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  1. #1
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    2013 Models

    So, I am sure you guys get sick of these posts; but I am stuck between two models that I can get at my LBS. The only problem is they have to order either one so I cannot test ride them side by side. So which has the better frame and better components? The two models are a 2013 Focus Fat Boy 27-G and a Jamis Durango Sport. I think I know which is the better looking, but well that's second in my book.

    P.S. Sorry it will not let me post links, both are 26" Hardtails.
    Last edited by dillwill; 09-02-2012 at 10:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dillwill View Post
    So, I am sure you guys get sick of these posts; but I am stuck between two models that I can get at my LBC. The only problem is they have to order either one so I cannot test ride them side by side. So which has the better frame and better components? The two models are a 2013 Focus Fat Boy 27-G and a Jamis Durango Sport. I think I know which is the better looking, but well that's second in my book.

    P.S. Sorry it will not let me post links, both are 26" Hardtails.
    The Focus website has limited information but it appears that it might have a better drivetrain (XT rear der, better cranks, ten speed with 11-36t cassette). Spec for spec the Focus seems like a better bike. The Focus also seems to have a more traditional frame whereas the Jamis has an upward curved top tube. The Jamis frame looks nice but is less functional because of the top tube slightly limiting standover clearance. The Focus has a HT angle of 69.5 versus the Jamis at ~71. The Focus is also a little more stretched out with a longer eff TT and wheelbase. If you are looking for agility then maybe the Jamis. If you want stability then the Focus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLikeIYA View Post
    The Focus website has limited information but it appears that it might have a better drivetrain (XT rear der, better cranks, ten speed with 11-36t cassette). Spec for spec the Focus seems like a better bike. The Focus also seems to have a more traditional frame whereas the Jamis has an upward curved top tube. The Jamis frame looks nice but is less functional because of the top tube slightly limiting standover clearance. The Focus has a HT angle of 69.5 versus the Jamis at ~71. The Focus is also a little more stretched out with a longer eff TT and wheelbase. If you are looking for agility then maybe the Jamis. If you want stability then the Focus.

    Thanks, that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I was thinking that the Jamis was the better more functional frame. Shows how much I know... There's a lot of talk that the forks (I believe they have the same) on these bikes are almost crap. Is this true and is it worth upgrading at this range of bike?

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    The curve on the jamis durango isn't that much of a curve that it will effect stand over hieght but I still would go for the focus, better components and a remote lock out for the shock. At least from what the web site says.

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    How'd you come to the conclusion that one of these would be right for you?

    Check this out:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-cor...de-811009.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by dillwill View Post
    Thanks, that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I was thinking that the Jamis was the better more functional frame. Shows how much I know... There's a lot of talk that the forks (I believe they have the same) on these bikes are almost crap. Is this true and is it worth upgrading at this range of bike?
    Both frames seem fine to me but it depends on what you are looking for. The longer wheelbase of the Focus should make it more comfortable and the slacker HA should make it more stable going downhill. The Jamis on the other hand should be more agile. I would discuss the frame differences with the shop that you plan on ordering from. They may be able to help you out with what is more important given your local terrain. To give an example; I ride flowy twisty trails so I prefer a steeper HA. At the same time, I live in the desert and there are a lot of small rocks so a longer wheelbase helps to smooth things out. I also agree with deke505 on the top tube curve but since you cant try before you buy I would default to the frame with the <del>greater</del> ^lowest standover ^height.

    I dont have any experience with the forks that those bikes are equipped with. Better forks are obviously nicer but I am not sure if even a top of the line $800 fork would be an OMG experience compared to what those bikes are equipped with if you are just starting out. I believe both bikes are worthy of fork upgrades if that is something you would want to do down the road (and I would).

    Having said all of this, it seems like now would be a great time to get a 2012 model at a discount and you would be able to try it out.
    Last edited by FireLikeIYA; 09-02-2012 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Add clarification
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    Thanks everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    How'd you come to the conclusion that one of these would be right for you?

