Despite being the flagship model in the JAM range, the FOCUS JAM 8.9 is the cheapest full-suspension bike in our 2022 trail bike group test. Moreover, it comes with many clever features that are usually exclusive to expensive high-end models, like internal cable routing and a storage compartment in the down tube. But how does it fare on the trail?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike of 2022 – 14 models in review

FOCUS JAM 8.9 | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 15.8 kg in size L | € 4,699 | Manufacturer’s website

At € 4,699, the FOCUS JAM 8.9 is the flagship model in the JAM range and at the same time the cheapest bike in this group test – except for the ROSE hardtail. At 15.8 kg in size L, it’s also the heaviest candidate. The JAM 8.9 combines a beefy carbon frame with an alloy swingarm and generates 150 mm travel, both at the front and rear.

The spec of the FOCUS JAM 8.9

The down tube features FOCUS’ proprietary I.C.S. storage compartment (Internal Compartment Solution), which comes with a tool pouch as standard. The latter can be secured to the metal pin of the locking mechanism, which prevents it from sliding into the depths of the frame. However, this also means that you can’t store anything in the compartment without using the pouch. Furthermore, the closing mechanism is a bit fiddly. Protective frame tape prevents scuffs and scratches on the down tube, seat stay and chainstays and is complemented with a TPU plate on the down tube and generously sized seat stay and chainstay protectors, which are glued and clipped to the frame, respectively.

Cookie monster or cockpit monster?
It’s like a little alligator trying to eat your cables! The C.I.S. stem ensures a clean look but makes it hard to rebuild the front.
Thumb gym
The remote of the Post Moderne dropper post requires strong fingers.
Testing your patience
Closing the storage compartment can be a little frustrating, so make sure you keep your cool!


€ 4,699


Fork FOX 36 Performance GRIP 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X Performance 150 mm
Seatpost Post Moderne 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT/SLX 1x12
Stem FOCUS C.I.S. 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Chester 35 Alu 780 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss M1900 29"
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF, 3C, MaxxGrip, EXO/MAXXIS Minion DHR II, 3C, MaxxTerra, EXO+ 2,5/2,4

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 15,8 kg

Specific Features


Tuning Tip: push the saddle all the way forward for a more centered pedalling position

FOCUS combine an XT derailleur and matching shifter with a cheaper and heavier SLX cassette and chain. However, these only weigh marginally more than their XT counterparts.
It’s alright…
The GRIP damper delivers a solid performance on the trail but offers fewer adjustment options and inferior small bump sensitivity than its high-end GRIP2 counterpart

The FOX 36 Performance fork relies on a basic GRIP damper, which is less defined than its high-end GRIP2 counterpart and also offers less adjustment options. At the rear, a FOX FLOAT X Performance shock controls 150 mm travel and features an externally adjustable rebound adjustment and climb switch but forgoes the low-speed compression dial of its high-end Factory counterpart. The cockpit consists of 780 mm Race Face alloy handlebars and FOCUS’ proprietary C.I.S. stem, which stands for Cockpit Integration Solution and routes all cables through the stem and head tube straight into the frame. The 170 mm Post Moderne dropper post offers too little travel for a trail bike in size L, thus restricting freedom of movement. In addition, the sticky remote requires strong fingers.

With its high system weight and wallowing rear suspension, the FOCUS is a sluggish climber.

Shifting is taken care of by a mongrel drivetrain consisting of a high-quality Shimano XT rear derailleur with matching shifter and cheaper SLX cassette and chain. While the cheaper components are slightly heavier than their XT counterparts, they don’t compromise shifting performance. The Germans also rely on Shimano’s performance-oriented XT series for the brakes, combining powerful four-piston XT stoppers and 200 mm rotors front and rear. The robust DT Swiss M1900 alloy wheelset perfectly fits the budget-oriented concept. For the tires, FOCUS combine MAXXIS Minion DHF with a soft MaxxGrip compound and EXO casing at the front, and MAXXIS Minion DHR II with harder MaxxTerra compound and EXO+ casing at the rear. This tire combo has worked incredibly well for us and we’re big fans of the soft rubber compound at the front, because it generates more traction.

The storage compartment is a cool feature but unfortunately a little fiddly to operate.

