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J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2

8
£5,052.30

VERDICT:

8
10
Titanium road bike with big tyre clearance and a great balance of speed, performance and comfort
Clearance for 35mm tyres
Very well made
Competitively priced
Great ride characteristics
A bit on the weighty side
Weight: 
9,270g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The latest iteration of J.Guillem's Major (pronounced 'my-awe' after the second most popular climb in Majorca) is one of those bikes tapping another nail in N+1's coffin, thanks to its ability to blend a road bike's characteristics with the versatility of a gravel or touring bike. Thankfully though, speed and performance on the road are still very much the main focus.

While it's important to keep an open mind in this job, it's inevitable that presumptions are going to be made on first sight – we're all human. When the Major arrived in the office I was very impressed; the finish of the titanium frame is stunning. Oh, and just in case you're unfamiliar with it, 'N+1' is the answer to the question of how many bikes you should have, with N being the number you already have...

> Buy the Major now from J Guillem for £3,687

This build doesn't scrimp anywhere with an electronic groupset and some deep-section carbon fibre wheels, but what's this – 35mm tyres? Straight away my mind switched to envisaging big rides to get the most out of what was surely some kind of endurance, slick tyred adventure machine. Oh, how wrong I was.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - riding 2.jpg

With the Panaracer GravelKings pumped up firm I headed out for an hour-long shakedown ride to check my position and give the bike a quick once over, and boy did this thing want to get a shift on.

As you can probably tell by the set up in the photos, the Major is designed for a relatively aggressive position. The front end is low (especially if you knock out the 20mm of spacers fitted here), and with my saddle in position I could get a good drop down to the handlebar for a low slung body shape. It's ideal for a bit of aero-ness or getting out of a headwind.

With great stiffness throughout the frame I could really get the power down, and the Major on the whole felt rewarding to ride.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - riding 4.jpg

For a bike that'll take full mudguards and has the clearances that requires, the wheelbase, at just over a metre, is tight enough for the J.Guillem to exhibit a bit of nimbleness. It's not as short as a race bike, so you get an extra bit of stability, but without taking the fun factor away.

The handling is much the same. There is enough speed from the steering for the kind of fast riding where you don't necessarily the need the quickness of a race machine, but it's not slow or sluggish in any way. Goldilocks would be happy with it, if you know what I mean.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - riding 3.jpg

With tyres of this size hardpacked trails are also an option, and again the steering is not so fast the Major becomes a handful here either.

It's well suited to being loaded up with frame bags, too. With a family break arranged for a weekend I headed down to Devon under my own steam, with the Major loaded up with a top tube bag, bar bag and saddle bag. The 200km trek of country lanes really highlighted the comfort from he Major's titanium alloy tubing and their profiles.

The geometry worked really well here too, and the Major is easy and relaxing to ride when you aren't the rivet all the time.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - riding 5.jpg

Back at home, with the bulk of my riding being squeezed into the small gap between work and the school runs, the Major showed itself to be pretty much everything you need for a fast and fun ride. The only thing taking the edge of is the overall weight of 9.27kg (on our scales), which just hampers the acceleration and climbing a touch.

With a set of light 28mm slicks fitted the J.Guillem feels just like a quick road bike, and even with the smaller volume rubber and higher pressures, overall comfort remains much the same.

Frame and fork

Like the majority of titanium frames on the market, this uses 3Al/2.5V alloy, which is titanium mixed with 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium. The tubes are extruded, which means that there are no seams or anything to deal with.

Titanium doesn't suffer from corrosion, so no paint or lacquers are required. That's great for keeping your bike looking new and scratch free, but it means that the welder's torch skills are on full display. Thankfully though, whoever built this can hold their head high, as the neat welding is to a high standard throughout.

Boosting the clean look is the newly line-free exterior – the Major's predecessor had external cable and hose routing, while this model is designed for wireless electronic groupsets only and has no cable stops on the outside of the frame. The only entry port is for the rear brake hose, and there's an exit port for the mech wires from the internal battery.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - cable routing detail 2.jpg

The rear hose exits around the bottom bracket junction, and then is directed along the outside of the chainstay.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - chain stay cable routing.jpg

As mentioned the Major will accept full mudguards and a rear rack. You also get two bottle cage mounts.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - bosses 1.jpg

To keep the fork and chainset turning smoothly the Major uses an integrated headset which sits inside the tapered head tube, while the bottom bracket is a press-fit affair.

