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Old 11-07-07, 10:41 AM   #1
punky brewster
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Jamis Aurora vs Trek 520 and PRICES

hey everyone,

ive narrowed my purchase down to 2 bikes the aurora and the Trek 520. A local dealer is ordering a 2008 Aurora for me to test ride. I certainly like the price better than the Trek 520. I'm planning on doing some longer tours around Canada and have read excellent reviews on both bikes.

if i decide to buy the Aurora what should i expect to pay? i see that in the US the MSRP is $850 US. if i remember correctly this Canadian dealer is asking $1100 CAN. which seems a bit high. Should i be able to negotiate with him? It seems that i'll want to switch the crank set for hills with heavy loads which will cost some bucks, plus carriers, fenders and panniers. Lets say i want all that done, what would be a fair price to offer him? I'm terrible at negotiating these things!!!!!!!!HELP!
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Old 11-07-07, 03:05 PM   #2
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I split 85% of my miles between a Jamis Aurora and a Soma Double Cross and I love the combination.

I haven't done any extended tours but I personally don't consider my Aurora an ideal bike for heavily loaded, cross country touring. The chainstays are a hair too short and the head tube is a degree too steep. Clearance for burly tires is also limited. I had to go to Kool Stop Thinlines to get my 37c casings in and out of the rear brakes without deflating them first. It's good I don't do cyclocross with it because there isn't enough clearance for mud left between the stays now either. You can surely go more than credit card light but if you lack an ultralight tent, sleeping bag, etc. that's more $$$ to budget trying to keep the load within reason. I've limited myself to about 35 or 40 lbs. with the Soma and will probably look to stay under 55 or 60 lbs. with the Aurora.

However, I think the Trek would need a little help too. The geometry is better suited to carrying heavier loads but the gearing is the same. The wheels on both bikes are also tough but not exactly bombproof. I'd feel much safer with 40-spoke Mavic A719's if I were planning to carry 80 lbs. in areas where support would be lacking.

I got my US model Aurora for all of 6% below MSRP. Good luck with the Canadian $1150 MSRP. Get some basic Axiom Racks, heavy but sturdy. I will continue to use cheap Delta bags until forced to upgrade. You could try and persuade them to put on a 28T inner ring and an 11-34 cassette at no additional charge instead of changing the crankset. I think you would still have to be a pretty strong climber with that gearing though.
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Old 11-07-07, 03:17 PM   #3
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That's way high. I wouldn't pay more than MSRP. It's a good bike for the money, at MSRP.

Good bike shops will work with you to upgrade/switch parts to your liking on a new bike. If not, I would find a different LBS.

Are you opposed to a mail order bike shop selling you one? I can recommend Jensonusa. They are a Jamis dealer and ship to Canada. They seem to sell Jamis at a big percentage below MSRP. Might be worth a look.
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Old 11-11-07, 06:21 PM   #4
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That's way high. I wouldn't pay more than MSRP. It's a good bike for the money, at MSRP.

Good bike shops will work with you to upgrade/switch parts to your liking on a new bike. If not, I would find a different LBS.

Are you opposed to a mail order bike shop selling you one? I can recommend Jensonusa. They are a Jamis dealer and ship to Canada. They seem to sell Jamis at a big percentage below MSRP. Might be worth a look.
That is the MSRP for Canadian dealers.

OP, the bike dealer should be passing on the savings to you because they are buying the bike at a much lower price now. I don't know how it will work out if the dealer is actually ordering the bike in for you, though.

Let us know how it works out!
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Old 11-11-07, 11:16 PM   #5
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I bought mine at the Toronto Bike Show for $720 +tax ( $799 asking price, approx $1200 MSRP ).

The Aurora wasn't my first choice for a new touring bike, but for $720 I couldn't say no. I will have the change the tires (Hutchinson Basic Flash) with Shchwalbe Marathon Plus. Will also be replacing the stem (not a fan of adjustable), and the seat & post (from a old bike). If your paying the MSRP and looking at making the same changes I'd look at the Rocky Mountain Sherpa, Urbanite, or perhaps a LHT build.

I do like the Tektro brakes mounted on the flat portion of the handle bar...makes life confortable, although I'm wondering if the dual brake system my be prone to failure??

I'm going on tour in a couple weeks and will have all the changes made by then. Hopefully it won't cost me too much. I'm estimating $200.00 which gives me a price of about $920 before taxes. Still pretty good. If I were you I'd negotiate the price as the dealer is likely looking to get ride of stock to allow for the new 08 model Aurora which apparently is going to be a pretty sweet bike.

