A 140mm travel hardtail seems like a niche bike – but that’s changing with the right spec and geometry. The Jamis Komodo has gone through some changes, and this alloy trail beast is way more diverse than the tag shows.
From its beginnings more than 15 years ago as a 26″ hardtail mountain bike – the Jamis Komodo was always overbuilt and leaned towards the rowdy side of life. Iterations in subsequent years have taken this shredly friend from a 26”, to 27.5”, to 27.5 +, and finally a 29” with enough room to clear a 2.6” tire. The Komodo of the past offered a nice ride but almost seemed to be a stepping stone model between trail and cross country – capable but wanting.
The newest edition of the Komodo lays all the cards on the table – this bike is ready for roots, rocks, rowdy – a point me toward the A-line bike. Thanks to a super capable build and updated geometry, the Jamis Komodo tames the trails’ most beastly features – well, at least equipping the rider with the confidence so they can do so. The significant changes come in both wheel size and travel, aiding in the bike’s fast-rolling, playful nature. The travel grows from 120mm to a sizable 140mm up front and wheel size from 27.5+ to 29”.
The Komodo’s overbuilt ethos is the same as previous years, but the geometry and the specs push this bike into the fun and uber-capable category. The all-new geometry supports a slack 65° head tube angle, much slacker than the previous 68° – now seen as more of a cross country standard. The seat tube went beyond the norm to a steep 76° (the steepest Jamis has ever produced), making climbing on this rig a very different experience. Though the geo isn’t breaking the trail bike molds, offering this experience at a dependable $1,799 price point – is.
The frame itself is crafted from triple-butted 6061 aluminum with a 1.5 – 1 1/8″ tapered head tube, post mount disc brakes, and 12x148mm thru-axle. The internal dropper post routing is sleek, discrete, and fully serviceable. Jamis uses a one-piece forged chainstay yoke that keeps the tire clearance high.
This asymmetric design also allows for a tighter wheelbase and more extensive chainring options. In my personal opinion – I think it looks super cool, coupled with the clean-running lines of the dropper routing. Most of the cables are run internally, except for the rear brake hose, which runs the length of the downtube. The shifting and dropper cables drop out of the down tube and meet the bottom bracket where they meet the chainstay, enabling a clean line of cable entry into the rear derailleur.
Notable Komodo Geometry specs:
The Komodo is available in 15″,17″ (Tested) 19″ and 21″ sizes.
- Effective Top Tube: 24.5/622
- Headtube Angle: 65°
- Seattube Angle: 76°
- Chainstay length: 17.1/435
- Wheelbase: 48 /1219
- Bottom Bracket Drop: 2.4/60
- Headtube: 4.3/110
- Standover: 30.6/779
- Stack: 25.0/636
- Reach: 18.2/463
- Weight: 33.00 (w/o pedals)
- Price: $1,799
Notable Jamis Komodo Specs
- Fork: Rock Shox 35 Silver TK 29”, 140mm SoloAir
- Wheels: Stan’s No Tubes Flow D 29” rims, Shimano MT410 15x110mm front 12x148mm rear
- Tires: WTB Vigilante 29 x 2.5” Front & Trail Boss 29 x 2.4” Rear, TCS Tubeless
- Shifter/Derailleurs: Shimano Deore, 12-speed
- Cassette: Shimano M6100, 12-speed, 10-51T
- Crankset: Race Face Ride, 32T
- Brakeset: Shimano MT420 4-piston hydraulic disc, 180mm rotors
- Handlebar: Race Face Ride, 35 x 760mm
- Stem: Race Face Ride, 50mm
- Seat Post: KS Rage Dropper, 31.6 – Southpaw remote
Shimano components round out a solid build
Jamis went with an all Shimano build on the Komodo, and from the looks of its 2021 line, most – if not all of its mountain line will include Shimano products. It’s easy to see why, the Deore 12 speed group’s shifting performance far outweighs any weight penalty, and the Shimano MT420 4-piston hydraulic brakes are a great accompaniment to the fast ripping nature of this bike.
