2011 Jamis Exile 2 vs. 2011 Jamis Dragon 29 Sport vs 2011 Jamis Durango 3.0- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2011 Jamis Exile 2 vs. 2011 Jamis Dragon 29 Sport vs 2011 Jamis Durango 3.0

    Hi,

    This is my first post on this website and I find that MTBR seems like a great place to read up on bike reviews.

    My question is regarding the aforementioned bikes. My budget is for only one bike that I can possibly ever own and it needs to last me a very long time as far as reliability, durability/quality construction, ease of maintenance, upgradeability, solid braking power and handling capabilities. I've looked at bikes below this price level, including all the Giant & Specialized models from $500-$1000 price range (I've looked at a lot of other brands including Trek) but it seems that a "real" bike that's worth buying is going to cost me around the ~$1000 level, and the Jamis bikes are by far the best bang for your buck at this price level.

    My riding will consist mostly of riding on road, (80-90% initially) including uphill & downhill, but I want a bike that's fun, comfortable, but as well as handle anything I can throw at it (definitely want that front suspension/lockout/poploc feature). I want to be able to ride trails (and uneven pavement, curbs, potholes, etc) whenever I wish to and not worry about the bike getting damaged.

    I'm throwing in the Durango here mostly because the components are even "better" than the other two bikes mentioned (even though it's a 26er), and it looks to be of a more capable bike regarding different kinds of terrain. Also, I understand the pedaling efficiency and control of the road (grip of tire) they talk about that comes along with 29ers, so that's a plus.

    I've test rode the Jamis Exile 2 and I did see the solid braking power that I'm looking for, and it was fun riding it in general, but I noticed there was rattling noises during pedaling, and the gear shifting was very loud (the Kona Kahuna bike seemed like it felt smoother, but the terrain was different on both test rides). I think it's mostly operator error because of my inexperience with mountain bikes, but if anyone can fill me in on what could that have possibly been, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Anyway, I will be doing a test ride tomorrow for the Exile 2 vs the Durango 3, just to see the difference in ride. But I can't seem to find the Dragon 29 Sport available around LBS, so I will look further out of my area and see if they have it available for a test ride as well. I know that the Dragon is a steel frame construction, but don't know exactly how steel stands the test of time with bikes versus aluminum. Does steel absorb vibration better, or aluminum?

    I know you can't change the tires on the Durango to a 29er either, but if anyone who's test rode any or all three (hopefully someone out there if I'm lucky enough) tell me something about the ride quality and capabilities that I'm looking for with these bikes, I would greatly appreciate the comments.

    Thanks again.

    Jack
    Last edited by jackb2011; 05-11-2011 at 01:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Hybrid Leftys aren't real Moderator
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    I'm a hopeless big wheel zealot. I just love 'em. Seems that everybody I put on them, loves them too. So you know where I stand, there.

    If you want long term durability, I'd go steel. Also a more comfy ride by a smidge.

    Both bikes have a decent enough parts list, so they should hold up for a while. Also cheap enough that when you inevitably rip off the RD 6 months from now, you aren't buying a new XO or XTR.

    Sounds like you've done your homework, and understand you aren't buying top shelf. Suck that a grand isn't worth more than it is, but, such is life.

    Have fun with it, I sell Jamis, and have seen many smiles generated by them...
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



    www.mendoncyclesmith.com

  3. #3
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    Update- I went to my LBS and discussed the Dragon 29er Sport and Exile 2 in detail. Nothing could have made my decision easier than test riding the bicycles back to back. Although they had a Dragon Race model for test ride and not the Sport model, I knew I had to just focus on the amount of impact the Dragon Race absorbed on the road and it's ride quality versus the aluminum Exile 2. That way I can gauge an approximate level of feel between the Race and Sport to get the essence of the ride I would be dealing with if I picked the Sport model. So i rode Dragon Race first, and then I tried the Exile 2...man, it was a night and day difference for me. The Exile 2 was forcing me me to stand up on the bike for most of the ride to avoid all the impact/vibrations from the road. I ended the test ride not long after I got on that bike (it was my second test ride with the Exile 2, with the previous test ride just a stand-alone test and not against another bike at the same shop) Also, the gear shifting on the Exile (Shimano) was not as crisp as the Dragon (SRAM X), and I was having to overpedal and lost a lot of efficiency with the Exile. Really, it became a no-brainer for me at this point. I definitely prefer steel over aluminum now, and the SRAM seems to work nicer. It makes sense because the last time I owned a bike (which was when I was a teenager-a Huffy), they were certainly made out of steel. Comfort was the last thing on our minds. But Dragon 29er Sport it is!