The rear dropouts and included mech hanger for the thru-axle are CNC machined and look very smart, and as the hanger is separate a crash can damage it without writing the frame off – a nice touch.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - rear drop out 2.jpg

At the front you'll find a full carbon fibre fork. If you don't really notice a fork then it's doing its job, and that is exactly the situation here. The J.Guillem fork is stiff where it needs to be, with enough compliance that it doesn't rattle your hands around on rough surfaces.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - fork.jpg

Geometry

Available in seven sizes from 49cm to 62cm, the Major has performance orientated geometry. The measurements for this 54cm model are a 555mm top tube length (effective), with a 155mm head tube, and a 490mm seat tube centre-to-centre.

The wheelbase is 1,005mm with 430mm chainstays, while the stack and reach figures are 562mm and 384mm respectively. Angle wise, the head tube sits at 73°, while the seat angle is 73.5°.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - head tube badge.jpg

Finishing kit

The Major is available as a frame, a frameset or in various builds configurable on J.Guillem's website. The builds kick off with Shimano's 105 R7100 Di2 groupset, which we have here.

It was launched last year, and just like its Ultegra and Dura Ace siblings, it now comes with 12 speeds and wireless shifters controlling the electronic front and rear mech.

The shifting is great, as is the braking performance, and while as a standalone groupset it's no longer the impressive value versus performance offering it once was, it can actually be quite good value as part of a full bike.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - rear mech.jpg

J.Guillem allows you to select crank length, but the only gear options are a compact 50/34t for the crankset and 11-34t for the cassette. For me those ranges were fine, with the lower gears offsetting the overall weight well.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - front mech.jpg

Our model came with a J.Guillem aluminium stem (a titanium option is available) and matching handlebar with a shallow drop. Stem length and handlebar width are up to you.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - stem.jpg

For the seatpost and seatclamp though, our build has an upgrade from aluminium to titanium, and very nice it looks too. We've also got a J.Guillem saddle, which comes with titanium rails.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - saddle.jpg

As for the wheels, we were lucky enough to get an upgrade to Scope's R4A full carbon wheelset with deep section rims and a 21/24 spoke build front and rear.

2022 J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2 - rim.jpg

It's a great wheelset that suited the width of the (upgraded) Panaracer GravelKing tyres. It offers a performance build that's durable enough to cope with the odd foray onto firm gravel tracks.

Value

With all of the upgrades our Major came in at €5711 including VAT for the UK, which at the time of writing works out to around £5,000. A standard 105 build with aluminium wheels and components is €4,199 (£3,700), and a frame only is €1,699 or £1,495.

The frameset option basically has everything except the drivetrain, wheels and tyres, and is €2,380 or £2,095.

The Enigma Evoke Mk3 has a similar kind of riding style and geometry to the Major, although it lacks the mounts for mudguards. As a frame only it costs £2,199 or £2,641.99 as a frameset which includes frame, fork, headset and seat collar.

Reilly's T325D Road Disc is classed as a road race/sportive favourite, and is focused on being a fast yet comfortable ride. A frameset which includes a full carbon fork, headset and seat collar will set you back £2,399.

Taking this all into account, the J.Guillem does offer good value for money against some of the competition.

Overall

The Major is a very good bike to ride. It can feel like a race bike, an endurance bike or even a fast tourer or adventure bike. The ride quality is excellent, as are its characteristics. The only real fly in the ointment is the overall weight, but that doesn't necessarily show through unless you are on a a massively steep climb. The price is reasonable too.

