Just in: Jamis Quest

Steel mile-eater with mudguard clearance and rack mounts - sportive, audax or super-commuter? You decide...

by Dave Atkinson   January 30, 2012  

Want a bike made out of steel? Seems to us like there's more and more choice every time we look. Whereas a few years ago you were lucky to get a single steel frame out of a manufacturer - and that was a singlespeed bike more often than not - nowadays you can find a full range of steeds from any number of sources. Jamis is one; the American outfit have at least twelve models and six different steel frames covering road, touring and singlespeed. We've just taken delivery of the Quest, second bike down in the range from the Reynolds-853-tubed Eclipse.

The Quest is an Audax bike. Okay it doesn't say 'Audax' on it and there's not a huge Audax scene over in the US of A, but it ticks all the boxes. More upright geometry? Tick. 25mm tyres and room for mudguards? Tick. Bosses to fit those mudguards, and a rack too? Tick. Emphasis on comfort rather than all-out performance? Tick. You could call it a 'lightweight performance tourer' if that makes you happier. Or a 'super commuter'. You could quite happily knock out a sportive on it too, I shouldn't wonder. Or get some winter training miles in. It's a versatile kind of a bike.

Heart of the Jamis is a Reynolds steel frame. This bike is made from air-hardened 631 tubes, the same tubeset as the excellent Aurora Elite we tested last year, but it's a very different machine from the gate-framed, disc-equipped tourer. You get a sloping top tube and a high front end; really high in the case of our 61cm test bike which sports a 22cm head tube to go with its 58.5cm effective top tube. The tube sizes are specific to each individual frame across the size range, to ensure that the ride and handling characteristics are the same whether you're on a 47cm bike or a 61cm one. Interestingly enough, although the bike feels just about right for me (1.90m) the generous slope in the top tube means the not-so-generous 350mm seatpost isn't quite long enough to get the saddle up to where I need it. Admittedly that's an unusually high 83.5cm from the centre of the BB - I'm all legs, dontcha know - but worth noting. I'll just swap it out for a longer one.

The fork is very different from the Aurora too; whereas on the tourer you get a cromoly unit, here you're treated to a full carbon fork with forged alloy dropouts. There's a mudguard eyelet and the fork is finished in the same midnight blue as the frame.

Back to the front and the Quest uses an NVO components adjustable threadless stem. This consists of a sleeve and topcap to tighten the headset, with the stem free to move up and down the sleeve. This means you can adjust the position of the bars without taking everything to bits, so if you're on a long ride and your back's starting to feel it you can hoik up the bars to give yourself a bit of respite. It looks a bit odd, but no more so than a big spacer stack. Attached to that stem is a Ritchey Biomax shallow drop ergonomic bar for an easily reachable drop position. They're finished off with suede-effect tape.

Running gear on the Quest is Shimano's excellent 105 groupset, with a non-series compact chainset to save a bit of money. The brakes have been swapped out too, for long-reach dual pivots to make sure there's enough room for mudguards should you choose to fit them. With a 50/34 up front and an 11-28 cassette on the rear you shouldn't be wanting for gears.

Wheels are Ritchey Zeta Comps with 20 spokes in a single cross patter at the front, and 24 crossing twice at the back. you wouldn't want to fit a rack and carry the kitchen sink around with you on 24 spokes, but they're dependable wheels and you should be fine with smaller loads. They're shod with Vittoria's dependable Zaffiro Pro tyres in a 25mm width, a good all-rounder. All-in the bike weighs 9.7kg (21.3lb) and if you want one it'll set you back £1,249 through Evans Cycles

It looks like it should be a dependable and comfy mount for getting the miles in, and the fact that you can add 'guards and a rack means it's a pretty versatile bike too. I'll be getting the miles in over the the next couple of months on the Quest, so stay tuned for a full review soon.

www.jamisbikes.com

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Looks like a really great, practical, versatile bike, and great value too.

Is it really a full carbon fork, or does it have an alloy steerer?

I don't suppose it is available as frame and forks only, is it?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1380 posts]
30th January 2012 - 11:16

1 Like

It says it is cat1, and we've got no reason to doubt we'll have a look though when we get back to the office tomorrow

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
30th January 2012 - 12:06

1 Like

Is it just me, or is that a really upright geometry? Hoods level with saddle even with a lot of seatpost showing seems a bit too comfort-orientated to me. Even with my stumpy legs, I have a couple of inches of drop even on a commuter fixed gear, otherwise headwinds are just too horrible to contemplate.

posted by steff [81 posts]
30th January 2012 - 12:19

1 Like

nice to see a modern steel bike not trying to look like it's 30 years old, very tidy & nice rear dropouts as well. Wheels seem an odd choice mind, you'd think some more spokes would be appropriate but at least they're regular J spokes. Brakes are the BR-450 which I have on my T2, good stoppers once you get rid of the wooden blocks.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [910 posts]
30th January 2012 - 12:20

1 Like

That head tube is MENTAL.

