July 31, 2012

Jamis Aurora 2012 Review - Part 2 - On The Road

I bought the Jamis Aurora with long distance riding in mind so the planned 200 mile ride to West Devon was the perfect opportunity to find out if my money had been well spent.

The only modifications for the ride were to swap out the pedals and saddle for SPDs and a Brooks B17 and the front wheel for one equipped with a dynamo hub as I would be cycling through the night. I also fitted a small pannier to the rear rack to carry essentials for the journey.

Pedals, Lighting and Saddle
Heading West through Reading the Aurora zipping past the mostly stationary rush hour traffic on the A4 was huge fun. Stable and sure footed the Aurora holds its line extremely well but is responsive enough to accelerate smartly away when required. It’s the first time I’ve ridden a bike with bar end shifters and I have to say that I like them; they provide a reasonable visual indication of the gear you’re in and are quickly accessible from all positions on the bar.

A nagging headwind kept me down on the drops for long periods; it’s year since I had rode any distance on dropped bars and riding on the drops is something I had never found particularly comfortable. I had set the bars on the Aurora a fraction below the height of the saddle and within the larger cockpit of the 62cm frame I was extremely comfortable in all positions. The Aurora also really glides along beautifully over rough roads which helped to keep long ride fatigue at bay. The cushioned handlebar tape provides a very basic level of shock absorption and despite riding without mitts for much of the ride my hands fared better than ever before on a long ride.

Braking however was a very different affair, whilst competent enough on dry roads, the Tektro Oryx cantilevers were horrendous in the wet with violent brake judder on the front wheel on steep descents. I think the poor performance could have been due to the compound of the pads which wore rapidly over the course of the ride. Additionally this type of cantilever brake requires some skilled adjustment of the straddle wire and yoke angle to obtain the best performance. I shall change the pads and see if some further adjustment will improve matters, but my initial impression is that the brakes are the weak spot on the Aurora.
5 Aug 12, I have since readjusted the brakes, shortening the effective length of the straddle wire to provide a greater mechanical advantage.  This seems to have worked well and I'm now happy with the amount of stopping power and modulation.  The amount of juddering has also reduced and I'm optimistic that with a new pair of premium pads the Oryx Cantis will redeem themselves completely.

On long rides even the most minor imperfection in a bikes performance can become intensely annoying. Apart from braking on wet roads this was the most relaxed ride I’ve ever completed. After 20 hours in the saddle, in challenging conditions, the Aurora got me to my destination without any delay due to mechanical problems and most significantly without and aches or pains. Comfort and ride quality is undoubtedly the Auroras biggest strength and therefore makes this bike a serious consideration for any price conscious cycle tourist.

Verdict 4/5 Bolts


  1. AnonymousMay 14, 2013

    Hi from another Jamis Aurora audaxer. Your experience on the Jamis is similar to mine.I find it very comfortable after riding an ally racer for a few years.

    Was very interested to read about your experience with the brakes. Mine seem to stop the bike reasonably well but the front one screaches during hard braking. I changed to Salmon Koolstop pads which helped a bit.

    Will try shortening the straddle wire as you did and see if that helps.On the plus side I dont need a bell a quick screach from the front brake gets pedestrians looking my way :-)

    You have a really interesting blog. Cheers Graham

  2. Hi Graham, thanks for your comments. I have found that adjusting the brake pads with a large amount of toe-in prevents squealing in most conditions.

  3. Hi Graham, thanks for your comments. I have found that adjusting the brake pads with a large amount of toe-in prevents squealing in most conditions.

  4. AnonymousMay 15, 2013

    Will do some brake fettling tommorow and try a bit more toe in as well. Despite the noisy brakes Im still pleased with the bike.Its the most comfortable bike I have ridden.

    Cheers graham