or use an extension cord to charge vs. bringing the pack inside (keep the bike and optional extra battery in cool dry locations to optimize battery life, extreme heat and cold can be hard on them)
  • It felt like a bit of a missed opportunity that the motor does not offer shift detection, especially if you get the Pro model with electronic Shimano Di2 shifting, it seems like having all Shimano systems could allow them to do something special here like talking to each other to reduce mashing and drivetrain wear
  • Only the front wheel offers quick release, I was a little surprised at this because trail maintenance and portability are easier with both wheels having quick release but maybe this was due to the electronic shifting? You only need a 6 mm Allen key to get the back off
  • Minor consideration here, it sounds like the bike uses one or the other battery pack, it doesn’t try to balance them like Bosch has done with their double-battery setup, and this could mean that you cycle your frame battery more frequently and wear it down a bit quicker if you aren’t occasionally clicking in the TEC Pack power cable and trying to balance them yourself manually, my understanding is that batteries like to stay between 20% and 80% for maximum charge cycles (this is partially why many smartphones have a big alert when they start to get to the 20% mark), you’re also going to have to manually connect the charger to the TEC Pack and then the bike to charge both packs vs. Bosch and some others which allow for dual-charging by connecting to just one port on the bike (you can see this with the Riese & Müller models like the Charger GX)
  • For me, the Shimano E8000 motor doesn’t go from zero to on quite as smoothly or as seamlessly as Bosch, Brose, or Yamaha, it seems like there is a cliff where you push with enough torque to get it to respond and then it sort of clicks on and you notice and even hear it, it still works great but seems to have a torque threshold or power cliff just up from zero
  • I wish the display readout for battery level showed 10 bars or maybe a percentage estimation vs. the standard five bars which represent big 20% drops, but at least there is a range estimate menu for more precision

Resources:

More Focus Reviews

Focus JAM² Plus Pro Review

  • MSRP: $5,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

A full suspension trail style e-mountain bike with 140 mm air suspension, available in four sizes and several configurations including 27.5" boost, 29er, and Shimano Di2 electronic shifting. Excellent weight distribution, standard 175 mm Q Factor, super short chain stay length for snappy…...

Focus BOLD² Plus Review

  • MSRP: $4,899
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

A lightweight, cross country style electric mountain bike with the Shimano E8000 mid-motor offering high RPM support, traditional chainring size, no reduction gear, and high 70 Nm torque output. Custom downtube-integrated battery is designed and built by Focus, it's completely protected and hidden, very…...

Focus Jarifa 27 Donna Review

  • MSRP: $2,799
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

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…...

Focus Jarifa 29 Review

  • MSRP: $2,799
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

A hardtail 29er, cross country style electric bike available in four frame sizes, quick release wheelset for easy trail maintenance and portability, removable battery pack and display panel. Excellent weight distribution with both the motor and battery pack mounted low and center on…...

Focus Jarifa Fat Review

  • MSRP: $3,599
  • MODEL YEAR: 2016, 2017

A brightly colored, rather funky looking electric hardtail mountain bike with 27.5" x 2.8" plus sized tires, nice 180 mm Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable levers. Available in four different sizes for improved fit, the motor and battery are mounted low…...

Focus Jarifa I29 Pro Review

  • MSRP: $4,299
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

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…...

Focus Aventura Impulse Speed 1.0 Review

  • MSRP: $4,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

Long range and high speed (28 mph) capable, feature rich electric bike available in five sizes and two frame styles (high-step and step-thru). Well priced considering the air suspension fork with remote lockout, premium Ergon locking grips, Fizik…...

Focus Aventura Impulse 2.0 Review

  • MSRP: $3,799
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A value priced but still high-end electric bike offering an active frame and bar design that's great for commuting or touring, 100+ mile range in lower assist levels. Available in two low-step and three high-step sizes, quick release wheels, dynamo powered LED lights,…...

Focus Jarifa Impulse 27R 3.0 Review

  • MSRP: $3,899
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A high quality hardtail electric bike with efficient 27.5" wheels, sophisticated mid-drive motor and impressive range. Reinforced diamond frame with gusseted top tube, motor is positioned above the downtube for protection,…...

Focus Thron Impulse Speed Review

  • MSRP: $6,599
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Extremely well balanced, high speed 28 mph pedalec with full suspension that's on and off-road capable. Features the highest end components including Shimano XT drivetrain, Fox Float suspension (front and rear),…...

Focus Aventura X30 Review

  • MSRP: $3,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Top of the line commuter style electric bike with 30 speed drivetrain, commuter rack, fenders, suspension fork, adjustable stem, Ergon grips and dynamo powered LED lights. Powerful but efficient high torque hub motor is nearly silent, extra large Lithium battery offers…...

Focus Jarifa Offroad Premium XT Review

  • MSRP: $3,850
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

One of the quietest, smoothest and most powerful hardtail electric mountain bikes I've ridden. Efficient 250 watt gearless hub motor offers 1,000 watts of peak output and multiple regen…...


