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I took the Jamis Dakar XLT 1 2004 for a test ride at my local bike shop and loved it. Perfect for what I want to do xc with a few 2-3 foot drops everyonce in a while. However its very expensive, at 1,449 a bit more than I want to pay. I'm currently looking at a lightly used but NOT abused (no drops) 2003 for about 500 less than the 2004 and was wondering what people think. Keep in mind I do get free tune ups for life of bike if I get the 2004 from the local bike shop and a full warranty. In the long run what do people here think would be more cost effective and would suit my needs best. Thanks!
 

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The 03 XLT & 04 XLT were included in the bikes I researched/test rode when I was making my purchasing decision this year. In addition, one of my trail buddies rides an 03 XLT.

Some of the main diferences below.

03 XLT head angle of 71 degrees vs 04 XLT 68.5
I liked the 04 XLT's slacker head angle for sketchy steep decents however the 03 XLT handled better in tight single track.

03 XLT has Fox Vanilla coil fork & shock vs. 04 XLT Manitou coil fork & air shock
I liked the feel of 03 XLT coil suspension system better. It felt more plush but the 04 XLT w/ Swinger pedaled better. The 03 XLT has a lockout to compensate. I'm not sure what value SPV has in a fork, the Minute felt a bit constipated over small bumps and bobbed when I hammered.

Like a lot of 03 XLT owners, my trail buddy broke his chainstay. It was warrantied by Jamis quickly and for free. He has had no problems since. I'm not sure if Jamis will warrantee a chainstay for you if you are not the original owner. There was a thread on this site on this topic.

Above all, go with the one that feels & fits you better. Don't let money be the factor. I'm still trying to figure out how to pay off mine but am glad I spent the money.
Good luck.
Tequila!
 

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watch out!

There are 2 guys that ride the 04' xlt and both of the frames snapped like a pretzel right at the chainstays. I don't know about the 03' . I know it has a warranty but that doesn't cover walking 10 miles out of the woods!
 
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