In our ongoing mission to get more customers trying and rating product, this year we are providing a selection of bikes to be reviewed over time. Here Kelvin Hamilton tells us about his first impressions of the Jamis Bossanova Touring bike:
The Bosanova caused quite a stir in the office, where at least 50 percent of people are into cycling. Everyone thought its retro looks were great, with most people commenting that the mudguards were pretty and that it felt quite solidly built.
I’ve never bought a bike from the web before, and you need at least some mechanical competence to set it up as some of the parts needed fitting or adjusting. The pedals were a decent choice, light aluminium cages instead of the usual rubber blocks, and I don’t plan to replace them for the commuting bit. I’ll probably fit SPDs for longer rides though. The handlebars are easily adjustable with a wide range of movement, so you should be able to find that all-important perfect fit.
Once it’s on the road it has the right feel, very close to my old Specialized Tricross, but with a more ‘classic’ look about it. They are both going for the mid-point of the road bike / tourer zone, with the Bosanova leaning slightly more towards tourer than the Tricross. A Dawes Galaxy feels like a much slower, more laid back beast, whilst my Specialized Allez feels much lighter, faster and leaner. On the road it is stable and confidence-inspiring, partly due to the disc brakes, and does feel like you could ride many, many miles on it. Heel clearance for panniers is better than the Tricross, although there is the usual minor toe-clearance issue on these sort of bikes.
For comparison, I ride a Specialized Allez Elite as my day bike, which I’ve also ridden across Spain. I had a Specialized Tricross Sport, which I rode across the USA before being stolen in Bristol, and is a direct competitor to the Bosanova. I have a Marin Riftzone full-suspension mountain bike and did several miles on a Dawes Galaxy the other day.
I wouldn’t normally go for disc brakes for a tourer, as they are heavier than rim brakes and parts will be harder to get hold of, so I’m interested to see how they work out. They are definitely strong and progressive, I’m enjoying having them with the winter weather, and if they work out then they will be great for loaded mountain descents!
I was planning a 2 x 55 mile hilly overnighter for the first ride but had to postpone due to ice and snow on the route. Instead I’ve been commuting on it, which is 3.5 hilly Edinburgh city miles each way on a mixture of bike path, cobbles and tarmac, with plenty of potholes, mud and ice thrown in. It’s a good commuter, with the relaxed position good for city traffic, whilst still fast and lean enough to have as much fun as a proper road bike like the Allez.
In summary, it seems a decent bike for long road rides where you’re not too fussed about speed, good for touring and commuting too. A decent all-rounder, and built to last.