“Adventure” is all the rage these days, but the scope definition and scope of these adventures varies greatly from source to source. In this case, Jamis defines adventure with a heavy dose of performance and a side of versatility for their new go-anywhere, do-anything road bike.
The highly engineered Renegade joins a stable of staid and stalwart steel touring bikes in Jamis’ line of adventure bikes. Two Renegade models are available, the Elite reviewed here and a less expensive Expert for $2,399. Both models utilize carbon fiber frames, a slightly lighter high-modulus carbon for the Elite and a mid-modulus carbon for the Expert that saves dollars at the expense of a few grams.
For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the Renegade is Jamis’ approach to geometry. Jamis strives to provide consistent handling across all bike sizes, which is no short order for six different frame sizes ranging from 48 to 61. To accomplish this, Jamis produces forks with three different offset measurements and frames with three different chainstay lengths. As frame size increases, head tube angles steepen and fork offset decreases. Similarly, chainstay length grows with frame size too. This approach is admirable considering the added tooling cost of creating additional molds for two forks.
Another interesting frame feature is the 15 mm RockShox Maxle thru axle up front. The 15 mm thru axle has become standard in the mountain bike world, and is steadily working its way over to the road market due to the inherent stiffness and safety of the system. According to Jamis, the torsional stiffness of the thru axle allows them to engineer more vertical compliance into the fork.
Also noteworthy are the hidden mounts for rack and fender eyelets. These eyelets thread into the bottom of the fork leg and the end of the chainstay. Additionally, a mount on the seatstay bridge accommodates a rear rack, but your rack and fender will have to share the single seatstay mount. The chainstay-mounted brake caliper greatly simplifies mounting these accessories. Attaching a front fender isn’t quite as simple as the eyelets are a bit further forward than most. The fenders I installed required quite a bit of modification and even then weren’t quite 100 percent. Best to plan on custom fabricating a fender stay that can reach down under the brake caliper and dropout then back up to the eyelet.
I’ve been looking forward to sampling the latest crop of hydraulic disc brakes for drop bars, and dang, these Shimano units have far exceeded my expectations. The light and silky lever throw ramps up to firm lever feel that provides incredible stopping power when desired as well as the subtlest trail braking through a corner. I’m accustomed to using at least two, sometimes three fingers, when braking on modern cantilever and caliper brakes, but one finger is all that’s needed with these brakes. Every stop sign is an invitation to ride a big, long nose wheelie. I can’t say it enough, these brakes work awesome and inspire incredible confidence.
Likewise, the Ultegra 11-speed drivetrain has been flawless. Shifts are smooth, crisp and authoritative, never missing a beat. For the Renegade’s intended use, the compact 52/36 crankset and 11-28 cassette provide a reasonably wide range of gearing. There’s plenty of top-end out on the road and enough low gearing for all but steep, technical off-road climbs.
One noticeable difference between the hydraulic and cable actuated STI levers are the length of the hoods. In order to house the hydraulic master cylinder, the hood is substantially longer. This certainly isn’t a bad thing as it gives you more room to move around on the bike.
Right out of the gate the Renegade’s personality is best described as spirited and eager. Thanks to the bike’s svelte weight, it leaps forward when you jump on the pedals, with not a hint of flex at the bottom bracket. Just look at that burly bottom bracket junction if you have any doubts.
But, it’s not all about stiffness. Those dainty seatstays are shaped to take the edge off of impacts. Additionally, Jamis’ fork design incorporates some vertical compliance. Both of these measures were very noticeable on the road, particularly when paired with the inherent vibration damping qualities of carbon fiber. The ride is smooth and fluid, with much of the high frequency road vibration damped out. On rougher, off-road surfaces, the Renegade does an excellent job of taking the edge off of bumpy terrain.
The Renegade’s handling is equally quick thanks to pretty aggressive geometry. Fork offset varies with frame size, but the 53 mm of offset on my test bike is more than average when paired with the 71.5-degree headtube angle. This translates to a very quick-steering bike that changes direction via subtle counter-steering pressure at the bars. This quick-handling nature feels incredible when you’re on you game and really attacking, but it also commands a certain amount of attention at all times.
Of course, good tires with appropriate volume also help smooth out rough terrain. The stock 700 x 35 mm Clement X’Plor USH tires offer great comfort and versatility. These tires roll well on the road thanks to the siped center tread, and provide decent traction off-road thanks to the side knobs. All in, it’s a wonderful tire for gravel road adventuring. For rougher terrain, the Renegade will fit a 40 mm tire without fenders. It’s also worth noting the American Classic Argent wheelset is tubeless compatible.
The Renegade is a very enticing offering for those looking for an adventurous road bike that also offers a lot of versatility. It’s easy to imagine riding this bike to work during the week with a rear rack and fenders, then pulling off those bits and racing a gravel grinder on the weekend.
With a set of road tires, the Renegade does a pretty damn good impersonation of a road bike, too. I can easily see this being someone’s only road bike. With two sets of wheels you could quickly swap back and forth between hammering road group rides and weekend adventures on remote dirt roads.
Bottom line; the Renegade is no one-trick pony. There’s a lot to like about this package if you’re looking for a capable and versatile performance machine.
- Price: $4,199
- Weight: 18.5 pounds
- Sizes: 48, 51, 54 (tested), 56, 58, 61cm
Editor’s note: This review originally appeared in Issue #34 of Bicycle Times. To make sure you never miss an issue, order a subscription and you’ll be ready for the everyday cycling adventure.