Be the First to Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rakesh Dhawan
21 hours ago

Dear Mr. Nelson,

Thank you for your interest in Falco.

Mr. Harry forwarded this thread to me. I thought it necessary to clarify few points as you have some knowledge about Falco.

I am afraid to say that Your facts are incorrect and outdated about Falco. That Dealer you refer to was a great friend of mine in the UK. I miss him everyday. We were like two brothers from different mothers. We were starting in Electric Bike business and he chose to become a dealer. He was trying to get into electric bike business with little or no resources and no ability to provide after sales support. Also, He and his staff thought they knew a lot about electric bike business and they dictated the specs of how the system should be used in spite of our repeated warnings. We learnt a great lesson. We do not allow that kind of discretion to any of our dealers today unless you are an OEM. When that Dealer faced a medical problem, he chose to get out of electric bike business. That was back in 2013.

Other fact is called Product evolution. Here are some questions for you to think about which could provide you some insight into Falco as a brand, as a philosophy and as a way to engineer.

1. Is BionX still in business?
2. What year did they start?
3. What customers do they have?
4. What problems did they face?
5. How did their product evolve over the years?
6. How many times did Bosch do a recall of their products in Europe?
7. Why Bosch is still in Business?
8. What year did Falco start?
9. What products Falco offered before and now?
10. How has Falco product evolved over the years?
11. What other products does Falco market or sell?
12. And the last but not the least, which company has the highest warranty in the world?

Answer to these questions will lead you to how Falco thinks about Electric Bike industry and how we plan to move forward.

Otherwise, please try not to downplay our tremendous sacrifice, blood and sweat, passion, commitment and entrepreneurship in making a small difference in the electric Bike space.

We have over 150 dealers in the US and several small OEMs. We specialize in converting Trikes, Recumbents, Tandems, Cargo bikes etc.

Our journey, Mr. Nelson has been to stay focused and deliver an extraordinary product to the market. We learn and improve every day and we have a very long list of extremely passionate and committed fans who use their Falco everyday for last several years. These fans know about our tremendous passion and staying power.

We have succeeded in making a difference in the life of countless number of our seniors and we will continue to do so.

I do not wish to sell my product to you or anyone. I do care about making a difference in people’s lives using our technology. That has been our driving force and our greatest passion.

I am happy to answer any additional questions or comments you may have.

Sincerely,
Rakesh Dhawan
President
Falco eMotors Inc.

Dmitri
1 day ago

I have had a good experience so far. I don't experience any major drain -- of course, I have 1kWh overall so perhaps if you only have half that it's another story. The only real issue with M99Pro is that it's driven directly by the battery, which is why the on/off switch on the Bosch bike computer does absolutely nothing.

Interestingly enough, my rear light (Toplight) is also unaffected by the switch, which is weird because I would suspect it runs through the ordinary motor based port. Not 100% sure if that's the case though... actually, I plan to change the rear light to have directional indicators. I'm surprised ebikes don't do this by default. I would maybe be tempted to install Magura's MT?e lights, except that I found Magura brakes to be generally terrible, so this particular option isn't tempting right now. Maybe will just build some sensors that attach to existing brakes, not sure yet.

I suspect R&M swapped to the smaller light due to sheer effing greed. Did they reduce the price when swapping to the simpler light? I don't think so. I can maybe buy the reasoning that people complained about inability to switch off the M99 while the bike is running. But whose fault is that? That's right, a bike maker could go the extra mile and either detect the Bosch switch and relay it to the light or, you know, maye a separate switch. But I guess that's too much work when you're beeing fed ready-made engineering schematics; you can just focus on the frame. (Don't want to sound bitter here; I am also spoon-fed Bosch engineering schematics and I kind of enjoy them.)

Oh, I'm awaiting delivery of a new fatbike (Haibike FullFatSix) and guess what front light I will install on it. Manufacturers might skimp on good light but I won't.

NeilCruz
1 day ago

@evhead

It doesn't mater the "size" (i.e. 12aH, 17ah, 19.2ah) - all 48 Volt systems use the 48V columns, so you just need to use the above post from @karmap and just focus on the 48V columns.

:)

Over50
2 days ago

I've generally been reading that pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in general are on the rise in the US and hit-and-runs are soaring. I feel like I'm seeing news stories of a hit-and-run with a fatality in my area on a weekly basis. Sure can't help that my area has almost zero traffic enforcement. I think someone posted this in another thread:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hit-and-run-fatalities-soar-as-more-people-bike-to-work-1524735001

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/with-bicycle-deaths-rising-theres-a-renewed-focus-on-sharing-the-road

christob
6 days ago

Following other forum members, I wanted to share my observations now that I’ve accumulated 1,000 miles on the Café ebike from https://www.vintageelectricbikes.com/ Vintage Electric Bikes (“VEB”) of California.

