Featured Review: Jamis Quest
by spballantyne

Price Paid: $1600.00 at University Cyclery
Review Date: March 1, 2010
Overall Rating:
4 of 5
Value Rating:
5 of 5

Favorite Ride:
Mission Trails - San Antonio

Bike Setup:
Stock Jamis Quest with Brooks B17 Special Saddle.

I have been riding my 2009 Jamis Quest for about 7 months now, and with every mile I fall a bit more in love with this bike.

I've been a mountain and city cyclist for some time, but the Quest is the first true road bike I've owned. When I resolved to lay down the cash (or plastic) for a roadie, I had an open mind but a few criteria. First, price - between $1500 and 2000. There is certainly a diverse - even daunting - spectrum of desirable bikes in this price range. Plenty of aluminum frames, some steel, and even some budget carbons. Next, I wanted a ride that was road-fast but not necessarily race-fast. I was willing to trade a couple mph for comfort and the ability to enjoy the scenery. Lastly, I wanted bike that others envied. Yes, I suffer from the common condition of human vanity. After much research and consternation, I settled on the Quest and haven't regretted it for a moment.

The Quest is a steel frame beauty featuring both classic lines and contemporary geometry. There are some good aluminum frames out for very attractive prices, but, to my senses, aluminum will always have a harsher tone than steel. It doesn't bother me a bit when I'm knocking down a few miles of single track on my hardtail mountain bike, but 40 miles over asphalt is a different story. The Quest's frame almost seems to be road-tuned, with none of the numbness that creeps up your forearms to the teeth. The Quest's carbon fork also dampens the buzz nicely. A full carbon frame would be nice, but the selection was limited in my stated price range, and the budget carbons tend to cut corners in componentry. Someday, I'm sure carbons will be competitive (even dominant) at this price point, but were just not there yet. Also, there's the matter of those great lines. Where aluminum tubing is getting almost comically large in diameter, steel is tight and consistently sized throughout the tube. Jamis's size-specific-tubing also ensures that the diameter and weight are proportional to your particular frame size. Carbon can look very cool with its fluid spacecraft-like tube geometry, but it will never look "classic." A matter of ascetic taste I suppose.

In the arena of componentry, the Quest is like nothing else in its price range. While everyone else is sporting Sora and Tiagra setups, the Quest boasts 105's all around, with the exception of (dig this) an Ultegra rear derailleur. This is a simply amazing package of Shimano coolness for the money they're asking. Yes, you can go lesser and upgrade at an unspecified date in the future, but, at this price, you can be a real American and refuse to delay your gratification even one minute. The only component on the bike that I wasn't happy with was the saddle. It's some sort of comfort model, but I'm the picky type and very protective of the soft tissue betwixt my manhood and coccyx. I swapped it for a beautiful honey-colored Brooks B17 Special - which looks great with the cork bar tape.

Finally, there's the envy thing. I was prompted to finally write this review by a recent experience at my local bike shop. This wasn't the place I bought my Quest at; I just rode over to shop for a new helmet. When I handed my bike to one of the wrenchers to rack for a minute, he called a couple of other shop guys over to look at it. This is a place that sells mostly Trek aluminum and carbon frames, and they all swooned over my baby. First, they asked if it was a restored classic. No, less than a year old. Next, they asked if it was custom job. No, all stock but the saddle. Finally, they asked where I got it. It was very gratifying to have people who spend most of their waking life around bikes (many very expensive ones) admiring my choice. They complemented the lines, paint, components, and even my choice of steel as a frame material.

I highly recommend the Jamis Quest to anyone looking for a great value on a great bike.

  • Good frame.
  • Great components.
  • Beautiful lines.
  • Personally, I didn't care for the feel of the saddle and replaced it with a Brooks B17 Special.
  • Although the Quest is light for a steel frame, it is definitely not the lightest bike on the market. However, at around 20 pounds, it's well-suited for recreational riding and non-competitive group rides.

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