Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking Gear Reviews and Roundups





Jamis Exile XC XC Hardtail

4.62/5 (13 Reviews)
Weight : 28.75 lbs. MSRP : $829.95

Product Description

  • FRAME: Reynolds 631 seamless air-hardened chromoly main tubes, reinforced head tube collars, double butted cromo stays, Jamis lost wax dropouts, international disc brake mount.
  • FORK: Manitou Axel Platinum Air with lockout, alloy steerer, 80mm travel.
  • WHEELSET: WTB Speed Disc rims, eyeleted, 32H, with Shimano M475 front and rear disc hubs, 14g black stainless steel spokes.
  • DERAILLEURS: SRAM X-9 rear, X-Gen 28.68mm top pull front.
  • SHIFTERS: SRAM X-9, Impulse Trigger-shift, 27-speed.

  • Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

    Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by ExileHunter a Cross Country Rider from Cincinnati, OH

    Date Reviewed: September 9, 2008

    Strengths:    The frame is absolutely sick. By far the sickest part of the bike. Super strong, responsive, and fun, pretty light for a quality steel frame too. The SRAM X9 Shifting has never given me any problems, literally even after years o hard riding. I even slightly bent the hanger a long time ago and it STILL shifts like a champ. Clean your chain regularly and your casettes and it will shift and ride like new again. This is a truly a rock solid machine, as it climbs fairly well and is great on downhills too.

    Weaknesses:    As with most reviews of this bike, the fork really is the only major weak point. Super spongy, not responsive at all, heavy weight. If you have the funds, seriously replace it right away. Mine is basically like riding a fully rigid frame after 4 years or so. Other than the fork, the seat clamp does not really work too well, and you will find your seat will slip down sometimes. The anti-snakebite rims dont really work either, as I have had my fair share of flats. Go tubeless, get new rims, or get some fatter tires.

    Bottom Line:   
    Overall a super sick steel bike for the money. You really wont find a better deal for the price, much less a better steel bike. Spend the money and get a better fork, that is really the only thing needed off the bat. You can get by with the stock fork, but the bike will be lighter and more fun I think if you replace it. If you are semi on a budget and like steel frames, give the Exile a chance. You wont be let down, its unbelievable.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Mitchell Memorial Forest

    Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

    Price Paid:    $1000.00

    Purchased At:   Bio-Wheels

    Similar Products Used:   None, and none compare.

    Bike Setup:   Stock setup, with Shimano SPD clipless pedals.

    Overall Rating:3
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by sepp a Racer from durango

    Date Reviewed: September 28, 2007

    Strengths:    great frame, liked sram shifters

    Weaknesses:    fork, brakes and wtb seat :(

    Bottom Line:   
    It was a good race for 2 seasons. bike with good components but was let down my the original manitou so i switched out with a sid world cup which made the bike lighter by a TON and havent had any problems with the suspension since. The brakes were fine untill that darn snowmass natnl' mucked em up, Ive changed the pads and evrything and they still have less power than v brakes. I also thought the 13" frame was a great out of the saddle frame and was a good climber and fit a 7th grader just fine. Overall this bike was a good racer but would probably be a better rec bike unless you swithch out some components.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   anything in good ol' durango

    Duration Product Used:   2 Years

    Price Paid:    $1000.00

    Purchased At:   durango cyclery

    Similar Products Used:   giant, and jamis

    Bike Setup:   sram x9 rear deralier, sram xgen front, sram thumb shifters, easton ea50 seat post and bars

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Ryan a Cross Country Rider from Mt Pleasant, Mi

    Date Reviewed: August 5, 2007

    Strengths:    great components, great ride

    Weaknesses:    fork is the weakest link in the whole operation, also fighting with seat post creep

    Bottom Line:   
    love the bike, would like a new fork but I cant trash this one yet. would like a new wheels just for the sake of having them, but again, I cant break them. great bike stock and from what I can tell, a good base to upgrade

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $850.00

    Purchased At:   Motorless Motion

    Similar Products Used:   many cannondals from local riding group

    Bike Setup:   stock

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Mark Page a Cross Country Rider from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

    Date Reviewed: June 26, 2007

    Strengths:    Great geometry, beautiful steel frame, handling is exceptional.

