Jamis hit the sweet spot with the Portal. With 130mm of front and rear travel, it offers enough suspension to take on any trail you have the guts to try, but is still svelte and nimble enough to pedal anywhere on the map. The 3VO suspension designed by Chris Currie of Speedgoat nails the bullseye of suspension kinematics: active and stable under pedaling and hard braking but sensitive to small bumps and ready for big, square-edged hits. Fox expertly controls that rear travel, as well as handling suspension duties up front with a Float DPS shock and Rhythm 34 fork, respectively. Portal A1+ grips terrain aggressively with meaty 27.5x2.8-inch Vittoria tires and comes with Shimano’s exemplary XT 1x11 drivetrain, so you’ll have a broad range of gears at your fingertips, perfect for aiming at a mountain and pressing “Play.” Bringing the Portal safely back to low orbit takes nothing but a gentle squeeze of the Magura Trail Sport hydraulic brake levers, delivering the power and confidence to master the trail. And, a KS dropper post ensures your body is in the right position for the task at hand, whether you’re grinding up the thirty-third switchback in a row or shredding down a buffed park jump line.
Building great recreational-level bikes that ride much like (and look a lot like) their high-end bikes is a passion at Jamis. And no bikes showcase that commitment better than the Helix A2. The Helix chassis emphasizes all-day performance with handling that’s quick and sure without being overly darty. Its suspension fork and 21-speed drivetrain make it trail-ready and quite capable, while disc brakes help ensure safety and control wherever you ride, and in all weather. You don’t have to give up comfort for capability, though, and the Helix A2 provides both, offering a women-specific saddle, riser bar, and soft, Kraton grips, all with a heads-up geometry that keeps you riding comfortably all day long.
These may be the most affordable 29’ers in Jamis’ stable, but there’s nothing entry-level about the performance of these bikes. They took all-new frame styling and married it to the proven Dakota geometry, then added a suspension fork, 29-inch wheels, a 21-speed drivetrain, and disc brakes for real trail prowess. Best-in-class performance and big hoops don’t have to mean big bucks, and the Durango proves it.
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