Focus Thron Impulse Speed Review

Focus Thron Impulse Speed Electric Bike Review 1
Focus Thron Impulse Speed
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Mid Drive Motor
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Removable Lithium Battery
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Display Buttons Mirror
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Backlit Lcd Display
Focus Thron Impulse Speed 180 Mm Rotor
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Bm Toplight Line
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Chain Guide
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Fizik Tundra Saddle
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Fox Float Evolution
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Kickstand
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Schwalbe Super Moto
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Seat Post
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Shimano Xt
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Supernova Headlight
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Supernova Led Light On
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Removable Battery Pack
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Battery And Charger
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Electric Bike Review 1
Focus Thron Impulse Speed
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Mid Drive Motor
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Removable Lithium Battery
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Display Buttons Mirror
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Backlit Lcd Display
Focus Thron Impulse Speed 180 Mm Rotor
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Bm Toplight Line
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Chain Guide
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Fizik Tundra Saddle
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Fox Float Evolution
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Kickstand
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Schwalbe Super Moto
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Seat Post
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Shimano Xt
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Supernova Headlight
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Supernova Led Light On
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Removable Battery Pack
Focus Thron Impulse Speed Battery And Charger

Summary

  • 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), Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes, Ergon grips with lockers and Supernova + B&M lights
  • Impulse 2.0 Off-Road Speed drive system is responsive, smart and highly adjustable, motor is well protected, battery is removable

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Focus

Model:

Thron Impulse Speed 27R

Price:

$6,599 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Trail, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Germany

Model Year:

2014

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

51.37 lbs (23.3 kg)

Battery Weight:

7 lbs (3.17 kg)

Motor Weight:

8 lbs (3.62 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

15.75 in (40 cm)17.32 in (43.99 cm)18.9 in (48 cm)20.47 in (51.99 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

By Size XS, S, M, L: Seat Tube Length (mm) 400 440 480 520, Top Tube Length (mm) 580 590 605 620, Steering Angle (°) 68,5 68,5 68,5 68,5, Seat Tube Angle (°) 75 75 75 75, Chainstay Length (mm) 450 450 450 450, Bottom Bracket Drop (mm) 25 25 25 25, Head Tube Length (mm) 100 110 120 135, Fork Construction Height (mm) 507 507 507 507, Pre-Raked Fork (mm) 42 42 42 42, Wheelbase Length (mm) 1148,5 1148,5 1164,6 1181, Stack (mm) 578 587 597 609, Reach (mm) 425 433 445 456

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Diamond Matte Black

Frame Fork Details:

Fox 32 Float Factory CTD Suspension with 120 mm Travel, 15 mm Thru Acle with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

Fox Float Evolution CTD Suspension with 120 mm Travel

Attachment Points:

License Plate Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano XT Low Profile Plus, 42T Front, 11-34T Rear

Shifter Details:

Shimano XT Triggers on Right Bar

Cranks:

Focus Impulse Alloy

Stem:

Concept EX 7°

Handlebar:

Handlebar Concept EX, Riser

Brake Details:

Magura MT4 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors

Grips:

Ergon GP1 with Lockers

Saddle:

Fizik Tundra

Seat Post:

Concept EX

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

36.1 mm

Rims:

Lightweight Reynolds AM

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Super Moto X 62-584, 27.5” x 2.4” (650b)

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tube Details:

Presta Valves

Accessories:

Supernova E3 Pro Headlight, B&M Toplight Line Rear LED Light, Bar End Mirror, Aluminum Alloy Bash Guard and Chain Bounce Guard, Single Side Kickstand, Bell on Left Bar

Other:

Removable Batery Pack, Adjustable Motor Response Time (1-7), Adjustable Shift Sensing (0-300 milliseconds), Adjustable Wheel Circumference (1,540 mm to 2,330 mm), Walk Mode, Model Thron Impulse Speed 10-G XT, Magnetic EnergyBus Charging Port

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Impulse 2.0 Off-Road Speed with Shift Sensing and Climb Assist

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Peak Output:

450 watts

Motor Torque:

70 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Xion

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

17 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

612 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Estimated Max Range:

120 miles (193 km)

Display Type:

Center Mounted, Removable Backlit Monochrome LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Power Assist Mode (Eco, Sport, Power, Sport/Power), Battery Charge State, Remaining Range, Total & Average Mileage, Highest & Average Speed, Trip Time

Display Accessories:

Independent Rubberized Button Pad

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Pedal Torque and Wheel Speed 100 Times Per Second)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)

