Wow, what a feast for the eyes: the FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE has gone from ugly duckling to a hot looking bike within a year. The spec and the look have been updated but the price has also increased. Can it deliver on the trail?

Click here for an overview of the the best trail bike under € 3,200 € in review

FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | 140/140 mm (f/r) | 14.40 kg in size L | € 2,699 | Manfacturer’s website

The FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE already convinced us with its good-natured handling in last year’s trail bike group test. Back then, it was the most affordable bike at € 2,199. For 2020, FOCUS have increased the price by € 500, but they’ve also made significant improvements to the bike’s components.

The latest JAM 6.8 NINE comes with FOX suspension offering 140 mm travel, combining a 34 FLOAT Rhythm fork and FLOAT DPS Performance shock. FOCUS rely almost exclusively on high-quality Shimano XT components for the gears and brakes. The only exception is the slightly heavier SLX cassette. The powerful four-piston brakes with a 203 mm rotor up front deliver plenty of stopping power even on long descents. DT Swiss’ M1900 wheelset is a welcome sight too and has proved itself to be durable and easy to set up tubeless. Unfortunately, the MAXXIS tires don’t fit the picture. They may look great with their tan side-walls but their low-profile tread pattern limits the bike’s capabilities on the trail massively. Unless you’re only planning to ride only on forest roads, we recommend upgrading the tires before you even leave the shop.

The standard MAXXIS tires look nice but they’re useless on demanding trails. Make sure to have them swapped before you leave the shop.
They’re fat!
The grips suit the overall look of the bike but they’re extremely thick. Many riders will want to swap them out for thinner models to counteract fatigue on the descents.
Pretty long
The 135 mm head tube is very long. This means that you sit upright on the climbs and are nicely integrated with the bike on the descents. Aggressive riders will want to remove any spacers under the stem.


€ 2,699


Fork FOX 34 Rhythm 140 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DPS Performance 140 mm
Seatpost Kind Shock E30i 150 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 203/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT/SLX 32 (10-51)
Stem BBB Jumper BHS-137 60 mm
Handlebar BBB Ascension BHB-110 780 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss M1900 29
Tires MAXXIS Rekon Dual/Rekon Race 2.3"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 14.40 kg

Specific Features

The frame still comes with a front derailleur mount. Fortunately, the times of 2x-drivetrains are over, making it unnecessary.
Very linear
The rear triangle doesn’t pack down on the descents and responds to rider input effectively. However, it uses its travel very quickly and tends to bottom out. We recommend adding some more volume spacers.

The geometry of the FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE

The FOCUS JAM 6.8 has fairly balanced geometry which is characterised by the 135 mm head tube and the associated high stack of 641 mm. The reach is rather short at 455 mm in size L, while the bottom bracket is low with a drop of 33 mm. The seat tube and head angle are rather conservative and the seat tube too generously long. As a result, FOCUS don’t give you much choice with the frame size and if you’re looking to size up for increased reach, the long seat tube will likely prevent you from doing so.

As cosy as your favourite couch – you’ll be reluctant to get off the JAM once aboard!

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 420 mm 440 mm 480 mm 510 mm
top tube 575 mm 595 mm 624 mm 652 mm
Head tube 110 mm 110 mm 135 mm 155 mm
Head angle 67.8° 67.8° 67.8° 67.8°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstay 440 mm 440 mm 440 mm 440 mm
Wheelbase 1,148 mm 1,168 mm 1,197 mm 1,225 mm
Reach 415 mm 435 mm 455 mm 475 mm
Stack 618 mm 618 mm 641 mm 660 mm
Helmet POC Tectal SPIN | Glasses NAKED OPTICS FALCON | Jersey ION SEEK Tee
Shorts iXS Carve EVO | Shoes old Vans | Hip bag EVOC HIP PACK PRO

Once aboard the FOCUS JAM 6.8 you feel right at home. The riding position is very upright due to the tall front end, making it comfortable and suited to riding long distances. Thanks to the fast-rolling tires, the bike accelerates willingly and holds its speed efficiently, though we would still swap them for a heavier, more robust option. It is definitely worth using the climb switch on the shock when riding uphill as otherwise, the rear end will wallow and bob noticeably. On the climbs, the JAM won’t win any sprints but it will keep on rolling inexorably to your destination, no matter how far away that may be.

The active suspension and balanced geometry instil you with confidence, though the tires do not!

When the terrain starts sloping downhill, you’ll feel nicely integrated with the bike. The tall front end and low bottom bracket instil you with confidence from the get-go. Having said that, you’ll still be able to keep enough weight on the front wheel, making the JAM predictable when cornering. The rear suspension doesn’t sag excessively through berms and offers good mid-stroke support when pumping the bike through dips and rollers. However, it uses up its travel quickly on bigger hits. The rear end occasionally bottoms out at higher speeds, though not too harshly and without getting uncomfortable. At the same time, the active suspension provides lots of comfort and traction. It’s mainly the tires that limit the bike’s capabilities when you’re riding fast.

How does the FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE compare to the competition?

If you ignore the tires, the FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE is one of the most capable descenders in the test. It’s on par with the SCOTT Genius and the Trek Fuel EX, scoring for its comfort and control even on demanding trails. Like the Genius, you’ll need the climb switch when you’re riding uphill and it can’t quite keep up with the Trek due to the very upright riding position. Compared to more direct bikes like the ROSE or MERIDA, the FOCUS feels more sedate on flowing trails and absorbs a little more of the rider’s input.

Tuning tips: swap the tires | volume spacers in the shock if necessary | you may want thinner grips

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










The FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE is a bike that scores for its versatility. It climbs comfortably and always instils you with confidence, allowing you to have fun on every type of trail. If you’re willing to invest money in new tires, you’ll get an excellent bike for almost every purpose.


  • very versatile bike
  • confidence-inspiring and fun
  • almost perfect spec


  • tires
  • rear suspension bottoms out
  • little clearance for wider rear tires

You can find out more about at

The test field

Click here for an overview of the the best trail bike under € 3,200 € in review

All bikes in test: Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | GIANT Trance 29 1 (Click for review) | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 9.700 (Click for review) | ROSE GROUND CONTROL 3 (Click for review) | SCOTT Genius 950 (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper ST COMP (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 8 XT (Click for review) | YT IZZO COMP (Click for review)

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