It's a cracking bike, the Jamis Quest. Comfortable and versatile and quick. The bike it reminds me of most is the Genesis Equilibrium, which I liked enough to buy one. It's a close call, but for me I think the Jamis might be even better. Test bikes come and go, but I'll certainly miss the Quest when it's gone.
Frame and Fork
The Quest is built around a Reynolds 631 steel frameset. Air-hardened 631 tubing is widely used for Audax and touring bikes because it builds up into a strong and comfortable frame. The Quest is an Audax bike, essentially. Call it something else if you want but what we have here is a road frame with a high front end, built for long drop calliper brakes and plenty of room for mudguards. There's rack mounts too if you want to commute on the Quest or do a bit of light touring, although the rack will have to share an eyelet with mudguards at the dropout, as there's only one hole. Jamis use size-specific tubing across the range, meaning that tube diameters and wall thicknesses are tailored to the different sized frames.
The 61cm stated frame size is more like what I'd call a 59cm; although the seat tube is just 54cm it features a heavily sloping top tube and a reach of 58.5cm. The headtube is a generous 22cm, the wheelbase 101.8cm. That big slope means I was running a lot of seatpost; more, in fact, than the supplied 300mm post would allow, so I swapped it out for a 350mm one, pictured above.
The build quality and finish of the frame is very good and the finish has proved resilient to knocks and scrapes. It's mated with a full Carbon fork with forged alloy dropouts, again with mudguard clearance and eyelets, painted in the same Midnight Blue.
For £1,249 you'd hope for Shimano 105 or equivalent quality gearing, and that's exactly what you get. The chainset's a non-series compact one to save a bit of cash, and the long drop brakes are non-series too, but the rest of the transmission, from the STI levers to the 11-28T cassette, is 105 level. It's a high quality drivetrain that should last, and the 34/28 bottom gear should be low enough for any road climb.
Wheels are often the thing to give when you're trying to build a bike to a price point, so it's good to see a good quality set of hoops like Ritchey's Zeta Comps. Ours – the rear in particular – weren't very tightly built. I don't know if this is generally the case but I spent a half hour tightening them up a bit, and it was definitely half an hour well spent; If you're buying in-store at Evans it would be a good idea to get them to check the spoke tension. They're not the lightest wheelset but in terms of the quality – spoke tension excluded – they're a rung above what you might expect for this sort of money. The 24mm rims are laced to cartridge bearing hubs with DT Champion spokes, 20 at the front (single cross) and 24 at the back (two cross). Vittoria's Zaffiro Pro 25mm tyres are your point of contact with the tarmac. If there's a criticism, it's that they're not the stiffest wheels in the world, that's likely to be more of an issue if you're a heavy rider like me; tightening them up a bit helped a lot though.
finishing kit is predominantly Ritchey too: Comp Biomax bars and a Comp alloy saddle. The stem is an NVO adjustable unit. If you haven't seen one of those before, then basically the stem fits over a full length sleeve instead of having spacers above and below. That means that you can adjust the height of the stem simply by releasing the clamp bolt; there's no need to take anything apart. The 80mm sleeve means there's about 40mm of up/down adjustment. Suede tape and a cutaway sport saddle complete the bike.
In a word: lovely. If you're looking to do long rides and you want something versatile and fairly quick but with plenty of comfort, then look no further. The Jamis is just the kind of bike you need. Right from the off it's apparent that the bike is going to deliver a great steel ride. It's a bit difficult to pin down exactly what makes a good steel bike feel so satisfying and it's more than just the frame that's a factor, but everything works very harmoniously here.
The frame is stiff enough to deliver power efficiently when you're jumping on the pedals, but there's enough compliance in the bike that the rear wheel doesn't skip over rough surfaces. That's especially noticeable when climbing, there's masses of grip from the rear even when it's a bit unweighted. The Ritchey wheels have stayed true after their tweak and roll very well, although there can still be a bit of brake rub at the back when you're out of the saddle. The Zaffiro Pro tyres are decent all-round performers although they're not as sticky as some in the wet.
On the flat the upright position is a good compromise between long distance comfort and the ability to hunker down on the drops to beat the wind. The adjustable stem means that if you do find yourself fighting a headwind it's simple to drop the front end a couple of centimetres, or alternatively you can raise the riding position if you're starting to feel it in your back after a few hours. It's not much, but it can be useful, which makes up for the fact that the stem's not the best looking thing ever made.
The all-Carbon fork is comfortable and tracks well even when you're flying down a long descent. When you're ready to slow down the Shimano long drop callipers do a decent job; one of the first things you'll want to change are the standard pads for some decent cartridge ones, but there's plenty of stopping power on offer. I managed to eke a small amount of chatter out of the long drop callipers at times, but nothing untoward and a better set of brake blocks than the very basic ones supplied would probably eliminate it completely.
