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  1. #1
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    2013 Jamis Aurora Elite Upgrade help and advice

    http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applica...cat_grp=road_9

    This is the bike I wanna get. There are several things I want to change around though and I need some help.

    First: I hate bar end shifters and STI is too expensive and generally irreparable, so I'm thinking about using Campy Ergo shifters. Does anyone have experience with Jtek Shiftmate?

    Second: I'm not to hip on hubs and bearings, but I heard that sealed are easy to maintain but a little tricking replacing, while loose require more adjustments, tweaking, and repacking. So I want to change the hubs to sealed disc hubs, Any suggestions? How much should I spend for a decent set? nothing crappy but not top of the line either

    Third: I'm sure these rims are factory built, I want to get them rebuilt. I'm 250lbs+ and want to do loaded touring. Should I upgrade the spokes since I'm doing the hubs anyway? I'm so lost about this double and triple butted etc.

    I hate to ask these stupid questions but I tend to read and reread and research so much so that I wind up more lost then when I started. So whatever the general consensus is here is what I'm going to do. Money is not a huge issue but I don't want go to crazy. Just so you know I'm an amateur, heavy and goal is to do long distance, loaded tours.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    It sounds like an awful lot of money, time and effort to spend on a complete bike where you want to throw away the bar-end shifters, switch to campy ergo, rebuild the wheels, etc., etc. I'd give some serious consideration to buying a frame only and building it up the way you want instead, including a nice set of handbuilt wheels.

    Custom frame would be your best bet if you can afford it - it will fit you like a glove and can be spec'd for your weight and riding needs, plus extras like braze-ons for racks etc.

    If that's not a possibility money-wise, I'd see if any manufacturers would sell you a frame only (sometimes they don't advertise this, preferring to sell a complete bike) and then build that up.
    Last edited by bargainguy; 01-12-13 at 12:36 AM.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Personally Im 30 years using bar end shifters ,

    There are lower end Shimano 'brifters'. if you want them .. 105 and below..

    sealed bearings are cartridge bearings the whole assembly comes out.



    there are rubber boots on loose ball bearing hubs now.. if contamination is your worry ..

    a double butt is 2 gages , thinner in the center, like 14/15/14.. triple butt the head is thicker
    than the head end of a double butt, but otherwise similar like 13/15/14 .. AWG

  4. #4
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    ride what you got til pieces break, THEN upgrade what broke.

    afaik, campy and shimano 10 speed shifters aren't interchangeable. those dura-ace bar end shifters are pretty sweet, I would give them 3-6 months of regular riding before you go crazy and try to replace them with something completely different.

    to change your hubs, you will need new wheels. Expect to spend about $100-200 each for a decent wheel, maybe a bit more with discs. e xcept... those Shimano R505 are really quite excellent quality to start with, and have quite good seals on them, so I'm not sure what you'd replace them with. readjustment of hubs is normally only required after you disassemble them to regrease them, this is something you might do every 2-5 years. those are already 36H wheels, and have excellent 14 gauge DT spokes, and heavy duty touring rims. get them tuned up and dialed in by the bikeshop you're buying this from, and bring them back in 100 or 200 miles for another tuneup after things have broken in (this is usually included free with the new bike price), and you should be golden. if it DOES turn out you're too heavy for the 36H back wheel, you can get a 40 spoke wheel built up to your specs later. this will require a new hub and new rim anyways (different hole count...)

    when you say you're 250 lbs, is that 250 lbs of muscle (weight lifter, gym rat, etc), or more like 250 lbs of couch potato ? you want to ride a bike 'lightly', and avoid using brute force strength, or you WILL be breaking stuff and wearing it out fast. instead of raw strength, you want to develop 'spin' where you pedal quickly in lower gears ('maintain a high cadence'), this transfers the work from your muscles to your cardiovascular system, your knees will appreciate it, as will your bike.

  5. #5
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Sounds like the Aurora Elite isn't really the bike you want. Since you have very specific preferences, you might consider buying a Surly Disc Trucker frameset and build it up exactly how you want. I own both an LHT and an Aurora Elite, and the main differences between the two framesets are that the LHT has what most folks consider better geometry purely for loaded touring, with longer chainstays, and the LHT frame is heavier. Surly has refined the newer LHT's with some very nice looking dropouts, and they've even added a couple more eyelets on the fork crown that allow easy mounting of certain front racks.