    Check this out:
    Thanks, that is helpful.
    To answer your question; Those are basically the two bikes I picked out that are in my budget, out of the brands my LBS carries. They were pushing me towards buying a Jamis(not a specific model), but I wanted to also look at other stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by FireLikeIYA View Post
    Both frames seem fine to me but it depends on what you are looking for. The longer wheelbase of the Focus should make it more comfortable and the slacker HA should make it more stable going downhill. The Jamis on the other hand should be more agile. I would discuss the frame differences with the shop that you plan on ordering from. They may be able to help you out with what is more important given your local terrain. To give an example; I ride flowy twisty trails so I prefer a steeper HA. At the same time, I live in the desert and there are a lot of small rocks so a longer wheelbase helps to smooth things out. I also agree with deke505 on the top tube curve but since you cant try before you buy I would default to the frame with the greater standover.

    I dont have any experience with the forks that those bikes are equipped with. Better forks are obviously nicer but I am not sure if even a top of the line $800 fork would be an OMG experience compared to what those bikes are equipped with if you are just starting out. I believe both bikes are worthy of fork upgrades if that is something you would want to do down the road (and I would).

    Having said all of this, it seems like now would be a great time to get a 2012 model at a discount and you would be able to try it out.
    Thanks for responding. That makes sense about the fork, ill wait on that then. The only bad thing about the 2012s is that they do not have any low end bikes other than a couple Jamis' that I could try. They basically just don't carry anything else unless someone wants it ordered. I guess I just don't want to limit myself when purchasing, because from what I've seen there's a few different bikes out there. But as far as the terrain, I've rode a friend's bike on local trails and its very diverse around here.

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    If you're open to other suggestions and won't be able to ride either of those bikes to help you choose, answer the questions here: http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-cor...de-811009.html and maybe we can confirm whether or not one of those is right for you or if we can find one better suited for you.

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    The RST fork and similar Suntour fork are low end components without adjustable rebound dampening. There are limits on their capacity to perform under trail conditions. When speed and bumps increase, they pogo and make riding advanced off road trails more difficult. Some here don't think beginners have the experience to recognize that. A kind of chicken and egg problem.
    So your option with those bikes is to be responsible and careful and stick to beginner and easy intermediate trails as you learn mountain biking. And of course they are totally fine for dirt roads fire roads and paved and unpaved bike paths. You can at some future point spend $79 at a place like BlueSky and get a fork adequate for more advanced trails The RockShox XC 28TK has adjustable rebound dampening. You may consider that fork a piece of safety equipment, like a helmet, and start riding with it from the beginning. It will give you more control in difficult situations and is relatively cheap insurance. Here's a link--
    .BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox XC 28 TK Disc Coil Fork
    I ride a 29er and you may want to consider one of those.
    Bikes are available online from BikesDirect and Airborne. Depending on your budget you can often get a bike with better components and a good fork for the same price as a model locally. Let us know where you're at and we can suggest options.


    Thanks wmac.
    Last edited by eb1888; 09-02-2012 at 04:16 PM.

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    Great advice eb!

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The RST fork and similar Suntour fork are low end components without adjustable rebound dampening. There are limits on their capacity to perform under trail conditions. When speed and bumps increase, they pogo and make riding advanced off road trails more difficult. Some here don't think beginners have the experience to recognize that. A kind of chicken and egg problem.
    So your option with those bikes is to be responsible and careful and stick to beginner and easy intermediate trails as you learn mountain biking. And of course they are totally fine for dirt roads fire roads and paved and unpaved bike paths. You can at some future point spend $79 at a place like BlueSky and get a fork adequate for more advanced trails The RockShox XC 28TK has adjustable rebound dampening. You may consider that fork a piece of safety equipment, like a helmet, and start riding with it from the beginning. It will give you more control in difficult situations and is relatively cheap insurance. Here's a link--

    I ride a 29er and you may want to consider one of those.
    Bikes are available online from BikesDirect and Airborne. Depending on your budget you can often get a bike with better components and a good fork for the same price as a model locally. Let us know where you're at and we can suggest options.