Background: In January with my 50th birthday looming in August, being out of shape and at least 75 pounds overweight, I suddenly decided I would pursue an ebike. I hoped it would introduce enjoyable (and sustainable) exercise into my too sedentary lifestyle. I tipped the scales at 303 pounds (6 feet 2 inches tall) when I received the ebike on March 2. I figured the ebike would comfortably get me back into biking (with Assist eliminating the pedal-bike “miseries” such as hills I couldn’t tackle, range/fatigue limitations, etc.) And with a 6.7-mile one-way office commute on paved trails, I had no excuse not to attempt biking to work – which would then introduce at least 50 ‘unavoidable minutes’ of some level of exercise into those days.

I assumed the riding experience would eventually be fun – based on a throttle ebike rental years ago for a Golden Gate Bridge ride. But it has exceeded all my hopes & I’ve ridden nearly every day the weather permitted since early March 2nd (including some commutes on mornings in the low 30’s.) I now take a long detour after work to triple the ride home. With 1,000 miles and 22 office commuting days so far, I’m optimistic this has gelled into a new, enjoyable habit -- exactly what I wanted an ebike to do. I love that I can’t wait to get back on the bike – I’ve *never* looked forward to exercise, ever…! Even when I actively lost weight in the past... Now, it feels good getting home dripping sweat, as I see the pounds melting away…!

This is my first ebike, and my first sustained bike riding in at least 20 years. I took advantage of a deal on a demo bike VEB had – 74 miles clocked on the master odo plus a very minor scuff and a tiny dent on the rear fender – was enough for them to offer an attractive discount. (This was after a lengthy round of emails to answer my many newbie questions about ebikes. Eddie in Sales was very helpful and responsive.) The bike was shipped to Velofix, a mobile outfit, to do final assembly and deliver to me.

Key bike specs; 750w rear hub motor, 5 pedal-assist levels (no throttle mode), Class 3 / assist to 28mph, 48v 10.4Ah battery, chromoly steel frame, stocked tires 29x2 Schwalbe Fat Frank w/ Kevlar Guard, Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes, metal fenders in matching paint, Supernova 6v headlight and saddle-integrated red LED lights.

Likes / Positives (in no particular order):

[*]Looks, style and finish! I was immediately drawn to the style of this bike when searching. Test rode 3 other brands, but this kept calling me back. I find it a very handsome bike with a nostalgic character that reminded me of bikes from childhood memories. I really like the “Skyline Bronze” paint color vs. the ubiquitous black. The bike draws positive comments from folks on the trail, at the local bike shop and the office.
[*]VEB’s “small shop” outfit; I liked that the VEB team is a small, bike-enthusiasts-turned-makers outfit in the USA. I realize there can be pros & cons to a smaller size (vs. a huge player like Trek) but it held an appeal for me and hasn’t posed any problems (see Issue, later on.)
[*]2 - 3 hours full recharge. The charger (now) is 5 amps.
[*]Power. Level 4 and 5 are impressive and a lot of fun on an empty stretch of road. I’m not a speed junkie on the bike; I tend to hit max trip speeds for brief intervals, somewhere around 22-26mph on commutes or leisure rides (usually a downhill run.) Since I want exercise from most rides, I tend to stay in Level 1 whenever possible (gear-shifting regularly) while reserving Level 2 or 3 for when losing steam or on more serious / extended grades. In hindsight, I probably would have been fine with a 20mph ebike (VEB doesn’t have one in their lineup) – but I do like having that punch of power when I need it, and when I want the rush of that smooth speed!
[*]Leather-wrapped Velo saddle had integrated LED tail light. (Though I lost that in a saddle-change.)

Dislikes / Negatives (in no order):

[*]No suspension elements available; makes for a stiff ride over pavement cracks, tree-root buckled asphalt, etc. I sort of wish I had focused on this more, during my research & trial rides.
[*]Certainly not a lightweight ebike at 56lbs w/ battery. (But feels solid as a tank.)
[*]No mounting lugs anywhere on the frame for a water bottle cage!
[*]The included Supernova headlight only has steady-on; would like a daytime flash/pulse mode.
[*]I sort of wish the display panel offered more detailed battery / energy data (as EBR Forum posts have made me more curious about all that. Although I’m honestly not sure how long I’d sustain interest in those detailed figures, realistically!) The display panel does provide: Current Speed, Avg Trip Speed, Max Trip Speed, Master Odometer, Trip Odometer, Trip Time Duration, a 5-bar battery gauge, plus an active ‘graphical, segmented arc’ bar-meter as a visual depiction of motor input in real time.

