Jamis Dakar XAM?? and other possible XC AM bikes

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Jamis Dakar XAM?? and other possible XC AM bikes

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    • #73320

      I’m considering a my first full suspension bike for the coming season. I’ve already got a decent build on my hard tail that I’d be transferring to the new bike, so I’m really just concerned about the frame attributes. I’m looking for something along the lines of a rougher trail bike or an XC/AM bike that will allow me to ride more aggressively but still climbs well (maybe i’m asking to much haha). I’ve been looking at the SC Blur LT, Nomad but the prices get me a little. I’ve also recently stumbled across the Jamis Dakar XAM which is seems to be a steal in comparison. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on the Jamis Dakar Xam, Blur LT, and Nomad. Thanks.

    • #73321

      Welcome to Singletracks, Eric! 😎

      The Jamis XAM is definitely a helluva deal for what it provides; and though I’ve not ridden one beyond the parking-lot, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. On the basis of that, and what I’ve seen up close, the XAM could be your ticket.
      The only niggle that I can find with it is the weight. Jamis FS bikes have always been on the heavy side (not excessively so), but that doesn’t always mean it’ll be a pig on climbs. The XAM is firmly in the All-Mountain category, so it should let you get a decent go at steep hills before causing your legs to burn out. Geometry-wise, it’s right were the steering provides stable downhill manners at speed without being too wandery on steep climbs. And I don’t doubt the suspension is effective and stable due to the platform DHXAir. With proper braking and pedalling habits, the single-pivot suspension won’t cause any headaches. In fact, I think that the standard argument against SP full-suspension bikes doesn’t hold much water anymore, due to the advances in platform-shock technology, & the refinement of SP designs.

      However…..

      If you can afford it, the Nomad is nigh unbeatable in versatility. It’s completely possible to build one up in the 28lb range. That combined with the oh-so-sweet 6-inches of VPP suspension, bang-on steering geometry & wheelbase, and low standover makes the Nomad what it is….. And IMHO, the best full-suspension bike on the market.
      Or go with a component spec that’s a little more gravity-friendly but weight conscious; and you’ll end up with a Nomad in the 30-32lb area.

      ~ an AM-wheelset (Bontrager Rythm Elite) and 2.3" tires (Schwalbe Nobby Nic!)
      ~ air or air/coil fork (Maverick DUC32 or Marzocchi AM1-ETA) & air shock (Rocco Air TST or Fox DHXAir5)
      ~ light, yet responsive & powerful brakes (Magura Louise BAT w/ 180mm rotors, or Hope MotoV2’s)
      ~ a Truvativ HolzfellerOCT crankset w/ CBro’s Acid pedals, and a RaceFace SRX ISIS bottom-bracket
      ~ and finally, a Bontrager RaceLiteOS riser bar, Syncros FL 70mm stem, Syncros RaceDerived seatpost, Bontrager Rythm saddle, and Ergon grips.

      If you outfit a Nomad with that list of parts, I guarantee it’ll come in at just under 33lbs; and provide you with a bike that’ll to do anything your heart, lungs, willpower, or sense of self-preservation will allow you to do. 😼
      I made a point of picking components that, while not bargain-basement priced, won’t suck your bank-account dry either. Actually, the Bontrager Rythm & Ritchey Pro series of parts are extremely well-priced for their weight, durability, and quality. Schwalbe tires are also very effective & tough tires at reasonable cost. Magura, well… Magura & Hope are the most expensive hydraulic brakes on the market; but you definitely get what you pay for. If splurging is required in any area, it’s here.
      SRAM has pared-down the weight of their Holzfeller line with the OCT versions, and compared to Shimano’s equivalent offerings, are much more affordable.
      And lastly, I [i:1v27i0xo]highly[/i:1v27i0xo] recommend [u:1v27i0xo]Syncros[/u:1v27i0xo] components. Their stuff is easily on par with Thompson and Easton’s cockpit items…. Actually, I think that Syncros has a bit of an edge on the other two competitors in quality and durability.

