Dragon Pro vs. Dakota Elite
I'm looking to get my first geared MTB (have a SS currently that I'm going to part with - too hard going uphill .) The shop that sponsors my road racing team is a Jamis dealer and can give me a good price on their bikes.
I'm not looking to race or even go fast, just tool around in the woods when taking a break from training and racing...
So I have a choice between a 08 Dragon Pro or a 07 Dakota Elite. I don't know which one is better suited for just tooling around, but the Dakota seems better equipped for the price (better brakes and slightly better wheels) while the Dragon has a really nice steel frame...
Oh, there's also a 06 Dakar XCR Expert as well that's in my price range and size, though I don't know if I'm down with FS...
What would you guys pick and why?
I just built a Dakota Elite. The main reason I chose the Dakota was the frame. I personally love the way an aluminum frame feels when you are pedaling hard, it just feels stiff. But I love the carbon seat stays that help absorb bumps. So I kind of get the best of both worlds. I think the Dragon is a sweet bike, but steel does have some flex in it, mainly because of the smaller tubing size. Of course I have never ridden the Dragon so it may not be like that at all. But being that both bikes weigh the same that is not an issue. Have you test rode the bikes? That might be the best way to decide which way to go.
Both are great bikes but I would personally go with the Dragon Pro, actually that's what I purchased when I was given the choice. The Dragon Pro is as light as the Dakota but provides a "dampened but stiff" ride quality. Vibrations are absorbed by the steel frame which makes riding the Dragon for an extended period of time a pleasent experience. Since purchasing the Dragon Pro, I have actually replaced the Fox RL80 fork that came on the bike with a White Brothers Rock Solid carbon fork to further reduce weight and the bike still rides vibration-free for the most part. My Dragon weights in at 21lbs which is very respectable for a hardtail but I have read somewhere on this site that Jamis built a Dragon that weight 18lbs. The bottom line is, is that the Dragon is a great bike for a reasonable price. If possible, ask your local bike shop owner if he/she has access to last years (2007) Dragon Team. That bike is a great deal - full XTR components, Mavic SLR wheels, Easton carbon parts, etc. You may be able to get it for a reduced price because it's last years model.