Gear Updates:

[*]My initial purchase added a rear VO Campeur rack, Abus Bordo Centium lock & Spurcycle bell.
[*]Replaced the stock, leather-wrapped cylindrical style grips with Ergon GP1 leather.
[*]Added Mirrycle mirror and Topeak cage-mount accessory onto handlebar.
[*]Banjo Brothers canvas pannier bag; not weatherproof, but I’m not riding in rain (at least, not deliberately, yet!)
[*]Replaced stock perforated Brooks-leather-clad Velo saddle with a Brooks B67 spring saddle, which meant losing the integrated LED rear light of the stock saddle; so…
[*]Added strap-on rechargeable LED’s – seatpost-mounted rear red flasher, and handlebar mounted white flasher for daytime.

Issues and Outcomes:

[*]A chirping rear-wheel squeak developed in the first couple weeks of riding. Between calls to VEB and investigations at my local shop, they couldn’t eliminate the sound (regardless of Assist level, pedaling or coasting.) VEB eventually sent me a whole new rear wheel / hub motor assembly, assuming it might be something faulty with the motor itself, after exhausting everything else.
[*]Curiously, the first full day of riding after the new wheel was installed (which by the way, did eliminate the chirp!) the Assist died completely, perhaps after 15 miles tallied that day on the new wheel. (This was at about 815 total miles on the bike.) It stopped assisting in any Level, on any terrain. (Although Walk Mode still worked to spin the rear wheel.) Later that same evening, the display panel would no longer power on.
Speculation was that the new wheel’s install could have inadvertently loosened or damaged wiring inside the controller (all within the metal battery-mount-bracket on the downtube.) So VEB sent a new controller / battery-mount, installed by my local shop. That restored the power-on capability and Walk Mode but did not resolve the Assist issue. At that point, VEB decided it was time to send a brand new replacement Café bike.
I found this outcome especially impressive since I’d purchased the first bike at a nice discount for being slightly used.

I personally suspect an electrical short occurred while riding after the new wheel went on; a short that fried the pedal-assist sensor at the bottom bracket. (I’m not a mechanic by any means!) That would seem to explain why Walk Mode worked (hub got juice from battery) yet Assist did not, with both the old and new controller. The pedal-assist sensor was the only thing that was NOT replaced during VEB’s troubleshooting… And during this failure period, the bike was behaving exactly as if it didn’t know I was actively pedaling. (I.e., it is a pedal-assist only, no throttle.)

I’m waiting on VEB’s autopsy of the first bike. But the “something shorted” idea may also be supported by what appeared to be slightly-melted plastic surrounding 2 of the female sockets on the battery mount receiving socket of the old controller. I only discovered the melted-looking bits the night Assist died, when I did an inspection of the bike at home to check all wiring connections while VEB prepared their trouble-shooting plan. I’m 99.9% sure that same plastic area was pristine when I got the bike; though it wasn’t an area I regularly examined since it was frequently covered by the installed battery.

Summary: So – now 1,000 miles in (all miles from both Café bikes) 14 weeks after delivery. (Winter weather, some travel, and finally the Assist failure left about 53 bike-able days in that 14 week span; though I managed about 25 pedal-only miles during the “no Assist” time; quite a different workout experience! ;) ) At this point, I’d say the lack of suspension is the only serious shortcoming I’ve got with the bike. Although I do plan to try out a suspension seat post (and maybe even the Redshift Shock Stop stem?) after I drop 25 more pounds… I’m thrilled to share I’ve already lost 26lbs in those 14 weeks – yay, ebikes!

VEB support and service has been exemplary during the troubleshooting and ultimate replacement; I’m happy to say their “small outfit” presented no challenges! (At one point I called their HQ to check on the latest action plan – a new guy I’d not spoken to before answered. As I said my name, he knew instantly who I was – turns out it was the owner of the company who’d answered; while I was appreciative of his apology about the situation, I was even more relieved that he was completely in the loop on my case. I’ll never know whether I would have received this level of resolution and smooth handling from one of the larger manufactures, but I’m glad I don’t have to find out, either!

Chris Hammond
6 days ago

So I can offer you a bit of perspective. My commute is 30 miles each way. I historically did this on my road bike, but fighting headwinds on the way home alot had me taking the train far more than I wanted. I began researching ebikes late last year, I quickly zeroed in on the Juiced CrossCurrent S as being a great value for high speed, long distance commuting. I continued researching for a good while, and flip flopped between the idea of building a bike, or buying a pre-built. I obviously finally settled on the CCS with the 52V/ 21Ah battery option. I received my bike May 9th, and have put over 1000 miles on it since.

