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Racing on a budget? Look no further. The Xenith isn’t the lightest, stiffest, or most agile bike of the bunch, but it delivers admirably in all of those categories for less than the cost of a high-end pair of wheels.
The Xenith’s carbon frame tubes are designed to provide optimal stiffness without adding a bunch of weight. The top tube and down tube are tapered and use a tri-ovalized shape to increase lateral and torsional stiffness — good for sprints and hard digs on climbs — while maintaining plenty of vertical compliance, to help keep the ride smooth and comfortable.
The bike accelerates impressively well when we really put some power into the pedals. It feels like a high-end race bike, responsive and stiff from the bottom bracket up, something any sprinter would appreciate heading into the final meters of a race. Surprisingly, the Xenith’s 86.5-millimeter-wide BB386 Evo bottom bracket didn’t score particularly well in our lab testing, recording 0.81mm of deflection at the BB, but together with the bike’s frame designs, the bike rides better than it tests.
While the bike’s geometry points toward racing — low 14cm head tube, snappy 405mm chain stays, and 74-degree seat tube angle — the Xenith does offer a level of comfort, once again thanks to its frame design. Jamis engineers moved the bike’s rear brake down to the bottom bracket so they could tune the seat stays for ride quality rather than to support the brake. Long training rides over bumpy roads won’t leave you feeling wrecked by the end of the day, at least not from vibrations. However, as we note in the review of the men’s Xenith, this is not the most mechanic-friendly way to run a rear brake.
The Shimano 105 build certainly helps keep the price down, but that group is predictable and dependable enough for racing or any other type of road adventures. For $2,200, you’d be hard pressed to find a better race bike at this exceptional value.
Component highlights: Shimano 105 drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and 12-25 cassette; 105 brakes; Alex AT 470 tubeless-compatible wheels