Pedaling response: 13.1/15
For those who have ridden a cyclocross bike, the Jamis Renegade Elite will feel familiar, which is both good and bad. It’s good, because the handling is predictable and solid, but on the other hand, it leaves us wondering: Why not just get a cyclocross rig and have the option to race in the fall?
The carbon frame, with its BB386 Evo bottom bracket, responds well under power. The 72-millimeter bottom bracket drop is more stable than most ’cross bikes, while the 71.5-degree head angle offers predictable cornering. Thru-axles front and rear are the right choice for additional stiffness. Beyond ride quality, the Renegade frame has oodles of mounts for fenders, a rear rack, and a third water bottle.
Jamis also deserves credit for building the Renegade with Shimano’s Ultegra mechanical/hydraulic brake build, a great blend of performance and durability. As for the American Classic wheels, we like that they’re tubeless, but the 30-millimeter deep rims seem unnecessary on a gravel bike, and they could put you in a bind if the last spare tube in your buddy’s pack has a short valve stem. Plus, the garish graphics don’t really do it for us.
To clarify the comparison between the Renegade and a ’cross bike, consider a few numbers: Jamis’s Supernova Elite is half a degree steeper in the head tube. The Renegade’s chain stays are 430 millimeters to the Supernova’s 425 millimeters. BB drop is also different: 72 millimeters vs. 69 millimeters, respectively. The greatest difference is the wheelbase; the Renegade measures 21 millimeters longer.
If you’re certain you won’t pin on a number anytime soon, the Renegade is a great all-terrain option.
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and 11-32 cassette; Shimano RS785 hydraulic disc brakes; American Classic Argent tubeless-ready wheels
Weight: 18.6 pounds (size 54cm)