Jamis have the bases completely covered for 2012, hitting all of the latest trends. Light, long-travel trail bike? Check (Dakar AMT). Full-suspension cross-country 29er? Check (Dakar XCR 29 Pro and Race). Steel 650B trail hardtail? Check (Dragon 650). 650B cross-country race bike? Check (Nemesis 650). Yep, they've got every niche covered – even the ones you might not have known about.
Dakar XCR 29 line
The Jamis cross-country squad were intimately tied into the development of the new Dakar XCR 29 full-suspension line. The team have been racing 26in versions of the Dakar XCR as well as Dakota 29in hardtails for the past two seasons with success and that experience helped mold the new range.
At the top sits the Dakar XCR 29 Pro – a monocoque molded carbon version of the 4in-travel (100mm) linkage-activated-single-pivot racer. The bike is designed to fit the team's needs – namely speed. The rear end is also molded from carbon, asymmetric and includes a 12x135mm through-axle to maximize stiffness and subsequently, say Jamis, power transfer.
Jamis's full-suspension 29ers use the 12x135mm rear through-axle standard
The front triangle maintains all of the contemporary design advantage available, including a tapered head tube and PressFit30 bottom bracket; the tubes are sized using Jamis's SST (size specific tube diameters) approach, which they say tunes the frame for the rider without giving up impact durability. The Dakar XCR 29 Pro has a claimed weight of just over 25lb and costs US$5,100.
The Dakar XCR Race trickles all of the design and the same cross-country race geometry from the Pro model into a $3,200 7000-series alloy chassis that's made from Kinesis's triple-butted and shaped Kinesium tubing. The alloy model carries over the 12x135mm rear through-axle – RockShox's Maxle – and specs a 15mm through-axle for the fork.
Jamis's mountain product manager, Sal Crochiola, told BikeRadar that while the through-axles may be on-trend they're also extremely important to the ride quality (stiffness) of the 29in bikes. The alloy Race gains roughly 3lb, with a weight of just over 28lb for the 17in size.
Jamis's 2012 Dakar XCR Race
That grey area between trail and all-mountain is being filled by efficient, light bikes that pack 6in (150mm) of travel at a weight around 30lb; it's been a hot category for the past couple of years and even more important for 2012. While these bikes require the right terrain to fully exploit their capabilities – somewhere where there's the potential for generous down – there's no disputing they're a ton of fun to ride. Just about the only dispute is what to call them.
Jamis have gone with all-mountain for their new Dakar AMT, but we might just modify their tag to all-mountain/trail. The bike is spot-on, stat wise, with 6in of travel at a claimed 30lb and some serious suspension components – a RockShox Monarch Plus piggyback shock and 160mm-travel Lyrik RC fork. The Dakar AMT has a 68° head angle and slightly slack 73° seat angle (other manufacturers are trending steeper for the seat angle to aid in climbing) paired to a low 13.5in bottom bracket height.
Like many in the category, all the $3,900 Dakar AMT needs to rip is a dropper seatpost, which it's conveniently plumbed for (cable wise). The bike is smartly finished with Shimano's SLX 3x10 drivetrain, Hayes Prime brakes and the excellent wide-rimmed (28mm) Sun-Ringle Charger Expert tubeless wheelset.
The new Dakar AMT
650B – the perfect wheel size? Or for those who can't decide?
Jamis have been on the 650B (27.5in wheels) front line for the past four years and they're re-upping their commitment for 2012, adding two new hardtail models, bringing their total range to four complete bikes and three framesets.
The trail-oriented Dragon keeps step with its pedigree as it's constructed from Reynolds 853 steel tubing. With a 68° head angle, it's meant for the all-day enthusiast. The complete bike sports White Brothers' new Loop TCR fork with 120mm of travel and a 15mm through-axle. It's finished with an SLX drivetrain, Avid Elixir 3 brakes and an American Classic wheelset. It's claimed to weigh just over 26lb in a 17in size and costs $2,600. A frame will also be available for $900.
The Nemesis fills the race-oriented 650 niche for Jamis. Though built with a rather pedestrian SRAM X7-based kit selection and sporting a $1,650 pricetag, it has a racier geometry than the Dragon (71°/73° HT/ST) and is welded out of Kinesis 7005-T6 alloy. Frame features include a tapered head tube and PF30 bottom bracket.
Steel is still real: the Dragon 650