    I love my Aurora Elite more as a "fast commuter," equipped with a rear rack, fenders, and a handlebar bag. It rides much more like a regular road bike than the LHT, and I've even used it as such at times. FWIW, both my LHT and Aurora Elite have cantilever brakes (my Aurora Elite is an '09 model, before it was specced with discs). I'm running a weird mix of parts on the Aurora Elite with (5700)105 shifters, (5700)105 front derailleur, (5600) 105 compact crankset, and an LX (trekking group) RD with a 12 x 32 10 speed cassette, and Paul's Touring canti's. Perfect for what I do on that bike. I built the wheels, 36 spoke rear/32 front with Ultegra hubs and Mavic CXP-33 rims.

    On the Surly, I'm running the fairly typical loaded touring type of stuff, Sugino touring triple, nine speed 11 x 32 cassette, LX (trekking group) RD, Tiagra FD, and nine speed Shimano bar end shifters. I've got a couple of loaded touring wheelsets I built, both are 36 spoke front and rear with XT hubs and Velocity Aeorheat rims on one set and Velocity Cliffhanger rims on the other. My LHT uses 26" wheels. I've done some loaded touring on my LHT, and the setup that I have is ideal for carrying heavy loads over long distances on most any road condition.

    Good luck with whatever you decide-

  6. #6
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Along with the LHT suggestion, the Salsa Vaya should also be on your list. Buying the Jamis and then replacing everything you want to replace is going to cost half as much as the bike. You're better off either buying a frame and building it up or buying a bike with components more suited to your style and upgrading as needed.

  7. #7
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I gave up after you mentioned mating Ergos to the bike using a Shiftmate. I agree with the others your putting alot of money and work into a new bike.

    I think you need to go back to the drawing board and rethink this. Going custom may be the best method for you.

    For trouble free use, ;ow maintenance and versitility you can't beat barends (except with downtube shifters) On a loaded tourer barends have the advantage of being switched to friction shifting if something happens to the drive train and it won't index. That could be important on US 6 between Lincoln and Sidney NE.

    Sealed bearings hubs cane mean different things. Most all hubs are sealed these days via a rubber grommet of some type around the cone. Back in the ealry '80s a "sealed bearing hub" usually refered to something like a Phil, Suze or some Suntour (and others) with an actual cartridge bearing. In general most sealed hubs give great service in most conditions.

    All rims are factory/machine built (except wood ones). Wheels can be machine built and hand finished or hand built. 14 straight guage would be my recomendation.


    What are you riding now and what touring experience do you have?
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  8. #8
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    To answer your specific question; I have considerable experience using a J-tek Shiftmate to match Campy 10-speed Ergos with, first 9-speed and then 10-speed, Shimano derailleurs and cassettes and yes, they work extremely well. However, Campy Ergos are just as expensive or worse than STI's and aren't field rebuildable either.

    Here is a much less expensive alternative that would let you use the fine DA barend shifters already on the bike and place them in a much more accessible location: www.retroshift.com Try them, you'll like them.

    The factory supplied wheels seem plenty strong but having a good wheel builder check them for true and proper tension would be a good idea. The Shimano hubs are standard cup-and-cone type and are very easy to work on and, if greased adequately, are super durable. The spokes are DT 14 ga and are the finest brand available. There is absolutely no reason to replace any of the components on these wheels.

    I certainly agree with the above posters that buying this bike and then replacing the shifters and wheels is unnecessary and a waste of money or you are buying the wrong bike.

  9. #9
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    In regard to the stock wheels on the '13 Aurora Elite, it's odd that Jamis continues to spec this bike with 32 spokes front and rear. They also spec it with a full-on road triple (50-39-30) crankset, which most who do real loaded touring wouldn't find desirable. They've taken a step in the right direction (for loaded touring) with the 30t largest cog on the cassette, but the truth is, this bike really isn't set up for a heavier rider doing loaded touring. Of course, I believe that there's really no "wrong" way to tour, so to each their own.

    We've sold quite a few of these bikes, although not since they went to bar end shifters, and our experience with the stock 32 spoke wheels (I believe they were using CXP-22 rims when we sold them) has been good. The wheels have been trouble free, but AFAIK we haven't sold this bike to anyone who was going to load it heavily and tour on it. We almost always sell the LHT for that. When I bought my '09 Aurora Elite, I recognized that it was a very good quality, lightweight steel frameset that I could set up more as a "sport tourer," "day tourer," "fast commuter," whatever you want to call it. Continuing with my personal policy of making things unnecessarily expensive whenever possible, I then proceeded to replace every last part on the bike until I had it exactly the way I wanted it.

