Bicycling Magazine reviewed – Jamis Xenith Comp, Race and loved it!
The Jamis Xenith Comp Is a Carbon Road Bike
YOU’LL GO FARTHER, FASTER—AND MORE COMFORTABLY—ON THIS ENTRY-LEVEL, LIGHT-FEELING, CARBON BIKE.
Jan 16, 2019
Weight: 20.9 lb. (56cm)
Drivetrain: Shimano Tiagra
Tire size: 25mm
The right bike for: Riders who want a high-performing carbon frame at an entry-level price
Upgrading to a carbon road bike is a big deal. At least, it was to me when I made the transition in July 2015. I remember how smooth the road felt beneath me, how much faster I thought I’d instantly become, how much more validated I felt; finally, I thought of myself as a cyclist. Of course, I now know that you’re a cyclist the second you learn how to pedal and stay upright, but at that time, as a bright-eyed roadie, a carbon frame seemed like the key to becoming a real rider. The Jamis Xenith Comp evoked similar emotions as I rode it through subfreezing weather on broken Pennsylvania roads, in large part because its price, componentry, sleek frame design, glossy finish, and soothing ride feel make its purpose as an entry-level carbon road bike instantly known.
Complete with a carbon frame and fork, Shimano Tiagra groupset, flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes, Selle Royal saddle, and 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro tires, the Xenith Comp is set up to help you traverse nearly every paved road you’ll encounter, which will likely be appreciated if you choose to venture farther, faster, than you have before on a bike. While it doesn’t come with the raciest of groupsets, for just over $2,000 you’ll have a frame that softens road chatter to a nearly silent hum, leaving you to focus on dropping wattage bombs instead of how badly you wish your local government would pave that road. I do think it’s a light-feeling carbon road bike capable of helping you comfortably finish your next race, gran fondo, or favorite group ride.
The Best Part
The carbon frame is the best thing about this bike—each test editor at Bicycling who rode, felt, and reviewed this frame was impressed by it. And no, that’s not because we think carbon is always the superior material for bike manufacturing. It’s because the frame and fork on the Xenith Comp exceeded our expectations by feeling lighter than it weighs and riding with a smoothness that’s comparable to bikes costing more than $3,000.
It’s not the stiffest or most aerodynamic frame I’ve ever ridden, nor is it the lightest. In fact, if you’re looking for a race bike in the $2,000 range, I’d recommend aluminum models like the Cannondale CAAD12 105, Specialized Allez Sprint Comp Disc, or the Jamis Icon Pro. However, if you’re a rider who prioritizes comfort and wants to quell the harshness of the road below with a carbon frame for just a touch over $2,000, this bike might be for you.
* Light carbon frame Hydraulic disc brakes Internal cabling
* Similarly priced aluminum bikes come with higher-end groupsets
The Jamis Xenith Comp comes with relatively standard, reliable components for its price. Those components include Shimano Tiagra front and rear derailleurs, a 50/34-tooth Shimano Tiagra crankset, a 10-speed 11-32 cassette, Shimano flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes, 42cm 3T Ernova aluminum handlebar (size 56cm), a carbon Jamis seatpost, Selle Royal Seta S1 saddle, and 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro tires.
As stated above, you can buy similarly priced aluminum bikes with slightly better components, but you sacrifice the benefits of a carbon frame.
The Xenith Comp is the lowest tier of Jamis’s race-oriented Xenith line. Five other bikes exist within the family: Xenith LTD ($6,999), Xenith Team ($4,799), Xenith Pro ($3,199), Xenith Race ($2,599), and Xenith Comp Femme ($2,499). Each bike in the line features hydraulic disc brakes and thru-axles, and each bike, except for the Comp Femme, is available in sizes 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, and 61cm.
The top-of-the-line LTD comes with a SRAM Red eTap groupset and 3T Discus C35 Team carbon wheelset. The Team features a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace groupset and, at 16 pounds, is claimed to be the lightest bike in the line. The Pro offers a Shimano Ultegra groupset and the Race has a Shimano 105 groupset. Finally, the Xenith Comp Femme is a women-specific build that comes with a Shimano 105 groupset and is available in sizes 44, 48, 51, and 54cm.
The size 56cm Xenith Comp I tested has a 780mm standover height, 561mm stack height, 394mm reach, 73-degree head- and seat tube angles, and a 565mm effective top tube.
The most enjoyable and surprising thing about riding the Xenith Comp was that it felt lighter than it weighed, an enviable trait meaning that the bike outperforms its cost. Pedaling at a leisurely pace over rolling hills and then at tempo up some 10-minute long climbs, this bike offered the same smoothness and ease of use that I’m used to experiencing on bikes nearly twice its cost. It dampened pothole-filled roads in need of repair without feeling soft, and at higher speeds, while descending, it seemed to transfer my power as efficiently.
In short, what you get with the $2,100 Xenith Comp is a carbon frame that’s comparable to those found on high-end race bikes. That being said, there is a catch: You’re getting this bike at that cost because the components don’t match the quality of the frame. That’s not to say that the components aren’t reliable, but it is to say that it’s what you sacrifice for getting such a nice frame on a complete bike for a relatively low price.