    Weaknesses:    Tyres are heavy, seatpost slips

    Bottom Line:   
    I've hammered this bike on 100km races and short 1 hour technical cross country rides - handling is brilliant and I've had no hassles at all. Swapped out the tyres for Maxxis Larsen TT's which improved the grip and weight and this is a beautiful bike!!! Anyone looking for a well priced bike with exceptional handling, buy this. Well done, Jamis for a fantastic ride at a great price.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Oaks Fire Trail

    Duration Product Used:   2 Years

    Price Paid:    $1100.00

    Purchased At:   Bike Factory

    Similar Products Used:   DiamondBack, Trek, KHS hardtail aluminium cross country bikes

    Bike Setup:   Standard - SRAM X7, Larssen TT, Truvativ stem, post and bars, Avid BB5 brakes.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by drew martin a Weekend Warrior from north carolina

    Date Reviewed: November 25, 2005

    Strengths:    The bike is very capable of anything I can hand it, and came stock almost to the specs I needed. Just a little more investment and I have a bike matched for my needs.
    Everything is industry standard which makes upgrading/replacing worn items cheaper and easier (unlike my c-dale I have learned to hate).
    The steel frame may be a little heavier than aluminum of similar size, but it is tougher and a lot more forgiving. Lizard skins on the stay are a good investment though!
    The components are great- and will remain on the bike until they wear or break, then I may upgrade. They are fine for stock though- real crisp and sure shifting. The Avid brakes work great after tweaking them to my preference. Once they wear I will probably upgrade to something a little more stout. –again, great for stock though.
    The geometry lets me transfer my effort to the dirt better than any other bike I have owned- and this is where it shines.
    I am not an expert by any stretch- but I feel comfortable advising any level rider to check this bike out if they are in the market! The changes I made to the stock set-up are just to customize the ride to my preference, and not reflective of any design/package flaws. I would be almost as happy peddling the bike stock.

    Weaknesses:    The bike is a little heavy. (Boo hoo hoo- I knew it when I bought it and bought it anyway) The silver lining is that this bike will last and last. I think it may be possible to shave it down quite a bit and maybe do some XC racing on it- but why? This bike is perfect for someone who wants a reliable bike and doesn’t always want to tinker with it. (Weekend warriors and commuters alike- take note).
    XC and Downhillers, as stock you’re going to need to look at some new rubber right off the bat. I have no clue why they put those things on a bike of otherwise good pedigree. I reckon they are fine for 80% of the buyers- those who will only commute and ride on hard-pack though.
    If you jump logs or rocks the big chain-ring won’t hold up- it will fold up. Upgrade or get a rock basher.
    The stock fork feels like a toy, but it does what it is supposed to do for the most part. That is something that will need addressing when it finally gives up the ghost- but until then it will stay on the bike. I think they used it to keep the bike at a good price point for entry level consumers- they know better than that for seasoned riders.
    I commend Jamis on the entire package except for these things. Realize though it is meant for providing a GREAT foundation for an entry to intermediate level riders looking for reliability and longevity. Upgrade as you desire later. You will not be disappointed

    Bottom Line:   
    Don't forget to test track this bike if you are looking for a hard tail XC’r. The price point gives you room to wiggle for upgrading as you wish- but sensibly you will probably want to wait until the stock components fail. They are worthy enough as they are. This is an obvious choice for beginners- you got what you need to get a taste for hard riding, and a solid enough foundation to build on rather than casting off to a new rig once you find your groove. It allow you to destroy yourself before you destroy it. On a budget, this is a good thing.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Brig trail for now

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $1000.00

    Purchased At:   Bike-R-in

    Similar Products Used:   Quite a list and a whole lot money to seemingly settle on a bike that is a fraction of the cost of the others I have tried.

    Bike Setup:   stem not really upgraded but swapped for a easton 0d 120mm, easton 1.5 riser bars, ARS saddle, and kenda rubber. A rock basher to hurt the stumps and logs rather than them hurt the bike again.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Michael a Weekend Warrior from Oakland, CA

    Date Reviewed: July 17, 2005

    Strengths:    same weight as aluminum bikes of the same price range, softer ride (chromo), SRAM compnents seem sturdy and precise, good brakes, decent fork w/ good features, nice flat black paint

    Weaknesses:    Bike is a bit heavy at 31 lbs (19") (but most bikes seem to be in this range nowdays...sigh). Manitou fork is kinda heavy at 4.3 lbs - rebound setting may have given up w/ only 150 miles on the clock. Tires had to go as they were too squirmy. (I'm 6' and 190 lbs, returning intermediate level rider)

    Bottom Line:   
    I really hemmed and hawed...set a budget, but...found the Marin Hawk Hill SE and Jamis Exile bested the other bikes I rode ('cept the Kona (local dlr wouldn't let me test ride it 'cause they were having a sale...duh... WHO'S GONNA BUY A BIKE WITHOUT A TEST RIDE???)) Missing Link was helpful, let me test ride bikes all I wanted (4-5/bike) and were patient while I went beyond my budget. Marin wasn't making the SE's anymore and they didn't have my size in stock.

