Jamis Aurora Elite - good multi-purpose option?
I've looked at a couple of threads on the Jamis Aurora Elite, which mostly seem to complain that it's marketed wrong. I'm sure that's true, but I think partly because of it's cross-breed nature (part cyclocross, part tourer) it might actually be really good for what I'm looking for.
I'm looking for the "all-in-one" bike - commuting, sporty training rides (not expecting to race, at least not seriously) and light touring. I've looked at a few bikes - I quite liked the 54cm specialized tricross, but it seems really overpriced. Also prefer the idea of a steel frame. I was a bit cramped on a 52cm bianchi volpe. I tried a 52cm poprad, which fit beautifully but only comes in a double.
So, actually the Jamis Aurora elite seems to offer quite a lot for the price for what I'm looking at. Does anyone have any comments? Anyone riding one for this kind of purpose?
Welcome to my own private Hell-en.
I'm looking for EXACTLY the same kind of bike you are, but decided on the Aurora instead. The major reasons being:
a) the gearing is broader on the Aurora (32 in back), meaning that it's got a decent granny gear.
b) the head tube is higher on the Aurora = higher handlebars
c) longer wheelbase...more stability
d) longer chainstays...less pannier heelstrike issues.
e) lower bottom bracket
f) Aurora comes with extra set of brake levers on the flats.
g) slightly more relaxed head and seat tube angles for a little more upright position.
Aside from the above, the Elite seems to be a really nice crossbike, and the parts/frame are great for the price. It just misses by a few hairs for me. Try it...you might really like it.
My only knock on the Aurora is that you cant run as large a tire/fender combo as a cross bike. Whats wrong with a double? Oh and I dont know if I would really use the lowrider mounts and carry stuff on that carbon fork.
Crosscheck and Long Haul Trucker are good do everything steel bikes with the biggest draw back for some being the bar end shifters and they are bit heavy.
The Soma extra Smoothie is nice too but does not come as a complete bike.
Ive been using a cross bike for my do everything road bike and its worked quite well. Wheelset and tire choice makes huge differences and the cross bike can accommodate many sizes so its up to you how you want to set it up.
Last edited by jaghouse; 02-28-08 at 12:02 AM.
I think it's a great bike. From your description it sounds like just the ticket for you. I had mentioned before on this forum that I wished they had produced that model a year earlier. I'd have saved some money most likely (but, I'm not complaining). I think that bike is a great approach to a light(er) tourer/every day bike. Some lighter wheels and skinnier tires will make it a faster/lighter every day bike. A true sport tourer.
The only plus that a cross-style bike (Aurora Elite) has over a touring bike (Aurora) is that it will be a little better for dirt and rough roads, and in this case can take wider tires.
Almost everything else is adaptable. An LBS can swap out a double for a triple, change the stem, change the cassette, change the rings and so forth.
I would test-ride both and see if one has a ride feel that's closer to what you're looking for.
the Aurora is better for touring or commuting IMO
Just ride it.
Get the bike which suits your realistic riding needs. I want to tour, but realistically I don't have much time. So a sport tourer works for me which is a Flyte cyclocross bike I can morph with a tire change and fenders. I've run 38c tires on it with room to go to 42c and fenders. The beefy carbon fork takes the sting out of things, and if I do go "on tour" it will be a weekend excursion with a trailer or just a rear rack with a handle bar bag. In the meantime I run 28c road slicks which give me great handling. My cyclocross bike is very nimble and light by touring standards at just under 20lbs with a frame and wheelset tough enough to handle the rough stuff.
Last edited by MrPolak; 02-28-08 at 11:59 AM.
Thanks all for your comments. A bike shop is getting an Aurora Elite in for me, and it's just arrived, so can go and try it, hooray. I agree that I guess it's all about the feel.
I did have a look at a surly cross check and a LHT, but didn't go for them for exactly the reasons you mentioned - the weight, and bar end shifters. Like I said, I think I want something a bit lighter, and sportier. I'm not going to be touring fully-loaded across Africa. At least not yet. I guess that's what's made me feel like I'd prefer the aurora elite over the aurora. Annoyingly I don't think any LBS near me has an aurora I can try
As for the triple, I'm moving to New Zealand pretty soon which is very hilly - yes, I'll be needing the low gears (a downside of the elite vs. the aurora, as theranman mentioned).
Anyway, I'll go try it out, and maybe also hunt down an aurora, and see how it goes. Thanks again, all, for the helpful comments!
Out of curiosity, where r u located?
Also, how tall r u, and what size Elite are u test riding?
I'm in West LA. I'm 5'7", with relatively long legs + arms. I'm going to try the 51cm Aurora elite. Was a little unsure, they seem to have kind of odd sizing vs. other brands. I fit well on a 52cm Poprad, which was why the LBS recommended the 51cm Jamis. But like I said, on a tricross 54cm felt better, and the 52cm volpe felt a bit cramped.... The Jamis bikes definitely seem to have longer top tubes. I guess I'll find out soon...
I'm 5'6.25" with a 32" pubic bone height, and whilst the 53cm Aurora just pushes my limits (with swapped 80mm stem), the 53 Aurora Elite is just too big. I tried the 51 Elite for a very brief test ride, and it just didn't feel as good as the Aurora, but I plan on trying it again when the weather warms up. I'm in Chicago. Personally, I like to be a little bit more stretched out when riding. I would think the 51cm should be about right for you. Let us know how it works out.
As for NZ hills, I don't think you can change out the rear sprocket for a bigger one without changing brifters, but you can change out the crank for a mtb crank.
Sizing is a little funky on cross bikes. The higher bottom bracket affects the sizing, so with most cross bikes you'd want a frame that is maybe 2+cm smaller than you'd use on a road bike.
Thanks, that makes sense. I guess that just makes the Tricross a little out of whack, while the others are all consistent. Incidentally, anyone have any comments on the relative merits of a Tricross or the Aurora / Elite? Of the 2008 range, only the Sport has a triple. Seems to offer much less for a similar price to the Elite. Maybe if I could get hold of a 2007 comp / sport at a discount that would be worth considering.
I've been looking for a touring or sport touring bike. I'm 5'7 1/2 with an almost 34 inseam and shorty torso. I sit on a 54 lht that seemed too long reach-wise. I also found one 57 aurora to sit on which seemed to fit me much better, but thought a 53 might be more comfortable reach-wise. Ice and snow prevented a good test ride. The lbs plans to have more sizes available in a few weeks. Yesterday I test rode a tri cross comp and sport model in a 54. The stock bike was ok except length which could be corrected with shorter rise/stem.
The price does seem like a lot of $$$. I'm afraid I can't make fair comparison of those bikes since I didn't actually test drive them all. Tri cross is aluminum which might not be as comfortable as a steel bike. The comp w/ more carbon was more comfy than the sport. The 54 rivendell bleriot I tested yesterday was beautiful, but I felt like I was out for a slow sunday afternoon drive.
Finding a good touring bike that fits and is spunky is going to take a while so I'm trying not to get into a hurry. It's all about the journey and not the finish, right.
Good luck in your hunt helen.