German-based Focus Bikes may be better known in the U.S. for their extensive support of cyclocross and XC racing, but the brand’s recent updates to their suspension platform is a clear indicator they are gunning to capture a piece of the ever-expanding trail bike market. F.O.L.D. or “Focus Optimized Linkage Design” is a departure from the brand’s previous linkage-driven, single pivot suspension.
F.O.L.D.’s clean aesthetic drew us in but like most other brands, an overzealous promise of efficiency, stability, and suppleness can be lost in the marketing fluff.
Focus explains the design simply as a two-phase action in the motion of the rear wheel. The first phase of travel, F.O.L.D works digressively with an initial suppleness soaking up small bumps while also aiding in traction. A second phase offers a simple progressive ramp spring rate maintaining both plushness and feedback while still ensuring enough bottom-out resistance, says Focus. This suspension design is then mated with dedicated tuned shocks specific to the F.O.L.D.’s two-phase motion.
F.O.L.D. will be available on two of Focus’ traditional full suspension mountain bikes, the Jam and the O1E, and also on their new Shimano-driven Full Suspension e-bike, the Jam².
Sporting 140mm of rear travel, the JAM is Focus’ new do-it-all trail bike utilizing the F.O.L.D. technology. The Jam line is made up of a carbon and aluminum frame option, with three build options on either. Riders can also choose between either Shimano or SRAM drivetrains and Fox and RockShox suspension. All models integrate a clean design characteristic with functional features like internal routing and even a bottle cage mount.
If you’re looking for something to tackle more cross-country oriented riding, the O1E offers 100mm of F.O.L.D. suspension technology mated to a MAX carbon frame with full carbon linkage. Designed and tested around the rigors of World Cup XC racing, the O1e is a pure-bred competition machine.
Riders looking for a little assistance but still yearning for the capabilities of a solid trail bike will appreciate the thoughtful integration of F.O.L.D. into the Jam². A Shimano powered, pedal assist, go anywhere e-bike with capabilities and spec package of a full-bore trail bike. Jam² is another prime example of where e-bike technology is headed, just don’t tell your local land manager.
All new Focus bikes are available now through your local dealer and more information can be found at focus-bikes.com.
This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2017 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. For more from Sea Otter CLICK HERE.