      Yes, the Santa Cruz Nomad isn’t cheap; and fitting a Nomad frame with cheap parts would be like mixing a 100yr-old single-malt Scotch with Coke. It might get the job done, but it sure as hell won’t taste good; aside from being sacrilege as well! 😮

      The BlurLT is an equally capable trailbike, but more on the XC tip than AM. The BLT has a finite limit when riding towards the aggressive side of All-Mountain, and is a little narrower in scope when exploring build-kit options.
      That doesn’t mean that it can’t be made to push past those boundaries, and have both you & the bike survive. I just feel that where the Nomad provides added security & confidence when riding on the ragged edge, doing so on a BlurLT will definitely let you know how close that edge is. 😎

    • #73322

      Hey Bomb…to outfit a Nomad like you have listed, what kind of $$$ range are you talking? I’ve got a Giant Yukon hardtail I’ve been on for about a year and a half since I started riding. While it’s a solid bike for the price, I kinda feel like I’m already starting to outgrow it. I’m in between ponying up some major cash for a solid FS or upgrading my Yukon for less. Any guidance/suggestions on the matter?

    • #73323
      "WestVirginiaMTBR" wrote

      I’ve got a Giant Yukon hardtail I’ve been on for about a year and a half since I started riding. While it’s a solid bike for the price, I kinda feel like I’m already starting to outgrow it. I’m in between ponying up some major cash for a solid FS or upgrading my Yukon for less. Any guidance/suggestions on the matter?

      If you’re outgrowing the Yukon, upgrading isn’t going to make much of a difference. As your skills improve, fitting a beginner/average bike with high-end components is the equivalent of say, putting a high-powered hunting scope on a short-range .22 caliber plinking rifle. The capability may be there, but the platform isn’t up to the task.

      "WestVirginiaMTBR" wrote

      Hey Bomb…to outfit a Nomad like you have listed, what kind of $$$ range are you talking?

      To build a Nomad with the parts I listed, I pulled most of the prices off of Cambria Bicycle Outfitters. I bought my Nomad frame from them, they have good prices. CBO & JensonUSA also "Price Smash" online, which is nice. If one of the two has something cheaper, then you can usually find the same component on the other site & use the price-beat option.

      For example, I found Magura Louise BAT Carbon brakes at CBO and JensonUSA. Jenson’s price is $129ea, while CBO’s price is $242.95ea. I did the CBO "Price Smash" and got a coupon code for $120.40 off, with the final price being $122.55.

      I’ll break the list down by component & group, cost, and supplier/source. All prices are from CBO, unless noted in parentheses. I’ve put notes about some of these components at the bottom of this reply, items in particular are marked with an *.

      ___________________________________________________________

      $1,930- ’07 Nomad (w/ 1.5" headtube & Fox DHX5 Coil) @ CBO

      [u:36qy4f2j]Drivetrain[/u:36qy4f2j]
      [i:36qy4f2j]see note #1[/i:36qy4f2j]
      $79.95- ’07 SRAM X-9 Rear Derailleur
      $39.95- ’07 SRAM X-9 Front Derailleur
      $115.95 (set)- ’06 SRAM X-9 Trigger Shifters
      $34.95- ’06 SRAM PG-980, 9-spd Cassette
      $235 – SRAM Holzfeller OCT 22/32 Crankset (JensonUSA) *
      or $99.95- SRAM Holzfeller <standard> 22/32 Crankset
      $35.95 RaceFace SRX ISIS bottom bracket
      $19.95- SRAM PC-971 Powerlink Chain
      $59.95- CrankBrothers Acid1 pedals *
      $149.95 – E.13 DRS (dual-ring-security) Chainguide & Bashguard
      $23.95- Jagwire Ripcord Cable Set

      [u:36qy4f2j]Brake System[/u:36qy4f2j]
      [i:36qy4f2j]see note #2[/i:36qy4f2j]
      $139 (front)- Magura Louise BAT Carbon 203mm Venti-Disc (JensonUSA)
      $129 (rear)- Magura Louise BAT Carbon 203mm standard (JensonUSA)

      [u:36qy4f2j]Suspension (Fork & Shock)[/u:36qy4f2j]
      [i:36qy4f2j]see note #3[/i:36qy4f2j]
      $499- ’08 Marzocchi 55 TST2 Air/Coil fork (very nice!)
      $449- ’08 Marzocchi Roco Air WC shock (absolutely sweet shock, better than the FoxDHX5 Air)

      [u:36qy4f2j]Wheelset & Tires[/u:36qy4f2j]….
      [i:36qy4f2j]see note #4[/i:36qy4f2j]
      $449- Bontrager Rhythm Elite Wheelset w/ 20mm thru-axle f. hub
      $49.95- Continental 2.3 Gravity UST – Tubeless

