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Old 05-22-11, 06:42 AM   #1
nhorton
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Shimano Deore XT vs Shimano SLX parts (Jamis Aurora ELite vs Bruce Gordon)

I am trying to compare the group set for the Jamis Aurora Elite and the Bruce Gordon BLT. If anyone could point me in the right direction for comparing these I would be much appreciated.

The Jamis has the Shimano Deore XT http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...lite_spec.html

Bruce Gordon offers a parts package of $975 that has a Shimano SLX parts package. http://www.bgcycles.com/blt.html

I've found some info but having a hard time doing a side by side comparison. Any help would be much appreciated !
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Old 05-22-11, 07:15 AM   #2
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I would go with the Bruce Gordon. It has better gearing for loaded touring, in my opinion and I prefer rim brakes on a touring bike too. The difference between XT and SLX is minimal.
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Old 05-22-11, 08:10 AM   #3
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Some recent buyers of long haul truckers with Shimano XT M770 rear hubs with aluminum axles have reported problems that have not been reported by owners of other Shimano hubs that used steel axles. You might want to find out if the SLX uses a steel or aluminum axle in the rear hub.
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Old 05-22-11, 08:39 AM   #4
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For most loaded tourers, the Jamis crankset is geared too high. The 50 big ring wuld only be used going downhill and the 30 small ring is not small enough even with an 11-34 cassette for non-standing-in-the-pedals uphills. The BB7 mechanical disc brakes are fine, IMHO, but are not so much better than they would make up for the crankset. Also, the wheels should be 36h rather than 32h, although the latter would work for most people.

So that leaves the BG. Other frames I'd consider are the LHT and the Fargo.
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Old 05-22-11, 08:51 AM   #5
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I think I've decided I really like the BG frame. I was just trying to decide if buying the parts package from BG was worth it or if I should look for a different parts set.

I've heavily considered the Fargo, but its a double front crank and the 2011 is geared much more towards single track/off roading than the previous ones. The geometry-set up overall is a bit more single track/off-roading than I wanted.

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Old 05-22-11, 09:10 AM   #6
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I think I've decided I really like the BG frame. I was just trying to decide if buying the parts package from BG was worth it or if I should look for a different parts set.

I've heavily considered the Fargo, but its a double front crank and the 2011 is geared much more towards single track/off roading than the previous ones. The geometry-set up overall is a bit more single track/off-roading than I wanted.
The issue really isn't XT versus SLX. One needs to decide for oneself gearing and minimum wheel strength. For example, 22/24/44 MTB gearing with an 11-34 cassette for most people wouldn't really be too low. For many tourists, if given a choice, 36h with brass nipples and a XT/SLX hubbed wheel would be minimum. Be aware, however, that the dropouts on modern frames are either 130mm for a road frame and 135mm for a MTB frame. Be sure to get the right sized hub.

The Fargo was very popular on the GDMBR last year. It would work fine for touring on asphalt too. Personal preference.
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Old 05-22-11, 10:26 AM   #7
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I am not a fan of the newer XT/XTR components for touring. While the Deore XT range has historically done just fine, for the last few yeats (at least 5, maybe 10) Shimano seemed to really start pushing the envelope on their top shelf XT/XTR for more performance/racing and I have found that it does not hold up well over the long haul, especially for touring. I have not much experience with SLX, but straight Deore or LX seems to me to be the best compromize for touring when considering performance/endurance.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:50 AM   #8
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Don't forget, the BLT comes with a great set of racks. Plus, it's much cooler.
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Old 05-22-11, 12:30 PM   #9
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So that leaves the BG. Other frames I'd consider are the LHT and the Fargo.
Curious, why the Fargo? The Vaya maybe, but IMHO the Fargo is about as much of an off-road bike as you could get without buying a MTB.

With the others though, XT versus SLX are so close these days as to almost not be different.
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Old 05-22-11, 12:42 PM   #10
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+1 on Bruce,

I have a set of racks I bought 25 years ago ,
still as good as when new,
just some chips in the powdercoat ..
I had the Powder coat, polyester, redone after having a braze on added to the lowrider hoop,
so I cannot even fault the coating, as it was not the original anyhow.

XT If using Aluminum axles to shave grams, is less suitable than the lower priced set.
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Old 05-22-11, 04:28 PM   #11
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Note that the Gordon parts package for SLX comes with XT hubs:

"Shimano SLX parts Group with XT Hubs, handbuilt wheels with Mavic Rims for $975"
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Old 05-22-11, 08:07 PM   #12
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The Fargo was very popular on the GDMBR last year. It would work fine for touring on asphalt too. Personal preference.
Curious as to your thoughts on the Fargo. I KNOW that in the past a lot of people have bought the Fargo as the ultimate all a-rounder and absolutely loved everything about it. In 2011 they changed their set up to be less road touring and more towards the off-road touring (at least thats the impression I'm getting as I research it).

Would you agree on this? Would you still recommend it with 2011 updates?
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Old 05-22-11, 09:27 PM   #13
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I wasn't aware that Salsa changed the Fargo.