The lever shape is different than most Shimano hydro brakes, but for two-finger and single-digit breakers – the change is easily adapted by pushing them inward on the bar. The Deore 10-51 cassette allows you to climb nearly anything in nature and has nicely spaced tooth increments.
The Jamis team was thorough with the Komodo build and attention to detail makes it perform great right out of the box. The Stan’s Flow rims are laced to Shimano MT410 hubs (I’ve seen this hub on many 2021 model bikes) and its performance, engagement, and overall bombproof build make it an excellent choice for this style bike. The engagement isn’t trials spec fast, but it’s quick enough to not waste a single motion in and out of tight sections. It’s safe to say some of the money went into equipping this bike with the proper tires, WTB Vigilante 29 x 2.5″ Front and WTB Trail Boss 29 x 2.4″ Rear.
These tires are no joke, high performance, and sell for nearly $70 a piece at retail – it’s nice to see them spec’d on a $1,600 bike. WTB’s Vigilante grips everything from wet roots and rock but flows nicely over the loam. The tires vastly help the Komodo’s performance from the gun. There is no time mounting your go-to tires or messing with perfect pressures. I rode the Komodo on some very techy bits for my first outings – knowing that the Vigilante/Trail Boss combo had my back, crawling over rocks like a jeep.
The faster you go, the happier the Komodo is – especially on wide-open singletrack. The bike’s 34-pound weight isn’t noticeable when blazing downhill or even in the pedal heavy sections of the rolling terrain. The super steep seat tube, shorter (50mm) stem, and longer front-center gives the rider an engaged but not “all-out race” feeling on the pedals. The head tube being so slack grants super confidence to the rider when approaching the steep and gnarly terrain this bike craves. Having a short stem magnifies the handling and responsiveness of the ride.
The 35mm bar clamp size takes the stiffness and propels it to the next level, almost harsh but the tires round out any negative sensations. Something quickly noted when sprinting to hit a double or in/out of pump sections.
The frame is overbuilt, but in the most fantastic way – you can toss this bike in the thick of it, and it just comes back for more. The alloy build creates a stiff and very responsive pedaling platform – not very forgiving, but really, that’s where the 140mm fork and tires help.
After the descending is over and you notice there’s no lift at your local trails – the inevitable climbing begins. The Komodo ascends much better than one would think – the seat tube puts you in the attack position from the first pedal stroke. There is no migrating to the nose of the saddle; you’re already there. You’d think the bike would tend to wonder with a headtube/seat tube combo of 66/76 degrees, but it tracks steadily.
Admittedly, I can’t jump well – I can send it when needed, but jumping never seemed to fit me. On the Komodo, though, I hit the doubles and catch air (very little air), but air it is! The bike has a BMX feel in pump heavy sections of trail. The Rock Shox 35 fork is well suited for the big hit and rock sections but is not set up for hitting doubles. I found adding a volume spacer worked well for me and gave me the support I was looking for; I ended up keeping this setup for the review’s remainder.
The Komodo does have some shortcomings – they are small, but if this is a first purchase or daily rider for you – they are worth mentioning. The KS Rage dropper post worked well during the whole test period. However, the lever is not the best. I found my sweat covered thumb slipping at times and eventually attached a small bit of skateboard grip tape to the lever. It doesn’t slip anymore but wears your gloves – either way, this is an easily found aftermarket part – small potatoes.
I do wish the paint was more robust or had a stronger coating. A bike of this utility should take knocks and bruises with of territory and come out singing. It did bum me out to see small paint chips on the chainstay and the downtube after the test period. For those looking to keep this bike in its shiny glory – I would suggest some 3M clear tape or Effetto Mariposa Shelter around the high-impact areas of the frame – security for those that like to get down and let the rocks fly.
The Jamis Komodo is a whole new animal compared to the bike that Jamis released 15 years ago. This design speaks to many different riders, both new and vets of the sport. The price point is right on the money for someone looking to dabble in a 140mm travel bike that can ride nearly everything. In the end, it’s a confidence-inspiring, balanced bike that can handle much more than expected.