Here are some things I would place priority on in your search:
1) Battery, battery, battery!
Any bike with a 500 Wh battery or less should be crossed off your list. On my commute I average ~ 500 Wh each way; high use days fighting headwinds have had my use over 600Wh. I only charge my battery to 80% to promote longevity of the pack, and have yet to drop it below 30%. Any ebike will experience a drop in performance as the voltage in the pack drops. I can notice this as well, but its not dramatic as my pack voltage remains relatively high. Dropping batteries below 20% negatively affects longevity as well.
Plan on a minimum of 20 Wh / mile, more if you want to be travelling over 30 mph. Higher speeds require exponentially more power due to the poor aerodynamics of the riding position.
2) Bikes designed as class 3, high speed commuters should be your focus. These bikes tend to have a more forward seating position improving aerodynamics some; they also tend to have better brakes; and tires that are bigger to absorb high speed bumps, etc.
3) Mid-drives are less advantageous as high speed commuters. The basic physics of the design dictate that the motor cannot apply full motor torque to the rear wheel when you are using the higher gears in your cassette (smaller cogs). The Bosch Performance Speed motor is the best mid-drive in this regard as it uses an internal gearing to allow for a small front charinring.
Hub drives do not experience this loss in torque at high speeds and are in fact at their most efficient when operating at high motor speeds. Many individual builders actually use direct drive hubs for their high speed builds, as it is where they become their best. However, a geared hub motor with a high speed winding is a great option in this regard as well.
4) Go test ride several bikes if you can. The Trek SuperCommuter 8S is a great bike that I really enjoyed riding. If it had a bigger battery and lower price, I'd have been happy to own it. You will find out quickly, just because a bike says Class 3, doesn't mean you can maintain or even attain 28 mph on level ground. The Magnum Metro+ is a great example. On paper it looks very similar to my Juiced CCS. The ride performance is like a family sedan versus a Corvette.

Good luck in your search.

Reid
1 week ago

My overall ebike experience is life-changing in an extraordinarily good way.

I first had an ebike a little over ten years ago. It was not very good, a cheap commercially produced bike with lead acid battery. It was not very satisfactory. A year later I got a front wheel geared hub motor kit from Canada, bought locally a basic cruiser bike, and ordered direct from China, a Ping brand battery.

I soon crashed the bike! I did not know how to ride a cruiser bike! Went head over the bars when I foolishing pedaled while going through a roundabout, and the low-hung cruiser bike pedal hit the pavement and pogo'd me a number of feet though the air, landing me on grass and then the bike went just over me and landed on the grass too. Well! That caused me to lose interest in ebiking.

But I watched and waited many years. I knew what I wanted to wait for: A lithium battery bike with pedals that will never accidentally touch the pavement. I recognized the value and performance of the Juiced Bikes https://www.juicedbikes.com/products/crosscurrent-s.

My CCS arrived late last December. I have ridden it every day since. I gave up driving the car and use the bike for most all my needs. For the occasions when I cannot ride I will very reluctantly use our family car. When I go and tune and repair pianos I may summon a rideshare.

But, daily I ride my ebike manually for exercise. And when I want to go fast or far and not break a sweat, electric assist is there.

I have ridden manual bicycles casually since 1960 when I was six.

With an ebike I can confidenly state I will ride a bike productively and for my health, for my remaining life.

We all just want to get by. An ebike and some fortitude, enjoying that car traffic can be ridden around, and yes, recognizing that car drivers today are particularly dangerous because they are less attentive to their death dealing vehicles than ever before, I will still ride my ebike for health and for practicality, and extoll its virtues to every person I meet while rolling the bike.

"What a beautiful bike," is the universal compliment I get from every person who sees the bike, whether I am cresting a bridge and they are on foot looking at the bridge view, or in the store like our local Home Depot, where the bike and its fold-out basket in the rear serves as a shopping cart, "What a beautiful bike. Is it an ebike? I am afraid to ride a bike because of the traffic, it's crazy."

The more of us who exemplify the the lifestyle of the Dutch and just ride a bike, manual or electric assist, the more we help those poor drivers understand that yes, they can do it too.

I am trying to encourage other riders. Do you agree with my posting of this video?

The more people will ride a bike, the healthier we all will become emotionally and otherwise. There is safety in numbers of more people riding bikes.

bob armani
1 week ago

Vasu-If I can suggest you also try some different rear hub driven E-bikes. You will find that some of them are very zippy and take little effort getting up inclines, etc. My preferred brand is the 350 or 500 watt Dapu motor that companies like Easy Motion use with a torque sensor. They have also improved the responsiveness of the sensor on later models. I have a 2015, and the sensor is extremely sensitive and gets you up to 20mph in a matter of seconds on flats. I have to add that I am 135 lb rider, so heavier weight riders are better fit for the 500 watt hub motors.
Good luck and happy shopping. :D

Alaskan
1 week ago

Mike, I went through this process back in January. I spent loads of time reading Court's reviews, watching his videos and then test riding bikes in four different bike shops in Seattle and one on Vashon Island.

I live in Bellingham, have been ebiking since February and just love it. I am 67 and peaked out at 238 lbs last year. I now ride my bike almost every day for at least averaging 17 miles. The only time I drive my car is if it is raining or I need to haul something too big for the bike. I am now down to 208 lbs. I wake up every day and look out the window to see if I can ride. The feeling of freedom, health and vitality is addicting.

