From The Minds of the Workers

Jamis Komodo 27.5+ Expert Review / Promotion

Buy any Jamis 27.5+ or 26.5+ bike in the month of December and we’ll convert the tires to tubeless and install premium shift cables and housing for free ($125 value)!

Over the last decade, MTB technology has been developing and moving to market at a blistering pace. Tubeless tires, a smorgasbord of wheel sizes, thru axles, 1x drivetrains, dropper seatposts, evolved frame geometries - no aspect of the modern MTB has been untouched by the onslaught. As a consumer, it’s a lot to keep up with. Considering manufacturers are still motivated to keep putting out enticing new tech while employing strategies of planned obsolescence, knowing when to pull the trigger and which features to buy into can be a daunting task.

For the last three years I’d been happily taking to the trails with a Jamis D29 hardtail 29er. But in an industry that’s increasingly obsessed with bigger, more trail-worthy bikes, I began to wonder if I wasn’t getting the maximum number of smiles out of my miles on the trail. When details came out for the 2017 Jamis Komodo 27.5+ Expert I knew it was something that I had to try out. Having gradually morphed from a dirt jumper to a fat tired hardtail trail bike, the end result is a ride that adds fun to ripping all of the great trails we have access to in the mid-Atlantic.

The 3” WTB Trail Boss tires offer a degree of grip and float that will instantly expand the limits of any rider’s abilities. 40mm wide WTB Scraper rims do well managing the bouncing, squirmy ride qualities that sometimes plague the plus-sized tire segment. Tricky rock garden lines disappear under the bike with ease, and even on smooth trails the penalty to rolling resistance is eclipsed by the confidence gained in railing corners at speeds that will almost certainly sketch out your friends on narrower tires.

There’s a weight penalty involved, to be sure, but the likelihood is that few outside of dedicated XC racers will lament the tradeoff. This is especially true considering how well this bike handles the kind of climbing we generally encounter in the region: relatively short but punchy, steep, and often technical. The extra grip and cushion of the tires make this bike power through roots and rocks like a full suspension bike, but retains the efficiency and responsiveness of a hardtail during hard standing efforts. For those dedicated to having it all, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a 29” wheelset with normal sized tires to run when the situation demands.

Then, of course, there is the descending. 120mm of fork travel, a 68* head tube angle, the stiffness and stability of boost thru axles and tapered head tube, dropper seatpost, and (again!) the grip make recklessly exploring new lines on descents the kind of rowdy party you don’t want to settle for hearing about from your friends. Not only that, but with the Komodo you can hang with longer full suspension bikes without the hangover symptoms of the added expense and maintenance or the creaky headaches they involve.

The Komodo Expert delivers nearly all the newfangled performance features you could hope for from a MTB in an undeniably fun and playful package that is all but guaranteed not to leave you wondering what all the kids are on about these days. Finally, and perhaps best of all, it does it for an attainable $1,699 thanks to a smart, no frills component spec. The Shimano M506 brakes and SRAM NX 1x11 groupset shine as budget friendly choices that offer a startlingly large portion of the performance to be had from their higher-end brethren, and the tubeless ready rims and tires and sleek internally routed KS eTen dropper leave no box unchecked on the features list.

All in all, amid the plethora of choices on the table these days, it’s hard to imagine what could be a better choice for a do-it-all bike for mountain bikers looking to tackle everything the east coast has to offer with a mind for finding the absolute best bang for their buck.

Saturday, December 03, 2016 at 11:44 AM by Scott