      [u:36qy4f2j]Cockpit Components[/u:36qy4f2j]
      [i:36qy4f2j]see note #5[/i:36qy4f2j]
      $169.95- Syncros AMHardcore headset
      $49.95- Syncros AM Stem (60, 70, 80mm)
      $69.99 MSRP- Bontrager Race Lite OS riser bar
      $26.95- Ergon P1M grips (very comfy, don’t knock it till you tried it!)
      $59.95- Syncros Derived seatpost
      $????$- Saddle, I ain’t gonna tell you what yer butt likes. 😉

      $4897.25 = TOTAL (for a [email protected]$$ SantaCruz Nomad!)

      $????$ – Minus sale of old bike and the Nomad’s Fox DHX5 Coil.

      ___________________________________________________________

      I found a [u:36qy4f2j]Complete Nomad – $3,199[/u:36qy4f2j] at CBO that’d be a good choice. There are just a few things that I’d change; namely a better shock, better wheels/tires, and definitely better brakes, but the fork is decent so you could run that.
      ____________________________________________________________

      [u:36qy4f2j]Note #1[/u:36qy4f2j]
      * The Truvativ Holzfeller OCT crankset is like the Shimano Hollowtech desing, only a lot stronger. The old Holzfeller is a lot cheaper, but it’s also a lot heavier. Take it from me, the weight adds up fast when building a bike!
      * You can find pedal-shoe combo deals all over eBay, as well as other online retailers.

      [u:36qy4f2j]Note #2[/u:36qy4f2j]
      * These are the best prices I’ve EVER seen for Magura brakes, and these are the newest Louise models, one of which has the "Venti-Disc". It’d be a simple thing to go find another Venti-Disc to match the front. The rotor by itself shouldn’t cost more than $50.
      Hell, I’d buy a set of these Louise’s even if you don’t decide to build up a bike immediately. You’re not going to see these stick around for much longer! Oh yeah, and Magura has most likely the best customer-service in the industry, next to Marzocchi; not to mention their brakes have a 5-year factory leak-proof warranty.

      [i:36qy4f2j]Note #3[/i:36qy4f2j]
      * The 55 TST2 is the way to go if you buy an older Nomad frame with a 1-1/8" headtube. If you buy a new Nomad with the 1.5" HT, in order to fit the ‘Zoki 55, you’d need to get a reducer headset. Syncros and a couple other places make them, but they’re more expensive than a standard 1-1/8" Chris King headset.

      A far better utensil up front would be the RockShox 318 Domain, it has adjustable travel (U-Turn) from 115-160mm 160 or 180mm, the option for a 1.5" steer-tube, and "Motion Control" (rebound & low-speed compression adjust only). CBO has the 1.5 HT version is in-stock $594.95.

      RockShox’s flagship AM fork, the Lyrik 2-Step has 115-160mm of highly adjustable travel and Mission Control. Mission Control is the compression & rebound adjust, with Floodgate switch (essentially a much gooder version of Fox’s ProPedal). The Lyrik also has a fancy little doodad in there that automatically adjusts the compression, spring-rate, & rebound when you change the fork’s travel setting. The Domain does not have this.
      However, your bank-account will have to sing to the amount of $1,050.

      The other RS All-Mountain forks do not have the travel to match the Nomad’s. It’s better to end up with too-much travel on an adjustible fork, than not enough.

      [u:36qy4f2j]Note #4[/u:36qy4f2j]
      * The wheelset shootoff is between the Bontrager, Easton AM Havoc, and Azonic Outlaws. Easton & Azonic’s front hubs are convertable from a QR to a 20mm thru-axle in seconds. Bontrager’s hub isn’t convertable…. gotta match the wheel to your fork when you buy.
      I then compared the weights of Bontrager Rythm Elite wheelset (1915g) with the Easton AM Havoc wheelset (1875g), & the Azonic Outlaw wheelset.
      The Rythm Elite w/ 20mm hub is only slightly heavier than the Easton AM Havoc wheelset. In comparison, an Azonic Outlaw wheelset is 2446g!
      (BTW, I’ve got the Outlaws on my Nomad. 😼 )

      It’s a really tight call, but I’d pick the Bontrager Rhythm Elite over other AM wheelsets; due to value, quality and design.

