Weaknesses: Avid Juicy threes...so I've been told. No suspension up front...though not so bad once you get used to it and once I dropped a few psi out of the front tire, rode much better.
My bike was in need of a suspension rebuild, so a friend let me borrow his Exile SS for a ride. LOVED IT!! My friend swapped out the stem for something shorter to fit him him better. He's inbetween sizes and opted for the larger bike, thus the shorter stem. It worked well for me, though I personally would have something longer, but still not as long as the 120 its spec'd with. He also swapped out the brakes. Said he could never get Juicy threes to stop dragging. That says a lot to me. He's a bike shop owner and has the mentality "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Meaning that he won't spend money on something else if what he has works well. If he swapped the brakes...they must have sucked, though he did say they had good power. Just wouldn't stop dragging no matter how much he tinkered and adjusted them.
As for the ride...good overall. I actually enjoyed the experience. We rode at Wilson Lake in north central KS. It's a hilly, rocky, loose, gravelly sort of trail. Definitely not a place most people ride SS. I was walking the bigger climbs. Let out 5 psi or so out of the front tire a couple miles in. Things started feeling better after that. Launching off of little drops and rises in trail was AMAZING! It flies through the air stable, and landed softer than my suspension equipped 26er! I'm a big guy (235lbs) and I couldn't detect any noticable frame flex when I would hammer on it in or out of the saddle. The Nevegal tires are all round awesome.
If I had the money and could find one of these in a shop still...I'd buy one, use the money I saved to swap out brakes and stem, and go hammer it.
Similar Products Used: Trek 930 26er (my personal bike), Orbea Alma 29 world cup (demo'd in a race)
Bike Setup: stock, except with Avid mech discs with SD7 levers, and a shorter origin 8 carbon stem-90mm.
a Cross Country Rider
from Omaha, Nebraska
Date Reviewed: March 7, 2009
Strengths: Great Bike! I really enjoy the simplicity.
Weaknesses: None so far, but I have only had a chance to get it out a couple of times. If I had to name a weakness...it's probably me.
So far I have only gotten a couple of rides in on the bike, but I have really enjoyed it so far. I got a great deal on the bike from a friends bike shop...so that makes it all the sweeter. It feels very solid and well-built. Like I said before, I can't really find any weaknesses thus far.
I did heed the advice of other reviewers and replaced the cog and seat clamp. I also replaced the the Juicy brakes with BB7's just because I prefer the feel of mechanical brakes.
My next mod is to add a Chris King Headset this Spring, and then possibly some new cranks in the Summer.
I would totally recommend this bike if you have the chance to get a hold of one!
Weaknesses: chain tension set screws are nearly useless
I bought the frame on ebay and built the bike the way I wanted. I love it! It's been my only bike since May and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Between the wheelset, carbon fork, and frame, this bike rides like a dream. It climbs well, it's light, and looks great. My only complaint is the chain tensioner set screws. I spend a lot of time retightening them. I think I'll add a Surly Tugnut, and call it a day. I've done 3 endurance solo races on this bike, and beat the piss out of it on a regular basis. That being said, it takes everything I throw at it with a smile.
Bike Setup: Red Velocity VXC rims laced to Hope Pro II hubs, king headset, On-One Superlight Carbon fork, On One Mary bars, Thompson stem & Post, WTB Rocket V saddle, Hope seat collar, Hayes HFX Mag hydros, XT SS crank w/ bashguard, Time ATAC pedals, Nevegal up front, Exiwolf in the back. Endless Nikes Kickass 19T cog
a Cross Country Rider
from Carlisle, PA
Weaknesses: Ahead set, Hayes Sole brakes, grips, bars, setpost clamp
This bike has been a wonderful introduction to SS 29ers for me. It handles great for me, 6'4" 230#s. This bike has been beat up a bunch and held up wonderfully. I would have to say the stock bike needs upgrades if you want to ride rocky single track. The headset, grips, and seatpost clamp, as mentioned in previous posts, need replacing 1st. Once I got a good headset, carbon bars, and a solid stem where the next on my list of upgrades. Finally, I would like to replace the breaks and possibly a Reba on the front end. It would be hard for me to put a susp. fork on because I really like the feel, response and simplicity of the rigid fork. All in all a great bike if you want a steel SS.
