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Old 08-29-06, 01:08 PM   #1
1-track-mind
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Jamis Aurora/Long Haul Trucker

Anyone touring on an Aurora ? Frame looks good and price is right, but I'm wondering how the components will hold up on 1-2 week tours ? I realize a LHT build would be more expensive initially, but it seems like eventually the Aurora will be just as expensive if much upgrading is needed.

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Old 08-29-06, 02:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 1-track-mind
Anyone touring on an Aurora ? Frame looks good and price is right, but I'm wondering how the components will hold up on 1-2 week tours ? I realize a LHT build would be more expensive initially, but it seems like eventually the Aurora will be just as expensive if much upgrading is needed.
Specwise, it looks like a good bike. There's nothing on it that is a dog in terms of components. Nothing spectacular but nothing really bad. It's very similar to the Fuji Touring and that's my current favorite cheap touring bike. Some things to watch for and/change are

Pedals: Get a some Shimano M520 for around $50. These are one of the best values of the Shimano line. Cheap, rugged, two-sided.

Wheels: You don't need to replace the wheels but watch the bearings on the hubs. The Sora hubs are okay but they aren't as smooth as the higher value hubs. Make sure they are adjusted properly before you leave on tour.

Gears: Too high. Get a 48/38/24 tooth chainwheel set as soon as possible! If you can, talk the shop into a swap to a mountain bike crank instead. A 44/34/22 has too low a high gear but it has a much better low gear.

Stem: I'm not a big fan of adjustable stems. Use the stem to find the right angle for you and then buy the proper single piece stem.

Everything else will work just fine for years and years.
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Old 08-29-06, 06:44 PM   #3
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At my size, I think investing in bombprooof wheels and hubs makes sense.
Any suggestions assuming I'll be using front and rear panniers.
If I end up replacing crank,pedals,stem,wheels,hubs and tires, that puts me well on my way to a LHT.
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Old 08-29-06, 06:45 PM   #4
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Gears: Too high. Get a 48/38/24 tooth chainwheel set as soon as possible!
This little upgrade might cost you a little though. Nashbar has a triple like this at $74,
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...0Road%20Cranks
Don't know the quality, but otherwise you can easily spend your way into a much nicer bike by replacing the crankset.

Have you looked at the Bianchi Volpe -- similar to the Fuji and Aurora -- which ships with a 48/38/28?
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Old 08-29-06, 07:14 PM   #5
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Have you looked at the Bianchi Volpe -- similar to the Fuji and Aurora -- which ships with a 48/38/28?
Yea, I looked at the Volpe. For some reason, I thought it has more of a lightweight touring frame compared to the Aurora.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:09 PM   #6
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Yea, I looked at the Volpe. For some reason, I thought it has more of a lightweight touring frame compared to the Aurora.
Right. I've heard others make that statement. The frame is something Bianchi calls DB CrMo, but I'm not sure how that makes it lightweight. I have heard reviews from others that they were not all that impressed when it was fully loaded (> 50 lbs); however, these reports were from LHT owners.

I think if I were you, I would take all advice here into consideration, but then go out and take a Volpe, a Fuji, an Aurora, a Trek 520 and maybe the Canondale tourer for a test drive. Finding an LHT for a test drive would not be too easy, however. But you should probably try all of them and see which one fits you best.

Reason I say this is that the Fuji, for example, comes in different sizes than the Volpe. The Volpe ships in sizes 52 and 55cm, etc., while I think the Fuji might be 53, 56 and so on. The LHT comes in 2 cm increments. Despite all that you hear about components and frameset materials, just the available sizes may be a more important factor in your decision.
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Old 08-30-06, 12:14 AM   #7
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Also keep in mind the the LHT runs big. I ride a 58cm LHT (and I think it's a great bike!) and it a big 58. I was on the fence between a 58 and a 60 and am very happy I went with the 58.
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Old 08-30-06, 01:33 PM   #8
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I have an older (2002) Aurora that I really like
done a couple short tours
It's sort of a custom build:
Bar end shifters - rear indexed
Deore in back
Vuelta Wheels
Cyclone crank (the one thing that I'd like to upgrade... either the whole set or the chainrings... suggestions?? What's good that won't break the bank and give me 58/38/28?) Is this another thread??