Oh yea, will also replace the stock brake pads and have already changed the pedal for Shimano SPD (already had them).
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Old 11-11-07, 11:34 PM   #6
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Other than the seat and 32c tires, I don't think the 08' Aurora is any different than the 07' model.
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Old 11-12-07, 01:08 PM   #7
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I heard there would be disk brakes and perhaps some other improvements.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:23 PM   #8
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Don't know 'bout the 08 Aurora, but folks seem a bit split on disc's for touring at this point.

Far as price goes, 1100 CDN sounds a bit high for the Aurora - I'm sure we'll see that U.S. soon enough as the U.S. dollar chokes, but the CDN dollar's doin' fine.

My wife has an older Aurora - only diff I can see with the new ones is 1"threaded vs. 1" threadless. Significant in some respects, but functionally similar.

I've had a couple of 520's which I eventually traded/sold cuz they didnt quite fit me. I have checked out the Aurora, but didn't quite buy it for myself for a couple of reasons.

The 520 allows bigger tires - The Aurora seems to max around 35 without fenders; although you could probably get some fenders on it using a dremel to notch 'em. The limiting factor seems to be the seat stay width. Perhaps that different in the newer ones.

In the sizes I checked out (23", & 21" vs. 55cm on the Jamis) The 520 seemed a bit more stable vs. maneuverable. Kinda one of those tradeoffs from what I've read. That being said the Aurora did just fine when my wife & I did a short tour this summer, but was a bit twitchy when just loaded on the back (I road it a few times when she had some issues with a brifter)

Brifters vs. Bar Ends - My wife has Sora Brifters (I offered to upgrade 'em when they failed, but she likes the little thumb switch) I had to tweak 'em a couple times to get 'em to keep going. They failed after the trip - They are a few years old. The bar ends on the Trek got adjusted once after the new cable stretched a tetch. I did this at me leisure since I was able to just switch to friction until later that evening. all told I never had a problem with my 105 brifters on my old Nova. I gather the current 9 speed Tiagra's are about the same as my old 105's so probably won't be an issue.


On the plus side the Jamis had the bars up a bit higher then the Trek. This can be addressed somewhat with a riser stem, & of course depends on how you fit the bike

Both are geared a bit high; although Trek has addressed that a bit for 2008, I did install a Sugino XD600 on my wife's. If you're more fit, you may like the original gearing. I did the tour with my wife on the stock gearing of the 520, & didn't have any major issues, but also didn't really use the big ring much.

My two bits is check out the Surly LHT as well. I ended up with that since I seem to fall neatly betweens sizes on the 520. It allows larger tires, & fenders, has all the braze on's etc, & as bonus has a nifty spoke holder on the chainstays.

If you're feeling real kinky there's the Kogswell Porteur I keep checking out, but that's a frame you'd have to build up. Looks like it would be great but has an odd wheelsize.
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Old 11-13-07, 12:40 PM   #9
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surly LHT

thanks for the response. alot of people have been telling me about this LHT bike. if i understand correctly you have to go to a bike shop that handles these bikes. What worries me is that it sounds like you cant test ride a LHT before buying. And when you order a LHT are you just ordering the frame and then you have to build it up? Im not a bike person and know very little about setup so this would prove difficult. On the otherhand it does sound like a great bike.
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Old 11-13-07, 01:04 PM   #10
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http://surlybikes.com/lht_comp.html
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Old 11-13-07, 03:55 PM   #11
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how about the novarra randonee?
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Old 05-31-08, 10:11 PM   #12
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How did the story end?

I looked at both bikes, and this forum while I was looking. The LHT was WAY TOO HEAVY! I almost got the aurora, until I started googling reviews of their individual components! If I were to upgrade even to get close to what's on the trek 520 for more $$. I'm so glad I ot the trek. This is one sweet ride!
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Old 06-01-08, 12:00 AM   #13
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I looked at both bikes, and this forum while I was looking. The LHT was WAY TOO HEAVY! I almost got the aurora, until I started googling reviews of their individual components! If I were to upgrade even to get close to what's on the trek 520 for more $$. I'm so glad I ot the trek. This is one sweet ride!
Worrying about weight on a touring bike is somewhat redundant. I don't care what my LHT weighs. It can handle me and my gear, with piece of mind.
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Old 06-01-08, 10:12 PM   #14
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My Aurora will eat your 520 for breakfast and still have room for pastries.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:07 AM   #15
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Hi punky brewster, I am not sure if you in Canada or not but I spotted this Aurora on the Hamilton Craig's list. I'm was just thinking that you may be in the Toronto area. I often see used touring bikes for sale in the Toronto area so you may want to start checking the auction sites. If you are going to spend $1200 CAD then you should check out the Suly LHT complete. A better bike than the Aurora for the same money in my view. If you are close to the US border you will save 15-20% on any bike buying it in the US even with the dollar being equal.
So sad but true that we are still paying too much for bikes and then you add all that tax on.
http://hamilton.en.craigslist.ca/bik/670663826.html
Happy touring!
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