I love Ebay but I cannot win a bid to save my life. Every time I step up the plate someone snipes me at the last moment and the I lose the deal. The only time I get the product is when no one else notices it. This is where you can sometimes get lucky.
I was scouring Ebay looking for a mountain bike for my wife when I stumbled on the 2011 version of the Jamis Durango Femme. It was used and being sold by a pawn shop in Idaho who clearly didn't understand its value. I put in a bid and crossed my fingers, a week later it was delivered vacuum sealed in a pile of bubble wrap the size of a car.
For starters the Durango is a beautiful bike. The curvature of the frame and gently thinning top tube suggests a measure of grace. Built for the fairer sex, the Femme is not a weak link in the MTB chain. In fact it is quite the opposite. Aggressive GEAX Barro Mountain tires can handle the roughest terrain while mechanical disc brakes provide ample stopping power. It is outfitted with all the Shimano and SRAM toys that could be reasonable fit onto a entry level bike while maintaining a low retail price.
My wife liked the bike from first glance. She normally doesn't go for girly colors but the Femme is 30 pounds worth of aluminum shuck and jive that won't be afraid of any trail. While it is easy to assume toughness, she only needed to ride it to find out how tough.
Four rides and 47 miles later the Dakota's legend is growing. The Barro Mountain tires thrive on rugged terrain, the bumpier the better. The disc brakes will likely not be challenged by Florida's flat trails. My wife was able to keep up in groups rides through sand, grass, roots and pave. The bike clearly contributed to her comfort and speed.
It took a few miles before the front disc stopped making a light rubbing sound and we did have to make minor adjustments to the seat but these are normal for any newish bike. The only thing that might have to go is the grips which despite being "Dual Compound" tend to rattle her hands into a bit of pain.
The expectations on any entry level bike are low but the Durango exceeds well. It has easy handling, a comfortable saddle and rapid fire shifters. It sits exactly in the middle of the market on price but far above average on good looks. It's the kind of starter bike that a person falls in love with and so far my sweetheart has no complaints.