    I'm very happy with the choice. Kinda wanted an alu frame but they were very rigid and uncomfortable w/ no weight savings. Exile is planted and supple enough to keep the riding fun while also precise enough to feel confident laying off the binders on the dh's. Shifting is precise so far w/ SRAM X7 running gear. Haven't tried any mtn goat climbs since I'm still getting used to clipless (in love with them btw...if you haven't taken the plunge you really ought to!), but she climbs quite well with only a tad of wheel lift while seated as I approach my climbing limit. Wouldn't mind a 34t on the rear, but the 32t does the job fine. Stock WTB seat is good, but have noticed some minor seat post creep no matter how hard I cinch the clamp down. Avid mech disc brakes are awesome, but a) take getting used to and b) require more adjustment maintenance than rim brakes (but the adjustment is FAR easier to do than rim brakes!).

    Bottom line: this is a great bike with plenty of room to grow and learn for the beginner or intermediate returning riders out there.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   anything with dirt

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $850.00

    Purchased At:   Missing Link

    Similar Products Used:   98 Specialized Rockhopper, Diamondback Arrival, GT RTS. Test rode Trek 6500, Marin Hawk Hill SE, Raleigh M80 and others in price range.

    Bike Setup:   shorter stem w/ tad more rise, tires (tioga factory xc), shimano dual platform 'training pedals', ritchey bar ends

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Patrick a Cross Country Rider from Haverhill Ma US

    Date Reviewed: June 15, 2005

    Strengths:    hmm were to start the whole bike exept the fork that abouse somes it up BRAKES WORK GREAK

    Weaknesses:    the fork its not works correctly and its real mushy and the tires to small need bigger

    Bottom Line:   
    a couple of weeks back i got into a bike accident i was flyin down a real big ass hill and i peadled the whole way down cuz u kno speed=good rite i touched the brakes and i did a stoppe i had those pads reall close to the disk so be care full whe ajusting them and there was nothing boken exept some bent bar ends so this bike can take a beating i mean this wasnt a small miniscule crash i f'ed up my shoulder pretty bad all is good w\ the bike i meani saw the bike fly over my head it was like nother ever happend. my only advice to you is buy this bike and wear a helmate when your riding.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $599.00

    Similar Products Used:   old peace of crap bike i had be4

    Bike Setup:   well i had sette xe bar ends got into a crash bent those and i got these cool cyclerite ones, swiched out the tires for wtb moto raptors 2.4 and i swiched those out for wtb weirwolf 2.5(just for the sake of haveing huge tires) back didnt fit so i swiched back to the moto raptors and i replaced the seat w\ a selle Itallia nitrox (plans for futher up gradeing)

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by D Rock from Gig Harbor,Wa USA

    Date Reviewed: November 12, 2004

    Strengths:    The components specs are unbeatable. The ride is classic steel, snappy and smooth.

    Weaknesses:    Tires are low on traction big on weight. Swapped out to lighter tires and tubes, and saved 1 whole pound!

    Bottom Line:   
    This bike is the best value in steel hardtails if not the best value in the whole cycling market. The ride is amazing. I can not believe that more manufacturers can't produce this quality of a steel bike for this price. As for the guy that doesn't believe that the anti snakebite rims work I have to believe that a different rubber compound tire would help. I am 195 and have ridden the WTB tires with dna rubber at 35 lb and actually felt the rim bottom out on logs and have not recieved a pinck flat. Knock on wood. If you are looking for a sweet ride for way under a grand do yourself a favor and buy this bike. Thaks Jamis for having a commitment to high quality steel bikes.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Victor Falls

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $800.00

    Purchased At:   performance

    Similar Products Used:   92 Paramount Series 5 pdg was my last steel mountain bike. plenty of aluminum hardtails as well as full suspension rigs in between though.

    Bike Setup:   Marzocchi marathon sl fork. WTB grease gaurd headset. Sram X9 twist shifters and rear der. with Deore XT front der. WTB Wierwolf race 2.1 tires. Topo 220 aluminum riser bar. performance ti rail saddle.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Ian K a Weekend Warrior from Gainesville, FL

    Date Reviewed: October 11, 2004

    Strengths:    All-around solid package: nice specs, nice weight...just a really nice, simple bike. Also, I enjoyed the feel of the steel frame.

    Weaknesses:    The Alex rims claim to be anti snakebite....and yet i got one halfway through the first trail ride? not a big deal, but kind of disappointing. Also, the Hutchison Mosquitos, real grippy on the hardpack, mud, sand...but felt real sketchy in some sections with lots of loose limestone rocks and pebbles...I may throw my IRC Mythos XC's on it, and see if it helps at all.

    Don't forget its a steel frame, rust may be a problem, so a lizardskins is a good investment for the chainstay so you won't have to worry about chainsmack turning into a bigger problem than messing up the paint...