The Quest is happy enough to deal with your commute or leisure riding, but it really shines on longer rides. I've done a 200km overnight epic on our test bike through the Welsh mountains, and while my legs might have been complaining on the sunset climb over the Gospel Pass, it was fitness, not comfort, that was the issue. I'm hoping to keep hold of the Jamis for a 300km and 400km over the next couple of months and I'll update this review with my thoughts, but I'm convinced that it's more or less the perfect tool for the job. The position is right, the feel of the bike is right, the equipment is well thought out and dependable.
It's not all green-lane bimbling though. Put the power down and the Jamis is happy to respond. Our Welsh overnighter included six miles of handlebar-chewing chain gang along the main road to Builth Wells and I never once felt like it was the bike holding me back. Should you fancy a sportive or two and find yourself in group holding a decent pace, the Quest is perfactly capable of tagging along. You might feel the slight overall weight penalty on the hills if you're a particularly observant rider, but there's only a couple of pounds extra over the lightest Carbon bike you'll get for this money, and that's all in the frame, not in the wheels where you'll really feel it.
It's a bit more Audaxy, in terms of look and feel, than the slightly more purposeful Equilibrium, but there's not much in it. My preference for the Quest over the Genesis is mostly down to the fit; I'm longer than average in the leg so the long head tube puts me in what feels like just the right position. If you're the other way round to me there's a chance you may find it too upright; as always, test ride if you can. The geometry probably looks more stood up than it is thanks to the long headtube and skinny steel profiles. In reality the 61cm Quest has a very similar geometry to a BMC GF01 in the same size, or a 58cm Specialized Roubaix. It's not outrageous.
If this reads like a glowing report, that's because it is. I've really enjoyed riding the Quest, which for me has just about the perfect balance of weight, comfort and speed for longer distance riding. The solid spec and good quality wheelset make it a bike package that's well worth the £1,249 asking price, and it can be pressed into all kinds of different riding, from sportives to the daily commute. There's very little not to like here.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Jamis Quest
Size tested: 61cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame: Reynolds 631 seamless air-hardened chromoly main tubes, SST tubing diameters, sloping top tube design, double-tapered heat-treated stays, reinforced head tube collars, lost wax dropouts with single eyelet
Fork: Jamis full carbon composite with forged alloy dropouts with single eyelet
Headset: Ritchey LB Aheadset, 1 1/8'
Wheels: Ritchey Comp Zeta wheelset, 20/24H, 24mm rim profile, cold forged CNC hubs with cartridge bearings and DT Champion spokes
Tires: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro, 700 x 25c, folding
Derailleurs: Shimano 105 RD-5700 rear and Shimano 105 FD-5700 front with 28.6mm alloy clamp
Shiftlevers: Shimano 105 ST-5700 Dual Control STI, 20-Speed
Chain: Shimano 10-Speed
Cassette: Shimano 10-Speed 11-28T
Crankset: Shimano FC-R565 compact double, 50/34T, 170mm (48/51), 172.5mm (54/56), 175mm (58/61)
BB Set: Shimano BB4600 external
Brakeset: Shimano BR450 Super SLR long reach dual pivot calipers with adjustable pads and Shimano 105 ST-5700 STI brake levers
Handlebar: Ritchey Comp BioMax, 6061 double-butted aluminum, 31.8 x 400mm (48/51), 420mm (54/65) 440mm (58/61)
Stem: NVO Components F-2 adjustable threadless system (ATS) 3D cold forged aluminum stem, 7� x 90mm (48/51), 100mm (54/56) 120mm (58/61). ATS shim length 80mm
Grips: Jamis suede tape with Jamis logo and 'J' end plug
Seat Post: Ritchey Comp Road, 27.2 x 300mm with cromo seatpin
Saddle: Jamis Touring Sport with pressure relief cut-out and hollow chromoly rails
Sizes: 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Color: Midnight Blue
Weight: 19.00 lbs
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
This is what Jamis have to say...
Nothing''absolutely nothing''beats steel's magic carpet ride quality. It's why magazines describe the most praiseworthy carbon and aluminum frames as being 'steel-like.' Steel is the benchmark. And these bikes show you why.
Legendary Reynolds steel''possibly the winningest brand in cycling''and our own Size Specific Tubing guarantee amazing ride quality, with the zing and resilience that minimizes road vibration and maximizes pedal efficiency and handling potential. Steel road bikes just feel planted in corners, and with our full carbon road fork to guide them, these bikes absolutely rail around the bends.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Nicely made and finished, paint is pretty tough
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
73/73 angles with a tall head tube and steeply sloping top tube
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
One of the comfiest long distance bikes i've ridden
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiff enough for the job in hand
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
None at all
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? neutral
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The bike felt planted at all times, especially good at cruising speeds
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Everything worked as a harmonious whole
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
Ours weren't very tightly built out of the box
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Very much
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.