I have a 2003 Jamis Exile 26er that I converted to SS and I friggen love it.
I was always a fan of steel bikes, and a huge fan of Jamis. I had a Jamis Dakar Pro before the Exile. Anyway, it was an ok bike when I bought it. I got a deal on it because I know a Jamis Rep, but it came OEM with Avid V-brakes and a Manitou Black Fork that broke after a year (I got a new Skareb for nothing on a warranty exchange).
The OEM wheels were Mavic's lower end 117's. They were bomb proof, but heavy. Components were all Deore.
Over the years, I upgrade both derailleurs to XT and put an Avid BB7 on the front with a Mavic CrossRide. Its not Mavic's top of the line disc wheel but it got the job done.
The bike was a bit on the heavy side at 26lbs, but it rode very well and climbed extraordinarily well.
Last year, I stripped the drive train, removed the front disc and put it on another bike, and installed new Shimano XT V-brakes on it. I put a new Mavic 517 on the front and back. I reused the OEM crankset- I just removed the small ring and the big ring and kept the 32 on it. I re-ran all new teflon cables for the front and back brakes.
I weighed all the stuff I removed from the bike. Shifters, front and rear derailleur and rear cog, plus two chain rings. 3+ lbs of weight dropped. I figure I dropped another pound with the wheel upgrade. So I think I have her down to 21-22 lbs. Next year, I am going to upgrade the handle bar to a carbon bar. I got some junk wirebead tires on it now for the winter, but in the summer I run some lighter tires. I am also thinking about going rigid with her, and I am looking at the Switchblade carbon fork. I' like to get her close to 20lbs by the summer of next year. Even with a rigid cromoly fork I should shed some weight.
Anyway, it was a great bike to start. Now its an awesome bike. Climbs like a dream on 90% of the stuff I ride around here with the 32x18 gearing setup. I can only imagine what the 29er would be like. I highly recommend anything by Jamis. My road bike is also a Jamis!!
LONG LIVE STEEL!!!
Full OEM bike specs are here: