Jamis Dakar XC
I am looking to upgrade to a full suspension. I have a Jamis Dakota AL and LOVE it. However, it is almost 10 yrs old now. That, and a bad lower back...I want to upgrade to a full suspension.
I am looking at the Jamis Dakota XC....mostly because of price (Abut $850). Does anyone have any experience with the Dakar? I know Jamis makes one of the best "bang for your buck" bikes, but I am trying to figure out if I am better off going with the Specialized or Cannondale for about $400-$500 more. I live in the East Coast (Virginia and New Jersey), so I don't ride "hardcore" like you guys do out west!!!
Heehee, you got Dakota on the brain Greg?
Originally Posted by gregrva
I personally feel that the Dakar is bomber! It has actually gotten the award of "Aggressive Trail Bike of the Year" which is an award that you'd think would go to the XLT instead of the XC version, but the XLT was given All Mountain bike of the year. The reason is because Jamis builds their bikes tough. They are slightly heavier than a similarly spec'd similar travel bike, but they'll take a beating.
This is a quote from their site:
"1985 - The first Dakar is delivered. A custom-built, fillet-brazed (triple-butted Ishiwata tubing), ready-to-race-out-of-the-box mountain bike that turns a lot of heads. In many respects, the 1985 Dakar crystallizes much of the Jamis design credo that guides our work today – no gimmicks, no gadgets, no nonsense, no compromise; just pure, polished performance and genuine craftsmanship.
1987 - Dakar and Dakar Sport feature lugged Tange Prestige frames. Yes, the fillet brazing of the original Dakar was indeed exquisite, but these bikes are being raced and the racers are begging for lighter bikes."
They loved the Fillet brazing on the origional version, but since the racers were wanting lighter bikes...they went Tange Prestige. I think they try to make an effort to keep people happy with advances in technology and weight reduction, but not at the expense of durability.
Still though...in 1995 when they first produced the 4 bar dual suspension Dakar, it was a sub-25 pound'er which is pretty dang good even for todays standards. The newest/hottest XCR is only 23.5!! It just goes to prove that you can still make a Jamis as light as the competitors and yet have a durable bike.
As far as bang for your buck...it just doesn't get much better than the Dakar. Let's put it up to a similar bike, like: Spec. Epic, Giant Anthem, Fisher Race Day.
The Dakar will be less expensive, tougher, and will perform close to par with the others...depending on your guage and build.
My only hesitation in saying that it would be "on par with the others" is comparing a Dakar to an Epic. The Epic has the Brain shock which is a bit more efficient. If you equip your Dakar with a Fox RP23, you should have similar efficiency...yet the ride will probably be a bit smoother. You can always crank up the damping and preload a bit to stiffen it up even more, but you may begin to sacrifice some of that signature Dakar plushness.
I don't think the Epic is worth $400-500 more, and I definately wouldn't prefer the Anthem or Race Day over the Dakar. I'd probably break them.
Last edited by chelboed; 10-09-2007 at 10:48 AM.
I have a Jamis XC Comp, and absolutely love it. Granted it's only the frame, and I built the rest of the bike with miscellaneous parts (including a Rockshox Reba Race fork), but I bet it's built similarly to what it came from the factory with. You won't be disappointed. Every bike is different, just like every rider, but the XC geometry just seems to feel right for me (6'-0", 170 lbs), especially for the type of riding I do. I too live in Virginia, and though we don't necessarily have as many big drops as out west, riding places like Sherando Lake (and others) is a true test of an XC / AM bike, and mine did great.
Guys- Thanks for the info. I am going to go looking this weekend.
I like my Jamis
I have a 2004 xc comp and am very happy with it. The specs on it for the price I paid are very good. Have fun looking for a bike! My fox float just got "stuck down" on it today but that is more Fox then Jamis obviously. It has been a great shock until today.
Is the XC Enough?