  4. #4
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    Dragon

    You've probably already got your bike by now, but I am adding my two cents to help other people make an informed decision if they read this post later on.

    Within the past 18 months, I have had a 2010 Exile 2 frame break, replaced with a 2011 Exile 3 frame. Both aluminum, both cracked in the same place at the seat tube. Now, Jamis is sending a 2012 Dragon as a replacement. I was kinda hesitant on steel, but everybody I have talked to said it is the way to go... we'll see....

    BTW, I have loved the performance and handling of the Exile bikes, just the frame durability.... not so much.

  5. #5
    Big B's Trails
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    I had the same issue as this ^^^ with my exile 3, cracked two of em... now they're sending me a dragon 29er as well... I'm excited too try it out as I've heard lots of good things about the dragon.
    On a side note it looks as if Jamis has completely redesigned the exile for 2012... and it looks like they have beefed up the area that was having problems
    I dig dirt!

  6. #6
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    Jamis Dragon 29er Sport update

    I've had this bike for almost a year now, and wanted to give a quick update on my experiences since then:

    Up until this point, I ride the bike with casual frequency based upon different factors; such as work, school, weather, etc. I've put less than 150 miles on it so far, and all of my riding has consisted of straight, uphill and downhill roads.

    When it comes to downhill pedaling and shifting (I do gear #3 front derail and rear derail #7-9 gears) I notice the pedaling feels grainy compared to shifting on straight roads (usually gear #2 front and rear #4-6 gears) where the shifting is a lot smoother and don't notice a thing). Is it because those higher gears have not been broken in yet?

    The bike has been really fun and I enjoy it. It's a solid bike and has a great feel to it.

    I take good care of it and I make sure all the components are cleaned, lubed, and wiped down properly.

    I will change it up soon by getting a bike rack to help me take it up trails and such, and ride more frequently as the weather gets nicer.

    Lovin' the SRAM shifting and Poploc - just my opinion.

  7. #7
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    Might be a hair outta tune so it rubbing just a lil... or bottom bracket....or....

    Here's a pic of the one they sent me...

    Loving it!
    I dig dirt!

  8. #8
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    The picture of your bike looks nearly identical to the Dragon 29 Race- is it a true Race model, a different colored Sport, or a completely new model?

    BTW I took my bike in for it's first annual tune-up/inspection to work out the kinks.

  9. #9
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    Nice bike Fred!

    The picture of your bike looks nearly identical to the Dragon 29 Race '11 (can't tell if the chain is gold colored like the Race, and the logo on the down tube is different from their catalog photo ) - is it a true Race model, a different colored Sport, or a completely new model?

    If it's a Race model, I would be really surprised because there's a major price difference between the Exiles and the Dragon Race. If Jamis sent you the Race, you got one fine bike there! I test rode the Race before I decided to buy the Sport.

    BTW I took my bike in today for it's first annual tune-up/inspection to work out some kinks.

  10. #10
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    I've put close to 800 hard miles on my Dragon 29er Race '12 and it has held up wonderfully. I was leery about the weight, with it being steel, but it is negligible with a 210 lb rider. The steel is quieter than aluminum and has a better feel- it's just solid. Only complain I have isn't the frame, it's the wheels. I want a nice, light wheelset and I think it will be perfect. Other components... I'll just replace as they wear out- any other weight reduction improvements to gain speed would be splitting hairs.


  11. #11
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    Very nice bike Russ!

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