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  1. #1
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    2011 Jamis Dakar 650 b1

    I've got a good dozen rides in on my 2011 Dakar so I figured I'd post up my thoughts.

    Before I even rode it I swapped the grips and seat and put on a drop post (first one, trying it out). I gorilla taped the rims and aired up the tires with Stan's sealant.

    2012-06-28 041







    For background perspective, the last FS bike I've ridden was a 2004 K2 Lithium 5.0. It was top of the line when they first unveiled the Lithium, and it had a good parts spec. I loved that bike and it elevated my riding and I rode the piss out of it for many years.

    vietnam 05 001








    Then came singlespeeds, children, 29ers and so on. Now both my kids will be in school all day and I have 5 months off from work so I bought a new bike to celebrate.

    August 2012 002

    I plan on using this bike to ride all the awesome places that were just too far for me to hit when I had to get back to get the kid from preschool. Vietnam, Arcadia, Big River, Borderlands, basically very technical, rocky, NE singletrack. I initially wanted a full susp. 29er. I started getting paralysis by analysis, my mind was swimming and they just seemed so tall and gangly.

    More background I guess, I'm 5'8" with a 30" inseam. I ride a Misfit Dissent rigid 29er. Its got a pretty laid back seat tube angle, lowish BB, and bent TT. So it fits me, but barely. I was afraid a full suspension 29er was gonna be too big/tall/unwieldy. I also was concerned with wheel weight and strength, it'd be easier to build up a lighter wheel with something smaller than 29, but I was convinced I wanted bigger than 26.

    Sooo, I decided to take a plunge and buy the Jamis. I'd been interested in the White Bros Loop for a while and the 2011 had it. Plus the 2011 came with discontinued WTB Wolverines. I like WTB tires, honestly, these were the things that sealed the deal....

    I found out that Schwalbe was making 650b tires and there were other manufacturers jumping in, so I figured worst case I'd start collecting tires and if 650 flops I'll have enough to survive the life of the bike. I also grabbed a pair of stans flows while they were on sale, so I've got spare rims.






    Ok enough BS, the bike rocks.

    Right off the bat I noticed an improvement in tracking. It corners much better and doesn't wander. I give credit for this to the fork mostly. Its got thicker stanchions, a thru axle, and tapered steerer. The steering is predictable and surprisingly quick. Not as quick as the Misfit, but its fairly close, compared to my K2, which is all over the place. I like the quick steering, it helps in tight rocky stuff where you aren't going too fast.

    The next thing that was apparent was a major increase in traction over the K2. Much of this I have to give credit to having new tires set up tubeless. Traction is similar, if not better than my Misfit, which is to say superb. I think I'm getting better traction than the Misfit because of the suppleness of the suspension. I can corner through rocky stuff and the bike just stays glued where the rigid bike would bounce big time. I don't know if its the contact patch or having the BB below the axles, but this bike corners way, way better than the K2.

    The suspension is very good, I do notice some front end bob if I'm standing and pedalling. This bike is downright confidence inspiring on downhills and in rock gardens though. I've ridden some rock gardens at unprecedented (for me) speeds. The fork is stiff, smooth and predictable, but noisy on the rebound, its a slurper. I can't say I've noticed anything about the rear shock except its ability to do its job without a peep. Easy to set with the sag marks on it, upside down setup sheds grime. Fantastic.

    Climbing is... OK. I ride a lot of short ups and downs and its great for short little climbs where you have some momentum. On longer climbs I start noticing how inefficient the bike is in comparison to a rigid SS. I guess the bike could use a lockout. There really aren't enough long climbs around here for it to be an issue to me, but I can't say it climbs well. It climbs like you'd expect a 31 pound full suspension bike to climb.

    Which brings us to the weight. Yep, 31 pounds. I don't notice the weight that much till I get tired and have to ride uphill. I plan on building up a lighter set of wheels with the stans flows, and lighter spokes/nipples. I figure that will make the bike feel a bit lighter, but for its intended use its fine as is.


    Anyway I've been having a lot of fun riding this bike and I can honestly say that this bike has elevated my riding almost as much as my first full suspension bike. I can maintain more speed and momentum through corners and rock gardens, which helps me climb faster, which gives me more speed to transfer to the downhill, where the suspension eats up everything allowing me to maintain that speed and momentum until my heart feels like its gonna burst and my brain is swimming in endorphins and adreneline

    Swansea 7-4-12 006



    Does it have anything to do with wheel size? Frankly, I don't know. What I do know is this bike is stiffer, faster, and plusher than anything I've ridden before and it fits me. I also know you can make a hell of an awesome mountain bike with a 27.5 inch wheel.

  2. #2
    KVW
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    Awesome review and a beautiful fricken' bike! Love the curvy design changes they made in 2011. Cute kids too, lol.

    I'm of similar height to you and found my 29er bike felt the bike's big wheel felt 'just not quite right', especially in back where the height of the wheel effects us shorter riders most. I'm in absolute love with my 2010 Jamis 650B2 and I've said it before (perhaps too often) but whatever I'll say it again, best bike I've ever ridden. I can only imagine how awesome your bike is if they manage to improve on it with its tapered headtube, rear thru-axle and mp4 design.

    Although I am still running a 29er up front: before with 100mm RS Reba RLT but just recently (last week) swapped it out for 120mm Manitou Tower Pro. Surprisingly the a2c, 20mm travel change was the tipping point from making bike super agile even with the 29er up front to something a bit more gangly and a bit hard to maneuver (especially at slower speeds). I'm still on the fence about it - hoping it's just something I'll get used to but man, I sort of miss my 100mm reba, even if it sorely under-traveled front of the bike.