Bike Setup: Easton Carbon bars, ODI rogue lockon grips, Thompson stem, CK headset, Shimano pedals, big kenda tires
a Cross Country Rider
from Greenbelt, MD
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2008
Strengths: Excellent frame and a solid price point for a first time SS rigid 29'er. Majority of the stock parts are just fine for me as a sport level recreational racer (if that makes sense).
Weaknesses: Shimano Hyper-Glide Chain (maybe due to hyper-glide cog), seat post clamp, TruVativ Giga-X bad?
Love the bike but I've had a load of problems with it in the short time I've had it.
1. On my inaugural ride the shimano chain after coming off a number of times busted and left me walking 8 miles back to the car. After reading some other reviews I realize this might be a combo crappy chain and hyper-glide cog. Still, I'd recommend changing them both out. I don't like shimano chains for mountain bikes.
2. Busted spoke in a 12 hour race a couple weeks after buying the bike. Not really faulting the wheels here just laying out the issues I've had in a very short period of time.
3. As mentioned by everyone else, seat clamp is crap, no matter how much you tighten it.
4. Brake line for rear brake blew out on a night lap at the 24hrs of Big Bear 1/4 way into my lap.
5. TruVativ Giga-X bottom bracket has apparently gone bad... Now, big bear was an exceptionally wet and muddy race but I shouldn't need to worry about replacing my BB after a few months of riding...
I love the rigid SS experience and the 29 inch wheels are a blast! But, I just can't believe the number of issues I've had with this bike already. My last mt bike I had for 10 years and never had anything other then an occasional flat. I would recommend the bike but I would also recommend replacing some key parts as well. Also, I LOVE the looks of this bike; so sleek and smooth and simple looking.
Strengths: everything, smooth steel ride, steel is REAL!
absolutely love this bike!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT I need to sell it.
Will throw in all the oem parts as well the easton 30 stem and seatpost as well as the rigid fork.
I have a reba 100 air/ with pop lock on the bike now.
need to sell asking $900 obo.
Great bike to get into 29ers and singlespeeding!
This bike has an amazing feel. I believe that Jamis has made an honest attempt to address all of the issues that the 2007 model had (hayes brakes, broken frames, no name hubs that sucked, shorter bars) so if you are thinking about buying an 07 for a little cheaper....please dont.
I also hope you understand that with a $1000 out of the box bike, there will be a few necessary upgrades to make this machine just right.
Bike Setup: hope stem, hope headset, candy sl pedals, surly rear cog, oury lock on grips
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2008
Strengths: Very versitile out of the box. Jamis quality for the $$
Weaknesses: Replace the stock cog ASAP!
2008 Jamis Exile 29
Disclaimer: After years of riding 26” FS bikes, this is my first:
Single Speed (SS)
Full rigid bike (since about 1992…)
I’ve only got about 50 mi. on it so far, so these are my first impressions.
Comfortable fit. I tested a GF 29er a few years ago and I remember how it felt ‘strange’, kind of big and awkward.
The Jamis felt like a normal bike as soon as I jumped on. It wasn’t tall or tippy feeling. I have to remind myself that it has big wheels. I soon discovered that in fact, it feels extremely balanced and stable, even at very low speed! The 29” wheels are everything I’d read about. I wouldn’t say they are better or worse than 26”, just different. (Although they do in fact roll over things that would ‘catch’ a 26” wheel…)
I haven’t noticed anything odd about the handling. It seems very neutral. The rigid fork is going to be the hardest thing for me to get used to. It feels great until the trail gets rough, or worse, you catch an unexpected hit…ouch! But it is light, precise and responsive compared to a squish fork. Just a matter of adapting.