Do you guys think the entry-level XC is "enough bike"...or should I wait and spend the money on one of the higher models? As always, thanks for the advice- Greg
Here's my 2 cents, if it's worth that much. I believe this is a great bike...something that will introduce you to full suspension and at the same time, help advance your riding skills. As with any Jamis bike, you're getting a lot of bike for your money and I would think this bike would fit your needs for years to come. In the event that you progress rapidly, you could always make a few upgrades to this bike, however, I wouldn't recommend going out and dropping $3k on a bike if you're still new to the sport or unsure of yourself.
I bought a basic Dakar and absolutely love it. As I become more comfortable with the bike and my skills increased, I made a few upgrades. Eventually, I would like to purchase a higher end bike, namely, another Jamis, but for now, the Dakar is holding steady.
Go for the Dakar...you'll love it.
'aua e te fati
Another vote for the Jamis
I would second everything that has been said about the Jamis as far as being the best bang for your buck. If Chelboed didn't sell you, I don't know what would.
I have owned the XC Expert and currently own an XLT. I have also ridden a bunch of other bikes from Specialized, C'dale, Rocky Mountain, etc. Having ridden the bikes, I would say that the XC with an RP23 is WAY MORE EFFICIENT than the Specialized brain. I don't like the brain much at all. Even when you have it dialed in as far as pressure is concerned, there is a significant amount of pedal bob. I also hate having to get off the bike, walk around to the back and adjust it to soft or firm by turning that stupid knob. The RP23 goes from completely open to virtually locked out (with hardtail-like climbing ability) in a simple flick of the lever, and you never have to get off the bike.
If I were you, I would buy the XC, and instead of spending $500 on a Specialized or C'dale, invest in an Rp23 (retail is $380, but you can pick them up routinely on ebay for $200-$300). You will not be disappointed with the Jamis, especially if you spend the money upgrading the shock. You are paying for quality with a Jamis, not the name.
More on the XC
Guys- Thanks again for all the advice. I looked at a few Dakar XC's over the weekend. They all had Shimano Alivio Shifters (24 gears), and a Deore derailleur. The XLT had a Deore XT derailleur and Deore 27 Speed shifters.
1. Do you think I will notice a difference if I get the XC with the Alivio's instead of the upgraded XLT?
2. Is their a big difference between 24 and 27 speeds? My current bike has 24.
3. If the local bike shop doesn't offer free tuneups for life....would you reccommend buying online?
I picked up an '05 Dakar Sport, and while its not the top of the line components, everything works very well together and I love the bike. I'm in VA too and ride the GWNF alot and this bike takes a hell of a beating from the rocks and I've had no problems so far. Its a great frame to start from too if you plan to upgrade eventually. I had test rode a few Specialized and Giants and nothing near the price of my Dakar really compared.
'aua e te fati
First off, I think that the shifting will be a lesser issue than some other things. Before I get into that, if you are in the same situation as me, and only have a one bike stable, I would hands down go with the XLT. The weight difference between the two bikes is pretty much neglible unless you are a really skinny dude. The bikes are set up to do fundamentally different styles of riding (XC v. AM), but I ride XC most of the time and comparatively speaking I would much rather have my XLT.
I was really worried about the different head tube angle and longer axel to crown height (giving the XLT more of a chopper effect than the XC) because I heard that it would be less resposonsive in really tight stuff, and because it would make climbing more difficult (you will have much more of a tendency to pop wheelies if you aren't over the bars). After getting it all set up, I find that there is hardly any difference as far as agility and a negligible difference when climbing. With a little technique, you can ride everything that you could before. Besides that, you can ride trails that would be dicey on the XC. Downhill sections are bread and butter for the XLT whereas the XC felt twitchy.
As far as the difference between shifting, yes it is noticeable. Not only will the XT components last you longer and provide better, more crisp shifts, they will be easier to adjust. You will also be gaining more high and low gears for easier climbs and faster descents.
In my book, there would be no reason for me to even consider the XC over the XLT.
'aua e te fati
If cost is your number one issue, and you know how to do work on your own, I would definitely do it. If on the other hand, you are uncomfortable doing work on your bike, and you have a good LBS, go there.
