Jamis vs. Santa Cruz- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Jamis vs. Santa Cruz

    Disclaimer: I'm not here to bash Santa Cruz, but trying to get to the bottom of the price vs quality issue.


    So I was down at my LBS this past weekend and was test riding half a dozen hardtails. As far as ridability was concerned I boiled it down to either a Jamis Dakota Sport/Comp or a Santa Cruz Chameleon dXC.

    The problem that I had was how the SC could cost $500 more.

    Can anybody shed some light on why the SC would cost 1/3 more?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    with SC your paying a little more for the name. Don't get me wrong, SC is great stuff but it all comes down to what components are on the two. It'd help to have a spec list on the two to really give a good reason for the price difference between the two

  3. #3
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    The problem I have with the spec lists is comparing all of the various components. While I don't live/breathe mtn bikes, is there a way to determine which components are better than others besides "try them out".

  4. #4
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    The Dakota is an XC/Trail frame. I wouldn't beat the crap out of it and expect to last all that long.

    The SC is a bit burlier in construction no matter what the parts spec.. It can take a pounding. Just a better frame all around.

  5. #5
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    I agree with what Chelboey siad - the Chameleon is the nicer frame. That said, different MTB companies target different markets. To over-simplify, Jamis are great bikes with great value. SC makes great bikes with more attention to bling.

  6. #6
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    jamis is more bang for the buck, but SC will take more abuse, and at the least it has a better fork

  7. #7
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    SC / Jamis

    To clarify, the Jamis Dakota's are designed to be more "cross country" trail/race bikes. To be ridden fairly conservatively. Trail riding and XC racing. Where the Santa Cruz Chameleon is also designed for trail riding but taking into account a bit more aggessiveness. Meaning jumping and very aggressive trail riding. I don't know what the Chameleon weighs but most likely if a bike frame is designed to take jumping and aggressive riding it should be a bit heavier than a XC frame. For durability. I have seen a Dakota Elite built up to weigh 17 lbs. Which is crazy with wicked light stuff all over it for a pro XC rider. And I've seen a Dakota Elite built up with a Rock Shox Pike, 26X2.35 tires, shorty stem, Rider bars and a chain guide. It's not technically designed for this type of application but the rider has had no issues with the frame reliability. I guess this is a testament to the Dakota's versatility. I saw this rider at Dablo riding Dominion. Kind of crazy, anyway... I'm sure the Chameleon can be built up super light as well to suit any XC weight weenies out there.

  8. #8
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    I'm more attracted to the idea of using the mtn bike to get to places that I normally could not (or in reasonable time) on foot as I'm an avid hiker. So being light is important to me, more so than being able to go off large jumps. I also only weigh 155lbs, so the Jamis might be the better fit due to it's lightweight, but I do like the idea of being able to add a beefier fork/front shock should I lean towards more aggresiveness.

  9. #9
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    SC / Jamis

    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker
    I'm more attracted to the idea of using the mtn bike to get to places that I normally could not (or in reasonable time) on foot as I'm an avid hiker. So being light is important to me, more so than being able to go off large jumps. I also only weigh 155lbs, so the Jamis might be the better fit due to it's lightweight, but I do like the idea of being able to add a beefier fork/front shock should I lean towards more aggresiveness.

    You get a ton of bike for $1550 with the Dakota Comp. Not sure what the SC weighs but the Dakota Comp weighs in at 27lbs which is very competitive. And the Dakota can take a 5" fork with out whacking the geometry out if you so wish to do that in the future. Plus the Dakota has a real nice carbon fiber seat stay which adds torsional stiffness and vertical compliance. Not many hard tails have this benefit.
    Best of luck.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rvanderveur
    Plus the Dakota has a real nice carbon fiber seat stay which adds torsional stiffness and vertical compliance. Not many hard tails have this benefit.
    Can you translate that ("torsional stiffness and vertical compliance") into English?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker
    Can you translate that ("torsional stiffness and vertical compliance") into English?

    Sure, The "torsional stiffness" relates to the "twisting" of the rear half of the bike. Which in general is very minimal however, the stiffer the better. You can transfer more of your energy/power into forward motion instead of having the frame flex and zap your energy.
    The "Vertical Compliance" is relating to how the tube's absorb high frequency vibration. For example, all materials, steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, heck even wood and plastic absorb vibration. Carbon fiber, when utilized correctly can absorb high frequency vibration on par as some other materials like steel or Titanium but in a lighter or stiffer package. So here we are reducing frame flex and gaining comfort.
    Hit frequency vibration is felt at a "sting" when you git a bump with significant force. Like going down hill and hitting a rock or a root you did not see. You will still feel the bumb, don't get me wrong, but the "sting" associated with it will be greatly reduced. The carbon fiver seat stay dose not flex vertically to create a type of suspension, simply, the carbon absorbs the vibration so you don't feel it as much.
    Hope this helps.

  12. #12
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    If the seat stay is carbon but the seat tube is not, do you really get that much of a benefit or is it a push?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker
    If the seat stay is carbon but the seat tube is not, do you really get that much of a benefit or is it a push?
    Calling any hardtail plush is a stretch. But the carbon seat stay dose absorb vibration very well. Less sting when you hit stuff hard. Combine with a large casing rear tire and you can have a very smooth ride for a hard tail.

  14. #14
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    One last question... (so far) since we're talking about the amount of absorption of the rear, why wouldn't I opt for say a Dakar XC or XCT 1?

    I would assume that you could easily dial the rear suspension so that it's quite firm (or locked out) if you know you won't be doing much aggressive/jumps which would require more travel and take away from your power.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker
    One last question... (so far) since we're talking about the amount of absorption of the rear, why wouldn't I opt for say a Dakar XC or XCT 1?

    I would assume that you could easily dial the rear suspension so that it's quite firm (or locked out) if you know you won't be doing much aggressive/jumps which would require more travel and take away from your power.
    Those are two great options that offer many benefits over any hardtail. Better traction, better braking and more control because both wheels can follow the terrain. The only negative is that rear suspension generally cost more and there is more maintanance. Shock service and pivot service. But many riders feel the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.
    The Dakar XC and XCT 1 rear suspension do not lock out. Technically, locking out the rear suspension negates the benefit. Some riders say they like to lock out the rear suspension while there on the road or on a long flat trail and that's fine but all full suspension bicycles are designed for off-road applications. Not pavement.
    Can you make a Dakar XC or a Dakar XCT ride firm and taught Yes. But the suspension will still be active. Just really firm.
    Both the Dakar XC and Dakar XCT pedal extreemly well. And offer a wide array tuning options that won't hinder the pedaling performance. For example, you can set the sag at 10mm for a very taught ride or 20mm for a plush ride without hindering the pedaling performance.
    The Carbon seat stay on the Dakota offers no suspension. It simply absorbs vibration better than having an alloy seat stay and it stiffens the rear triangle to prevent twisting. Many hard tail die hards can feel the difference. Would a rider new to riding off road notice the difference between a carbon seat stay and an alloy one? If they have no prior experience, I would have to say no.
    Would a new rider feel the benefit of a full suspension bike. I would have to say, Yes.

  16. #16
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    So this then leads to the next question...

    How would you compare the XC and the XCT1, being that the geometry and placement of the rear shock is very different in the two. My guess would be that the XCT1 is a beefier set up, maybe closer to our original discussion of the santacruz. Such that one might rank them from "lightweight distance oriented" to "aggressive, jumps etc.."

    XC --> XCT1 --> SantaCruz

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