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [433 posts]
30th January 2012 - 12:24

2 Likes

My 61cm Cervelo RS has a 22cm head tube. (This is the only side-on pic I have)

I think the Jamis looks insane due to the thinner tubes, longer fork, the spacer thing, and the short seatpost.

@ Dave - Do you think you'd get a set of 28s in under some sks thermoplastic guards? (as least at the back?). If so, then I may have found my next commuter/winter bike.

posted by Matt_S [200 posts]
30th January 2012 - 13:27

1 Like

Matt_S wrote:
@ Dave - Do you think you'd get a set of 28s in under some sks thermoplastic guards? (as least at the back?). If so, then I may have found my next commuter/winter bike.

I'd say there should be plenty of room for 28 mm tyres plus guards (and I mean tyres that actually measure 28 mm too, which may be labelled 32 mm!) The standard (a.k.a. "deep") drop brakes shown have their blocks towards the bottom of their slots on both the front and the back, so the designer has left plenty of clearance.

Might be an idea to check the clearance at the chainstay too.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1380 posts]
30th January 2012 - 14:26

1 Like

"My 61cm Cervelo RS has a 22cm head tube."

So does my 63cm CAAD9; but, as you say, the Jamis adds an external headset and (presumably) a longer fork - and that, um, different* stem. Aesthetically I'm not a fan of sloping top tubes on road bikes at the best of times, but this thing is in a class of its own...

* ghastly

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [433 posts]
30th January 2012 - 15:40

1 Like

Great-looking bike (it's even the right colour) and ideal for Audax and low-luggage touring if the review is accurate.

And there I was thinking I wouldn't buy another bike for the credit-card-and-change-of-shorts tour...

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
30th January 2012 - 17:18

1 Like

Anyone know if a frame only option of this or the eclipse will be available in the UK? - Evans are complete bikes only at the mo.

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
1st February 2012 - 19:20

1 Like

Be aware that Evans can't supply alternative length stems and the UK supplier (Greyville Enterprises) no longer deals with NVO.
I have sent 2 e-mails to NVO asking about availability in the UK and not had a reply...........
How easy it would be possible to change the steerer to accept a "normal" stem I don't know.
Shame, because the bikes look nice, but if the stems' the wrong length I'm not sure I'd buy one.

posted by Forty45 [4 posts]
26th February 2012 - 18:07

1 Like

Quote:
How easy it would be possible to change the steerer to accept a "normal" stem I don't know.

just a case of swapping the stem and spacers, not hard at all

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7502 posts]
26th February 2012 - 19:18

1 Like

I think the steerer may also need cutting then (which could be carbon fibre)as the stack height may be greater than the usual 30 mm.

posted by Forty45 [4 posts]
22nd March 2012 - 7:46

1 Like

@MattS - yes, i'd think you could squeeze a 28mm under a guard back there. i haven't tried but there's lots of room

@steff - i put the saddle down a couple of inches for the bike shots cause i normally get told off if it's where i normally have it ("what's the saddle doing up there in the clouds?"). so actually there's a decent drop when i'm riding the jamis: less than i'd normally have (my legs are long for my height) but similar to what a normal human would expect.

@Bez - the stem's not an oil painting, no Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7502 posts]
22nd March 2012 - 8:37

1 Like

Looking forward to your ride review Dave. I am also interested on your thoughts for fit size of this bike for 40 - 80 km road rides. I would usually be a 58cm fit but with the upright geometry and 57cm effective top tube I am concerned about 58 cm being too compact. I am 6' 1.5" tall and a bit long in the torso, approximate 33.5-34 inch inseam. My concern with going to the 61 cm bike is that the head tube increases 2 cm and may cause me to be too upright. No bikes here in town to try so I have to order.

posted by new roads [4 posts]
30th March 2012 - 20:57

1 Like

I'm 6'2" and the 61cm is a very good fit for me, to be honest it's more like a 59cm in terms of reach and the 58 more like a 57.

the 22cm head tube is tall but i've still got a decent drop to the bars, i'm a 34.5" inseam. You can always slam the stem right down. i haven't got it at its lowest and it's been very comfy on rides up to 200km

full ride review soon.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7502 posts]
30th March 2012 - 22:19

1 Like

Thanks for your speedy and thoughtful response Dave. Good to hear the top tube and drop on the 61 cm works well for you. I only like a drop of about 1" so even if I have to move the seat down 1 inch for my 33.5" inseam it sounds like the 61 cm Quest should work well for me. If I have to slide the stem down I can. It may not be pretty in the low position but I give Jamis credit here for being smart and giving riders the practical ease and flexibility of this adjustable stem.

Will wait patiently for your review.

posted by new roads [4 posts]
31st March 2012 - 0:24

1 Like