2022 Focarini Ultra review

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We assume most people haven’t heard of Focarini, it was unfamiliar to us at least. The Focarini Ultra is looking a bit “old school”. All the frame tubes are straightand relatively thin, no bends and curves. But the Ultra isn’t an outdated bike.

Check out our video review of the bike, or keep reading below.

Specs

The Focarini Ultra comes with solid Fulcrum Red Metal 700 wheels. It’s got the Sram NX 11-42t 11-speed drivetrain. Not many emtbs run Sram 11s any more. And that’s a bit strange we think. It offers low enough gears for most types of riding, and it seems to be more durable than some 12-speed systems. We’ve never ridden the Formula Cura brakes before, and we quite like them. They are single caliper brakes that works fine for this kind of bike.

2022 Focarini Ultra and the Polini E-P3+ motor

The bike comes with a nice Rockshox Monarch RL shock, but the fork is cheaper. We’ve previously said the Rockshox 35 Gold RL is the entry level fork for more agressive trail riding. The Focarini Ultra comes with the cheaper Rockshox 35 Silver. The dropper post offerst just 100 mm of travel, which we find too little. Combined with the 140 mm suspension travel, the Ultra doesn’t look like a particularily agressive trail bike.

Focarini Ultra specs

Mild and lightweight?

This bike comes with the weaker of the two Polini emtb motors and a small 500 Wh battery. The manufacturer claim a weight of 22 kg. So, we’re thinking this could be a competitor to the lightweight emtbs such as the alloy Orbea Rise. That’s not the case though. The bike was just under 23,5 kg on our scales. And it turns out there is nothing mild about the 75 Nm Polini E-P3+ motor.

2022 Focarini Ultra
2022 Focarini Ultra

A surprising motor

There is much to say about the motor, so we’ll be back with a review of the Polini E-P3+. This motor is surprisingly powerful. Sure, 75 Nm would indicate it’s not a weak motor. But Polini is also making a 90 Nm version, so we assumed the 75 Nm motor would be less powerful than the full power emtb motors by other manufacturers. We were wrong.

Polini E-P3+ 75 Nm motor
Polini E-P3+

We put the Polini E-P3 up against the weaker Shimano EP8-RS (60Nm) by Orbea, and the Bosch Performance CX (85Nm). The test results were so surprising we had to find another Performance CX powered bike to confirm the results. And taking the bikes to the trails confirmed the results. The Polini E-P3+ was the fastest and most efficient motor. When starting mid hill, the Polini did feel weaker than the other two. But we fixed this by tweaking a setting called “Stickyness” in the Polini app. More on this in the upcoming motor review.

The Polini E-P3+ is a pleasant motor. The pedals need a tiny bit of motion before the motor kicks in, not much though. The E-P3+ ramps up the power pretty conservatively, making it easy to control on the trails. We can easily ride technical trails with maximum motor power. The motor remains active until just over 26 kph. This is legall and it’s an advantage for commuting and such.

The Polini screen is big, with lots of info

The Polini motors can be serviced. The user manual describes a tank that should be filled with grease every 5.000 km. Unlike many other motor manufacturers, Polini makes spare parts for their motors. A Polini certified service center can repair a motor, without voiding the warrany, of course.

Geometry

Focarini doesn’t publish the frame geometry data. The Norwegian distributor claims a head angle of 65*, and nothing else. So we tried measuring our selves. These are inaccurate, ballpark figures. Chainstay length was just over 480 mm and the wheelbase just over 1.220 mm. The Focarini Ultra only comes in two sizes, 44 and 47 cm. We rode the bigger 47 cm frame.

The wheel base seems surprisingly short for a slack bike made to fit 190 cm tall people. Especially considering the long 480 mm rear end. Could it be the head angle actually is a bit steeper? Measuring this is difficult, but we got about 66*.

On the trails

I’m 181 cm tall and find the Focarini Ultra fits me well. How can this bike fit a 190 cm tall rider? Well, we set up the bike as we usually do, for challenging trails. But the Ultra is designed more like a touring bike. The surprisingly long 80 mm stem with a 17* angle allows the handlebar position to be set quite high. With a more upright seating position, bigger riders than I will be comfortable on this bike. Focarini has picked what seems like durable wheels over a refined fork, making it a solid bike for less agressive riding.

2022 Focarini Ultra

And yeah, this bike is comfortable. Especially on the climbs. The long rear end along with the powerful motor makes the Focarini Ultra a capable climber. It’s still a comfortable bike on flatter trails, but it’s not a very playfull and inspiring ride.

The Rockshox 35 Silver fork

The bike feels less confident and stable than we’re used to when descending. The long stem and narrow 74 cm handlebars provides a forward and less confident riding position. And the fork isn’t tracking the ground well enough. We’re not getting much feedback as the front wheel bounces over the chatter at higher speeds. That’s how it is with bikes that aren’t made for agressive trail riding, and that’s okay!

Cheap or expensive?

Prices are constantly going up. Now everything seems expensive to me. The Focarini Ultra is € 5.690, according to mtbici.it. So is that good? I don’t know. Compare it to whatever else is available before you decide.

The Ultra comes with a pretty lightweight removable 500 Wh battery

Conclusion

The Focarini Ultra isn’t designed for descending hard, and it doesn’t belong in the super lightweight category. And that’s perfectly fine. It’s a comfortable all mountain style bike with a powerful motor. The bike comes with some solid components. And when the motor can be serviced without voiding the warranty, this bike has the potential to last a long time.