      The Rythym & Havocs have 28mm-wide rims, which is good; couldn’t find the width on the Outlaws, but I know it’s close. Wider rims allow for larger-volume tires and a bigger footprint…… But the Bontrager wheelset has[u:36qy4f2j]offset spoke-bedding[/u:36qy4f2j], and are tubeless-ready fast; all that needs to be done is pick up some sealant, insert the tubeless valve-stem, and go.
      You can buy the Rythym Elite wheels from Trek online ($499), or go to an Fisher/Trek dealer.

      [u:36qy4f2j]Note #5[/u:36qy4f2j]
      Like I said in my other post, I highly recommend Syncros…. if you can afford it. Otherwise, substitute either Cane Creek or WTB parts and they’ll work fine, they’re just not as indestructible, or cool looking….. 😼

    • #73324

      Thanks, for the tips/advice Bombardier. The devil on my shoulder is telling me to get a Nomad. If I am going to fork out some sizable cash, I might as all stretch a bit and get the bike I really want. Once the trails dry up a local shop rents high end bikes for demo with the fee going towards a future purchase. I’ve read rave reviews of the Nomad, and being a bigger rider I like the idea of a beefier, do anything trail bike for all day rides. I also wouldn’t mind something capable of a moderate chairlift run from time to time, but also capable of climbing the all day…( well half day, the other half is downhill :-)). Maybe that is being too greedy.

      I have heard great things of the VPP suspension, but funky things about the current VPP pivots and bearings; creaking and frequent need to replace. However I also read amongst info for the redesigned ’08 Blur LT that SC also especially redesigned the bearings for greater durabilty. i assume they would use the same redesigned bearings for the ’08 nomads as well.

    • #73325
      "erictw83" wrote

      Thanks, for the tips/advice Bombardier. The devil on my shoulder is telling me to get a Nomad. If I am going to fork out some sizable cash, I might as all stretch a bit and get the bike I really want.

      That’s the way to do it. 😼
      When I built my Nomad, I knew how I wanted it, and was willing to make no compromises to save on cost. Having a "dream bike", and not having to kick yourself for going with cheaper brakes, or cheaper fork to save money, is an experience that I highly recommend.
      Once you have a bike that is set-up exactly to your preferences, you’ll be able to focus more on the riding, than worrying about your bike’s shortcomings.

      "erictw83" wrote

      Once the trails dry up a local shop rents high end bikes for demo with the fee going towards a future purchase. I’ve read rave reviews of the Nomad, and being a bigger rider I like the idea of a beefier, do anything trail bike for all day rides. I also wouldn’t mind something capable of a moderate chairlift run from time to time, but also capable of climbing the all day…( well half day, the other half is downhill :-)). Maybe that is being too greedy.

      That’s not at all greedy! 😼
      The Nomad can be built to do just what you described. I know because I built mine to those ends, and it works.

      "erictw83" wrote

      I have heard great things of the VPP suspension, but funky things about the current VPP pivots and bearings; creaking and frequent need to replace. However I also read amongst info for the redesigned ’08 Blur LT that SC also especially redesigned the bearings for greater durabilty. i assume they would use the same redesigned bearings for the ’08 nomads as well.

      That problem was encountered mostly on earlier VPP bikes, but SantaCruz has pivot/bearing rebuild kits; and they’re also using different pivot bearings from the factory.
      Really, you don’t have to worry about that if you take care of your VPP bike. Unlike a single-pivot or 4-bar linkage, the VPP has a lot of nooks-n-crannies for water & crud to get into.
      I’ve heard & seen a lot of these squeaking-pivot problems that were user-error. If you’re washing the bike, don’t dump/spray water into the pivots, for what seems to be obvious reasons. Don’t put the bike away wet after finishing a ride. VPP requires a little extra TLC, but the time is well spent.

    • #73326

      I bought a SC Blur LT in August and love it. Handles like a dream, rides great and is so fast its scary. My LBS did not have a Heckler to try out, but I would imagine they are great also. Most of the guys at that LBS have Hecklers. I pretty much stick to cross country type riding so the Blur fit the ticket for me. So far no problems with the suspension, but I don’t ride wet stuff much either. Yea, it hurt laying out that much $. If you do go that route, I think you will be grinning ear to ear 😃 on a Santa Cruz – even with that painful hole in your wallet.