Keep up the good work doing research. There are a wealth of shops to visit in Seattle. Resist the urge to buy until you do some more test riding. You will find one that feels right for you soon enough.

Make your next trip to Seattle Electric & Folding Bikes in Ballard http://electricvehiclesnw.com/ They have been around longer than anyone else in the area, are very helpful and friendly.

Next go up to G&O Cycles at 85th & Greenwood https://familycyclery.com/. They are the Riese & Muller dealer and have a good number of demo bikes to ride...nice people as well.

Seattle Electric Bike https://seattleelectricbike.net/ is nearby. They carry Cube, Bulls, Raleigh, Felt , Focus and others. My experience with the owner was quite offputting though. PM me if you want details.

After you have visited these three shops, the style of bike that will work best for you should begin to emerge.

vasubandu
1 week ago

I am totally new to electric bikes and find myself torn between finding a good mainstream product and taking a flyer on something different. I am trying to think of the last thing I did normally and am coming up empty.

My bike will be have a primary function as a commuter. The commute will be 7.5 miles each way, and each direction has a hill 300 feet high over a mile. I am 53 and in decent physical shape. I think I want a mid-drive bike. I am focused on pedal assist, but the idea of pedal assist plus throttle is just the kind of idea that gets me going.

The BikTrix Monte 1000 is currently sold out, but I have patience. Even with the max battery, it still looks like it would come in under $3k.

If the bike had issues, I could not fix them. I would have to pay someone else to do it.

So would this bike for someone like me be a colossally stupid idea or just a situation that had manageable risks?

michael mitchell
1 week ago

I live in the area, so maybe I can contribute my 2 bits. If you want an easier trip, you should look at bike which only uses cadence sensing. So Something like a Rad Rover, or a regular bike with a luna cycle type of kit. I have a cadence sensing bike, which can get me up Cougar Mountain with minimal pedaling effort, but it obviously slows down on the steeper stretches. In west seattle, you could get a bike without a front suspension, but I'd highly recommend adding a redshift shockstop in that case. It won't be as cushy as a front suspension or fat tires, but it'll take the painful jolt out of streets around here. That dude who told you to hop curbs is a clown. Don't do that on an ebike.

I also have a torque+cadence sensing 28mph bike. With more effort, it climbs faster than my cadence only bike. But the key is more effort. That may sound like a negative, but over time, you'll find yourself pushing a little harder, because you know you'll be rewarded even more. Sort of like when parents tell a kid they'll match whatever $ the kid saves.

It comes down to what your long term goals are. If you simply want to avoid the hassle of parking and sitting in a 5 mph misery box (that's what cars are around here), I vote cadence only. If you see yourself one day riding around mercer island, I vote torque sensing.

vasubandu
1 week ago

My wife took our sons to Oregon for her grandmother's funeral and to visit her mother for a few days, and i stayed behind to take care of the dog and not spend time with her mother. That will give me the chance to do what everyone is telling me to do, namely get out there and try so some bikes.

Today's stop was Seattle E-Bike, which seems to be the most prominent electric bike store in Seattle. When I went in the store, I was surprised at how massive all the bikes looked. I have seen plenty while driving around, but when I looked at them as something to ride, they suddenly seemed very large. They looked so wide that the pedals seemed too far apart. The salespeople were all busy, which gave me some time to wander the store uninterrupted. I now know enough to recognize that many of the bikes were slightly older models, and at the lower end of their ranges. They have some very nice bikes, but the focus is on the under $2,000 market.

They do carry Stromer, which has been of some interest, and I was surprised at how the size and mass of the bikes increased as you moved up the line. The ST 1 looked fine, but the ST 2 felt bigger than what I would want to ride. A salesman finally came up to me, and I explained my interest in a commuter and the nature of my commute. He immediately suggested looking at their entry level bikes, and I told him my focus was higher.

SInce I was familiar with them, I asked to test the ST 1. It was a nice looking bike, but had neither front nor rear suspension.

The the guy walked me through how to use the bike, I was surprised that it did not have a throttle. Somehow I had gotten into my head an expectation that electric bikes would have a throttle. It just seemed like an electric bike should go on its own, and I had images of just motoring up the big hills in my commute.

The controls that he showed me were disappointing.

There is a small monochrome box on the right side that controls the amount of boost. To change it, you have to press a toggle switch on the side to cycle through the options. It would cost $50 to have a 3x5 color touch screen instead. The ST 1 has derailleurs on both wheels. I asked what the purpose of the front derailleur was, and he could not say. I don't think that there is power to the front wheel, so I really don't get why its great would matter.

Armed with this knowledge and nothing more, I took the bike outside and took off into the street. It was one of the oddest sensations I have ever had. I pedaled, and the bike surged ahead as if it had a mind of its own. It was very unsettling. I understood what was happening, but it was just an odd sensation. It took me several blocks to become comfortable with it. And then over a few more, I started to be able to anticipate the boost, and it became welcome. Over about 10 minutes, I started to get a sense for how it works and its potential. With experience, a person would develop a good sense of the bike's capabilities and would learn to use them in different situations. You could create a sudden burst when you needed it, and you could maintain a very easy steady pace on level ground. The possibilities became clear.

