Issue #25 of Enduro Magazine will be hitting the shelves this coming Monday, the 2nd of September, just in time for the start of spring 2013! It’s a stacked issue – we’ve got a whole lot of fresh interviews, in-depth articles, product features and a whopping 7 bike reviews. We also have a big feature on a blockbuster bike test we carried out with the help of Jamis Bicycles. Given the explosion of the 650B/27.5″ wheelsize over the past 12 months, we thought it would be time for a shooutout test to see just how the ‘tweener wheel size stacks up against the 29″ and 26″ wheel.
Adventures Brands, the Aussie distributor for Jamis Bicycles, came to the party with 3 test bikes all in a Medium 17″ size. All 3 bikes were the steel Dragon model, and all are built for XC riding and racing. In preparation for the test, we setup each bike with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25″ Performance tyres, as well as a standard cockpit setup to achieve the same bar height and reach across the board. We’re scientific you know!
The Dragon has just come up to its 20th anniversary, though for 2013 only the 29er and 650B models remain. The 26″ Dragon (left) was specially pulled from a shop floor just for us, as it’s actually a 2011 model.
Definitely a bigger jump from 650B to the 29er wheel, than there is from the 26″ to 650B.
The 29er Dragon has been extremely popular for Jamis, with its neutral handling providing a quick, yet composed ride. The steel tubing is provided by Reynolds, and comes in the form of some beautifully slender tubes – a nice change from the ‘bubblegum’ carbon that’s currently in vogue.
Yup, it was back in 1993 when the first Dragon rolled off the assembly line. It has remained as Jamis’s top-tier steel hardtail since. While there are now lighter carbon and alloy options that sit above, there is a certain allure to the classic lines of the Dragon.
Neatly cowled dropouts are shared across the Drgaon range, and you won’t find a replaceable derailleur hanger, as the natural flexibility in steel means you can simply bend it back straight if if you ever put it out of true.
The Dragon 650 is the newest in the range, and was a bit of a dark horse when it entered the market in 2012. Jamis have been doing the ‘tweener wheel size for 5 years now, and seem to have gotten the geometry down pat. Aside from the blackberry colour, the 2013 Dragon is mostly unchanged from last years, with a 120mm fork up front, slacker geometry than the 29er version and American Classic 650B wheels.
No oversized headtubes here – just a classic 1 1/8″ external headset and a rubbed head tube. Neat gusset underneath the downtube reinforces the frame for the extra 20mm of travel up front.
Nice to see a smattering of parts on a bike that you don’t see every day – White Brothers forks, Tektro Orion disc brakes and American Classic wheels. Along with the steel frame, the Dragon 650B cuts a unique profile out on the trail – and that’s part of the appeal.
They might not make them anymore, but the Dragon 26″ is where it all started. Jamis may have given away our story given that they only make the 29 and 650B Dragons these days, but the 26er can still hold its own as you’ll read in our article.
We had a hoot testing out each Jamis Dragon, and the results were fascinating. Of course not everything was peaches and roses, so to read the full story get your subscription in time for the release of Issue #25, or checkout your local newsagent early September to read all about our findings.