Just in: Jamis Xenith Pro Di2
£2,399 buys you a full carbon race bike with Shimano's second-tier electronic shifting. Not bad...
Evans Cycles have been distributing Jamis bikes in the UK for a couple of years now. We've had a couple – the Aurora and the Quest – and been very impressed with them both. This is something a bit different though.
While the Aurora and Quest were ploughing their Reynolds-framed touring/Audax furrow, Jamis have been making some decent-looking carbon bikes too and the Xenith Pro Di2 is one of the most interesting of the lot. For a start, it's just about the cheapest Ultegra-Di2-equipped full-carbon bike you can get. At £2,399 (list price is £2,799, currently discounted) it's in amongst the direct-selling brands in terms of cost. Let's see what you get for your money.
The frame is a full carbon affair fashioned from a mix of fibres; It's a slightly lower grade mix than Jamis' top-end race frames, as you'd expect, but there's still some high modulus carbon in there. Jamis use a tri-oval shape on the top and down tubes (flat top for the top tube and flat bottom for the down tube) which they claim increases the rigidity of the frame, and Jamis use size-specific tubing diameters to keep the ride characteristics the same across the range of sizes (48-61cm). Bottom bracket is an FSA PressFit 30, and the frame is matched with a full carbon tapered (1.125" - 1.5") monocoque fork with stainless steel axle inserts.
You might expect a bike at this price to be a bit more upright and sportivey, with the words 'vertically compliant' plastered liberally across the description. Not this one. The frame geometry is identical to the team-issue bikes; our 58cm test model has 73/73 angles, an 18cm head tube and a 58cm effective top tube. Them's more or less classic race numbers, although you do get a generous spacer stack if you want to raise the front end a touch. The frame doesn't look to be built with comfort as the primary consideration either. We're used to seeing skinny stays and narrow seatposts to get a bit of cushioning but the Jamis has a beefy rear end and and a 31.6mm 'post - everything's saying 'stiffness' here.
For you're £2,399 you're getting full Ultegra Di2. Obviously you can't mix and match mechs and shifters right now with Ultegra electronic kit. There's an Ultegra compact chainset too, and Shimano 10spd chain and cassette. The Di2 battery is mounted underneath the down tube. The brake callipers aren't Ultegra; they're downgraded to Shimano's non-series dual pivot units. Other finishing kit is by Ritchey, who probably make the best bits to a budget out of anyone. There's a Pro Carbon seatpost, a Pro 4-axis stem and Pro Logic II bars, all excellent quality and dependable gear.
If there's one obvious bit of kit that's taken a hit to get to the price point, then it's the wheels. Shimano's RS10s are one of the better budget wheels out there but they're not light at about 2kg a pair, and they'll be the first thing on the upgrades list. To be honest they'd really be the only thing on the upgrades list; unless you particularly wanted a different saddle to the Selle San Marco Concor supplied, ore fancied splashing out on some carbon bars, or just wanted your brakes to match the rest of your groupset, everything here looks to be absolutely fine.
Our 58cm test bike weighs in at 8.1kg (17.9lb) without pedals; not the lightest bike you can get for the money but not a heavyweight either. There's an easy 500-600g to be saved on the wheels and tyres (Vittoria Rubino Pros) turning the bike into a 7.5kg (16.5lb) race-ready bike for a spend of an extra few hundred quid. Or you might already have your race wheels in the shed.
We've already piloted the Xenith Pro round the 100km Bike Bath Sportive to good effect and we'll be putting some more miles (and some different wheels) onto the bike to see how it stacks up. Check back for a full report soon.