The geometry of the FOCUS JAM 8.9

The FOCUS JAM 8.9 is available in four sizes, S to XL. A flip chip in the rocker arm allows you to alter the head and seat tube angle by 0.5° and the reach by 5 mm. We rode the bike mainly in the high setting. The FOCUS combines 480 mm reach and a long 450 mm seat tube, which limits the choice of sizes and restricts freedom of movement together with the short-travel dropper post.

size S M L XL
Seat tube 390 mm 420 mm 450 mm 480 mm
Top tube 558 mm 598 mm 622 mm 655 mm
Head tube 90 mm 100 mm 120 mm 140 mm
Head angle 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle 76° 76° 76° 76°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1.170 mm 1.204 mm 1.242 mm 1.281 mm
Reach 420 mm 450 mm 480 mm 510 mm
Stack 603 mm 613 mm 631 mm 649 mm
Helmet Sweet Protection Trailblazer | Glasses 100% Speedcraft | Jacket Specialized Trail Wind Jacket | Shorts Leatt DBX 1.0 | Kneepad Pearl Izumi Elevate Knee Guard V1 | Shoes Five Ten Freerider Pro Primeblue | Socks Adidas Crew Socks | Gloves Pearl Izumi Summit

The FOCUS JAM 8.9 on the trail

The FOCUS JAM 8.9 positions you far back over the rear wheel, especially if you have long legs and ride with a fully extended dropper post. Going uphill, the rear end wallows heavily, so you should reach for the climb switch if you want to save some energy for the descent. On technical climbs, the pedal bob intensifies, requiring a vigilant riding style. In steep sections, the front wheel tends to lift off the ground and the FOCUS gives away its heavy weight.

The suspension of the FOCUS JAM 8.9 is incredibly plush but doesn’t allow for an active riding style

The rear suspension of the FOCUS swallows up nasty rock gardens as if there were no tomorrow but provides very little feedback from the trail.

Once you drop into the trail, the JAM 8.9 is intuitive and easy to control, making you feel at ease from the get-go while generating plenty of traction with its plush rear suspension. Even beginners will quickly get familiar with the bike, as it generously dishes out travel making nasty root carpets disappear under your feet. However, the FOCUS doesn’t encourage an active riding style, because the plush suspension swallows up the rider’s input like a sandbag. As a result, passive riders, who love to plough through the gnar without even noticing, will get on well with the FOCUS while active riders, who like to play with the trail features, popping off ledges and pulling manuals, might be better off with a livelier bike with more pop and support. Because the FOCUS lacks just that, sinking deep into its travel in berms and compressions and making it hard to generate speed.

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 8.9 offers several cool features like the clean carbon frame, internal cable routing and storage compartment at a very fair price. While the spec is very sensible, the high system weight and inefficient rear suspension make for a sluggish character and poor climbing performance. Going downhill, the plush suspension can handle anything you throw in its way but provides little feedback, swallowing up rider’s feedback like a sandbag. In a nutshell, the JAM feels more like a sofa than a trail bike.


  • countless frame features
  • plush suspension


  • sticky dropper remote
  • rear suspension bobs heavily on climbs
  • suspension lacks support and pop

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike of 2022 – 14 models in review

All bikes in test: Atherton AM.150 (Click for review) | Bold Linkin 135 Ultimate (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral CFR (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 8.9 (Click for review) | Mondraker Raze RR SL (Click for review) | Propain Hugene (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 (Click for review) | ROSE BONERO 3 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS (Click for review) | SCOR 4060 ST GX (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO S-Works (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy (Click for review) | YT JEFFSY UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker, Mike Hunger

About the author

Simon Kohler

​​Simon loves speed. He has many years of racing experience as a longboard downhill skater, blasting down alpine passes on his board. In the meantime, he’s swapped four wheels for two, charging down trails and bike park lines aboard his mountain bike instead. He’s savoured some of Europe’s finest trails on various road trips through the Alps. Having lived in Austria for some time, he knows the local Austrian bike parks like the back of his hand. He’s a tech nerd through and through, using the skills and know-how from his engineering degree and his attention to detail to put the latest bikes and components through their paces for our reviews. As an early riser and self-declared muesli connoisseur, he lives his life powered by oats and the strength of his legs.