    Regardless I just took it to downieville last weekend and it still performed admirably, just as it did with the 100mm Reba but with *theoretically* more bigger-hit capability.

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    Also used downieville as a testing ground for the bike I just built up for my girl friend too which she had a blast.

    09 KHS XCT 535 build for around $1200 (goal)

    Maybe I'll put a 650b front tire on hers one day too.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  3. #3
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    Nice review as we ride the same NE terrain. I have a 2011 B2 sitting in a box yet to be built up so I think I need to finally get on it. I'm really hoping for a noticeable improvement over my 650B converted Prophet in a multitude of ways. If not, well that new Rocky Mountain Altitude has me really drooling hitting on every bell and whistle I could wish for. I did try a 2012 Spec. FSR Comp 29'r test bike for 3 days and I have to admit is was crazy good allowing me to do things I could never do on my Prophet. I hope the Jamis B2 does the same.
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

  4. #4
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    Great review. Skidad, I cannot wait to see your new B2! Are you still shopping for a fork?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by StiHacka View Post
    Great review. Skidad, I cannot wait to see your new B2! Are you still shopping for a fork?
    The B2 is the complete bike so I need to get off the pot and put that together

    Yeah, still looking for the fork that will go on a warranty Trek EX9 frame we received for my sons cracked Hi Fi.
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    . I have a 2011 B2 sitting in a box yet to be built up so I think I need to finally get on it. I'm really hoping for a noticeable improvement over my 650B converted Prophet in a multitude of ways.
    To be honest, sometimes I wonder how the bike would stack up against a similar bike. Comparing it to my 8 year old K2 really isn't fair. I don't test ride or change FS bikes often so I honestly can't say how it would fare against, say , a well equipped Trek or Cannondale, 29 or 26.

  7. #7
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    The B2 is the complete bike so I need to get off the pot and put that together.
    Yeah ya do. You are redefining how bad procrastination can be

    I was out of commission most of the summer due to a bad illness, but recently starting riding again. I had almost forgotten what a blast my 2010 B2 was, but was pleasantly reminded after a few rides last week and this. Mine is JUST sub 30 lbs. The build is not anything special in terms of lightweight components. The front wheel is a ZTR 355 rim laced to a King 20mm hub, Neomoto 2.3 tire, rear is a 1st generation Blunt rim laced to an XT hub, 10 mm thru bolt axle, Neomoto 2.1. Drivetrain is X-9 triple converted to bash-32-22 double. Also a Joplin dropper post.

    You should be sub 30 lbs with your 2011. The dropper post adds some weight., but it is totally worth it. This is a trail bike after all, not an XC racer. As Ice Cream Jay says, you won't notice the weight all that much. Just muscle it to the top, and then blast your way down with bugs in your teeth.
    Last edited by dwt; 08-31-2012 at 06:57 AM.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  8. #8
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    I just picked up a used 2011 b1. Are there any sources for guidance/benchmarks for setting the front and rear suspension?

    Thanks!
    -Scott

  9. #9
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    If you have the Rock Shox Monarch rear shock, it has markings showing the percent sag. You'll have to fiddle with the pressure by trial and error to get it where you want, but most recommend starting with 20% sag and adjusting from there to your personal preference, depending on feel and how the bike rides.

    Do the same with the fork, but you may have to put a zip tie on and measure to figure out the percent sag.

  10. #10
    dwt
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    2011 Jamis Dakar 650 b1

    2 additional mods I did to my 2010 B2:

    1) Works Angleset reducing HTA to 67.5*;

    2) 1X10 drivetrain, using Wolf Tooth direct mount 30T ring on X9 spline crank; cassette is SRAM 1070 with General Lee 11-40 adapter; mech is SRAM X0 Type 2 long cage.

    These are fairly pricey mods- the General Lee especially. The new HTA is noticeable downhill (good, confidence inspiring) and uphill (not so good, front wheel tends to wander until you get used to angle)

    1X10 with the wide-narrow teeth chainring, clutch mech, and wide range cassette is awesome. No PITA chain retention device and have NEVER lost my chain over the entire summer. I ditched my Joplin dropper, and the bike now weighs 27.5 lbs. The 30:40 low gear is not exactly a granny, but I'm fine mostly, unless trying to keep up with fast people. 30:11 high is quite enough for the terrain I ride.

    I just can't help but futz with my bikes. My other ride is a TallBoy carbon set up as "ghetto" 2X10, meaning you swap the seldom used big ring for a bash and run the bike with middle ring and granny. I swapped the 32T for an Andersen ramped 30T, the granny is a wimpy old 22T I found in my old parts drawer. These rings are great for old guy on a 29'er.

    Anyhow, I ride the 29'er when I'm with others on 29'ers, and ride the Jamis solo when I want to just have a good time.

    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for this. I'm still getting my suspension dialed, but so far the bike handles excellent.

    Quote Originally Posted by icecreamjay View Post
    If you have the Rock Shox Monarch rear shock, it has markings showing the percent sag. You'll have to fiddle with the pressure by trial and error to get it where you want, but most recommend starting with 20% sag and adjusting from there to your personal preference, depending on feel and how the bike rides.

    Do the same with the fork, but you may have to put a zip tie on and measure to figure out the percent sag.

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