Jamis Dragon 29 Chronicles #2

In: Just Riding Along, NEWS By: Jeff Lockwood On: April 15, 2008

This is the second in a series of posts leading up to the Dirt Rag Stuff Review of the Jamis Dragon 29. I’ll informally keep you posted not only with my experiences on the bike, but also with my indoctrination into the 29” machine. This ongoing journal is also an exercise for me to get enough written before my review is due, so I can actually get it in on time.

I took the Jamis Dragon 29 out on my usual Thursday Night Training “Race” last week. The loation for this weekly event sweetly offers some very tight, some very technical and some very fast…and some very secret…trails. I ride here at least once per week, and like to bring new bikes and friends visiting from out of town here to test man and machine.

I had some anxiety about how I would be able to handle the bike in this tight network of trails. I already knew that the bigger wheels and longer wheelbase made this bike handle a bit differently…more slowly…than what I’m used to.

Before I go on, let me spout some numbers and measurements on the 17” Jamis Dragon 29:

  • effective top tube: 23.23”
  • head/seat angles: 72/73.5
  • chainstay: 17.72”
  • wheelbase: 41.77”
  • bottom bracket height: 12.20”
  • Jamis is saying the bike weights 28lbs, but I haven’t put it on the scale yet

As I suspected, the first lap on Thursday saw me dodging some trees and other obstacles that I would otherwise have easily avoided. That’s not to say this bike handles poorly. It just handles differently that what I’m used to. Therefore, I adjusted my reaction time to obstacles and things went more smoothly.

Of course, that is until I noticed what felt like my chain dropping a few times. But my chain wasn’t dropping. It seems like the freehub wasn’t engaging properly…it was slipping at random times. Very disconcerting, and I haven’t looked at it yet to figure out if that’s the actual problem. But thankfully it happened mostly on my pre-lap, and only once on my ‘race’ laps.

Other than that, I was able to get my front wheel…and the rest of the bike…up and over the many logs lying across the trails. And, as you know, the big wheels rolled nicely through and over a lot of the rocky sections of trail.

I’m not sure if it’s me being in better shape than last year, or the new bike…or both, but I definitely felt faster on Thursday. Of course not nearly as fast as all the people in front of me. But still faster than normal.

More time in the saddle will tell.

My next post will include a laundry list of parts included on the bike, possibly a report from a mountain bike duathalon I might do, and maybe even a photo.

Stay tuned…

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