2016 Jamis Aurora Elite Touring Bike

The New 2016 Jamis Aurora and Aurora Elite Touring Bikes

Jamis have been putting together the Aurora for as long as I can remember, making small refinements year by year to offer a competitive option in the bicycle touring market. In the early-2000s the Aurora was marketed as a ‘versatile road machine’; a steel road bike with cantilever brakes and a wide range of gears. These days the bike is much more touring-specific with fitted fenders, barend shifters and a rear rack as standard.

The 2016 Jamis Aurora frames are both made out of Reynolds steel, but in two different qualities depending on your budget. The advantage of the higher-quality Reynolds 631 tube set is a matter of weight; I don’t expect that the 631 frame will ride all that differently to the Reynolds 520 bike when loaded with bags.

The frame geometry of the Aurora is quite well suited to touring, although it’s figures tend to align closer to a ‘cyclocross’ bike (in-depth geometry differences HERE). The bike has a moderate fork trail of 64mm (learn what that means HERE) resulting in a slowish steering response, keeping heavy loads stable on fast descents. The bottom bracket is up to 13mm higher than other touring options, offering more pedal-to-ground clearance but a slightly higher centre of gravity. The chainstay length comes up a bit short at 440mm, so riders with large feet may need to be careful with rear rack selection, making sure their heels can clear their panniers.

The 2016 Jamis Aurora Elite

2016 Jamis Aurora Elite Touring Bike

The 2016 Jamis Aurora Elite offers a higher-quality steel frameset, using Reynolds 631 as the main tubes, as well as some neat forged rear dropouts with a few more eyelets. Another big difference that separates the Elite from the standard model is the use of disc brakes. I’m a huge fan of disc brakes for a number of reasons, and the TRP HYRD cable disc brakes are some of the best around. The smallest gear is 30-32t which is not small by bicycle touring standards, but will get you over most hills. The road-triple crankset with external bottom bracket bearings is a nice touch, I’ve done over 20,000km problem-free on mine. The full metal fenders offer exceptional coverage and are a nice way to finish off this bike.

The recommended retail price is US $1600

The 2016 Jamis Aurora

2016 Jamis Aurora Touring Bike

The advantages of the standard 2016 Jamis Aurora are a lower price, a wider gear range and a 9-speed drivetrain (generally more spares available). The motto of this bike really is simplicity: it’s got all the ‘classic’ touring features including barend shifters, canti brakes, a square taper bottom bracket and a 9-speed drivetrain. This model actually has a wider gear range, offering 26-32t as the smallest gear – generally considered low enough to get you up any hill. Again, the full metal fenders offer exceptional coverage and are a nice way to finish off this bike.

The recommended retail price is US $1100

Want To Compare These Touring Bikes With Dozens of Others?

Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

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  1. Great review Alee. Love the classic look of the elite, especially in the matte black. The specs are exactly what I’m looking for in a touring bike / nyc commuter. For a guy who is 6’2 with a 35″ inseam which size would you recommend, 59 or 62?

  2. Bike sizing is much more than your height and inseam. Factors like flexibility and intended use come into play. That said, given your dimensions I think you’d find both bikes comfortable as the difference in frame size is actually not all that great – about 15mm between bar heights and 8mm on the overall lengths. If you want upright, I’d pick the 62cm. If you want to set the bike up a bit more like a road bike I’d go the 59cm.

  3. Mainly want to do light touring and commute. I’m looking for a combo of comfort and speed. I’m leaning towards the 59, road bike feel. What do you prefer, more up right or slightly more aggressive?

  4. Thanks for your insight Alee. I called the LBS and they said they could order one for me. I appreciate all your dedicated research. Keep up the great work.

  5. What a beautiful bike. I love your reviews. A suggestion : how about piking your TOP 25 2016 touring bikes and placing / comparing them in a 4-axis mapping showing how you perceive them in terms of “going fast / going off-road / going uphill / comfort” (just a suggestion for the main comparison crirerias which should be yours)?

  6. You could have a go at it on 2015 bikes then 😉
    Since bikes evolve from year to year on some “key” models (Awol, Aurora, …), it could also be interesting seing visually how on such “mappings” (no clear view on how to do it but than what I’ve seen and appreciated on camera reviews / comparison for example).

  7. Hi Alee. I’m torn between getting this and the fuji 2016 touring bike – the only thing holding me back from getting this is the fact that it doesn’t come in a 64cm frame – I’m over 200cm tall and I’m worried about this bike being too small to ride long distances comfortably. What would you recommend?

  8. Hi Pip

    I’ve run the numbers for both the Jamis 62cm and Fuji 64cm. The Jamis has a ‘reach’ and ‘stack’ of 393/628 while the Fuji has 398/610. So while the Jamis is 5mm shorter in reach, it is actually 18mm taller in the front end (which I think you’ll appreciate).

    That said, here are some bigger bikes which will suit you even better: Surly LHT 64cm (405/657), Trek 520 63cm (400/655), Specialized AWOL XL (409/664), Marin Four Corners XL (415/648) and Masi Giramondo XL (411/657). Ideally, you’d be on something with a reach of 400+ and stack of 650+.


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