I bought my XLT as a frame only online, bought the fork, wheelset, etc all online and put it together myself. I saved huge amounts of money doing it that way. I picked up my FSA cranks for $20, my frame for $150, my wheels for $200, had shifters, stem, brakes bars and derailleurs, fork for $250, and rear shock for $400. At $1020, you can't find a bike with my specs, and you definitely can't build one with parts from the shop (unless you have a serious discount).
I snagged my sons Dakar XC this weekend because my MKIII had a flat tire. I loved the bike. I rode that thing all freaking day and had a great time riding it. Definitely buy the Dakar over similiar priced models.
love my Simonds 519
Check out Jenson's Jamis closeouts. Based on your budget comments you might think about snagging one of their 2006 XC Comps if you can't find a good deal on a used bike or want to buy new.
I've ridden Acera, Altus, STX-RC, Deore, LX, XT, and XTR groups at various times in the past 10 years along with some random SRAM stuff. What matters the most with respect to shifting quality is how well maintained derailleur cables and how clean the mechs are. The higher end stuff does work a little better if everything's kept in good shape, but I have 2005 Dakar XC Pro I picked up used towards the upper end of your budget range (thanks to Jenson having the same bike new in my size for 50% off at the time) and, quite frankly, there's almost no difference between how well the XTR group on the Pro shifts and the Deore on my girlfriend's bike so long as both are properly maintained. If you're going to be in mud regularly I'd go for at least Deore with continuous housing or Dry Cables but otherwise I wouldn't sweat it. The higher end stuff will last a bit longer if the trail doesn't eat it, need a bit less maintenance, and weigh less, but past LX the extra dollars don't buy much unless you're really riding at the limit.
If you like the Dakar the competing bikes to look at are the Rocky Element and Ibex Asta. Specialized's suspension has pretty similar behavior, but they've less bang for the buck. I'm assuming you're thinking of the Cannondale Rush, which I wouldn't recommend unless you like the high pivot thing (I think it's OK, but I've found faux bar works better for me) and screwing around with the air filter on the Lefty. As other posters have commented, the best place to put your money is in the rear shock. The Elements are speced a touch better than the Dakars in this regard with the Astas firmly in third place.
HUGE XT fan here. I have previously used pretty much all the low level stuff including LX, X.9, and now XT.
My LX rear derailleur lasted around 6 months and the linkage became loose. My X.9 became loose at the main pivot bushing causing shifting issues. My XT is going on 18 months and still tight as it ever was. Works flawlessly. (and I'm pretty anal about parts)
I +1 Matamua's statement. If I could only have 1, it'd be the XLT. I'm no XC racer, but 9/10 trails around here are XC trails...I'd ride my XLT on them any day over my previous XC racer bikes. It's just more fun, more comfortable, and I don't have to worry about breaking parts anymore.
I 2nd the opinion about the XT parts - I love my XT trigger shifter / brake combo.
I also 2nd the opinion about building the bike yourself - that's exactly what I did, and for about a $1000, I was able to pretty much build my XC Comp frame into an $1800 bike. If you have the right tools (a good tool kit costs about $150), and the internet, or someone that has built bikes before, it's relatively easy to put everything together.
About the XC vs XLT - I think this debate has occured before here. You can listen to everyone's opinion, but the best thing to do is to try and find a Jamis dealer and go try out the bikes. Like someone mentioned earlier, the geometry of the XLT is a little bit more spread out. This, combined with the longer travel, makes it better for downhill, worse for uphill, and worse, in general, on really tight technical stuff. Someone mentioned the XC felt "twitchier" than the XLT. This is actually a good description - I like the slightly better feedback that the XC gives over the XLT. This shows up as being "twitchy". Not as plush of a ride, but still plenty of give.
I own an XC Comp, and I love the bike. I've yet to bottom out the Fox Floar R shock.
I honestly think that the differences between the XLT and XC are less than you might imagine. I said the XLT was "better" on downhills than the XC, but that doesn't mean you're going to hate the XC downhill, or hate the XLT uphill. It's a minor difference, in my opinion, at best.
