Daily Archives: September 3, 2008

Choosing a touring bicycle; Fuji Tourer

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Choosing a touring bicycle; Fuji Tourer

For our 6th touring bike option we have for you the Fuji Tourer.  This is our last look at the lower end of the price spectrum before we head up into the mid-range and high priced models.

At NUMBER 6… the Touring from Fuji.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Fuji Touring

Fuji Touring

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by here…Bike Journey

Frame- Steel.  Fuji Elios 2 custom butted Cro-Moly

Chainstay Length- 440mm or 17.32 inches

Brakes- Tektro Oryx cantilever

Tires- Kenda Eurotrek, 700 x 32c

Hubs- Fuji Sealed Alloy Road, 36H

Weight- 27.75 pounds

Price- $900

Hmmm….this bike is eerily similar in specs to the Jamis Aurora.  Same size, same tires, same brakes, same weight, similar trail.  So I’m not going to harp on the same issues, if you didn’t see them, just click back and check over the Aurora review.  Some other things to add which I forgot on the Aurora post is the issue with these brakes.  It’s quite easy to find bad reviews of them and seems like they require replacement.  Keep that in mind when considering the price of the bike.  I think overall this is more of a commuting and light touring bike than a real cross-country tourer.  Not so say it isn’t possible to use for that purpose.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Fuji Touring:

Value:  4/5

Quality: 3.8/5

Compliance: 4.6/5

Overall: 12.4/15

Notes.  I’ve heard some talk about Fuji Touring frames cracking, not many, but enough to lower the quality rating a bit.  Also a lot of broken rear spokes when under load as well as front brake failures.  Again, not a lot of them, but enough to raise a little concern.  The price is pretty low but the quality of components are as well.  As far as compliance, the bike comes equipped with a rear rack but the gearing is a little higher than I like, so that accounts for the low rating.  The compliance rating is a bit low because of the bike’s shorter wheelbase and gearing issues.

We’ll be compiling all of the ratings on a new page, look for it to be complete shortly.  Check it out here.

Bicycle geometry. A brief look into how it effects your ride.

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Bicycle geometry.  A brief look into how it effects your ride.

Ok, since I started blabbering about and ripping on the Jamis Aurora, I felt I needed to explain the geometry of a bike a little more in detail.  So after some work in Photoshop, I’ve got a graphic and some more information to help in a touring bicycle search.

Definitions first…

Head-tube angle- the angle between the floor behind the front wheel and the steering axis.

Trail- the distance between the front wheel’s center on contact point and the point where the extending steering axis line reaches the ground.

Fork Offset (rake)- the distance that the hub preceeds or follows the steering axis.

Let’s look at the graphic to put it all together.

Bicycle Geometry

Bicycle Geometry

The shaded green thing is the fork.  Remember, the bigger the trail, the more stability.  Small variations in any of these angles can have a serious impact on your ride.  Larger trail figures will give you more stability, but steering precision is compromised.  Longer wheelbases make turning more difficult than shorter wheelbases.  Your touring bike will have a long wheelbases, so don’t expect precise turning.  Your ideal touring bike should also come with a low bottom bracket, which keeps your weight closer to the ground, making it take less effort to move your body from side to side.

Plug all your specs into this website calculator…check the ACTUAL TRAIL CALCULATOR

http://www.wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/trail.asp

Unless I hear otherwise, use 12.25 as the tire radius, that is for a 700 c tire.

Choosing a touring bicycle; Jamis Aurora

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Choosing a touring bicycle; Jamis Aurora

For our 5th touring bike option we have for you the Jamis Aurora.  The 2008 model is surprisingly cheap, and this bike comes in at lower portion of the bottom price bracket and has some great features worth checking out.

At NUMBER 5… the Aurora from Jamis.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Jamis Aurora

Jamis Aurora

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by here…Bike Journey

Frame- Reynolds 520 Steel

Chainstay Length- 440mm or 17.32 inches

Brakes- Tektro Oryx cantilever

Tires- Vittoria Randonneur 700×32c

Hubs- Shimano Tiagra 36h

Weight- 27 pounds

Price- $865

The Jamis Aurora is a pretty bike, I love the paint job.  But upon further investigation we’ve found some less than attractive things appearing.  A lot of these issues all combine and hinder the bikes ability to handle well under heavy loads.  We will put a post up to explain this in more detail later, but basically, the geometry of the Aurora differs from a lot of the other bikes you’re going to find on the market.  Now for some, this might not be a major noticeable difference, but for others it might be.  Take the bike out and test ride it with other bikes and see if the handling is good for you.  The issue with the Aurora is its front-end geometry and short wheelbase.  Rake and Trail are fork/wheel measurements that are involved with the headtube angle, wheel and bike stability.  I will post diagrams later, but here is the idea; more rake=less trail=less stability.  So let’s look at the numbers of some large bikes that are popular and compare.
Trail Measurements based on stock wheels:
Jamis Aurora—–  2.19″
Surly Long Haul Trucker—- 2.37″
Trek 520—- 2.3″
Cannondale Touring 1—-2.31″
May or may not be an issue for you.  As I said, test ride, test ride, test ride.  This combined with the shorter wheelbase/chainstay might be enough to knock this down to the bottom of my favorites list. A shorter wheelbase would improve handling, but this is a touring bike, and we are looking for foot clearance.
Compare the price of the Aurora to other models in this range, such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker, and I wouldn’t recommend it.  There have been some issues with frame construction quality, especially threading issues and from reviews I’ve read and word from the LBS.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Jamis Aurora:

Value:  4/5

Quality: 3.6/5

Compliance: 4.2/5

Overall: 11.8/15

Notes.  Value rating is a little low because of necessary upgrades, which are similar to those I would make on the Long Haul Trucker.  The quality of the bike has come under some questions regarding the quality of the steel frame, especially the braze-ons and threads.  The Aurora does come pretty ready to tour with braze-ons for fenders and racks.  The gearing is a little high, but not horrible.

We’ll be compiling all of the ratings on a new page, look for it to be complete shortly.  Check it out here.