Jamis Allegro Sport
Updated 25 May 2018
Jamis Allegro Sport
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The Jamis Allegro Sport is a fitness bike which has been part of the Jamis range for some years. It has gradually been refined over the years. The current version has 24 speeds compared with my version from 2013 which has 21. The frame of my bike is 6061 hydro-formed aluminium and the front fork is chromalloy steel. The components are high quality. The weight is about 11.8 kg.
I purchased this bike as a reward to myself for cycling my first 1000 km after some medical issues. I had not cycled for 13 years as I had to deal with after-effects of two brain tumours, an operation, radiotherapy and some unrelated cardiac blockages. My balance and confidence were affected. I initially purchased a Giant Expressway 2, 2013 folding bike which was perfect as I could drive to somewhere flat to ride. I soon was able to deal with my balance issues and I gradually started riding some of the steep hills near home in Wellington, New Zealand. I also made more use of my old late 1980s Tarini mountain bike. My fitness has improved. I have lost some weight and the stiffness, which sometimes comes with ageing, has largely receded. My balance has improved as well.
I have also purchased two SmartMotion e20 electric folding bikes from Wellington Electric Bikes on the 14th of November 2014. These bikes allow us to travel and ride together, and to use them for light touring. These rides are described in Dizzy's folding bike blog.
The Jamis Allegro is an ideal bike to ride around the suburbs for fitness and to occasionally do longer solo rides.
The components are high quality. So far I have had no serious problems. The frame welding and general finish is of a high standard. The Jamis wheels are quite strong with 32 stainless steel spokes, alloy rims, alloy hubs, and quick-release axles. Other good points are a Chrome-Molybdenum steel fork, a hydroformed 6061 aluminium alloy frame. There is no chain guard, just an undersize plastic facing on the largest chainwheel. Specifications are available from any Jamis website or dealer.
The bike has 21 speeds ranging from 27 to 109 Gear-Inches, 2.17 to 8.67 Metres-Development or a 2.03 to 8.12 Gain-Ratio. These terms are defined here. In other words, the lowest gear requires one quarter the effort of the highest gear. The downside is that this effort needs to be applied for longer, as the bike speed is usually lower. Here in Wellington, New Zealand, I can climb most hills with these gear ratios.
The current 2018 Jamis Allegro Sport model has 24 speeds with a further 14% gear reduction at the low end and an 8% gear increase at the high end. This will make this bike even better for use on the hills in Wellington.
This bike has Tektro RX 1.0 V brakes with front power modulator. The front brake power modulator is a spring loaded device which helps to apply the front brake gently. There is a more delicate feel to the front brake lever. There is no tendency to grab. Small additions like this make the bike a pleasure to ride.
The rear brake cable runs inside the frame. This gives the top tube a very clean look.
My Jamis Allegro Sport weighed about 11.8 kg, as new.
With various additions the weight of the bike is now about 13.9 kg. This includes an unloaded carrier (625 g), a bell (25 g) a bike computer (40 g), a pump (85 g), a lock (79 g), a full water bottle (790g) and a small saddle bag containing tools, a tyre repair kit, a spare tube, a rain parka and a cloth (483 g).
Meanwhile I have lost several kilograms through riding my bikes frequently and not eating too much.
The tyres are Vittoria Randonneur branded with double shield puncture protection, 700x32c. So far I have had no punctures. The tyres are just wide enough to be comfortable provided they are not over inflated.
Narrower tyres require a little more care when riding on loose surfaces. Tyre clearance inside the front fork is about 60 mm and about 52 mm inside the rear seat stay. This is enough clearance to fit 700x40 mm and 700x45 mm Schwalbe Road Cruiser tyres, 700x38 Schwalbe Spicer tyres, 700x38 mm Vittoria Adventure tyres or 700 x 42 mm Continental Ride Tour tyres, for example. All these tyres are good value and they all claim to have puncture proofing kevlar bands. Only minimal tread is required, except for riding in mud. At the right pressure a smooth tyre will conform to a gravel surface. This provides traction while not increasing the road rolling resistance.
The correct tyre pressure depends on the load it carries and how hard the bike is ridden. Tyre drop is related to how far the wheel moves towards the road when it is loaded. It is expressed as a percentage of the tyre width. A common figure for an ideal tyre drop is 15%. This may require lower pressures than normal, but the bike will be no slower, or difficult to handle. A useful reprint on this subject is here.