Not to repeat what was already said,but i agree with just about everything already stated.I bought my 05' Dakar on 06' without knowing anything about Jamis.Once the bike came in and i got on it i never looked back.That bike fit me better than anyother bike i've owned or tested.I liked Jamis' products so much i just upgraded from the Dakar to an 08' XAM.
I dont know what part of jersey your in,but if your anywhere near south jersey(phila area) i know the LBS that sells Jamis is giving good prices on leftover 07's if you dont want to wait for the 08's. I think in 06' i paid $635 for my Dakar.
Ok Guys...thanks again for all the info!!!! Here is what I have it narrowed down to.....both are new
1. 2007 Dakar XLT for $1160
2. 2007 Dakar XCR Comp for $1399.
Which do you think? The XCR has better components, and is about 5 lbs lighter....... and is $240 cheaper. I know $240 is not a lot for the upgraded components...but not sure if I will need it.
What would you guys do?
Well...just the fact that you don't know whether to get an XCR or XLT says to me that you're not sure what kind of riding you do. (no offense intended)
If you were saying like XLT vs. XAM or XCR vs. XC, then I'd say you had it narrowed down. Right now you're comparing two completely different genre's of bike.
The XLT is purpose built for aggressive riding and pretty dang rough trails.
The XCR is an XC trail bike for XC riding.
If you are doing some jumps, drops, and bombing through rock gardens with some climbing involved...then XLT is your dogg.
If you are riding XC'ish trails with very little jumpy stuff and just "rough sections"...not repeated nasty rock gardens....and lots of climbing, (pause for breath) then the XCR would be good for you.
Coming from a hardtail kinda makes me think you'd be happier with the lighter/more efficient XCR until you got used to a squishy bottom. Then the XLT would be more comfortable. For myself...I couldn't see myself riding anything less than an XLT. I'd just break it.
Thanks for the info. No offense taken! I have been riding by Dakota for about 10 yrs, and am not "hardcore". Some of the trails have rock gardens, and decent climbs, but I guess I do more cross crounty (Not a lot of jumping at all). So it sounds like the XCR may be a better bet for me. However, the one thing that I wonder about is the extra travel in the rear. I have lower back trouble, so I am wondering if it makes more sense to get the more aggressive bike for that reason.
Also.....is there a big difference in the components in the 2? I am not that knowledgable in this arena....as I have been riding the same bike for 10 years!!
I think you would do well with the XCR. The added weight of the XLT could be noticed more on long rides. I don't think that you will reach the bottom of the XCR's travel with your described riding habits.
Originally Posted by gregrva
As far as spec's...I don't have time to look them up right now, but if you post them I'll tell ya what's better IMO.
Remember, the basic necessity is a good frame that fits your body and your style of riding. I'd much rather ride a bike that fits me with a Deore group than a bike that's too small/big/heavy/weak for me with an XTR group.
'aua e te fati
Assuming that you are looking at the XCR comp and the XLT, the difference is pretty negligible. (XLT v. XCR) Deore vs. LX shifters, Hayes sole v. Avid Juicy 3, Wellgo v. Shimano pedals, Relic v. R7 (r7 being better IMO), Speedisc v. Mavic 117...I doubt you would notice any significant component related differences.
specialized FSR XC Comp
Here's another one for you....... how do you think the Dakar XCR Comp matches up to the Specialized FSR XC Comp? I think I can get both of them for about the same $.
