A brand name full carbon bike with 9 speed parts for <$800. After testing the Jamis Xenith Endura 1 from Jenson USA we can honestly say there isn’t a catch, or a ‘but’ in the statement. Read our full review to find out why.
Key Details of the Jamis Xenith Endura 1 as Reviewed
Model Year: 2011
Discounted MSRP: $749
Original MSRP: $1,800
• Carbon frame & fork
• Rear rack mounts
• Shifters – Shimano Tiagra 9-speed
• Front Derailleur – Sora
• Rear Derailleur – Shimano 105 9-speed
• Crankset – FSA Vero Compact with PowerDrive, 50/34T
Unboxing the Jamis Xenith Endura 1 from Jenson USA
If you haven’t watched my unboxing originally shot for Bike Shop Girl, give it a a go now.
Overall, I was really impressed with Jenson’s packing job on this bike. It was pre-tuned, and test ridden before they boxed it. You simply install the wheels, rear derailleur, handlebar, stem, and pump up your tires. The only way to make this packing better is to be able to put your wheels on and go, but that would have cost a great deal more in shipping.
My general experience with Jenson, their quality of bike build, and boxing was top notch. Anytime I have personally ordered a part from their online store I have also received great customer service and clear email updates. (That isn’t to say your local bike shop isn’t wonderful, and they don’t have the perfect bike for you.)
Thoughts on the Bike Build
The main reason you are getting a significant deal on this bike is because it is a 2011 model that I assume was left over stock that Jenson bought from Jamis. The frame, and parts are durable, but not too heavy. The carbon frame-set (frame and fork) come from a reputable brand with an upright, but not overly “comfort oriented” fit, and ride to them.
The drivetrain is 9 speed 105/Tiagra/Sora in the middle of the line from Shimano in 2011. You may want to upgrade the whole bike in a couple of years, but replacing these parts as you ride the snot out of this bike will be very affordable and smart way to get into the sport.
Finally, a compact double crank is perfect for most riders these days.
What Is It Like to Ride
Let’s begin with a reminder that bikes are like jeans, you should try on a few to find the perfect fit.
Over the course of several good rides I really enjoyed this little ride. The carbon frame was built for comfort, but it did keep a good snap under pedal when standing to give it a go. I found the fit to be easy, and loved that there was room to go up or down with the stem depending on what you wanted out the bike. Weekend racer? Slam the stem, and put faster tires or wheels. Weekday commuter? Leave the stem up, throw a rack on the back, and more flat resistant tires. Recreational cyclist? Add some water bottles and the bike is ready for you. The shorter top tube, and taller head tube fit my long legged frame well.
The 9 speed parts provided ample range in gearing, and I never missed that extra 1 or 2 gears from 10 or 11 speed drivetrains. It wasn’t as crisp as Ultegra or Dura Ace, but it is also $2-4k cheaper.
Cycling has been made out to be this sexy sport. When I flip through magazines, or read the big deal online sites (that I love) they are often reviewing the top line Ferrari model of bikes. I don’t know when budget friendly road bikes became $2,000, but it makes me sad for the sport, and for the beginner consumer that may be put off because the price tag. I thoroughly enjoy testing, and reviewing <$1k bikes because this is how we will grow the sport of cycling. This Jamis Xenith Endura is a great example of that. An overstocked bike, with a great brand name and parts, at an amazing price, online. This is the perfect bike to get people stoked on road riding.
The bike has it’s cons – I personally don’t like FSA cranks or chainrings after many negative encounters with them as a mechanic. The Zaffiro tires are okay, but won’t last if you live anywhere with tough roads – I wouldn’t commute or race on them for sure. The cons aren’t deal breakers, but I do recommend to budget for better tires in the future.
Disclaimer: This bike was temporarily provided for review by the fine folks at Jenson. We weren’t paid or bribed for this review.