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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:57 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:31 am
Posts: 57
Location: 'Merica
I wanted to preserve the classic-XC geometry of my old 1996 GT Zaskar, but switch to Steel. Yet something that could still be Fast. Was looking for an older Steel race frame, like a 96' Kona Explosif, 96' Diamondback Axis, or any GT Psyclone (my unicorn). Hard to find any of the above. Then this red beauty caught my eye on Ebay. Didn't think the newer geometry would work with the old parts, but it did. Big tire up front, smaller one in the rear.

She is a head-scratcher. It has the 2007 colors, but the geometry is based upon the 2006 model, (an 80mm Fork, more classic-XC lines). Jamis switched to a 100mm Fork in 2007. I was told that they sold out of the 2006 framesets before the year was over, and had to run some 2007 colors with the old geometry.

My friend swapped the old-school GT Zaskar parts onto the newer Jamis. And yes, that is a 1996 Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork on there. Almost 20 years old and still going strong! Anyway, this bike turned out to be everything I hoped and dreamed for. Fast, nimble, and way smoother than my old Alloy frame. No more "beat-up" feeling after 2-hour+ rides. That thing used to rattle my neck and spine alot. (I do have a respect for USA Zaskars though. Might get another one, maybe for short, intense trail attacks, or street).

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Last edited by maroon113 on Wed May 29, 2019 8:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:50 pm 
BoTM Winner / retrobike rider
BoTM Winner / retrobike rider
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:24 pm
Posts: 5771
Location: Dorset
Lovely. I wish there was more chance of bagging an 853 framed Jamis in the UK, but there was hardly any sold here between 1994 and 2011.
I often browse whats available in the US, mainly looking for my holy grail of a 1986 Dakar, or a 1993 Dragon


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:59 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:33 pm
Posts: 11621
Location: The Home Of Mountain Biking, And All Great Things.
Built my 2004 up in various guises and now going for a simple set up, not sure about drive train but it will be light and durable so probably 1 by 9. Roll on spring!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:18 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:31 am
Posts: 57
Location: 'Merica
makster wrote:
Lovely. I wish there was more chance of bagging an 853 framed Jamis in the UK, but there was hardly any sold here between 1994 and 2011.
I often browse whats available in the US, mainly looking for my holy grail of a 1986 Dakar, or a 1993 Dragon


Thank you. Yes I can highly recommend this frame. Reynolds 853 is good stuff. The pre-97 frames were made from Tange Prestige, also great steel, yet different geometry it looks like. I should consider myself blessed then, to be able to get these frames, being in the USA. They pop up around here for sale, about every month or two, for roughly $300-400 USD with full XT parts, late 90's, early 2000's red ones. Have to keep repeating to myself, "you have too many bikes, you have too many bikes," and close the window.

It does seem quite clear, unless I am mistaken, that this was created as an underground Stumpjumper-killer during the high-competition, hardtail years, of the mid-90s to early 2000s IMHO. It does ride much better than the Aluminum Stumpjumpers no question.


Here is an cool review from 1997:

Bike Magazine June 1997

Bike Test: Jamis Dragon hardtail

By Mike Ferrentino


A couple of years ago, Keith Bontrager was quoted as saying something like, "If steel had shown up today, it'd be the new miracle material." Ironically, Bontrager Cycles had to shut down it's Santa Cruz facility this year, ostensibly because the market for high-end steel bikes had pretty much had it's stomach cut out by aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, and full suspension bikes.

Once upon a time, there were only steel bikes. Ok, maybe a lugged bamboo frame was seen here and there around the turn of the century, or an aluminum ballooner surfaced ever so rarely, but by and large everything was steel. It was good. Steel was strong, relatively light, easy to work with, and familiar.