Brooks B.17 saddle
Nitto Technomics stem
Nitto Randonneur bars
Easton Seat post

I wish it had like an inch more rake i front to make it more rock steady
no complaints
Great Steel frame
lots of places to stick stuff on
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Old 08-30-06, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1-track-mind
At my size, I think investing in bombprooof wheels and hubs makes sense.
Any suggestions assuming I'll be using front and rear panniers.
If I end up replacing crank,pedals,stem,wheels,hubs and tires, that puts me well on my way to a LHT.
I don't think you should replace everything at once. The wheels will hold up for a couple of seasons, so no need to do anything with them. They are good but just watch them and keep them well adjusted and lubricated. Also make sure the shop knows what you are going to use this bike for and have them tweek the wheels for you before you take it home. If you ride clipless (or want to try it ), replace the pedals.

The crank, or more correctly, the gears are high. See if you can work out a deal with the shop to change them to a 48/38/24 which is much more touring friendly. If they won't see if they can at least change the middle chainring and the inner chainring. A 52/40/24 isn't too bad for touring. Then look for a deal later on a trekking or mountain bike crank.

Which brings us to the stem. Adjustable stems are good tools for determining rise on the stem. They might even be good stem - if a little heavy. I'm not a big fan of them but if you aren't sure of what rise stem you want, experiment until you find the right angle and then either keep the stem at that angle or replace it with a more rigid stem. It's not a huge deal and is mostly personal preference.

For wheels, just about anything will do and the sky's the limit on cost. If I were doing the wheels, I would keep the rims and redo the hubs in an XT mountain bike hub front and rear and respoke with DT Alpine IIIs. That'd make a very strong wheel. Or, if purtiness is what you are after and cost is no object, I'd build a set of wheels with Phil Wood hubs - front and rear -, Mavic A719 rim on the front and a Ritchey 36 spoke OCR rim in the back and DT Alpine's all the way around. NOT CHEAP!!!!! But man are they every purty
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Old 08-30-06, 06:48 PM   #10
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I looked into the Aurora when I was in the market for a commute bike recently...as well as the Volpe and possibly building a LHT....I never ended up buing any of these...bought a ebay bike insted. The Aurora was by far the best choice I found for the $ however I would of ended up doing a stem switch along with the headset and saddle first thing...as well as a gear change. Wheels would have been next. I liked the Aurora better than the volpe...twoeylets in the rear and a longer wheelbase....building a LHT was and is tempting....but my tool selection is limited to do all the wrenching and when it was all said and done I could go buy a Trek 520 or a Burley for the price of buying everything. My XO2 Bridgestone is getting the job done for now...but the LHT is still a possibility for '07....I know surly hadn't been getting them in for some time but I assume that has changed. I see the Aurora's hitting ebay pretty often you might get lucky there.
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Old 08-30-06, 11:15 PM   #11
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I got an LHT and love it. Just be careful with the components or you will be spending a lot more than you intended to spend--and it may not be the best value.
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Old 08-31-06, 07:01 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the good comments. This is just a tremendous forum for learning.
I went back and manually searched for threads about the Aurora and everything I read indicated it was a good value, although most folks are upgrading components.
I've also been tracking some used touring bikes on Ebay and the newer ones are fetching 75%
of current new prices (for the same models). I guess gas prices and commuting are helping the re-sale value of touring bikes because I've heard it's usually 50% for bikes.
Wondering if it makes any sense to buy a new frame and an older used touring bike and switch the parts over ?
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Old 08-31-06, 06:56 PM   #13
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That depends if you know much about working on bikes-- building franken-bikes out of two bikes is a whole lot of fun....but it isn't likely to save you money.

I'd advise you to just go buy an new Aurora this weekend and be done with. Don't bother to change any parts. Just buy the bike and ride. Over time, you might want to change components, but nobody knows what those components are yet.

Good luck,
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Old 08-31-06, 08:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerv
Right. I've heard others make that statement. The frame is something Bianchi calls DB CrMo, but I'm not sure how that makes it lightweight. I have heard reviews from others that they were not all that impressed when it was fully loaded (> 50 lbs); however, these reports were from LHT owners.
I've owned a 2003 Volpe and didn't like the way it handled loaded and I'm not an LHT owner. My current touring bike is a '85 Trek 620.
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