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Written Review

The Thron Impulse Speed from Focus is one of those super high end full suspension mid-drive electric bikes that can dominate just about any terrain you throw at it. The big difference between it and something like the Felt DUALe or Haibike FS 27.5″ (which also use mid-drives and offer full suspension) is an impressive 28 mph top speed vs. just 20 mph. Oh… and an additional $900 and $1,800 respectively. These are all premium electric bikes with great warranty support, balanced frame designs and removable batteries. But aside from its higher top speed, the Thron is also unique in that it ships with hybrid tires instead of knobby trail tread. It’s an ebike that’s comfortable and efficient riding on streets or bumpy gravel roads and the highlight for me reviewing it was actually the kickstand. This thing comes with a nice set of lights, a quality bar-end mirror and a license plate holder which compliment the urban tire choice and actually make this thing safe and legal at high speeds (assuming you register and use a license plate depending on your location). It’s an impressive machine and the four frame sizes really help to offer a great fit so that you can enjoy up to 120 miles of assisted range.

Driving this bike is a powerful 350 watt geared mid-drive motor. It activates based on your pedal torque and rear wheel speed and has a built in shift sensor designed to reduce wear on the chain and cassette as you change gears. Compared to the Bosch centerdrive, the Impulse 2.0 can vary in terms of activation (more or less immediate depending on which level of motor response time is chosen: 1-7) and seems to ride slightly quieter overall (again, depending on which level of assist is chosen). The front ring has a larger diameter than that used by Bosch and as such, pulls the chain further when the motor cuts out. This didn’t really impact my riding but I did notice. Basically, the sprocket doesn’t have to rotate as quickly to pull the chain the same distance. It likely requires more strength but the slower motion might account for the quieter operation. One advantage of the larger ring is that it doesn’t require a chain elevator or tensioner to clear the rear legs of the bike (since this is a full suspension model) and it also just looks more normal from the side and might be easier to swap out with a different ring with more or fewer teeth (the standard ring has 42). An aluminum alloy bash guard protects the right side of the sprocket and keeps chain on track along with a small metal guide on top that basically locks the chain in so it won’t bounce around when riding. The impression I got from the entire motor mount and accessories was one of strength. This thing is surrounded by the downtube, seat tube and bash guard so the frame could truly take a beating without exposing the motor to harm.

The battery pack on the Thron Impulse Speed is another outstanding expression of design and function. It’s mounted low and center on the frame (offering excellent balance and ride stability) and is locking and removable for convenient charging. The pack weighs ~7 pounds and when removed, exposes the flat top tube which would be an ideal mounting point for transporting the bike by car, bus, gondola or other. both the front and rear wheels feature quick release and taking them off for a tuneup is just like any non-electric bike. That’s one of the huge benefits of a mid-drive setup. before we get too far off track here, the battery itself contains quality Lithium-ion cells that are known for being light weight and long lasting. Considering the amazing 612 amp hour capacity (36 volts, 17 amp hours) this thing is indeed light but not at all lacking in performance. The range that the Thron is capable of reaches 120 miles per charge (on the lowest assist level) and that’s just incredible. given the urban tires and other commuter accessories this bike would be perfect (and fast) for reaching the office on a weekly basis… just add a beam rack to the seat post (The Topeak A-Type might be best given the rear suspension travel) and you’re all set.

Operating the Focus Thron is very clear and easy. Charge and lock the battery to the frame, press the rubber on button located on the independent control pad and the display lights up. One minor gripe here is that the display itself is not removable (like the battery and wheels) which means it might be exposed to more weather and environment damage depending on where you park it (especially when commuting). The upside here is that the display looks super strong and has a glass face vs. plastic. Also, it swivels forward and back to reduce glare and is backlit for use at night. Once on, it shows your speed, battery capacity assist level (eco, sport, power and sport+power) along with an associated range estimate based on remaining battery capacity. That’s a pretty cool feature but what really impressed me was how deep the menus go on this thing. You can press the settings button to see your trip distance but if you hold it, you get into a new section of menus which let you reset and clear modes as well as adjust motor responsiveness, gear shift cutoff delay and wheel diameter size. Focus ebikes with the Impulse system have always let you do more but I like the way this one sort of hides the complicated features and leaves the main menu clear and easy to navigate. Keep in mind, as you exercise the higher top speed of this bike (up to 28 mph) the efficiency drops significantly due to air resistance.