Verdict

Titanium road bike with big tyre clearance and a great balance of speed, performance and comfort

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road.cc test report

Make and model: J Guillem Major Shimano 105 Di2

Size tested: 54cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Group Set: Shimano 105 DI2 R7100 2x12spd, (50-34T/11-34T) Disc Brake

Wheel Set: Scope R4A Full Carbon Wheelset, 21-24H

Tyres: Panaracer Gravel King+ Slick 700c Bk/Bn, 35mm

Headset: J.Guillem Integrated Headset, for 11/8 - 11/2"

Stem: J.Guillem Alloy, Sand blasted Anodized

Handlebar: J.Guillem Alloy Sand blasted Anodized, Butted

Handlebar Tape: J.Guillem Microfiber Shockproof

Seat Post: Titanium Seat Post, with Difflock System

Seat Collar: J.Guillem 3AL/2.5V Ti Seat Collar, 34,9mm

Saddle: J.Guillem Saddle, Titanium Rails

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

J.Guillem describe the Major thus; "For the road-riding enthusiast that loves the sensation of riding fast, the Major - pronounced 'My-awe' – is an awesome steed on the straight, in the narrow and around bends. Its stiff, light and durable frame suits an aggressive riding style so it's ideal for the step-up to club racing or solo flights chasing the clock."

The Major is very much a fast road bike, with the bonus of being able to take 35mm tyres, which adds versatility.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

The Major is available as a frame only, a frameset, or as a customisable build.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The frame is welded and finished to a very high standard. The internal cable routing gives the Major a very clean look.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Frame: J.Guillem 3AL/2.5V Titanium

Fork: J.Guillem 11/8-11/2in Tapered Carbon Road Disc Fork, with Mudguard Eyelets

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry is performance based, only slightly backed off from that of a pure race bike.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The stacka and reach figures are as expected for a bike of this size and style.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

For such a stiff bike the ride quality is very good. The larger tyres help here too.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness is excellent both at the bottom bracket and the head tube.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Power transfer is very good, which means it feels efficient when rolling or from a standing start.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? The fun side of neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is quick enough to give a fun and involving ride through the bends, while not being so fast that it is a handful on longer rides, or even away from the tarmac.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The 35mm tyres can be tweaked for pressure to balance comfort and speed.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The Scope wheels felt very stiff for hard efforts out of the saddle.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The 12-speed cassette of the 105 grouspet gives a good spread of gears with small gaps.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
5/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The 105 Di2 groupset gives excellent shifting and braking performance.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

This is a quality set of wheels. They feel quick and are stiff and durable too.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

Comfortable tyres which roll and grip well, and they're a decent weight for the width.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The components are all well made, and are comfortable in use.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's well priced against some of the competition I've mentioned, such as offerings from Enigma and Reilly.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is a bike that delivers a great ride quality and handling, and it works whether you're riding hard or taking it easy. It's competitvely priced too.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment

6 comments

Avatar
matthewn5 | 10 months ago
0 likes

Lovely bike, but that price, ouch... FWIW I built up my stainless bike with Dura Ace DI2 for less than half that. And it only weighs 7.9 kg.

//serving.photos.photobox.com/0247628084c58fffc011b08c424d23b16783a42d13bf2f9d3c6dd20d0d1e2db5c3f7def7.jpg)

Avatar
ooblyboo | 10 months ago
2 likes

I'd rather just have mechanical 105 and that would likely bring down the price a fair bit. If I were paying over £5k I'd want much higher performance characteristics than this is likely to be able to deliver, no matter how desirable a frame material titanium may be.

Avatar
ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
2 likes

9.3 kg for a £5000 bike. Utter lunacy.

Avatar
Simon E replied to ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
10 likes

Beware that old phrase regarding "the price of everything and the value of nothing". If weight is your only metric then you're likely to be disappointed with virtually every new bike model on the market.

Titanium isn't a cheap metal. According to the article frame only is £1,495 while Enigma is rather more. Carbon frames from small manufacturers aren't cheap. Mason frames aren't cheap, regardless of the material.

The Scope R4A wheels are listed at €1,498 on their website while a 105 Di2 groupset is £1,730. It has Ti saddle rails and seat post while Panaracers are not budget tyres. These things all add up. For similar money you could get a slab-sided aero thing with proprietary fittings with nightmare bar/stem cable routing that in a couple of years will be worth half the price you paid for it and look dated. Horses for courses, I guess.

Avatar
emjay49 replied to ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
0 likes

Why?

Avatar
fenix replied to ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
1 like

Weight isn't everything Chuck.

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