Seven years of refining the Xenith series through feedback from pro riders, plus technological advances, have led to the range-topping Xenith SL, as raced in the USA by the Jamis/Sutter Home squad.
The Xenith Pro uses the same mould, but has less M30 high-modulus carbon and more T700 mid-modulus carbon than its big brother, improving impact resistance and compliance while only weighing around 100g more. A partly visible 12K carbon outer weave adds strength.
The semi-compact frame has a pleasing, classic look, in contrast to the sculpted designs of many current carbon machines. The tri-oval top and down tubes on our 58cm bike were chunky, the down tube matching the width of the press-fit BB30 bottom bracket shell.
Asymmetric chainstays compensate for the flex caused by the drivetrain, being 10 per cent larger and 30 per cent stiffer on that side, and sturdy twin seatstays buck the trend for svelte stays and monostays. The carbon monocoque fork with tapered steerer and hollow crown has an internal reinforcing rib, making it stiff and precise, instilling cornering confidence.
There’s no doubting the racer’s DNA within the Jamis, which sports the sort of neutral feel that makes it relaxing until pushed – but once you really open the taps it just wants to accelerate, and is utterly planted when sprinting out of the saddle. The ride quality is firm from those thick chainstays, but the carbon seatpost reduces big hits and keeps road vibrations from being intrusive. It’s unapologetically hard, but if you appreciate a frame with some character, you won’t care.
Headlining the spec sheet is Shimano’s electronic Ultegra Di2. We still find the shift buttons hard to distinguish at times, but shifting is faultless, even under full load uphill. There is a small weight penalty, but battery life is not an issue, and you can say goodbye to gear cable maintenance.
The brake callipers are non-groupset, but they performed well enough that we never noticed the difference. Evans are importing the Xenith Pro at this newly discounted price, and if you fancy a fast riding, rapid shifting bargain, take a look.
Quality components include a Ritchey Pro bar and stem