Jamis Bicycles History

Jamis Bicycle History 


Building the perfect bike is an impossible goal, but it’s the only one that’s worthwhile. In fact , we’ve been at it most of our lives. CEO and President Carine Joannou has been successfully leading and directing G. Joannou Cycle, our parent company, since taking over from her father in 1981.

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What began as a modest regional distributor of imported European bicycles and parts in 1937 has grown into a national powerhouse with international distributors throughout the world. GJC is now one of the oldest, largest bicycle companies under original family ownership in the United States.


Greg Webber, Vice President of Product Development has been with Jamis since the first Earth Cruiser rolled out in 1979 and eagerly joined Carine’s winning team when GJC acquired Jamis in 1990. Their commitment, passion and leadership inspires the rest of us bike addicts at Jamis to not settle for “good enough”. The whole team aims for nothing short of perfection all day, every day.

1979 Jamis introduces the Earth Cruiser. A re-designed & re-engineered no-longer-classic-now-revolutionary cantilever cruiser that mixes equal parts fun & fashion and spurs the whole beach cruiser movement.

1980 Boss Cruiser is born. A double-diamond-framed yang to the curvaceous Earth Cruiser’s yin. Complete with Barcolounger-sized Cheeks saddle and drink-and-ride Cooly Cup

1981 The (Boss) Explorer morphs from the Boss Cruiser. A pre-mountain bike if you will….a hybrid between the Floridian Boss Cruiser and those funky, fat-tired, multi-speed bikes them hippies are riding out in Marin County.

1983 Dakota, Lightfoot and Roughneck are conceived. By today’s double-disc’ed, dual-suspended standards these mountain bikes are nearly laughable, but they are truly remarkable for their time, and are among the few quality production mountain bikes available.

1985 The first Dakar is delivered. A custom-built, fillet-brazed (triple-butted Ishiwata tubing), ready-to-race-out-of-the-box mountain bike that turns a lot of heads. In many respects, the 1985 Dakar crystallizes much of the Jamis design credo that guides our work today – no gimmicks, no gadgets, no nonsense, no compromise; just pure, polished performance and genuine craftsmanship.

1987 Dakar and Dakar Sport feature lugged Tange Prestige frames. Yes, the fillet brazing of the original Dakar was indeed exquisite, but these bikes are being raced and the racers are begging for lighter bikes.

1988 The Eclipse and Quest road bikes are introduced. With proportionate component sizing, sliding frame angles and fork rake predicated upon the work of Bill Farrell and the New England Cycling Academy, Jamis re-defines how a production road bike needs to fit and steer.

1991 Coda and Tangier roll off the line. With the upright rising position of a mountain bike, but the smooth-rolling performance of a skinny-tired 700c road bike, these bikes make riding more fun and more comfortably accessible for the in-town rider.

1993 The Dragon is hatched. With Tange Prestige tubing that is pain-stakingly fillet-welded, then plated, then hand polished. With a Rock Shox Mag 21 suspension fork, XTR 24-speed drivetrain, and Ultegra hubs, the bike is extraordinarily light (sub 24 lbs) for the time and for the money

1995 Our first 4-bar linkage Dakar Team springs into life with 55mm of piggy-backed Noleen coil-over rear travel. With a Judy XC fork, Deore XT drivetrain, TNT titanium BB, Sugino Mighty 900 crank, etc, this new dualie weighs under 25 pounds.

1996 This year’s Dakar Team goes Red, White and Blue with a nearly 100-proof USA parts pick that includes Easton Elite tubing, Machine Tech hubs and brakes, Precision (Gorilla Billet) ProShift rear derailleur, Carumba crank, Gravity Research brake levers and QR’s, and Craig Metalcraft.

1997 Dragon (off-road) and Eclipse (road) evolve and become two of the very first USA production bikes to feature Reynolds 853 air-hardened cromo tubing…. Our flagship dualie, Dakar Team, featuring the “new” XTR and a 200 gram Cane Creek AD8 air shock and 80mm rear wheel travel, weighs in at just over 24 pounds.

1998 The revolutionary dual-suspended Diablo is introduced at Interbike and wows the crowd. The industry’s first vacuum-resin-transferred-molded carbon fiber monocoque frame is nominated for a Bicycling Magazine Editor’s Choice award as one of the most innovative products for 1998…. Dakota later wins Mountain Biking magazine’s Bike of the Year Award

2000 Dakar Comp wins Mountain Biking magazine’s Bike of the Year award for Best Bike in the highly competitive $800 – $1500 category….After many years in Team Red, Eclipse gets a Black and Yellow two-toned paint scheme (and Mavic’s hot, new Ksyrium wheels) and all productions are a near sell-out after its unveiling.

2001 Dakar Comp wins Mountain Biking magazine’s Bike of the Year award for Best Bike in the highly competitive $800 – $1500 category….After many years in Team Red, Eclipse gets a Black and Yellow two-toned paint scheme (and Mavic’s hot, new Ksyrium wheels) and all productions are a near sell-out after its unveiling.

