opinion of jamis aurora?
I'm preparing to buy my first touring-specific bike, and my local shop is offering the Jamis Aurora for what seems a pretty normal price of $850. I'm looking for people's opinions on this bike - I've read that the Ritchey components are not great (esp. the headset?), but beyond that, people seem pretty pleased. Any thoughts on the bike and price?
I think that, last year, Bicycling Magazine called it the best budget touring bike around.
For $100 more, you can have a complete Surly Long Haul Trucker. The Surly has better hubs (Deore XT vs. Deore LX), better rear derailleur (XT vs. Deore), a more appropriate crankset for loaded touring (48/36/26 vs. 52/42/30) and what many would consider more reliable shifters (Shimano bar ends vs. STI).
Originally Posted by geobike
Might be a little tough to find one, though there are a few online (you'd have to pay additional for shipping). Or your LBS may be able to order one.
I'm a Jamis fan but went the LHT complete route primarily for the gear range (52/42/30 on the Aurora is a non-starter for me) and the ability to take WIDE tires. I understand the lht geometry to be slacker but I haven't really been able to evaluate a functional difference of that yet (I never did hit my heels on panniers even w/ compact frame). But it is easy to ride the LHT no-hands. After a series of glitches w/ rapidfire shifters, when faced w/ the option of upgrading to brifters or retrograding to barends, I played it safe and stuck w/ barends, which I am quite happy with.
2 cents' worth
I own an Aurora, but recently purchased an LHT custom build. Hardy is right about the Aurora's primary shortcomings: crankset and inability to carry tires much wider than the 28s it comes with. Both made a full day of riding less comfortable than I wanted. A plus for the new Auroras, though--if I can trust what I see on the Jamis website: its steering tube doesn't seem to be cut as short as it used to be (the only problem I see with the LHT complete build), and it now comes with an adjustable stem. Both should make the Aurora's ride more comfortable and "lasting."
I'm Carbon Curious
Another big difference is the geometry especially the chainstay length. The aurora has a chainstay of 17.3 whereas the LHT has 18.1. This measurement is critical to avoiding heel strike to the rear panniers. Also the wheelbase of the LHT is longer making a more stable ride. Trying to avoid heel strike on a bike with a shorter than desired chainstay sucks, you always have to be conscious of it or you'll hit the rear panniers and possibily crash.
The aurora would make an excellent commuting bike to work. Looking at the geometry it looks like it would handle a bit faster than the LHT which is good in traffic. It can be a good loaded tourer with the right size panniers to avoid heel strike, but the LHT beats it almost every catagory geometrywise for carring heavy loads.
So, get the Aurora if your going to do light to moderate touring and commuting. Get the LHT if your going to do heavy fully loaded touring.
Originally Posted by avner
Originally Posted by 531phile
Thanks for all the tips, guys! I think I'm going to stick with the Aurora - price seems reasonable (just need to add racks, better tires and pedals), and it seems like the best fit for my needs (local commuting and riding, and regional touring). My upcoming touring plans are currently fairly short (week here, week there), and I'm trying to keep the load reasonable. I did my first tour last summer (3 wks) on a vintage Fiori, and though I don't know how long the chainstays were on that bike, I know it wasn't a touring-specific bike (and so probably didn't have very long chainstays), and I didn't have any problem with the infamous heel-strike.
I think I'll be checking in soon with more questions about women's touring saddles - because my bike was recently stolen (BOO!!), my much-mocked but very comfy saddle and favorite pedals went too!