    Thanks wmac.
    Thats good to know, maybe I should ride whatever I get some before I buy any upgrades. Nothing technical, just enough to feel it out. I dont want to go online, I feel like I have a better safety net staying local. I mean they fix all my flats for two years for free, along with a lot of other stuff. As for the 29er, ive rode a friends some and just do not like it. It feels to big and sits to high to me. I guess I could get used to it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Great advice eb!
    What region of the country do I live in? Foothills of NC
    Where do I plan to ride my new bike? Mountainous more so than anything else
    Are there any YouTube videos of the trails I plan to ride? havent seen any
    How much time do I plan on devoting to this hobby? Prob ride once every week or two
    What is my previous cycling experience? Rode some trails as a kid
    Have I participated in other hobbies, sports or activities that may give me relevant skills? n/a
    What are my mechanical abilities? Plenty, I've built a car from the ground up
    Do I currently own a bike? no
    Do I currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes? only shoes
    Why do I want to buy a new bike? So i can get into mtb more, dont wanna go used
    How much research have I already done and do I have an idea of what I want? somewhat
    Do I have friends who are into the hobby? What's their mechanical and riding experience? a few, limited mech but decent riding
    What kind of bikes do my riding buddies ride? good 26 and 29 hardtails (intense and trek)
    What kind of bikes do I see on the trails I plan to ride? (Full suspension, hardtail, rigid, single speed, geared) mix
    Can I really afford this hobby? Are my credit cards paid off? Do I have savings in the bank and money to burn? yes
    How much money do I want to spend on this hobby over the next year? n/a
    What am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby? Health and pleasure riding. Maybe an adrenaline rush too!
    How do I expect my life to be different a year from the day my new bike arrives? n/a


    Hope this helps, thanks for all the help guys!

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    Sounds like you have trail experience and friends to ride with. But it seems you could benefit from learning some maintenance skills. Youtube and PinkBike Tech Tuesday vids will give you the how to on changing a tube and much more. You can still rely on your LBS for complex or special tool things. Most of these simple skills can be put to use on the trail where things crop up.Your friends can help with things or keep an eye on you as you figure out changing a tube or tuning your derailleurs or even setting up your wheels tubeless if you're getting flats. Let us know a budget for this bike purchase for more options.

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    What's the shop asking price for each model?

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    Cool, as far as maintenance goes I'm not too worried. Between friends, my really good LBS, and my own skills ill be fine. My budget is around $600-$700 for just a bike, I have other money aside for a good helmet, gloves, exc. The shop lists bikes at the suggested retail price. He did mention they are negotiable but I do not have specifics. Because the focus was just released within the past week or two I do not know the retail price. After thinking things over a bit, if the focus is more stable I may go for it. Would this aid in technical trails more so than agility?

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    In WNC as well. What shop are you working with?

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    Cycle Therapy in Lewisville, good to see another N Carolinian on here. How about yourself?

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    You're probably not going to be able to tell much difference between the two. I don't know much about the Focus brand. Looking at the types of trails you're going to be riding and depending on how fast you want to go, as eb mentioned, you'll probably be upgrading the forks on either pretty quickly. Recognize that either of those bikes are going to be hard to beat at that price point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    You're probably not going to be able to tell much difference between the two. I don't know much about the Focus brand. Looking at the types of trails you're going to be riding and depending on how fast you want to go, as eb mentioned, you'll probably be upgrading the forks on either pretty quickly. Recognize that either of those bikes are going to be hard to beat at that price point.
    Alright, thanks for the help. I'll try to remember to post something after I purchase.