My ride included a moderate hill, and I was pleased to see how the bike essentially turned the hill into level ground. It would eliminate the drag of coming to a long hill, and I thought about how when I do go biking, there always seems to a hill to climb at the end, that burns me until I get off and walk. That would go away. I saw no difference shifting the front gears. Still have no idea what that is about.

I stopped to take a picture of the bike, and when I did, a guy asked if I wanted a picture of me with the bike. I told him I was just testing it, and he said, "I know, I saw the tag." We got into a discussion about the bike and electric bikes in general. He was very knowledgeable and helpful. His first comment was that it was a very stiff bike, and he explained that it had no front suspension. He said that in Seattle, you frequently have to hop up on a sidewalk, and that without a front suspension, you would pop a lot of tires. I asked him about a rear suspension, and he said that it was a matter of choice, but that he has a hardtail. He said that he rides his bike hard, and that there is dust on his seat because he never sits on it. If he had a rear suspension, it would absorb some of power from his pedaling. We talked for quite a while, and he had many insights that I thought made sense.

As an aside, I am struck by how friendly and helpful electric bikers have been. You might think it odd that I would be surprised by that, but the media tends to portray electric bikers as rude people who cut everyone off and disregard traffic rules. The laws and regulations that are being adopted seem to be based on this perception. My own experience has been just the opposite. Hard to imagine a nicer bunch of people. I am sure there are jerks too, but not greater percentage than any other group.

When I got back to the shop, I asked if they had a throttle bike I could try for a comparison. They had a few, but they were low end bikes of little interest. The guy told me (1) there are almost no mid drive bikes with a throttle, and (2) E3 28 mph bikes cannot have a throttle without being treated as something else and having equipment like blinkers, etc. Both of those statements were news to me. I have since done some more research, and there are a few mid drive bikes with a throttle, but it creates issues, and an E3 bike can have a throttle that is regulated to 20 mph. As a general rule, however, what he said seems to be true. It certainly changed some of my basic expectations and gives me even more to research.

After checking out their other bikes, I next decided to test an Easy Motion ATOM DIAMOND WAVE PRO. I liked the way it looked and it had a back rack.

I also thought that its controls were more intuitive and friendly, but it was 8 speed, rear derailleur only.

My experience with it was going to be different because now I had some idea what to expect, but for me this bike was immediately vastly preferable. If felt lighter and quicker to respond to my control, and the power level control made more sense. Most of it was just that "right fit" that people have talked about.

I took the same route as I did with the Stromer, and I learned a valuable lesson. I do not know if it was because the Easy Motion was an 8 speed, but when going up the hill, I did reach a point where I started to really struggle like I would in a normal bike. The comments that people have made about shifting suddenly made a lot more sense, and I realized that even with an electrical bike, you still have to be mindful of our riding. I was in 6th gear because I thought I could just cruise on up.

Overall, I now realize that electric bikes are about making biking more efficient and easier, not little motorcycles to cruise to work. The experience itself is still biking, and people who don't want to ride a bike likely will be disappointed. Electric bikes also are more complicated than I thought in that to extract the maximum benefit, you have to pay attention to what you are doing and know how to use a bike in the first place. There are so many different kinds of electric bikes because there are so many different kinds of bikers. Which bike of a specific kind you get may not matter much, but getting the wrong kind of bike would be like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet. The advertised speeds for bikes are complete BS. It would take a lot of effort for me to get either of those bikes to 20 mph, and in my current shape, I could not sustain that kind of speed for very long. In city traffic, there are lots of stops and starts. Bikes don't start like cars do, further reducing the effective speed. The perfect feature set cannot be found on a single bike because the features are found only on certain kinds of bikes, and when you pick a certain kind of bike, you lose the incompatible features.

All of this may sound very negative and disappointed, but my reaction is just the opposite. Becoming a happy electric bike commuter is going to require some significant changes in my thinking, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I am going to have to plan on a 30 minute commute, not a 15-20 minute one. In the beginning, I may not be able to go all the way up my big hills without taking a break or walking part of it. I can get there, but I am going to have to work up to it.

But I spend too much of my life sitting at my desk, and I need a more active lifestyle. I am not going to to a gym, and biking is more engaging than walking, plus it offers a broader range. So now, it is half back to the drawing board and half testing more bikes. What an adventure.

S B
4 days ago

That guy likes the word "exactly" :D

MTB Rapture
5 days ago

I would like to see bike manufacturers do away with derailurs and have the gearing in the motor.

Less maintenance, instant gear transfer, less to break and more aesthetic.

Evaluatoru
1 day ago

MTB Rapture good point !!!