I won’t go into the specs or versatility of this bike because all that info is available on the Jamis website. However, mine came with different tires (Nevegal 2.2’s) and different pedals (candies) than spec’ed. Nice upgrades, actually.
I will also say that I was very impressed with how well the entire package is color-coordinated. Everything on it is silver-on-black. It doesn’t hurt that your new bike just looks good…
The SS aspect is interesting and doable. It’s pretty easy to change gearing to meet your needs.
I tried the 1X9 set up already and it’s a quick and easy switch. Did I mention just how versatile the Exile is out of the box?
The stock cog is a standard hyperglide 9-speed type cog, and the chain jumped off way too easy. This is the only really bad thing about the bike, and I don’t understand why they spec’ed it. Replace the cog w/ a proper SS cog asap.
The seat post slips w/ the stock QR. A new clamp fixed that.
I could do without the ‘Jamis’ name on every-single-tube. However, the dark silver on black is a great color combo.
So only a couple of minor gripes.
There are a –lot- of 29er’s to choose from these days! I did a lot of research before choosing this bike and feel very happy with my decision!
Bike Setup: Ergon grips, Surly ring, cog and spacer kit, Salsa LipLock, SPD pedals, Luv Handles on order...
Date Reviewed: November 27, 2007
Strengths: Great bike!! it rides awesome, handles great, smooth flat black paint job gives it the stealthy feel. hayes brakes give you great stopping power. it was my first 29er i rode and isnt going to be my last. i would buy another one again
Weaknesses: wtb wheels were good but not for jumping.. but i probably shouldnt be jumping a ridgid 29er anyways.
perfect bike for single track or for anyone who wants a challange when riding with geared guys. the bike handles great and is predictable. it give you that raw naturalist feal. GREAT BIKE!!!
this was my first full 29r. i'm 6-3 200 # so i thinkk the 29 format fits me better than a 26. this bike was a happy surprise in the way it rode and handled. i have ridden single speeds for 8 years and a spot for the last 5 so i was pretty sure i knew what worked and what didn't. for a mid range frame and mid to crappy components, i really like the jamis. i wouldn't be surprised if i rode this bike for years. a point of interest is that this is the first bike i've bothered to review is about 6 years....nuff said.
Bike Setup: raceface zeus, fsa seatpost,bars, oury grips
a Cross Country Rider
from Miami, FL, USA
Date Reviewed: July 12, 2007
Strengths: Light, Fun, Simple, Full Rigid
Weaknesses: Brakes are mediocre, Headset needs to be replaced, Seatpost clamp is horrible
Great bike! My first single speed and 29'er in one. I think for the price, it should have better brakes. I'm still getting used to the 29" wheels since they do not cut as sharp as 26" wheels. I have already put over a thousand miles on it without any major maintenance issues. I like the solid steel frame, but hate the vibration from the bike so I am looking into replacing the fork, seatpost, and handlebars with carbon (still keeping it rigid). By far, my favorite bike from my small collection. Keep a close eye on its drive train since it seems to rust easier than most other bikes'. The headset feels loose. The clamp for the seatpost needs a total redesign. It needs to be tightened so much in the parking lot to keep it from moving, that when you go to raise it again on the trails(always slips), you end-up spending precious ride time trying to re-open it and re-close it. Overall, I love this bike. It would be a 5 Flamin' Chili bike if it had better brakes, headset and seatpost clamp and would also be a better value for $1000. If you are looking to turn heads on a demonic looking matte black full rigid single speed 29'er, then this bike is for you. If you are more concerned with comfort, agility, and price; then this bike is not for you. I am happy with my purchase but have only had it for about 4 months and already want to change out half the components (which, for a single speed, is almost everything except the frame) which should not be the case for any bike.