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    You need to go on a "bike test ride tour" of your area.. Grab a buddy and go out and spend a weekend driving as far as you can and go to as many shops as you can to try out bikes.. You really should touch and feel the bike before you buy it.. Throw a leg over and ride around a bit.. You know right away what feels good and what doesnt.. Also know that -- what you dont know today-- youll know tomorrow.. What i mean by that is -- you think " i cant tell the difference of bikes".. Well that is how it is now.. Go out and ride 10 different bikes and for sure youll know a few that you like and a few that you dont.. Then your no longer a "i cant tell a difference" person-- but a "i know i like this type of feel vs that type of feel" person.. Learning is half the fun.. Talk to eveyone around you.. haha -- hell-- i went to Los Angeles(2 hours away) just to try on different cycling shoes-- 3 different times before i found the shoes i wanted lol.. Another thought--- you might want to up your budget just a little.. Its amazing the difference you can get from 700 vs a 1200-1300 bike... Where as a 3k bike vs a 10k bike-- you wont feel any difference.. Your going to be on this bike for 1-6 hours at a time-- 3-7 times a week... That is a lot of time to spend on something if it doesnt work right.. Do your homework now-- try out bikes(even if you have to drive) and get the right one for you.. Youll be happy you did..

    also-- another way to go is to get a bike from competitive cyclist.. They are in NC and are great guys and not only have great prices but offer a no questions asked return policy.. When i go my bike through them(cause my lbs's didnt stock **** and couldnt answser a few basic questions i had)-- the guys at competitive told me that if for any reason i didnt like any part or the whole bike-- i could return it no questions asked.. Was great.. I actually didnt like my stem and one other part(i forget what it was now)-- they told me to keep riding the bike and shipped me the new parts i wanted -- no problems-- no questions-- and i shipped the old parts back to them.. Was a great experience.. Nothing worse then ordering a bike from a lbs and find your kinda stuck with something that doesnt really work that well for you(stem to short or long, frame smaller or bigger then you wanted-- or whatever)..

    Last thought-- end of season is coming up (very soon).. You might be able to get some smoking deals on either 2012 stuff or even 2013 things.. GL-- a little work now will pay big dividends for years to come..
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slideways666 View Post
    You need to go on a "bike test ride tour" of your area.. Grab a buddy and go out and spend a weekend driving as far as you can and go to as many shops as you can to try out bikes.. You really should touch and feel the bike before you buy it.. Throw a leg over and ride around a bit.. You know right away what feels good and what doesnt.. Also know that -- what you dont know today-- youll know tomorrow.. What i mean by that is -- you think " i cant tell the difference of bikes".. Well that is how it is now.. Go out and ride 10 different bikes and for sure youll know a few that you like and a few that you dont.. Then your no longer a "i cant tell a difference" person-- but a "i know i like this type of feel vs that type of feel" person.. Learning is half the fun.. Talk to eveyone around you.. haha -- hell-- i went to Los Angeles(2 hours away) just to try on different cycling shoes-- 3 different times before i found the shoes i wanted lol.. Another thought--- you might want to up your budget just a little.. Its amazing the difference you can get from 700 vs a 1200-1300 bike... Where as a 3k bike vs a 10k bike-- you wont feel any difference.. Your going to be on this bike for 1-6 hours at a time-- 3-7 times a week... That is a lot of time to spend on something if it doesnt work right.. Do your homework now-- try out bikes(even if you have to drive) and get the right one for you.. Youll be happy you did..

    also-- another way to go is to get a bike from competitive cyclist.. They are in NC and are great guys and not only have great prices but offer a no questions asked return policy.. When i go my bike through them(cause my lbs's didnt stock **** and couldnt answser a few basic questions i had)-- the guys at competitive told me that if for any reason i didnt like any part or the whole bike-- i could return it no questions asked.. Was great.. I actually didnt like my stem and one other part(i forget what it was now)-- they told me to keep riding the bike and shipped me the new parts i wanted -- no problems-- no questions-- and i shipped the old parts back to them.. Was a great experience.. Nothing worse then ordering a bike from a lbs and find your kinda stuck with something that doesnt really work that well for you(stem to short or long, frame smaller or bigger then you wanted-- or whatever)..