The Jamis Renegade was one of a handful of interesting adventure bikes that caught our attention at this year’s Interbike show. The Renegade brings a healthy dose of technology to Jamis’ line of adventure bikes, which had been anchored by classic steel touring bikes like the Aurora and Bosanova.
Two models of the Renegade will be offered; the $2,399 Expert and the $4,199 Elite. Both bike utilize the same frame geometry, but are constructed with different carbon fiber raw materials and spec’d with different components.
On paper, one of the most interesting aspects of the Renegade is the attention Jamis paid to the frame’s geometry. Jamis’ goal is to provide consistent ride quality across all sizes of the Renegade. In order to do so, it is producing bikes with three different fork offsets, three different bottom bracket heights, and three different chainstay lengths.
Smaller sizes have shorter rear center lengths, lower bottom brackets, and slacker head tube angles with more fork offset to reduce toe overlap. As frame size increases, the chainstays lengthen, bottom bracket gets a little taller, and the headtube steepens while fork offset decreases. Since I’m unable to ride both a 48cm and 61cm frame in addition to my size 54cm, I can’t weigh in on the results first hand, but I will say all of these moves make perfect sense conceptually.
But, as interesting as all that tech might be, I was excited to get my hands on the Renegade and see how this technological wonder felt on the road. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden a fancy carbon road-ish bike with components on the high-end of the spectrum, and I’m simply blown away by the Renegade’s performance. It’s fast and responsive and all the components work like a dream. I’m afraid I’ve become awfully spoiled by the Renegade’s Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The power and modulation are simply incredible. The Ultegra-level, 11-speed drivetrain is equally impressive. Shifts are super quick regardless of the situation.
Let’s delve into some of the interesting specifics of the Renegade…
Jamis’ Enhanced Compliance Offset (ECO) fork sweeps the fork blades forward a bit more than usual to increase vertical compliance, but rearward facing dropout maintains the desired offset. Just below the 12mm RockShox Maxle thru axle you can see the removable fender eyelets. Due to the forward location of the fender eyelet, the stays of some fenders will not be long enough. Only two of the four stays on my new Planet Bike Cascadia ALX fenders (sold separately) would reach, and even those are a stretch.
The rear fender and rack eyelets’ location is more traditional, making fender fitment much easier. Note that burly mounting interface for the rear brake.
These shiny aluminum fenders look awesome on the Renegade. Kudos to Jamis for producing a performance bike with practical details like rack and fender mounts.
Speaking of burly, the Renegade’s EVO386 bottom bracket is massive. Fortunately it provides a very stiff pedaling platform.
I swapped the stock 100mm stem for a 90mm to shorten up the reach just a little bit. The Ritchey Comp Logic Curve handlebar has a nice bend, but I can’t help but yearn for a handlebar with a little bit of flair on a bike like the Renegade.
Internal cable routing keeps things tidy and clean.
So far, so good on this test, but I’ve only been on the bike for a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for the in-depth review in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times Magazine. Support us by subscribing to the magazine or our weekly email newsletter. Either way, you’ll have all our best content delivered conveniently.Tweet Print
We’ve long been fans of Jamis Bikes for their commitment to steel frames, but the latest creation from the brand takes a decidedly more contemporary line, with full carbon construction, disc brakes, and big tires.
Designed for everything from fast group rides to gravel epics, the Renegade is one of many new big-tire road bikes that are taking the industry by storm this year. Far more versatile than a traditional racing road bike, they can also still go like stink when called upon.
The new Renegade was designed and equipped for such fast assaults on any kind of road, and sometimes even beyond. It starts up front with a full carbon fork with a 15mm thru-axle for extra security and stiffness. Out back you’ll find a traditional QR rear axle.
Compared to the Jamis Nova and Supernova cyclocross race bikes, the Renegade has a lower bottom bracket and longer wheelbase for more stable and comfortable handling on the road.
The frame has full internal cable routing to keep things clean, with a massive bottom bracket area and a BB386 bottom bracket shell, which is designed for a BB30 crankset, but is wider for more tire clearance. The disc brakes are Shimano’s game-changing hydraulic units, paired with 11-speed mechanical R685 shifters.
How much tire? The Renegade has been ridden with up to a 41c knobby, and can even fit 35c tires with fenders. There are small threaded inserts on the fork and at the rear that can can be used to attach them. You can even use them to mount a rear rack.
While the geometry is closer to that of a road bike than a cyclocross bike, Jamis wasn’t content with just one-size-fits all. There are six sizes from 48cm to 61cm, with three fork rakes and three different rear triangle molds to keep the desired ride quality.
It also comes spec’d with the unique Ritchey Vector Evo rail and Wing Flex saddle that is said to provide far more flex and vibration damping than traditional saddle rail designs. It also allows for more fore-aft adjustment.
There will be two models when it goes on sale at the end of the year: a model with Shimano 105 11-speed and TRP HyRd brakes for $2,399 and the model pictured with Ultegra 11-speed, hydraulic Di2 and American Classic tubeless wheels for $4,399.
See all the small details that went into the Renegade in this video from Jamis:
This article originally misstated the type of shifters on the final spec. It is in fact shipping with the non-series R685 mechanical shifters with hydraulic braking. See complete specs here.Tweet Print
Jamis makes 40(!) different drop-bar bike models, and the Quest may be my favorite. It has mounts for fenders and a rear rack, room for 32mm tires (28mm with fenders) and geometry that is sporty but still comfortable and stable. The drivetrain is all reliable Shimano, mostly from the 105 group, matched up to a Ritchey cockpit and wheels. All proven stuff.