There’s a lot to say about this bike. I spent a lot of time covering features in the video review above but it’s worth calling out the smooth and powerful Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes that are excellent for on or off-road use, the Fox Float suspension with 120 mm travel and CTD (climb, trail, descend) option, the Shimano XT 10 speed low profile cassette and the beautiful – oh so functional kickstand. This is indeed a more expensive bike but it’s built tough. Over time the replacement tires at 27.5″ may cost a bit more (along with that second set of trail tires you’ll likely get) but the performance they offer is a perfect balance of responsive and burly in my opinion (compared to standard 26″ and 29er). I also really like the 15 mm thru axle on the front fork because it adds stiffness and alignment ease. As someone with a stiff back and neck, I’ve always preferred full suspension bikes… especially electric bikes because they go faster and further than what I would achieve on pedal power alone. The Focus Thron delivers comfort, versatility and enhanced speed that speaks to me in a special way and could be perfect for the commuter – weekend warrior who’s willing to pay a bit extra.

Pros:

  • One of the only full suspension electric bikes capable of 28 mph with speed pedelec and a mid-drive
  • extremely powerful and efficient, perfect for long distance mountain riding or mixed city and trail commuting or backcountry touring
  • Well protected drive system, the downtube completely wraps the bottom of the mid-drive motor
  • Responsive pedal assist with seven levels of drive sensitivity that can feel softer and slower on tarmac or harder and quicker on trails for more precision
  • Relatively quiet, especially in the lower assist levels, compared with some other mid-drives I’ve reviewed including Bosch
  • Premium components and accessories ranging from Schwalbe tires, Ergon grips with lockers, Shimano XT drivetrain, Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes, Fox Float CTD suspension, Fizik saddle, Supernova Headlight and Busch & Müller tail light
  • Excellent two year comprehensive warranty, backed by one of Europe’s largest and oldest manufacturers: Derby Cycle which is part of the Dutch Pon Holdings Group
  • Nice convenience features including a license plate mount (required in Europe and some US cities), mirror on left bar and side mounted kickstand (which is rare on full suspension bikes and sometimes difficult to add after market)
  • Available in four frame sizes (from 40 cm to 52 cm) for a great fit but only one color and only high-step frame style
  • The control system can sense when you shift and will ease off power to the motor so you won’t mash gears, this can be adjusted manually in the control settings (hold the settings button for options) for longer shifting breaks

Cons:

  • Very expensive, this is one of the highest quality but also most expensive electric bikes I’ve tried
  • No rack or bottle mounts which would be handy for touring, the display is not easily removable for storage off of the bike frame (though it does swivel to reduce glare)
  • Has had somewhat limited availability in the US for 2014 making it difficult to test ride and purchase

Resources:

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Comments (12) YouTube Comments

Chris Nolte
5 years ago

Glad you got to review this bike. I think it’s one of the coolest bikes to hit the shores here. A pro spec’d full suspension bike with a large battery and a speed motor is rare to see. I think it’s a great bike that you can really do anything with. I’m on the fence for what bike to choose for 2015 but this might be it. I just sold my Super Race and I might move to this for next year. I like the versatility of it.

  Reply
Paul DeGarie
5 years ago

This Bike can go up to 28MPH should have Brake and Turn signal Lights .
Because any assisted bicycle over 20MPH here in California is considered a Motor Scooter
Therefore needs to be License through DMV and that is Why the requirement for Stop Light Turn Signal Horn ECT.

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Hi Paul, this is one of those gray areas because the Thron cannot reach 28 mph on its own. It’s a speed pedelec which requires human input (just like traditional bicycles that go well above 20 mph). There are several bikes like this available from major manufacturers in the US right now including the Specialized Turbo, IZIP E3 Dash, Haibike Race, Polaris Course, Easy Motion Nitro City and Stromer ST2 and none of them have turn signals. While some of these bikes do have throttles, that element cuts out at 20 mph for legal reasons. I’m not a lawyer, nor am I familiar with different state laws. This is just what I’ve observed and I agree with you that riding safely at higher speeds and considering the addition of signals and brake lights could be a smart move. I always try to wear a helmet as well (also when filming reviews) to reinforce safety as a primary consideration when riding any bicycle :)

  Reply
Stefan
5 years ago

Hi Court, I guess I’m about to review your reviews. Having watched probably 30 of your videos, I like the idea of this site a lot. I also like how quickly you add new reviews. However, I feel like you’re selling us on the ebike rather than revealing where it’s truly strong and where it’s truly weak. I wonder if your reviews could put bikes through their paces more rigorously. For example, the Thron Impulse was rated at 3.5 out of 5 by Bike Radar (http://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gear/category/bikes/electric/product/review-focus-thron-impulse-14-48611/). Their issue concerned a wiring issue in the BB, in which after a rough ride in wet weather the system stopped working for a time. They also found some issues in the tuning of the bike after taking it through rough terrain. In the way you review these bikes, you would not have been able to find these issues. In my experience with ebikes, most ebikes will look impressive under perfect conditions; but real world conditions will quickly reveal its flaws. For the Thron, I would want to know if I could take this bike way out in the woods and not worry about something failing unexpectedly. I wish you would punish these bikes to really reveal the underlying weaknesses. I would certainly visit your site more often if I knew I could see real, thorough, independent reviews on ebikes in the conditions they were made to withstand. I’m not sure if this is possible for you (it appears at times you are loaned bikes from local shops), but perhaps as your site grows in popularity you could get demo bikes to beat up on. Just my two cents, and I will still come to the site to see the newest in the ebike world. Thanks!