    Last thought-- end of season is coming up (very soon).. You might be able to get some smoking deals on either 2012 stuff or even 2013 things.. GL-- a little work now will pay big dividends for years to come..
    Thats what I have been told about the $1,200 bikes but that is just out of the question for me. It would be a while before I could afford that and I want to get out riding asap. After all, I am a poor college student. The good thing about my lbs is that I'm not completely locked in if they order something. The weird thing though about their stock is its either $3,000+ bikes or $400-, nothing really in between. Does competitive cyclist have a store? I searched and all I can find is the website.

  21. #21
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    As is mentioned in some other posts at your price point the Airborne Guardian has good components and a fork with rebound dampening. Guys with that bike have an ongoing thread in this section. It has what you need for your area. 675 delivered. It should offer a comparison base.
    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian

  22. #22
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    If you decide to buy a bike without trying it first, you may want to check out Competitive Cyclist's Fit Calculator. I have used it and I feel that it is decent for giving base numbers. For me, however, their VTT value was a little short. I had my wife measure me and she wasnt very enthusiastic about it. My input values may have been off.

    Like others have said, you should really try to go out and fit test on different bikes. Just like slideways666 I too have driven for hours just to find the right fitting shoe. It is worth it, trust me. After your first bike you can start to get a general idea of what you want.

    I also agree with eb1888 concerning the forks. The forks that these bikes are equipped with are subpar and may even discourage you at first. Having said that, I would buy the bike with the best drivetrain before looking at the fork. My reasoning is, and eb1666 kind of pointed it out, you can buy a cheap fork with rebound adjust preload etc for around $100. A decent drivetrain will cost far more. There is nothing that sucks more than upgrading a drivetrain. You will feel like you took several hundred dollars and "loaned" it to your dead beat relatives. With a fork at least its like buying a new toy and is actually fun. I would recommend at a minimum a 9 speed with a 11-34t cassette (especially if it is on a 29er).
    Killing it with close inspection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLikeIYA View Post
    If you decide to buy a bike without trying it first, you may want to check out Competitive Cyclist's Fit Calculator. I have used it and I feel that it is decent for giving base numbers. For me, however, their VTT value was a little short. I had my wife measure me and she wasnt very enthusiastic about it. My input values may have been off.

    Like others have said, you should really try to go out and fit test on different bikes. Just like slideways666 I too have driven for hours just to find the right fitting shoe. It is worth it, trust me. After your first bike you can start to get a general idea of what you want.

    I also agree with eb1888 concerning the forks. The forks that these bikes are equipped with are subpar and may even discourage you at first. Having said that, I would buy the bike with the best drivetrain before looking at the fork. My reasoning is, and eb1666 kind of pointed it out, you can buy a cheap fork with rebound adjust preload etc for around $100. A decent drivetrain will cost far more. There is nothing that sucks more than upgrading a drivetrain. You will feel like you took several hundred dollars and "loaned" it to your dead beat relatives. With a fork at least its like buying a new toy and is actually fun. I would recommend at a minimum a 9 speed with a 11-34t cassette (especially if it is on a 29er).
    The shop I'm ordering it through said they would measure me up, but would it be better to do it myself? And as far as the drivetrain goes; the Focus is the better one correct? I can finally post links!

    FOCUS Bikes: Bikes 2013

    2012 JAMIS BICYCLES - DURANGO SPORT

  24. #24
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    The Focus has a better crankset and rear derailleur but the shifters, cassette, chain and front derailleur are unlisted. Ask for a complete component list.

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    So what did you get?
    Killing it with close inspection.

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