I really wanted to ride one of the Jamis full suspension 650b bikes, but the one they brought in my size was always out. So instead I threw a leg over the Dragon 650, which is a steel hardtail with a fairly slack 68° head tube angle.
So of course I take the steel hardtail and head out on to the Circle O trail, which includes 3 miles of bumpy, wavy slickrock.
The Dragon pedaled efficiently and handled the steep ups and downs of the slickrock OK. Admittedly I was ready to be done with the bumpy slickrock after a while, but as an all-around trail bike I could see this being a worthy addition to someone’s quiver.
The Shimano SLX component group worked perfectly, but I’m a little surprised that Jamis didn’t go all the way and also equip SLX brakes with Ice Tech rotors. The Avid Elixir 3‘s seem a little out of place on a bike this expensive.
This was my first ride on a White Brothers Loop 650b fork and I was impressed. It is every bit as smooth as the two Fox forks I have owned. The American Classic wheels were ok, as were the Kenda Nevegal tires.
Is 650b poised to to take over the MTB world? I don’t know. But I do know that this bike rode MUCH more comfortably than my old 26″ hardtail, and yet the handling was more nimble than most 29ers I have ridden.
The only thing I can really knock about this bike is the $2,700 price tag. That’s $300 more than my Giant Anthem X full suspension 29er.
Time will tell what becomes of 650b bikes like this one once they gain a more mainstream status …