The Jamis Nemesis 650 Team
Cross-Country Aggression At Its Finest
Jamis was ahead of the times when they introduced two 27.5-inch-wheeled bikes in 2010. While the merits of the wheel size were instantly apparent to us, the few
options for 27.5-inch components compelled us to keep the
wheel size at arm’s length. Flash-forward four years and 27.5-
inch wheels are here to stay. Does Jamis’ four years of experience with the wheel size mean a four-year advantage in bike
design over their competitors? We were eager to find out.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The Nemesis Team is Jamis’ all-out cross-country race bike
for riders whose size, style and trails suit 27.5-inch wheels.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
At the heart of the Nemesis 650 Team is a high-modulus,
monocoque carbon fiber frame. It uses a PressFit30 bottom
bracket, 1 1/2–1 1/8 tapered head tube and a 142x12-mil-
limeter rear thru-axle. The aluminum derailleur hanger is
replaceable, and the chainstay features a thin, stainless steel
protector to prevent any damage from the drivetrain.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The Nemesis team is packed with components that leave
you no excuses for not being on the top step of the podium.
SRAM’s XX1 drivetrain helps keep the weight and drivetrain
noise down to a minimum while giving the bike a very simple and clean look. The RockShox SID XX makes the most
of the 3. 9 inches of travel up front, and the Ritchey WCS
carbon fiber cockpit components look dialed and help keep
the Nemesis light.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: The Nemesis has a race-oriented feel with a
forward-leaning position that just screams “attack.”
The cockpit is super clean in a way only 1x11 bikes can
be—only one shifter and less clutter. Dialing in the bike
takes a matter of minutes with the minimal suspension
setup (fork sag and rebound).
Pedaling: If acceleration is what you’re after, look no
further. The Nemesis launches out from underneath you.
The laterally stiff carbon fiber frame, mid-size wheels,
and overall weight under 21 pounds all contribute to
a ride that gets up and goes.
Climbing: The steeper and tighter it
gets and the more aggressive you are,
the more the mid-size wheels shine.
Using a sit-and-spin approach to
climbing on the Nemesis can feel
underwhelming when compared
to what a similar 29er can
offer; however, coming out of
a corner and punching it up a
steep section out of the saddle
never felt this rewarding.
The Nemesis shined in
technical sections where there
were no smooth run-ups to pick
up speed and float through as we
would on a 29er. The rear end’s
short length made it easier to keep the
rear tire weighted when out of the saddle on
climbs. So while the contact patch may not be as large as
a 29er’s, we never had any problems maintaining traction,
even on our loosest and steepest trails.
Cornering: One of our most frequented trails features a
series of 180-degree switchbacks that are tight enough to be
a handful on a number of 29ers. Task number one was seeing how tightly we could cut these corners and if that would
translate to actually riding faster. Sure enough, whipping
around tight switchbacks was much easier on the bike, and
in faster sections, transferring from corner to corner was
lightning fast. Where the bike gave up some performance
was in high-speed sweepers where braking bumps were
abundant, as the mid-sized wheels just didn’t feel as settled
in choppy situations.
Descending: Tackling descents on a 27.5-inch hardtail is
a double-edged sword. For skilled riders who enjoy throwing the bike around the trail to find the smoothest line, the
Nemesis is spot-on. The short rear end keeps the tire tucked
up underneath you, which goes a long way when flicking
the bike at a moment’s notice.
If, however, you’ve grown accustomed to the ability to
steamroll through rough spots on the trail, you may find
yourself riding a bit timidly at first. The smaller wheels
seemed to pack a bit more punch when we made a mistake
and found square-edge bumps on descents, but this didn’t
cause anything more than some discomfort.
Braking: Jamis spec’s Avid’s XX brakes with relatively
small, 6-inch rotors front and rear. Braking power is not
overwhelming by any means, but given the smaller-diameter
wheel, low weight of the bike and small knobbies, anything
more might be too much to maintain the modulated feel the