2003 The Dakar XLT 5” travel all-mountain series is introduced and promptly wins Mountain Biking magazine’s Best All Mountain Bike AND their coveted OVERALL Bike of the Year award (while Dakar XC Comp quietly wins the Aggressive XC Bike of the Year award)….. Xenith is the first production road bike to be manufactured with Reynold’s incredibly light-and-stiff-but-still-resilient lithium alloy X100 tubing.

2004 The Dakar XLT platform continues to wow the crowd and the 2.0 nearly grabs All Mountain Bike of the Year from 26 Magazine (which would have been the second year in a row for the XLT’s), ultimately taking the runner-up award. Coda Sport is introduced and is promptly selected by Bicycling Magazine as THE Best Buy for a Comfort Road Bike.

2005 It’s the year of carbon-fiber for the entire industry and Jamis is at the top of the heap with new full carbon Xenith Series (Team and Pro) road bikes. The Dakar XC Pro & XC Expert feature lightweight carbon seatstays and bell-cranks, while the 853 Eclipse is exquisitely outfitted with laser sculpted steel lugs that accept carbon-fiber seatstays, seat and down tubes. Dakar XLT and Quest win Bicycling Magazine’s coveted Editor’s Choice awards for Best Value Full-Suspension Mountain Bike and Best Value Enthusiast Road Bike.

2006 Jamis introduces the all new Diablo 7×7 freeride bikes designed to pedal as well as it gobbled up terrain…not to mention geometry that made the bike tops in handling and balance. The Jamis Dakar wins Bicycling Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award as the Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike under $1000.

2007 The all new re-designed carbon fiber Xenith Series is introduced to stunned audiences. Years of refining the ride of our original frame cumulates into quite possibly the perfect balance between comfort, stiffness and light weight…many pro racers calling it the best riding road bike they’ve ever ridden. Also introduced this year is an all new MP3 suspension platform. The evolution of Jamis suspension that’s gotten lighter, stiffer, truer tracking and more efficient.

2008 The Xenith T-Series debuts with its patent pending Windshield® fork which helps these revolutionary bikes shatter many of the existing top wind tunnel test scores. Our Xenith Pro carbon road bike wins Bicycling Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award for Best Enthusiast Road Bike. Jamis introduces its first carbon fiber full suspension bike with the Dakar XCR Team. The XCR Team uses much of the carbon technology developed for the groundbreaking Xenith road line up including Jamis’ SST (size specific tubing) technology

2009 2009 marks our 30th anniversary and with it brings overhauls to almost every one of our mountain and road bikes. Jamis brings it’s MP3 suspension platform to a new crop of 5-inch trail bikes called Developed over the course of 2 years it easily becomes one of the most talked about additions to the Jamis line-up. On the road side we resurrect the Reynolds 853 steel Eclipse for our 30th anniversary and refine the ride of each and every road bike in the line.

2010 This is the year we roll out our revolutionary Dakar 650B1 and B2 trail bikes, four years ahead of the rest of the industry. “It’s remarkable the way the Dakar 650B straddles the riding experience of 26 and 29,” said Mountain Bike. What’s even more remarkable to us is how long it took everyone else to wake up and jump on board. 2010 also marks the 6th year in a row, Jamis earns a coveted Editor’s Choice Award from Bicycling Magazine: Xenith Comp edges out BH and Cervelo for Best Recreational Road Bike.

2011 Our Hudson series comfort bikes debut this year, combining the best of what we know about design with the latest in what casual cyclists want. The result: a revolutionary new riding position with gorgeously clean styling. Bosanova also debuts: a steel-framed, disc-braked & fender-equipped drop-bar road bike designed for our Pac-NW customers who were begging us for a “rain bike”. And not to gloat, but Bicycling bestows another Editor’s Choice award on a Jamis bike: Coda Sports earns Best Flat Bar Road Bike

2012 Continuing to lead the 650B revolution, 2012 sees the roll-out of our venerable Dragon with 650B wheels as well as an all-out/all-alloy 650B racing hardtail, the Nemesis.  But there’s still room in the world for a well-designed 90mm travel full carbon 29” dualie: meet the new-for-2012 Dakar XCR 29 Team & Pro. Always the early adopter, we test and fall in love with Nuvinci’s seamlessly shifting, continuously variable rear hub and add it to the spec of the Commuter 4.

2013 marks the 25th birthday for our Eclipse — a long-time favorite of steel roadie fans. The all-new aluminum Icon Elite nags an Editor’s Choice award from Bicycling magazine for Best Recreational Road Bike. Not to be outdone, the Dragon 29 Sport also pulls away withan Ed Choice for best Value Hardtail. And Tyler Wren starts off the whole 2013 model year with his second consecutive win at Crusher in the Tushar on board a fresh-out-of-the mold, all carbon for the first time ever Supernova ‘cross bike.

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