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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 01-31-14, 01:58 PM   #1
handsthatcatch
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Jake vs Straggler

Alright, I finally have the $$$ to buy a new bike. I've test ridden the surly straggler and the kona jake, and I'm in love with both. What to do??? I definitely want
To race cross next season(will be my first time), but I also need a bike that can handle long road rides, gravel grinding, commuting, and Lots and lots of rain. I won't ever run SS, so the horizontal dropouts on the straggler are useless.
Also, I already have a 531 touring bike, so I'm looking for racier. However, I love the stragglers fit, but not it's weight. What to do?????
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Old 01-31-14, 05:00 PM   #2
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I would go with the Jake, but given that people on Bike Forums have wondered if the 'K' in my user name stands for "Kona" that's probably not a big surprise.

Seriously though, the fact that you want to race it is the big thing that makes me sure the Jake is the way to go. I used to have a Cross Check and a 2008 Jake. I used them both for road rides, commuting and CX races. On the road I never really noticed much difference between them, but I only raced the Cross Check a few times because it just didn't feel right. I'm not sure exactly how to quantify that. I don't think it was the weight. I think it was the geometry. I just felt like I was dragging it through the corners or something.

These days I race on either my 2008 Major Jake or my 2013 Jake the Snake. Kona has tweaked the geometry just a bit since 2008. It doesn't feel a lot different -- still great.

The JtS has the same geometry as the base Jake, so even though I haven't raced my new Jake I'm willing to give the frame my stamp of approval. The 50-34 gearing on the Jake isn't what you'd want for racing. Frankly, the 50-39-30 triple they had on the 2013 model would be better (assuming you stay in the middle ring). That said, it's easy to change chain rings and you can get a 36-38T small ring to put on the stock crank for a reasonable cost. The Tiagra components are good enough to get you started with racing. I use 5600-series 105 stuff, which is very similar to the newer Tiagra group. The aluminum fork on the Jake is less than ideal, but I wouldn't worry about it. You can always upgrade that later if you like.

If you do have the budget to step up to the Jake the Snake I think it would be worth doing. Besides stepping up to 105 components and better brakes you get a tapered headset, a carbon fork and a PF30 bottom bracket.

Back to the Jake.... I use mine primarily for commuting and I've taken it on a couple of gravel grinding expeditions. It's great for both of these purposes. Again, you're probably tempted to worry about the aluminum fork for gravel rides. Don't sweat it. Wide tires soak up more bumps than carbon. I've got 700x35 Marathon Supremes on my Jake and the ride is smooth.

The one complaint I have about the Jake is that there's a bulge in the frame right next to the rear fender/rack eyelet. This got in the way when it came time to mount my Topeak disc-specific rack. I had to grind a bit of metal from the rack's big blocky spacers to make it work. Having done that, however, I haven't had a problem since.
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Old 01-31-14, 05:40 PM   #3
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Alright, I finally have the $$$ to buy a new bike. I've test ridden the surly straggler and the kona jake, and I'm in love with both. What to do??? I definitely want
To race cross next season(will be my first time), but I also need a bike that can handle long road rides, gravel grinding, commuting, and Lots and lots of rain. I won't ever run SS, so the horizontal dropouts on the straggler are useless.
Also, I already have a 531 touring bike, so I'm looking for racier. However, I love the stragglers fit, but not it's weight. What to do?????

What's your budget and do you require fenders? Straggler is not all that racy...
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Old 02-01-14, 02:33 AM   #4
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What's your budget and do you require fenders? Straggler is not all that racy...
Budget is really ~1500, straggler is above and Jake is below. The problem is, I am 6'7" and not many companies make big boy bikes. The straggler is really the biggest (re:longest) frame out there with an ETT of 64cm. The Jake's 61.5 ETT is close, but I will need a slightly longer stem. Any other BIG cross bikes to consider? I know at one point, Cannondale made their Caadx in 63cm, but now their geo charts only read up to 58
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Old 02-01-14, 10:02 AM   #5
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Budget is really ~1500, straggler is above and Jake is below. The problem is, I am 6'7" and not many companies make big boy bikes. The straggler is really the biggest (re:longest) frame out there with an ETT of 64cm. The Jake's 61.5 ETT is close, but I will need a slightly longer stem. Any other BIG cross bikes to consider? I know at one point, Cannondale made their Caadx in 63cm, but now their geo charts only read up to 58



I think you've answered your question.... I don't know of many, haven't really looked into it, I was going to plug a variant of my bike but they top out at 600mm... Frame wise, putting a bike together may be a reality you have to contend with considering you're 6'7" ...Soma's Double Cross frames get to 660mm ETT...@ $450.00
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Old 02-08-14, 12:18 AM   #6
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I love my Konas!!!
I just sold my Jake to my uncle, still have my JTS, & Major Jake Team edition.
Kona make great bikes, I didn't think I'd ever sell any of them, but my uncle really wanted an upgrade from his hybrid.
If its in your budget, try for the JTS as mentioned by Andy. Its closer to race ready than then Jake IMO.
Don't get me wrong, the Jake is a great bike, but I prefer the feel of my JTS, & think the extra dough is worth it.
Those are upgrades you'll most likely consider in the near future, & it will be more costly to buy those components afterwards.
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Old 02-08-14, 12:31 PM   #7
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Straggler is the guy off the Back ..
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Old 02-08-14, 03:27 PM   #8
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Straggler is the guy off the Back ..

