US bike company Jamis have had a low profile in the UK since a brief appearance on these shores in the latest Nineties, when they sponsored the Mountain Biking UK race team.
However, they're now back courtesy of Evans Cycles and if the first bike we've had in to review, the Durango 3, is anything to go by, they look set to win plenty of fans. That's why we decided to get hold of one of their road bikes for a closer look.
The Jamis Ventura Race looks like a lot of bike for £849.99. It has all the features you'd expect for the price – a lightweight aluminium mainframe, compact chainset and carbon wrap seatpost* – along with three you wouldn't: carbon fibre seatstays, Shimano 105 gearing and a full-carbon fork.
The Ventura Race's carbon fibre seatstays should help filter out road buzz as well as saving a few grams
Okay, the chainset is downgraded to an FSA Vero compact to keep costs down and the claimed weight of 19.75lb/8.96kg (our 58cm bike weighed 20.5lb/9.3kg, without pedals) isn't the lightest we've seen at this price, but the Ventura Race still looks like exceptional value, with the extra comfort promised by the carbon rear end and fork likely to appeal to many.
The frame is new for 2011, with a double-butted 7005 alloy front triangle that uses Jamis's Size Specific Tubing (SST) – ie. larger frames get larger diameter tubing to ensure they're stiff enough for bigger riders. Stopping duties are handled by Tektro R520 dual-pivot callipers, while finishing kit is a mix of Ritchey Comp (Logic II bar, 4-Axis stem) and own-brand (bar tape, seatpost) stuff.
A full-carbon (including crown and steerer; the dropouts are alloy) fork is welcome at this price
Wheels consist of machined hubs laced to Alex ALX-190 rims with DT spokes and shod with – white – Vittoria Zaffiro tyres, while the saddle is Selle San Marco's Ischia Arrowhead. We'll be putting the Ventura Race through its paces over the next few months, so look out for a full review on BikeRadar later this year.
* The stock carbon wrap post was swapped for an alloy model before this picture was taken because, with a usable shaft length of just 17cm, it was too short for BikeRadar's mainly 6ft+ UK testers. Taller riders should probably consider going for the 61cm size rather than the 58cm pictured here, which has an effective top tube of 57cm.