    Bottom Line:   
    A great package deal. My dad rides the Jamis Dakar XC comp, likes jamis, and this was a slightly belated graduation present. A little tweaking, and everything feels so nice. The shifting is smooth and snappy, the shock felt nice and plush, and I felt completely in control (except for the loose limestone corners). The avid mechanicals felt really sweet, the stopping power is incredible compared to my old bike. A great bike for someone on a budget, or getting serious about their riding. I'm looking forward to racing mine (collegiate) this weekend, and am really looking forward to riding some new trails on this bad boy.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   San Felasco

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $750.00

    Purchased At:   Bike America

    Similar Products Used:   an old mongoose...this is my first real mountain bike.

    Bike Setup:   stock, with platform pedals at the moment.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Sean Murray a Weekend Warrior from Boise

    Date Reviewed: September 18, 2004

    Strengths:    Great Price, steel frame, Avid Disc brakes, Truvativ gear, Shimano Deore and LX gear, Manitou Axel Elite, Alex Rims, SRAM PowerGlide II 7.0, 9-speed, 11-32.....Smooth ride, a hair over 26 pounds. Great components. The WTB seat is really nice on the arse, for me at least. Have not had any problems related to the bikes performance.

    Weaknesses:    Straight handle bar, replaced it with a Truvativ one inch riser bar, Hutchinson tires, replaced them with Panaracer Fire XC Pros. Not much else. Have crashed the bike quite a bit and it is still is in one piece. Me on the other hand....

    Bottom Line:   
    Bottom line...I rode a Kona, rode a Trek and then rode the Jamis Exile and fell in love. I am a beginner Mountain Biker, I have crashed hard, rode hard, the trails around here have tasted my blood, this is a great sport, I guess you could say I have been bitten bad by the Mountain Bike bug.

    Nice job Jamis!!!!!

    Here it is, if you want something better and different than the big name bike lines, do yourself a favor and checkout Jamis, it really is a better overall "Bang for the Buck".

    See you on the trail.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Hulls Gulch, Trails #28 &29

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $830.00

    Purchased At:   Bikes2Boards

    Similar Products Used:   Looked at a Trek Fuel 90, Kona Kikapu, yada yada yada....

    Bike Setup:   I climb hills and turn around and bomb them. Free Ride, XC Ride, it's all greek to me. I ride trails on my weekends and commute to work on my Exile 2-3 times a week, 10-11 miles each way, comfy bike. I got lucky. Swapped tires, handlebars, stem and I am damn happy with this MTB purchase. You will be too.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Cory a Cross Country Rider from Grass Valley, CA USA

    Date Reviewed: July 22, 2004

    Strengths:    Everything! Great selection of parts, I love it. Good choice of disc brakes, they have awesome stopping power and are very durable. Frame is nice and light. Grear Deore componets. Pretty good fork.

    Weaknesses:    Tires wear out quickly.

    Bottom Line:   
    Great bike, with very excellent componets. Great ride for an intermediate rider.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Empire Mine

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $770.00

    Purchased At:   Bicycle Blowout

    Similar Products Used:   Trek 4900
    Jamis Explorer SX
    Trek Fuel 90

    Bike Setup:   Avid CPS ball bearing discs, Manitou Axel Elite, etc.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Ben a Weekend Warrior from San Francisco

    Date Reviewed: July 9, 2004

    Strengths:    This is a great bike for the money. A really nice steel (not too heavy) hardtail frame and decent componets which are harder and harder to find.

    Bottom Line:   
    Good Reynold steel frame and reliable ride all around!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $500.00

    Purchased At:   Performance

    Similar Products Used:   Trek 8000

    Bike Setup:   Deore and Avid componets.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Jason Park from Fairfax, VA

    Date Reviewed: April 11, 2004

    Strengths:    Light, Cost, Not a bad gear set (i.e. Shimano Deore). Pretty rigid, stands up to a beating.

    Weaknesses:    Tires aren't good had to change them to a pair of Mythos XC IRC, had to change to clipless pedals too.

    Bottom Line:   
    It's a really good bike, it's light, rigid, and it handles pretty well. I initially bought two mountain bikes (one for my girlfriend to use), this one and a Gary Fisher Tassajara. I bought the tassajara and it weighed a ton and had a couple of problems with it. The bike that I bought for my girlfriend to use (this one) was light, cheaper, and overall better quality. I was initially thrown off by the ugly color of the bike (green and tan) but when push came to shove color really doesn't matter with a bike and it's quality. I got the bike on discount, at an end of season sale at Performance Bike (I forgot the original price) but it was an excellent deal.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Great Falls

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $550.00

    Purchased At:   Performance Bike

    Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Tassajara.

    Bike Setup:   Changed tires to Mythos XC IRC tires. Got generic clipless pedals from Performance Bike.

    Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

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