Review: Jamis Bossanova

By Karl Rosengarth

When asked to describe the idea behind the Bosanova, Greg Webber, the vice president of product development at Jamis, had this to say: “Our Pacific Northwest retailers had been asking us for a rain bike: steel-framed, disc-brake equipped, drop-bar road bike (with fenders) for foul weather commuting and/or training that would retail for less than $1,500.” To make a long story short, Jamis mated the touring/ adventure geometry of their Aurora with their racier Quest model and begat the Bosanova.

I found that the resultant all-around geometry worked well, considering the bike’s versatile intentions. The Bosanova felt stable and held its line through high-speed corners. Still, it dodged potholes and responded quickly when pressed. Yes, a bike can be responsive without being twitchy-fast.

Fitting/adjusting the stem height was a breeze, thanks to the NVO adjustable threadless system, which replaces the typical spacer stack with a special shim that slips over the steerer tube, and uses a stem that’s sized to fit over the shim. Simply loosen the stem bolt, slide the stem up/down on the shim to the desired height, and retighten.

Adorning the double-butted chromoly frame are painted-to-match steel fenders and Avid BB-5 cable-actuated disc brakes. From my first rainy-day commute, I fell in love with the stopping power of the disc brakes. The fenders covered enough of the wheels to deflect the vast majority of spray, though my piggies did get a wee, wee wet on the way home.

Jamis positioned the rear fender and rack eyelets such that they don’t interfere with the disc brake caliper. I easily mounted a rear rack with no special adapters required. The chainstays proved long enough to provide heel clearance for my 14”-wide rear panniers. With loaded rear panniers, the Bosanova felt stable and predictable. I noticed some flex at the bottom bracket, but it was minor and I’d have no concerns about touring on the Bosanova. Overall, the Bosanova rode with the resilient and lively feeling that I’ve come to associate with a chromoly steel bike.

The carbon fiber fork has eyelets at the dropouts and mid-leg. I didn’t mount a front rack, but Jamis told me that the load limit for the fork is 30-35kgs. On rough roads, I noticed some fore-aft fork-leg flex, which helped absorb some road vibration and soften the ride.

The mostly-Shimano-Tiagra drivetrain came with a 12-30-tooth cassette and sported a FSA Vero triple crankset with PowerDrive BB (50/39/30-tooth). The triple crank contributed to the bike’s versatility, and I loved having the lower gears whenever hauling a load. Gear changes were smooth and reliable, albeit not as crisp/ quick as higher-end Shimano 2×10 offerings.

On the recreational end of the spectrum, I enjoyed the bike’s smooth, comfortable ride during multi-hour jaunts on both paved and unpaved country roads. It was a snap to slam that adjustable stem down and get into a more aggressive position when I felt like hammering out a training ride.

The Vittoria Randonneur Cross 700x28c tires offered plenty of grip over hard and soft surfaces, and rolled plenty fast. I mounted 38mm tires and found ample frame/fork clearance, with just enough fender clearance to do the trick. Jamis told me that, without fenders, the bike will fit tires as wide as 42mm.

If you’re looking for an affordable, utilitarian road bike that’s versatile enough to serve as your everyday commuter, and stands ready to emerge from a nearby phone-booth and tackle a weekend filled with adventure, then the Bosanova deserves to be on your short list.

Vital stats

  • Price: $1,275
  • Weight: 27.2lbs.
  • Sizes Available: 48, 51, 54, 56 (tested), 58, 61cm
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