Posted by Logan Watts
Over the last couple of years there’s been an endless onslaught of new “adventure” bikes coming to market. We’ve already posted releases for three or four this year; and there’s probably twice as many that we didn’t write about. The increase in options isn’t necessarily bad. But with interpretations going in several directions, one might ask, “what exactly is an adventure bike?” And to further complicate the matter, the definition may vary depending on who you ask. As the bike industry currently [loosely] defines it — a drop-bar bicycle that can fit voluminous(ish) tires and is equally adept at handling tarmac, gravel, a little dirt, and a bikepacking load. From a geometry standpoint, this usually translates to a crossbreed of touring bike comfort and cyclocross maneuverability.
With people using such rigs for everything from gravel-grinding, to commuting, to multi-day, mixed surface touring and bikepacking, the popularity of these bikes is on the rise. As such, the category has developed a bit of a formula. This is manifested in both features and frame materials, where the use of steel and carbon has become the mainstay. The compliance of steel combined with the lightweight and vibration absorbing qualities of a carbon fork make a good pairing. It’s also a fairly cost effective combination. Throughout the next day we’ll post four news blips with rather affordable 2018 model year steel, drop-handlebar, adventure bikes… two 100% steel models and two steel/carbon hybrids. Starting with the new Jamis Renegade Expat.
2018 Jamis Renegade Expat
The 2018 Jamis Renegade Expat just came to light in the last couple of days. With a full ensemble of bottle bosses — five pairs all told — a carbon front fork, and a slick new paint job, the Expat looks equally as pretty on screen as it does on paper — for a cool 1200 bucks.
- Frame: Reynolds 520 frame/Carbon fork
- Angles (58cm): 72° Headtube, 73° Seattube
- Bottom Bracket: 68mm BSA Threaded
- Hub specs: 135mm QR (rear); 100x12mm Thru (front)
- Seatpost: 27.2mm
- Max tire size: 700x42mm or 650x47mm
- Price: $1199 (complete)
Like others, Jamis introduced a size-specific frame geometry, which means that each Renegade — six sizes ranging from 48cm to 61cm — has a unique bottom bracket height, rear center, fork offset/trail, and rear triangle dimensions. According to Jamis, this translates to a consistent ride and feel for every rider. The Reynolds 520 double-butted chromoly frame also features a 44mm head tube for a tapered fork, a threaded bottom bracket shell, seat stay disc brake mounts, and full top tube mounted cable housing. From an adventure standpoint, it has three water bottle mounts in and under the triangle, rack and fender eyelets, as well as clearance for 700x42mm and 650x47mm tires.
The Renegade Expat comes with their “Adventure ECO” monocoque carbon composite fork. Specs include a 12mm Jamis MTS (Modular Thru-axle System) with stainless interface and carbon dropouts, a tapered steerer with 1.5” hollow formed crown, flat disc brake mounts, internal cable routing, and exposed fender, lowrider and water bottle eyelets (one pair per blade).
- Frame Reynolds 520 double-butted chromoly, size specific
- Fork Jamis Adventure ECO monocoque carbon
- Headset FSA Orbit ITA B Internal/External, 1.5 – 1 1/8”
- Rims WTB i23 STP disc TCS (UST Tubeless), 32H
- Hubs Formula 12mm front and QR rear alloy 6-bolt
- Tires Clement XPlor MSO, 700 x 36c, 30TPI with protection belt
- Derailleurs Shimano Tiagra RD-4700 GS rear and Tiagra FD-4700 front
- Shift levers Shimano Tiagra ST-4700 Dual Control STI, 20-speed
- Chain KMC 10-speed X10
- Cassette Shimano 10-speed, 11-32T
- Crankset FSA Gossamer MegaExo, 50/34T
- BB Set FSA BB-4000
- Brakeset TRP Spyre mechanical disc, 160mm rotor, Shimano Tiagra ST-4700 levers
- Handlebar Ritchey Evomax Comp, 6061 aluminum, 73 reach, 120 drop with 12° flare
- Stem Ritchey 4-Axis 3D forged 6061 alloy, 110mm (58/61)
- Tape Jamis suede tape
- Seat Post Ritchey Road, 27.2 x 300mm
- Saddle Selle Royal Seta S1
- Sizes 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
- Color Flat Steel
- Weight 24.25 lbs
The 2018 Jamis Renegade Expat shares a few geometry characteristics with a couple other bikes we’ve tested and like. Most similar to the Niner RLT 9 Steel — 59cm Niner compared to the 58cm Jamis — which has an almost identical top tube length, seat tube and head tube angles, as well as very similar BB drop… with numbers changing slightly in standover height, fork rake and stack. So with the Jamis, expect a moderately aggressive stance, good handling characteristics, and a generally versatile bike, at its happiest splitting time on paved and gravel roads with a few stretches of double-stack thrown in for good measure. On paper, my one complaint would be that it can’t fit tires bigger than 42mm in the 700c category. But with that said, I’ve also found 42mm to be a good sweet spot for most gravel exploits… specifically when set up tubeless. EDIT: And, as I was reminded in the comments, a slightly more knee friendly gearing would be nice for loaded riding. We hope to test the Expat in the future. For now, get more information over at JamisBikes.com.