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Great feedback Stefan! I realize this weakness and have been struggling to address it while simultaneously building out a unique set of tools and different approach that is more like an “overview” than true review. One big challenge I face is that in order to travel and review bikes my environment is constantly changing. I do not accept gifts or payment for reviews so most of the time a bike is either borrowed or stationed at a manufacturer headquarters location. Within these constraints I do my best to provide a soft-look and then list many details about the bike in a system that will allow you to discover and compare easily but likely not dig down as deeply. I love Bike Radar and I also love comments here and in the EBR forums and Endless Sphere. That is where a true deep look can happen, I’m okay with delivering a consistent mid-level look and then relying on others to go deeper. I don’t think I am capable of doing both at the volume I currently reach. In fact, I’ve been considering droping bike ratings completely and just focusing on the specs, a qualitative writeup, pros and cons and the videos. What are your thoughts on that?

  Reply
Tom
4 years ago

Nice review, I have this bikes Hardtail equivelent the Focus Jafira S27 which shares the same assist settings as this bike and simular spec in components, MT4’s, XT 10 speed etc, I wanted to add my feedback on this bike after reading Stefans post. I live in the UK where wet weather is common and as yet that has caused me no problems but I have to say wiring and a connector is exposed near the bottom braket on the Hardtail version which is a concern to me but, touch wood, has not caused a problem yet. I use it a a country lane commuter for work and in the forest for fun and it bounces off rocky trails well, handles and feels solid and deals with a dousing of mud I can only assume that the full suspension version copes better as its ride would be smoother, sometimes power delivery on slight technical sections especially if you are climbing can get some getting used to, One issue I have had with it was the the non drive crank arm getting loose. Paul Degarie mention’s the need for Brake Lights indicators etc, it is worth noting that the rear light that comes standard with this bike and my hardtail version has a braking sensor inbuilt so they have Brake lights it has no indicators I admit but in the uk where I live hand signals are acceptable. It also comes with a Lisence plate mount, And to reach and exceed 28mph takes conciderable effort from the rider without aid of downhills there are points in my rides where I reach higher top speeds on my old 2006 Kona Cindercone XC bike but my average speed is conciderably higher on the Focus e-bike so in a way it is safer, and im sure if I was riding Roadie racing bike I’d be achieving a much faster top speeds again and a closer average speed. But on the Focus you also have the extra securty of powerful brakes and good grip to help you avoid problems.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts Tom :)

  Reply
Hank
4 years ago

Hi Court, I’ve only had a few rides completed but noticed the ECO assist level to way lower than my Stromer. I need to select the next level “Sport” to have the roughly equivalent level of assist. The effort in ECO mode and no assist appears to be almost the same. I recognize there’s lots of variables but the range expectation, ECO=120mi suggest the assist level is very low. The focus motor has more than twice the torque spec than the Stromer. I suppose there’s nothing wrong here as the bike seems strong in lower gears and climbs well with the higher power levels. I just was surprised with the difference between the bikes.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Yeah, the Impulse system does have more noticeable speed and power increments and I think that can be good for low speed applications or climbing in lower gears but it can also lead to inflated range estimates. I agree with your thoughts and I’ll try to point this out more with future reviews of their system :)

  Reply
Rob
3 years ago

I recently rode this bike a few days as a loaner while the shop was resolving some battery issues with my Focus Aventura S 1.0. I must say that it was a blast to ride, especially with the beefy suspension. It made my daily commute (15 miles round trip) fun and surprisingly comfortable. Compared to the Aventura, I felt a bit safer on the Thron and was pleasantly surprised by the weight, speed, and strong braking. Although the chain did slip on my once while shifting into the highest gear. With that said, I chose the Aventura since it’s a lot cheaper and built more as a real commuting bike.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Thanks for sharing your experience Rob, when you said the chain “slipped” do you mean horizontally across the sprocket teeth or that it was grinding as you shifted gears across different sized sprockets?

  Reply
Rob
3 years ago

Hey Court, I believe it slipped horizontally across the sprocket teeth. I had to stop and pull the chain back into proper alignment.

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