For my 32 mm wide tyres (actually 30.5 mm) 15% corresponds to a tyre drop of about 4.6 mm when loaded by sitting on the bike. The maximum allowed tyre pressure is 75 psi or 5 Bar. For me the approximate corresponding pressures are:
These pressures should allow riders with a range of different weights to have a comfortable ride. The correct tyre drop value for the front wheel will directly benefit the hands and wrists. Loose surface riding should also be easier. There is a slightly greater risk of pinch-flats if the bike is ridden roughly over pot-holes or kerbs.
To get the tyre drop values I had to sit on the stationary bike while using a vernier calliper to measure the wheel rim drop. This was easier than it sounds.
I purchased a Phillips Carrier and fitted it to the bike. This carrier is stronger than average and it provides clearance for a rear disc brake on a future bike. A height adjustment is provided so the carrier clears the tyre and is level. A bungee cord was added to secure any loads. The carrier also serves as a functional rear mudguard.
A Cateye bar-end mirror was fitted. This addition is probably the most important as it contributes to safety. You can see the line that traffic is taking behind you, whether any indicators are flashing, and the approach of other cyclists. I have used a bar-end mirror on my mountain bike since the late 1980s. When riding on busy roads it helped me assess the space that wide vehicles, such as trucks, would leave me. I filed some plastic off the inside of the end-cap so the mirror tilts out further. This prevents it being knocked by my hand, during rides.
If you are a motorist, motorcyclist or an inexperienced cyclist, a mirror will be a great aid to safety. It also assists with improving my balance issues. When choosing a mirror, make sure that the field of view is sufficiently wide, so the mirror position does not need frequent adjustment.
I purchased a Cateye Velo 9 bike computer. This has a few more features than the basic Velo 5, the most important being trip time and average speed. This model has trip distance, trip time, odometer, maximum speed, average speed, calories, CO2 and a clock.
I have small saddle bag. This contains tools, a spare tube, a tyre repair kit, tyre levers, a rain parka and a cloth.
The 7-speed 12-28 tooth cassette could be probably changed for a Shimano CS-HG20 7-speed 12-32 tooth cassette, if there is a hill riding emphasis. A Shimano HG50 7-speed 13-34 tooth cassette is another option. Bike-shop advice is needed. Some chain length adjustment may be required.
I have now converted the gearing to a Shimano HG50 7-speed 13-34 tooth cassette. This has made cycling on Wellington hills, and in the wind, much more pleasant.
The maintenance required on this bike is similar to any other. If you are not mechanically inclined your local bike shop or the Sheldon Brown Archive can help. Keeping the chain clean and lubricated is important. I wipe as much dirt as I can from the chain with a cloth. Some medium to light oil is used to lubricate the chain. I then wipe off the excess oil with a cloth. Checking bolts for tightness should be done periodically. Carrier bolts can loosen over time. Loctite 243 threadlocker can help. It is nice that the bike has tended to stay in adjustment.
Learning to adjust the derailleur will help to keep the bike running smoothly. It is a simple twist adjustment on the derailleur end of the cable housing. The cable can stretch slightly with time or the cable housing may shorten. To compensate, the adjustment is turned while pedalling the suspended bike, by hand, in a middle gear. You may need help to support the rear of the bike off the ground, or you could turn the bike upside down. Adjust for minimum chain noise. Turning the adjustment anticlockwise moves the derailleur towards the wheel, This may assist the reliable movement of the chain onto a larger sprocket (lower gear). Turning the adjustment clockwise helps with the reliable selection of a higher gear. Excessive noise means that the derailleur has positioned the chain out of alignment with a sprocket.
The brakes need adjusting as the brake-pads wear. In this case the adjustment is on the brake lever. There are grooves in the pads, which mark a wear limit. When the grooves are worn away, it is time to replace the pads. In the rain applying the brakes ahead of time will help to clear water off the rims.
In the Long term the wheel rims will wear from braking. When they are near the end of their useful life they will have a distinct concave surface. Many rims have a wear line which shows, by wearing away, that the rim may be too thin. Rim replacement is then required.
I carry some spares and safety equipment. Along with my tool bag I always take water, maybe a sliced apple and some small chocolate bars. I usually have a locality map on my iPhone. I carry some basic first-aid items such as plasters and a clean cloth. I keep a larger tool-kit and lubricants in the car.
To me the Jamis Allegro Sport is the ideal bike for the general rider on roads and trails. It is a good training bike as well. It is a far better option for general use than the typical mountain bike. The bike is refined and very good value for money. I have had no problems with this bike, so far.
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