    And in all seriousness, it's a VERY NICE Reynolds 631 frameset, with the frame weighing nearly a pound less than my LHT frame. For loading up with 60-70 lbs of gear and taking off on a tour, I'll choose the LHT every time. But for pretty much anything else, my Aurora Elite is more fun to ride, and IMO, a better bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    In regard to the stock wheels on the '13 Aurora Elite, it's odd that Jamis continues to spec this bike with 32 spokes front and rear.
    The Jamis web page the OP linked to claims 36 spoke wheels on the Elite which is why I said the wheels were plenty adequate if tensioned properly.

    I agree on the road triple crank gearing not being ideal but changing the 30T granny ring for a 26T chainring is easy and cheap.

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The Jamis web page the OP linked to claims 36 spoke wheels on the Elite which is why I said the wheels were plenty adequate if tensioned properly.

    I agree on the road triple crank gearing not being ideal but changing the 30T granny ring for a 26T chainring is easy and cheap.
    If that's true about the 36 spoke wheels, that's good news, news that makes sense for this bike and a step in the right direction for this model. I've got a newly arrived 2013 Jamis catalog that shows the spec as 32 spokes per wheel on the A-E. In years past, on the Aurora Elites we've sold, the wheels had 32 spokes. The Aurora (the base model tourer from Jamis) uses 36 spokes per wheel I believe.

    For cranks, yes, you can make just about anything work, but a 110/74 crankset with something like 48/36/26 (or something similar, I run 46/34/24 on my LHT) makes a lot more sense for most tourists carrying heavy loads, but most are running 9 speeds or less on the cassette. I think the road cranks specced on new 10 speed touring bikes these days is more about matching "10 speed" cranks to the 10 speed cassette.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Your Bike Dealer, that sells Jamis* Can do the parts swaps , as they assemble the bike from the shipping carton. * (or any other brand)

    and make it work .. Just costs Extra..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-12-13 at 10:58 AM.

  13. #13
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    In looking at the pic on the website, the wheels shown do have 36 spokes. With that, I'd say Jamis has taken a step in the right direction with this bike. The printed 2013 catalog states that the wheels have 32 spokes. If you do purchase one of these bikes, it would be worth double checking the spoke count before the purchase.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    If you don't want to spring for a custom frame, a somewhat in-between alternative to the bikes already mentioned:

    http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/grand-tour/

    The beauty of a Gunnar is that you get 2cm incremental sizing from 48cm to 68cm, can choose any color they stock (custom colors extra - you can choose the entire Waterford palette), pick your own options including a kickstand plate, and your bike will last forever.

    I'm from Wisconsin - home of Waterford/Gunnar - and have never had any recommendation to buy one to my friends result in anything less than pure elation. I have a Gunnar Crosshairs 853 that I love. Not a touring bike, but a great all-arounder.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
    If you don't want to spring for a custom frame, a somewhat in-between alternative to the bikes already mentioned:

    http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/grand-tour/
    Yes, Gunnars are great bikes but considering you are "bargainguy", that's a strange recommendation. Gunnar's price list shows their cheapest stock frame is $900 and the stock touring frame is $1025. A fork adds $300 and custom build adds an additional $300. These things are not bargains.

    A Surly LHT frame is $470 including the fork at Jensons. The Surly isn't as elegant as a Gunnar but it's about 90% of the stock Gunnar at less than 40% of the cost.

    If cost isn't a major consideration, Gunnar or other custom builders are well worth considering but if cost is a major factor, they are probably not an option.

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    Yeah, Jamis had 32 spoke Mavic A119's until 2011.

    One thing I failed to mention, that a few of you touched on is that this bike isn't a 100% touring bike. This was a plus for me in my case because although I want to do loaded touring, I'm going to be using this bike for everything, commuting, exercise, transportation, etc. Just want a bike that has good ability to tour even if it isn't optimal.If that makes sense. For example, my trek 7500 would be horrible for touring.

    After your posts, Ima stratch the hubs, spokes, sealed bearings, and complete rim rebuilding. I'll just get wheels checked out and take it from there.

    I'm still set on the shifter swap. I don't like having to move my hands while riding.
    @pierce: Jtek now offers 4 or 5 different models to fit different needs. I believe the one I would need is model 3. http://jtekengineering.com/shiftmate.php I also read about just routing the cable differently but that seems a little sketchy.

    @ Hillrider: those shifters look awesome definetly something I'll look into.
    @Bianchi: I never broke 100 miles, I ride 10 a day, sometimes 20, and have done a few 50 and 60 mile trips. I ride between at about 15mph on small commutes and around 12mph for longer rides. My main bike is a 2002 Trek 7500. When visiting family, I pack a trunk bag. Nothing major.
    @Wellbiker: I'm 250lbs now, but have lost about 50lbs in the last year and hopefully will keep going down, so hopefully that will also make the bike more compatible. And lol I know what you mean about upgrading, That's why my 2002 trek 7500 has probably $700 worth of parts in it. Half of which was probably unnecessary.