They haven't exactly ruined the Fargo for road touring, but I think the low 40/12 (F/R) combination might cause one to spin out too early on downhills. The low is still maybe low enough, but the old 9-speed MTB triple, especially with 22/36 (F/R) would be noticeably lower on very steep hills. Again, it's personal preference, but I'd tend to agree with you that for most people the new Fargo set up has moved away from what one would consider ideal for road touring.
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Old 05-23-11, 07:45 AM   #14
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from a purely functionality pt of view, I have also found that LX level stuff works very well, both in shifting and longevity. I have LX stuff and an older XT, and perhaps its because I tend to keep my drivetrain clean and lubed (but by no means do I spend a lot of time on this) the middle of the road stuff has lasted and performed very well.

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Old 05-23-11, 08:10 AM   #15
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Don't forget, the BLT comes with a great set of racks. Plus, it's much cooler.
There's really no comparison. For about the same price, you get a bike with legendary rear and front racks with only slightly lower level components with better gearing. The racks alone cost $350. Go with the Gordon.
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Old 05-23-11, 01:48 PM   #16
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Cyccommute (thanks for helping again, you've been a huge asset as I've gone through this) - -

After talking to Bruce today, he really thinks that the BLT isn't for me as its not "big enough" in terms of frame and hubs. I agree with him that I am a heavy rider (255-260 currently). With that said I typically am more in the 230 range as I get into my riding weight. My Jamis Aurora Elite seems to have held up fine with in my opinion similar specs and similar tubing. As did my Jamis Aurora Elite. Thoughts?


Also, his frame is a 56, but he says it is similar to a 61.5 as its an angled tube. Any thoughts on this? Honestly, after coming across this, I fell in love (much like I did with the Gunnar) but he was honest and I felt like he was really steering me away from it.
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Old 05-23-11, 02:03 PM   #17
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not China based batch manufactured, but Bruce's Rock n Road
made to fit your body, by him, would be my suggestion
you will never need consider an upgrade bike after that..
just replace component parts as they wear out..

Sloping top tube is common these days, fits lots of people,
with 1 size serving a range of people..


you already owned the Jamis when you wrote ..

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Old 05-23-11, 02:13 PM   #18
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I would agree, but going from 1,700 to almost 4,000 is completely un-do-able
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Old 05-24-11, 10:45 AM   #19
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Cyccommute (thanks for helping again, you've been a huge asset as I've gone through this) - -

After talking to Bruce today, he really thinks that the BLT isn't for me as its not "big enough" in terms of frame and hubs. I agree with him that I am a heavy rider (255-260 currently). With that said I typically am more in the 230 range as I get into my riding weight. My Jamis Aurora Elite seems to have held up fine with in my opinion similar specs and similar tubing. As did my Jamis Aurora Elite. Thoughts?


Also, his frame is a 56, but he says it is similar to a 61.5 as its an angled tube. Any thoughts on this? Honestly, after coming across this, I fell in love (much like I did with the Gunnar) but he was honest and I felt like he was really steering me away from it.
While you may be big, you aren't that big...weightwise. I think your issue is height. Since Gordon has counciled against one of his bikes, I suggest you look at the LHT. They make them in larger sizes. If you are worried about wheel durability, look at the 26" wheel version. Much stronger wheels.
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Old 05-25-11, 09:38 AM   #20
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While you may be big, you aren't that big...weightwise. I think your issue is height. Since Gordon has counciled against one of his bikes, I suggest you look at the LHT. They make them in larger sizes. If you are worried about wheel durability, look at the 26" wheel version. Much stronger wheels.

Just to set the record straight - I talked to the customer today for a long time. The rider said he was 6'4" tall and weighted 260 pounds. I told him that I thought a custom frame is what he needed to be stable when fully loaded with panniers. The 56cm BLT was big enough (it is a 61.3cm frame if measured level) - it was not robust enough for his weight.
I recommended a custom frame built for his size - it would be a 26" version with an oversize top tube and seat tube. He said he could not afford the custom bike, and wanted the BLT - I said I would prefer not to sell him one since, I did not feel it would be stable with a load considering his physical weight.
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Old 05-25-11, 10:05 AM   #21
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Just to set the record straight - I talked to the customer today for a long time. The rider said he was 6'4" tall and weighted 260 pounds. I told him that I thought a custom frame is what he needed to be stable when fully loaded with panniers. The 56cm BLT was big enough (it is a 61.3cm frame if measured level) - it was not robust enough for his weight.
I recommended a custom frame built for his size - it would be a 26" version with an oversize top tube and seat tube. He said he could not afford the custom bike, and wanted the BLT - I said I would prefer not to sell him one since, I did not feel it would be stable with a load considering his physical weight.
Regards,
Bruce Gordon
www.bgcycles.com
www.brucegordoncycles.blogspot.com

Bruce is absolutely right, he was great to work with and I appreciate (although I don't want to ) his honesty and respect for product. He went above and beyond explaining his thoughts and concerns.

Continued success Bruce
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Old 05-27-11, 08:47 AM   #22
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I am not a fan of the newer XT/XTR components for touring. While the Deore XT range has historically done just fine, for the last few yeats (at least 5, maybe 10) Shimano seemed to really start pushing the envelope on their top shelf XT/XTR for more performance/racing and I have found that it does not hold up well over the long haul, especially for touring. I have not much experience with SLX, but straight Deore or LX seems to me to be the best compromize for touring when considering performance/endurance.
Absolutely right! The new XT hubs have now smaller ball-bearings than before, and reports indicate that there are reliability issues. LX would now seem to be the choice for tourers and they still use the larger ball-bearings.
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