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Grouptest: EWS Race Bikes – Focus Sam Team Edition Review

The SAM represents Focus’s debut in the enduro sector and underlines its determination to establish itself here, as does the new Focus Trail team with Fabian Scholz and the brothers Markus and Tobias Reiser.

Focus SAM Team Edition (1 von 13)

The Focus feels right at home at especially difficult races, because of its extreme geometry.

2‘03.40

This enabled the Focus to manage 2’03.40.

The newly developed aluminum frame forms the basis of the SAM, and its geometry looks very promising on paper. A head angle of 65° with an 1184mm wheelbase and 27.5” wheels cries out for the type of hard and steep terrain found in the stages of the Enduro World Series. Our test bike is equipped with everything which is good and expensive. It has a SRAM XX1 drivetrain and Avid X0 Trail brakes, as well as light and stiff Reynolds Carbon wheels. The suspension consists of a RockShox Pike RC and a Monarch Plus shock. Compared to the standard SAM 1 bike, changes were mostly made to the cockpit and tires. Like the bikes of the team riders, it now has Maxxis tires, a short 50mm stem, and 780mm wide bars from Kore with a 20mm rise. Additionally, a Carbocage chain guide keeps the chain in position.

Focus SAM Team Edition (13 von 13) e_focus_data e_focus_price

On the course the Focus impresses straightaway with its great stability and first-class suspension. Thanks to the Monarch Plus, the rear end has a decent portion of progression at the end of the travel and isn’t fazed by big hits. There is no suspension dive in berms, which allows speed to be carried forward at all points on the track. Our only quibble is with the very slack head angle, which needs extra bar pressure and an active riding style on less steep sections to keep the front wheel headed where it should be and not sliding out at the end of the turn. A short readjustment phase was all it took to solve this problem, though. The bike could then be maneuvered easily even in tight or flat sections. The SAM is in its element in steep terrain. Thanks to the 20mm riser bars, the front end stays high enough (considering the short head tube) to feel secure. The SAM flattens any obstacles as if it’s on rails: brakes open and off you go!

Aesthetically pleasing. The simple straight tubes and internal cable routing create a classy and tidy appearance.

Aesthetically pleasing: The simple straight tubes and internal cable routing create a classy and tidy appearance.

Tire roulette. The Maxxis Highroller II is one of the best all-round tires on the market but it couldn’t match the better rolling resistance of its competitors on our test track.

Tire roulette: The Maxxis Highroller II is one of the best all-round tires on the market but it couldn’t match the better rolling resistance of its competitors on our test track.

Well integrated. The rear brake caliper was beautifully integrated into the rear triangle. The SAM has a 180mm direct post mount, making an adapter unnecessary.

Well integrated: The rear brake caliper was beautifully integrated into the rear triangle. The SAM has a 180mm direct post mount, making an adapter unnecessary..

Grip tape. So that wet and muddy fingers don’t slip off the remote lever, it was wrapped in grip tape on this bike.

Grip tape: So that wet and muddy fingers don’t slip off the remote lever, it was wrapped in grip tape on this bike.

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The Focus SAM 1.0 is available for 4999 EUR.

Conclusion: The Focus SAM allays any fears of even the hardest Enduro World Series stages although it needs a firm hand to keep it on course. Flat local trails would bore it to tears!

Go back to the article: Grouptest: Enduro World Series Bikes

EWS RacYou can read an in-depth feature about thee Bike test and our conclusions in the ENDURO issue #010! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #010.

Text & Photos Christoph Bayer

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