I’m admittedly not a fan of hard core road cycling. Slicing and dicing with bumpers and throwing the occasional bird during my daily commute is about the extent of my pavement time, as I much prefer loamy soil to smooth roads. However, like a magpie attracted to shiny objects, when I come across clean lines and a nice shade of blue, I have to stop a moment to appreciate it. Thanks to the work of hundreds of small frame builders toiling to create one off creations, the basic steel bike has returned to its former glory, with many of the midsize bike companies reacting to the trend by releasing affordable quality models of their own. Take Jamis Bicycles and their sport level model the Quest. The Jamis Quest does a lot of things right with its take on the contemporary steel frame. First off, it’s fashioned from Reynolds 631 tubing. Reynolds tubing has been used in everything from BMX race and freestyle bikes to Fat Bikes, as well as road machines, so you know it’s good stuff. It has a 1 1/8″ composite fork with alloy dropouts with an eyelet to boot, which is matched in the rear of the frame, offering the frame versatility for the long distance commuter that wants to outfit it with racks or full coverage fenders.
As opposed to the old school 3″ inch headtubes of the past and their silly aero riding position that no casual rider will ever use, the Quest has a 160mm headtube and an aesthetically pleasing, minimal amount of steer tube spacers that add up to a relaxed, upright riding position suitable for dashing through the street. (First pioneered by the small builders, and popularized by bikes like the Specialized Roubaix) Topped off with a 10-speed 105 spec, and middle-of-the-road components with the choice of a double or triple ring crankset (we’d choose the double for superior shifting performance FTW) the Quest lists for $1800, which is less than most any respectable one off, frame only. Plus you can roll it off a local show room floor today. With a listed weight of 19lbs, it’s light enough to line up with the early Saturday morning lycra crowd for the group ride and coffee after a full week of commuting.
Check it out: Jamis Quest