Here's the Specs on the FSR:
FRAME FSR M4 butted frame w/ ORE downtube, sealed cartridge bearing pivots, replaceable derailleur hanger, two sets of water bottle bosses, disc only, 100mm travel
REAR SHOCK X Fusion 02RC, Specialized tuned, rebound/compression adjust w/ lock out, 7.0x1.6"
FORK Rock Shox Recon 335, 100mm, fixed coil, lock out, turnkey damper, ext rebound adj, alloy steerer
HEADSET 1 1/8" threadless, black steel cups, loose ball bearings w/ seals
STEM Aluminum, 7 degree rise, OS 31.8, 4 bolt, black
HANDLEBARS Specialized XC low rise, butted alloy, 640mm wide, 6 degree up, 8 degree backsweep
TAPE / GRIPS Specialized MTB, dual density
FRONT BRAKE Avid Juicy 3, hydraulic disc, G2 Clean Sweep S/M: 185mm rotor, L/XL 203mm rotor
REAR BRAKE Avid Juicy 3, hydraulic disc, G2 Clean Sweep S/M: 160mm rotor, L/XL: 185mm rotor
BRAKE LEVERS Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic
FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano FD-M530, Deore, top swing, duall pull, 34.9mm clamp,
REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano M-751 Deore XT, long cage, standard spring
SHIFT LEVERS Shimano SL-511 Deore, 9-speed
CASSETTE / FREEWHEEL Shimano HG50, 9-speed, 11/34t
CHAIN Shimano HG73
CRANKSET Shimano FCM-442-8, Octalink Spline, 9-speed, replaceable rings w/ alloy outer
CHAINRINGS 22s/32s/44A 4mm thick outer, 4 bolt 104/64mm
BOTTOM BRACKET Shimano ES-25 Octalink Spline, 68mm shell, 118mm spindle, 50mm chainline
PEDALS Shimano 505 SPD
RIMS Mavic X117 Disc, 26", 32h, black, presta valve
FRONT HUB Specialized disc, loose ball bearing, high/low flange, 32h
REAR HUB Shimano M-475L disc, 32h, 8/9-speed, alloy QR
SPOKES 1.8mm stainless, black, brass nipples
FRONT TIRE Specialized Resolution 26x2.0", 60TPI, aramid bead, dual compound
REAR TIRE Specialized Resolution 26x2.0", 60TPI, aramid bead, dual compound
TUBES Specialized 26x2.0", schraeder
SADDLE Specialized BG MTB
SEAT POST 6061 alloy, black, 30.9 x 350/400mm
SEAT BINDER Alloy collar with QR, 34.9mm clamp ID, black
NOTES Protective clear coat, derailleur hanger, reflectors, owners manual
Here are the Dakar- XCR Comp
FRAME Kinesium alloy main triangle, weight-optimized 7005 seat & chainstays, cartridge bearing pivots, XCR linkage design, 100mm travel, Fox FLOAT R shock, replaceable derailleur hanger
FORK Manitou R7 Super, air spring with TPC lockout, rebound adjustor, alloy steerer upgrade, 100mm travel
HEADSET FSA Orbit Z, internal cup type, 1 1/8"
WHEELSET Mavic XM117 disc rims, 32H, with Shimano M475 disc hubs, WTB 14g stainless steel spokes
TIRES Maxxis Ignitor, 26 x 2.1", 60tpi
DERAILLEURS Shimano Deore XT (high-normal) rear, Deore 31.8mm top pull front
SHIFTERS Shimano Deore LX Rapidfire Plus-SL, 27-speed
CHAIN KMX Z9000
FREEWHEEL SRAM Powerglide 950, 9-speed, 11-34
CRANKSET Shimano Deore, Octalink, 170mm (13-15"), 175mm (17-21")
BOTTOM BRACKET Shimano ES30, sealed cartridge, 68 x 113
PEDALS Shimano M505 clipless
BRAKESET Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc brakes with Avid Juicy levers
HANDLEBAR Easton EA30 MonkeyBar, 8D x low rise x 635mm wide
STEM Easton EA30, 10D x 90mm (13-15"), 105mm (17") & 120mm (19-21") extensions
GRIPS WTB MotoTec clamp-on
SEATPOST Easton EA30 micro-adjust, 350mm x 27.2mm with alloy clamp and QR seatpin
SADDLE WTB Rocket V Comp with SL top and steel rails
SIZES 13", 15", 17",19", 21"
COLORS Machine Silver
WEIGHT 28.75 lbs
I'm pretty Anti-FSRXC. I don't like the frame much at all.
If you had said Epic then there'd be somewhat of a contest, but for me it's a Hands-down XCR Comp.
Check out the 06 Dakar Xc comp at Jenson. It's a 1700 dollar bike selling for 1037 or something like that if it's the right frame size. If you want a nice speced bike on a budget that would be the way to go.