    • #73327

      I’m still working on that bike… or more accurately put still trying to justify spending that kinda money. AH, what a temptation it is though to finally splurge for a dream rig. I should be able to swing it by mid summer, but I’ve been starting to look around and ask questions early.

      I’m glad to hear that pivot/bearing issues of the VPP are clearing up a bit with recent models, at MTBR both the BLUR LT and the nomad have extremely high ratings with the only gripe being the pivots. Though I am no expert mechanic, I do tend to get a bit obsessive about keeping my bike clean, and I’m sure that fact will grow expontially with $$$ spent. I don’t typically ride in snow/mud/rain either since it 1)reeks havoc on the transmission, 2)reeks havoc on the trails, and 3) I always seem to end up stuck in the mud 😕 .

      Hmmm…I’m defintely gonna test ride both the LT, the Nomad, maybe a few choice others but those are my top two off the bat. I do like the idea of going slightly more agressive with the nomad since I’ll always have my hardtail for pure XC rides (I could never be parted with my old trusty hardtail anyways). There’s also something about that sexy hyrdo form tube top that I can’t keep my eyes off.

      Thanks for the input.

    • #73328

      Woops. A little confusion on my part. You guys were talking Nomad but I was thinking Heckler. That is another option if you wanted less pivot maintenance worry. Its all good.

    • #73329
      "erictw83" wrote

      I’m still working on that bike… or more accurately put still trying to justify spending that kinda money. AH, what a temptation it is though to finally splurge for a dream rig.

      Buying your dream-bike….. is worth every hour of overtime, every week spent eating generic-brand bulk food, and every penny saved down to the last red cent. 😎

      To put it into perspective, I reenlisted in the Army for another 4-years; and got a $15k re-up bonus.
      Guess where just over $10k went, in one fell swoop???
      A brand new Nomad and a Gary Fisher FatPossumXO for Linz. And for the first time in making high-dollar purchases, I didn’t experience [i:z5vq02yu]any[/i:z5vq02yu] buyer’s remorse after the deed had been done.

      I can’t stress it enough…. If you’re going to build/buy your dream-ride, make sure you thoroughly research and choose it’s component spec; and get sized first, so you won’t end up with a frame too large or small! A lot of LBS’s will perform the sizing gratis if you buy the bike, parts, and/or have them build it for you.

      "erictw83" wrote

      I’m glad to hear that pivot/bearing issues of the VPP are clearing up a bit with recent models, at MTBR both the BLUR LT and the nomad have extremely high ratings with the only gripe being the pivots.

      The pivot-squeak issue has been cleared up entirely, from what I understand. And be wary of people who gripe about pivot problems anyways, as most of the time it’s the bottom-bracket that’s squeaking, not the pivots. 😏

      "erictw83" wrote

      ….I do like the idea of going slightly more agressive with the nomad since I’ll always have my hardtail for pure XC rides…….There’s also something about that sexy hyrdo form tube top that I can’t keep my eyes off.

      Definitely.

      I had to have a Nomad when I first saw it in a issue of MBA (covering Sea Otter 2004). It was in a tiny little 3"x3" picture at the bottom corner; the first public showing of the Nomad in plain polished aluminum.

      Some people dislike the Nomad’s curvaceous hydroformed monocoque top-tube, pivots, and rear triangle…. But notice the fact that after SantaCruz released the Nomad and it earned such kudos as to become nearly every MTB-rag’s BOTY for ’04/’05, the mountainbike industry as a whole started turning out bikes with very similar flowing organic designs?

      Along with the Schwinn Excelsior, BreezerII, Stumpjumper, AMP Horst-Link, Outland VPP, Mountain Cycles SanAndreas, Trek Y-22, and GT LTS-1000; I believe that the SantaCruz Nomad rates with these as one of the most seminal mountainbikes in our sport; even though it’s only four years old.
      The Nomad’s impact on the industry is huge. Before SantaCruz released their Blur/VP-Free’s offspring into the world, 4-inches of suspension was enough; 5-inches was pushing it (for an XC/trail bike), and bikes with 6-inches of travel were sitting on the doorstep of DH & Freeride.
      The original SC Bullit and Heckler could be considered the first "All-Mountain" bikes, but they didn’t set the AM-discipline firmly in the mountainbike world like the Nomad did.
      The new Heckler & Bullit are definitely capable & attractive bikes as well. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second in buying an ’08 Bullit, if the funds were available.

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