TwoWheelWarrior
1 week ago

Focus was started by Mike Kluge. He was one of the world's top bike racers...

snappytoes
2 weeks ago

Love your videos. Fun to see you in my backyard!

ForbinColossus
2 weeks ago

Shimano is far and away the market leader in bicycle components. I would expect Shimano to make an e-bike system so good, that it blows away the rest of the competition. How would you rate Shimano steps system against Brose and Bosch?

MTB Rapture
4 days ago

ForbinColossus bosh is very good, but if you haven't checked out Yamaha, you should, as for Shimano, I don't really the instant power, not saying they are bad, I just prefer smooth power transfer.

Bosh and Yamaha smoothly apply the power, which I find better for technical climbs.

ForbinColossus
4 days ago

I'm with ya! a Bosch Haibike has been my goal for a couple years. I wish they would bring over the NYON display to the USA. One of these days...

MTB Rapture
5 days ago

ForbinColossus bosh has far more experience in mechatronics.

OtterFlash
2 weeks ago

I do love my Jam2. The bike shop in Santa Cruz is doing a demo/open house next weekend and I may just take my bike up there and ride with the Focus guys.

bart van roy
2 weeks ago

Hi. Love your videos. It seems many of the bikes you test are a medium size. Can i ask how tall you are? Greets from belgium

Javan Russell
2 weeks ago

22:09 yup. There's that clunking into place you mentioned earlier. Ouch! lol 😂

Javan Russell
2 weeks ago

Clunks into place!!???!

JME WILLIAMS
2 weeks ago

I picked mine up 3 weeks ago. I LOVE IT!

Mark 73573
2 weeks ago

Proof that bicycling has become anally ridiculous.

Bob A
2 weeks ago

Beautiful bike indeed! Showroom stopper. Is Santa Cruz going to be making an E-bike also??

Mr. JC
2 weeks ago

Nice bike....my question is do you need the extra battery pack? My rides average 2 hrs? Or would a levo be a better option because of the extra battery capacity? Thanks and again good job 👍

JME WILLIAMS
2 weeks ago

I ride for 1.5 hours and use about 25% of the battery

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

Good point, I probably would not buy the extra battery pack for myself because of how and where I ride, I rarely ever expend a full battery pack and ~300 watt hours is still plenty for an efficient mid-motor like this

George
2 weeks ago

Nicest enduro e-bike in the market today

JME WILLIAMS
2 weeks ago

Agreed. Thats my opinion too and I just picked mine up 3 weeks ago

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

I completely agree, this thing is capable and beautiful

James Chesal
2 weeks ago

The only difference between Focus and Jesse James is Jesse James used a gun.

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

Lol

Kevin Lafon
2 weeks ago

I am enjoying this bike a lot. I bought one a few month ago, and i am having a blast. The bike has two faces: Enduro beast, light, nimble, confidence inspiring in descents, and it also has a huge range with the add on battery which doubles the capacity, the bike transforms into a marathon monster, capable of riding the mountains all day without having to worry about battery management. Here's the video of my first ride on it, in Basque Country / France. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfffXy1_av4

Vaidotas Ratkus
2 weeks ago

cheap alternative to commuter bike!

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

I actually prefer e-mountain bikes to commuter products because they are so comfortable and can be used for trails on the weekend :D

David Witkowski
2 weeks ago

Secondary battery isn't unique - I saw similar last year Nov 2017 in Bern Switzerland on an eBike.

David Witkowski
2 weeks ago

Shop was e-Motion Welt Bern (emotion-technologies.ch) - the shop owner speaks english very well if you'd like to contact him. In general the number of ebikes I saw in Bern was striking - most Bern commuters come in on bikes or trolley transit and the area is hilly (foothills of the Swiss Alps) so an ebike is almost a given. And bike safety is apparently a non-issue, I saw a Strommer in a rack with a thin cable lock!

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

Do you remember which make/model it was? I'd love to check that out!

Lynn Recker
2 weeks ago

Air-flow cooling channels on an ebike! What's next, a wing?

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

I like that idea :D

CLOTHED IN SHADOWS.
2 weeks ago

Why do they make these bikes all come as a class 1 ?. They're charging six grand, that's a lot of money. I know the other features and components are quality but, speed is important.

I don't know about anyone else but, if I'm gonna shell-out that much cake on a bike 🍰🎂, I wanna be able to know that I can pretty much use it like a moped as well as have the luxury & functionality of high-quality componentry.

You can't use an ebike like a moped that go's slow as hell 😟.

Great video though court 👍.

"CLOTHED IN SHADOWS"👤

CLOTHED IN SHADOWS.
2 weeks ago

ElectricBikeReview.com Yeah, I guess that explains it. its always all about money and nothing else, smdh 😑.

"CLOTHED IN SHADOWS"👤

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 weeks ago

Class 1 is the only product that is allowed in most European locations and all of the major mountain bike trails in California. These are the two biggest markets :)