Similar Products Used: '07 Jamis Dakar XCR Expert, '02 Marin Hawk Hill
Bike Setup: Stock
a Weekend Warrior
from Rome, NY
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2007
Strengths: Light, responsive, hassle-free
Weaknesses: Not a fan of the stock components that come on the bike.
I've had the bike for about 6 months now, and use it for commuting and weekend fun. This is my first try at single speed, and I must say the experience of one gear is more pleasant than I thought it would be. There is something really nice about the simplicity of one gear. Add on top of that the fitness benefits, and it's a win-win.
The only problem I have with this bike is the porky EA30 components, and the eggbeater pedals. I upgraded all of them for stuff that I like. The crank, wheelset, brakes, and frame are all fine, and satisfactory for my needs.
Very comfortable ride, and it looks sweet. You wont be disappointed in buying this one!
Bike Setup: Thompson post, stem; LP composites handlebar, Specialized Alias seat, XTR pedals.
from Jefferson City, MO, USA
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2007
Strengths: Beautiful, slick, handles nicely, nice price, good wheels, not a bad cockpit, awesome tires
Weaknesses: broke two frames already, brakes cheap
More to come, I just broke the second frame. Other than that a good bike, if you want to have to deal with striping it down and sending it in every 4 months. I'll update later, but really, a nice bike for the price, if they'd only fix the headtube breaking problem...
Bike Setup: White Bros Magic 80 fork, 1x9 gearing, Thompson Seatpost, acros headset
a Cross Country Rider
from vail, colorado, USA
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2007
Strengths: steel, super quick, fits large riders GREAT, FUN FUN FUN!, Old Skool!
Weaknesses: narrow handle bars for single speed, seat clamp is HUGE and doesn't lock seat post, brakes are ok, comes with bad gearing!
super fun bike to ride, brings you back to what biking is all about. Have it fully rigid now, but thinking to upgrade to front suspension. This is my first 29er, second single speed. For large guys(i'm 6'4 240), i think 29ers are the way to go, i have never felt so comfortable on a bike. My main ride is a yeti 575 but for most training rides i find myself riding the SS. Upgraded the EA30 stem, seatpost, and bar with Thomson and Salsa Bits.... post stopped slipping with the upgrade and probably saved some weight? not to mention added a bit of bling to the steel ride. Bottom line it is a great value even at full retail, frame is solid and super fun to ride, you will see mountain biking in a whole new light with this bike...buy it if you can find it!
Similar Products Used: kona converted single speed
Bike Setup: stock frame and fork, thomson elite stem and seat post, Salsa Moto Ace bar(711 nice and wide),
Date Reviewed: April 12, 2007
Strengths: Steel! Fully Rigid, Comfortable & fast geometry. Great value for your $$$$.
Weaknesses: Cheap seatpost clamp. Brakes are bottom line Hayes Sole but work fine.
Never thought riding a SS would be so much fun, brings back memories of my Redline BMX biking days as a teenager. 29 wheels are a bit slower to get up to speed but watch out when they do, the momentum is increadible and fast! Rolls over everything. I'm a 29'er convert for sure. The rigid fork is nice and no problem, I'm not even going to put on a Reba on like I almost ordered with the bike. It feels like every bit of your energy is transfered to the wheels when you pedal! Just enough give to make the ride supple. Stiff bottom bracket even though cranks are not the highest grade. Next upgrade will be carbon bars. Bike is race ready right out of the box. Frame and black matte paint are really nice quality and WTB laser wheelset is better than what is offered on the Bianca Rita. Tires hook up fine in the loose hardpack. WTB seat is a Rocket V with chrome rails and is comfy & sturdy. Overall an absolute steal at $1000. Steel frame is much better ride than aluminum unless your maybe looking at much more expensive scandium mix or titanium frame. Save your money and invest in a nice pair of light weight wheels if you want to waste some more $$$. Would buy same bike again if doing over. Happy trails...