In every sense of the word!
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Old 02-08-14, 06:32 PM   #9
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I went with the Jake

Untitled by handsthatcatch, on Flickr
And so far I'm very, very pleased. About the only thing I dislike is the saddle, which made my butt pretty sore after the inaugural 45 mile ride. I would have gone with the JtS, but for whatever reason they only make them up to 61cm, while the Jake and Major Jake have the 63.
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Old 02-08-14, 07:37 PM   #10
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I went with the Jake

Untitled by handsthatcatch, on Flickr
And so far I'm very, very pleased. About the only thing I dislike is the saddle, which made my butt pretty sore after the inaugural 45 mile ride. I would have gone with the JtS, but for whatever reason they only make them up to 61cm, while the Jake and Major Jake have the 63.
Nice looking bike, reminds me of Trebon's championship bike when he was riding for Kona(08-09)
OEM saddle very rarely work for me, I always have to go with a Fizik Arione.
Saddles are very personal components, they either work or they don't.
Congrats on joining the "Kona Krew".
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Old 02-08-14, 08:02 PM   #11
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Nice looking bike, reminds me of Trebon's championship bike when he was riding for Kona(08-09)
OEM saddle very rarely work for me, I always have to go with a Fizik Arione.
Saddles are very personal components, they either work or they don't.
Congrats on joining the "Kona Krew".
Maybe I'll run into him here in PDX, hah! Similar looks, except he is built like a spider-monkey with a couple feet of drop compared to a couple inches, and a seatpost as long as most people's seat tubes.
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Old 02-09-14, 02:02 AM   #12
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Does Kona use the same frame and fork for both their Jake and Jake the Snake? I'm assuming the difference is in their components.
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Old 02-09-14, 02:41 AM   #13
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Does Kona use the same frame and fork for both their Jake and Jake the Snake? I'm assuming the difference is in their components.
Nope, JTS uses a carbon fork, Jake uses ALU.
The 2014 use the same frames, prior to 2014 the Jake(2013) was the only 1 in the lineup to offer disc brakes. Before 2013 they all used rim brakes.
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Old 02-09-14, 04:49 PM   #14
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Nope, JTS uses a carbon fork, Jake uses ALU.
The 2014 use the same frames, prior to 2014 the Jake(2013) was the only 1 in the lineup to offer disc brakes. Before 2013 they all used rim brakes.

So as long as both models are using cantilever brakes, then they both have the same frame?
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Old 02-09-14, 07:44 PM   #15
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So as long as both models are using cantilever brakes, then they both have the same frame?
I beleive they do, 2013 was the only year the Jake had disc brakes, while the JTS, & Major Jake(Carbon frame) have cantis.
Looks like the 2014's both have disc brakes now.

If you're after cantilevers you have to go back a few years,2012 for the Jake, & 2013 for the JTS.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:30 PM   #16
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So as long as both models are using cantilever brakes, then they both have the same frame?
I'm not sure about previous years, but the JTS 2014 frame has a tapered head tube, internal brake cable routing, and a few more spiffy curves and bends than the base model Jake does not. The JtS also has a cool metal headbadge while the Jake has a painted one. That being said, the only reason I would want a JtS over the Jake is the carbon fork. I'm trying to find a carbon disc fork that has a long steerer tube, like 400mm uncut, but a lot of models don't list steerer tube dimension, only axle to crown. Anyone know of one?
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Old 02-10-14, 07:34 AM   #17
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I have a 2014 Jake the Snake and can confirm some of your points, and dismiss some others. It does have a tapered head tube, internal gear cable routing, 100% external brake housing, a full carbon fork with carbon steerer, and the JTS does NOT have a metal head badge, just a painted on/sticker head badge.
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Old 02-10-14, 01:47 PM   #18
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The 2013 Jake had a metal head badge. I guess they dropped that for 2014.

I'm pretty sure the Jake and JtS frames (but not the forks) were the same from 2008 (maybe earlier) to 2010. Since then there are minor differences beyond the fork. They're still very similar. Near as I can tell the tube shaping is identical, aside from the tapered head tube on the Snake. The Jake has a threaded bottom bracket, while the Snake uses PF30.

Not sure what you'd do with a 400mm steerer. You shouldn't use more than about 80mm above the head tube with a carbon steerer (~40mm for the stem + 40mm of spacers). If you want the bars that high you probably need a steel or alloy steerer.
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Old 02-11-14, 08:35 PM   #19
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The 2013 Jake had a metal head badge. I guess they dropped that for 2014.

I'm pretty sure the Jake and JtS frames (but not the forks) were the same from 2008 (maybe earlier) to 2010. Since then there are minor differences beyond the fork. They're still very similar. Near as I can tell the tube shaping is identical, aside from the tapered head tube on the Snake. The Jake has a threaded bottom bracket, while the Snake uses PF30.

Not sure what you'd do with a 400mm steerer. You shouldn't use more than about 80mm above the head tube with a carbon steerer (~40mm for the stem + 40mm of spacers). If you want the bars that high you probably need a steel or alloy steerer.
I just measured my steerer, its ~285mm. I was thinking it was 300+. Not having a tapered head tube limits my choices somewhat, but the Whisky carbon disc fork looks pretty neat. I don't mind alloy steerers actually, using a star-fangled nut and not worrying about crushing the tube are all positives in my book.
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Old 02-11-14, 10:59 PM   #20
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You can actually use a tapered fork if you get a headset with an external lower cup. Chris King makes a headset specifically for this purpose. It does change the geometry just a bit.
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Old 02-14-14, 12:34 AM   #21
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You can probably find a JTS disc for about 1500 n change out the door. And they come with 105 stuff.
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Old 02-14-14, 10:48 AM   #22
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Also, pretty sure the Major Jake comes with discs in '14, and maybe '13.

If I'd been able to ride one (and if the Kona dealer hadn't wanted me to buy before I tried) I might well have ended up on one of those. LOVE that orange, BTW. Congrats!
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