But familiarity, if anything, breeds contempt. With the explosion of mountain bikes in the 80s and a coincidental flatlining of the defense industry, new and different materials began to see wide spread use when applied to the manufacture of bike frames. Sure, people had made bike out of aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber composites before the advent of fat-tired popularity, but those efforts had been mostly experimental, with results that often saw riders run crying back to their steel bikes faster and more repentant that a backsliding Pentecostal preacher after a weekend long speed binge in Las Vegas. However, once a whole new buying public stepped up to the plate looking for bikes that were NEW, IMPROVED, and above all, different, the composite market took off with a vengeance.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. The new generation of bikes made of aluminum, titanium, and, carbon fiber all have their strong selling points and their loyal advocates. But it seems a little sad that steel, good old reliable steel, has taken a back seat now in a market that is largely fad-driven. Steel has been undergoing a century of evolution in regard to its use in bicycle frames, and a state of the art steel frame today can offer a magical blend of good attributes that few miracle materials can compete with.

Yes, aluminum and carbon fiber frames can be built into lighter frames. Yes, titanium can be made to last longer. For your dollar, though, there is nothing that can match the performance of steel when putting together factors such as weight, longevity, and desirable ride characteristics.

If you're thinking about a new bike, and aren't necessarily buying into the current hysteria demanding we all look and act like visitors from space, you might do well to consider a steel bike.

Jamis Dragon $1,799

19" bike tested.

Weight: 25.4 pounds.


Jamis rolled its first bikes into the world about 20 years ago now and has been trotting out decently designed and competitively priced bikes for the most of the time since. Yet the company has remained in a marketing nether-region for much of that time, not batting up there against the big builders. The Giants, Treks, and Schwinns, or gaining the big name recognition awarded to the competitors like Specialized or Diamond Back, but not getting swallowed up and getting turned into just another badge-engineered house brand, either. And for the last few years, Jamis has possibly the largest pro race team in the country, hosting something like 24 racers at last count. In light of this, and Jamis' position in the market, it's refreshing to see a company buck the trend toward gee-gaw marketing and step up to the plate with it's flagship hardtail bike made out of steel.

Ferrari red, blood red, fire red, whatever. Red, and how. Painting anything this shade of red is always just begging to get it thrashed. I bet red cars have to have their trannies replaced more often than blue ones, regardless of the brand. Our 19" test bike came TIG welded out of Reynolds 853 tubing, decked out with Shimano XT/ESP mix of bits, the rear ESP der hanging from a Breezer socket dropout, and sporting a Manitou SX fork. Titec bars, bar ends, seatpost, Mavic 220 rims laced to XT hubs, and shod with WTB Velociraptor tires, a Syncros stem, and Vetta saddle complete the package. The tale of the tape reveals some damningly familiar numbers: 71/73 head/seat angle, 23 inch top tube (short by today's standards), 11.8" high BB, and a 42" wheelbase.

The Ride

SPRINT FEST! Climbers alert! While the weight is a bit heavier than the DeKerf or the Bianchi, the Dragon is a joy to hammer. It accelerates. Jump on the pedals from a standing start and the bike feels like it weighs 19 pounds and has springs in the hubs. It just hooks up and goes, once again proving that sometimes, numbers are only part of the story. The same applies for climbing prowess. Insert appropriate goat metaphor here. Seated or standing, the Jamis lives for being pointed uphill with a stopwatch involved. It really feels about 3 or 4 pounds lighter than it really is. Neat. Maybe it's the paint.

Otherwise handling is pretty neutral. The bike behaves well in the tight stuff, feeling nimble and responsive, and doesn't show any overt ugliness when things get fast. Mind you, we did notice a little steering vagueness at high speeds over bumpy terrain, which might be attributed in the decidedly thin top and down tubes. Hard to say, though since the DeKerf was made out of the same diameter tubestock, which can't really have been thicker walled since the bike was lighter. And it didn't feel as whippy in the front end. Other than that, the Dragon was happy as a clam (how happy are clams anyway?) playing race bike.

Parts

With XT brakes controlled by Avid Speed Dial levers, and ESP 9.0 shifters and rear derailleur handling the stop and shift duties here, there's nothing really to complain about. It's a good value package. But we'll try anyway. The Manitou SX fork felt a bit too overdamped and stiff at first, but got better with use.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 8:20 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:31 am
Posts: 57
Location: 'Merica
Well the pics got deleted from my old image hosting site, they are back up now, years later lol.


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