Only having 120mm of rear travel and a 67.5-degree head tube angle, the Jamis Faultline is surely the most cross country-based bike in this roundup. Building up the Jamis was fairly simple for us, but prospective customers won’t have to build it up themselves – instead, Jamis will ship the bike to a bike shop of your choice who will build it up and check it over for you so it’s ready to hit the trails right away. We ran into some issues with the dropper post and remote that required some fiddling around with, but other than that, testers dialed in their preferred pressures and the bike was ready to ride.
That short travel and conservative geometry help the Jamis Faultline climb well and maintain its speed on undulating sections of trail. The head tube angle and fairly long chainstays on the Faultline kept riders more centered between the wheels keeping traction to a maximum on the climbs and turning a tighter radius on uphill switchbacks. The 130mm fork and 120mm rear shock had minimal pedal bob, providing an efficient pedaling platform for riders in and out of the saddle. The Faultline’s cross country prowess and efficiency for a bike of this price point certainly is a highlight, however when seated on the bike, it felt too long for many of the testers. The Jamis has the shortest reach out of all the bikes in this roundup at 460mm in a size large, but the effective top tube is the longest out of the 5 bikes at 635mm. This 635mm effective top tube length is only 5mm longer than the next bike, but when paired with the 74.5-degree seat tube angle, these attributes made the Jamis ride bigger than it truly was. We fixed this by sliding the seat forward on the rails, which still left the bike feeling a bit awkward, but we moved past that.
In the same way that the Jamis was well suited for climbing, it was also well suited for flowy single track. The Faultline was efficient for pumping and popping over small doubles. The steeper head tube angle held the bike back a bit when it came to steeper trails or cornering on the descents. Testers felt that the natural position on the bike was too far over the front wheel, but when compensating by leaning further back over the bike, the front wheel had a lack of weight and lacked grip and confidence. The geometry on this bike seems to be what holds it back in comparison to the others, but then again, it’s also the shortest travel bike on the test.
As for the spec on the Faultline the Rock Shox 35 Gold RL fork performed well, but the Rock Shox Deluxe Select+ RL shock was less impressive. It doesn’t provide much in the way of adjustment, and it was relatively harsh in terms of small bump compliance. The Shimano SLX drivetrain did as asked, and the SLX hub had decent engagement. The KS Rage dropper post worked, but we struggled with the remote. Some of the other bikes in this group review offer a nicer combination of components at a similar price point.
The Wolf’s Last Word
If you’re a rider looking to get into your first full suspension bike and you ride smoother, flatter trails, this is an efficient and relatively cost-effective bike. Jamis does offer more aggressive, longer travel bikes so be sure to check those out as well if you’re wanting to ride some more challenging terrain.
Weight: 33.7 lbs