    Ok, here's my plan, Get the bike, have a wheel builder check the rims and make adjustments. Then get the retroshifters or campys. I'm now leaning towards the retroshift CXV, after reading reviews and their website.

    When it comes to wheel building, Would a LBS suffice? And how would I know if it was done correctly?

  17. #17
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Yes, Gunnars are great bikes but considering you are "bargainguy", that's a strange recommendation.
    Right, except for one thing.

    If a stock touring bike from any manufacturer doesn't quite fit the OP, then having the 2cm incremental sizing trumps everything else without the cost of going custom.

    Consider this bargainguy's law. If a bike doesn't fit you well, you only ride it if you absolutely have to, as you know instinctively it will not be comfortable. If you have more than one bike available, you tend to reach for the bike that fits you best, even though it might not be the best bike for that purpose.

    So let's tackle fit first, and everything else after.
    Last edited by bargainguy; 01-12-13 at 07:23 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemartin View Post
    Then get the retroshifters or campys. I'm now leaning towards the retroshift CXV, after reading reviews and their website.

    When it comes to wheel building, Would a LBS suffice? And how would I know if it was done correctly?
    You want the Retroshift CX2 model, not the CXV. The Jamis specs show the bike has Avid BB7 ROAD pull disc brakes and levers. So you need the road version of the Retroshift, not the V-brake version.

    I have Retoroshift shifters on a Surly Cross Check (the CXV model as it has V-brakes) and the CX2 models on a Litespeed Firenze and am very pleased with both of them. They are much less costly than any brifter, extremely durable and almost as convenient as STI/Ergo brifters.

    As to wheel builder skill, your LBS may have a good builder and they may not. Ask around among local riders and your local bike club for a recommendation.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    You want the Retroshift CX2 model, not the CXV. The Jamis specs show the bike has Avid BB7 ROAD pull disc brakes and levers. So you need the road version of the Retroshift, not the V-brake version.

    I have Retoroshift shifters on a Surly Cross Check (the CXV model as it has V-brakes) and the CX2 models on a Litespeed Firenze and am very pleased with both of them. They are much less costly than any brifter, extremely durable and almost as convenient as STI/Ergo brifters.

    As to wheel builder skill, your LBS may have a good builder and they may not. Ask around among local riders and your local bike club for a recommendation.
    I thought I needed CXV based on the products page : http://retroshift.com/store/

  20. #20
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemartin View Post
    When it comes to wheel building, Would a LBS suffice?
    Sure, a good LBS will check out the wheels as part of the assembly of the bike. We certainly do, and just to make sure the LBS does a thorough job, remind them that you will be riding the bike on loaded tours, and ask them to make sure the wheels are tensioned correctly, etc. I think the wheels will be fine now that I realize Jamis has gone to 36 spokes on the A-E. The stock wheels on these nicer touring bikes usually come right out of the box in pretty good shape.

  21. #21
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
    Right, except for one thing.

    If a stock touring bike from any manufacturer doesn't quite fit the OP, then having the 2cm incremental sizing trumps everything else without the cost of going custom.

    Consider this bargainguy's law. If a bike doesn't fit you well, you only ride it if you absolutely have to, as you know instinctively it will not be comfortable. If you have more than one bike available, you tend to reach for the bike that fits you best, even though it might not be the best bike for that purpose.

    So let's tackle fit first, and everything else after.
    The Salsa Vaya frameset is $699 and comes in a massive range of sizes, 1cm incremental jumps between 54cm and 58cm.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    Good to know, Alpine, thanks. I like the 1cm between 54 & 58. Just hope the OP doesn't need a frame over 60.

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    I'm glad they made the switch to 36 spokes. It seemed weird to me that their top touring model had 32 spokes while the others had the preferably 36.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemartin View Post
    I thought I needed CXV based on the products page : http://retroshift.com/store/
    No. Note the CXV says they are for V-brakes or MTB disc brakes. According to the Jamis web site, the Elite has Avid BB-7 road disc brakes and comes with Tektro road brake levers. You need the CX2 levers to have the correct brake cable pull for these.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemartin View Post
    I thought I needed CXV based on the products page : http://retroshift.com/store/
    That page sayus the CXV works with "MTB disc brakes" but the Jamis has road disc brakes. Road disc brakes are designed to use the same cable pull as road calipers, so the levers compatible with road calipers is the model you should get.

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