“I can’t, I’m not allowed, I shouldn’t…” – seriously, this is old news. The change is too risky, the route too hard, the political correctness too correct. For issue #18 we threw all those concerns overboard and got hold of the absolute sickest bikes money can (not) buy. We at ENDURO are convinced: Dreams can come true!
This article is part of our magazine feature: Dreams Come True – 7 Incredible Bike Builds.
Focus SAM C Team
The all-new Focus SAM Carbon has already proven itself a worthy contender, having claimed a handful of podium positions this year. So that amateurs don’t have any excuses when it comes to performance anymore, Focus also offer the bike in a team edition which channels the racehorse ridden by the Focus Trail Team.
Admittedly we were more than a little disappointed when Focus entered the SAM Carbon without making a single attempt to pimp it up in the name of testing. Alongside all the highly addictive porno-worthy bikes, the SAM came across like the underdog despite its 5,999 € price tag. Carbon bars? Nope. Carbon wheelset? Look elsewhere. But let’s be honest, how much of an impact do such bling-bling parts add to a bike’s overall performance?
With a complete SRAM XX1 groupset, Guide RSC brakes, and a high-quality RockShox suspension setup, the SAM is far from poorly specced. Hence, we really had little reason to complain.
Compared to its aluminium counterpart, the more aggressively shaped frame its low top tube is much more than just an attractive design, as the SAM’s technical stats and geometry left us satisfied. Playing a massive role in the bike’s performance, the geometry and suspension really work, immediately dispelling our doubts about the SAM’s test participation. The long frame and short chainstays lend the SAM that much sought-after mix of stability and agility that every modern enduro bike wants to nail. As a rider, you’re central between the 27.5″ wheels with maximum freedom of movement thanks to the low-slung top tube, which delivers a ton of stability on steep terrain. Your own nerves are the only limit on those high-speed sections. The SAM runs on rails, and you’ve just got to roll with it. To achieve optimal suspension performance, they recommend running the shock with around 30-35% sag, resulting in sensitivity, zero tendency to bottom out, and more than enough in reserve for big hits. However, there’s one criticism: as you brake, the rear of the SAM stiffens up.
Specification: Focus SAM C Team
- Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 160 mm
- Rear Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair 160 mm
- Drivetrain: SRAM XX1
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
- Stem: Concept 60 mm
- Handlebar: Concept 760 mm/li>
- Tyres: Continental Mountain King 2.4″
- Wheelsize: 27.5″
- Wheels: DT Swiss EX1501 Spline One
- Price: € 5,999
- Stylish design.
- Super handling.
- Cockpit takes some getting used to.
- Rear stiffens up as you brake.
Without undertaking any tuning, the Focus SAM C Team has managed to win the hearts of our test riders, proving irrefutably that modern bikes have the capacity to perform brilliantly even when they come directly ‘out of the box.’ If you’re a fan of customizing, the stunning carbon frame couldn’t be a better starting point.
For more information on the Focus SAM visit the Focus website.
This article is part of our magazine feature: Dreams Come True – 7 Incredible Bike Builds. Check out the other dream bikes from this feature here: Bold Linkin Trail Race Day 29 Custom | Canyon Spectral CF Custom | Ghost PathRiot LC 10 | Mondraker Dune Carbon XR | Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus | Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SL
Looking for a more affordable spec of the FOCUS SAM? Check out our FOCUS SAM Ltd Review
Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer
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