New improved Jones Diamond Frame + Unicrown Fork…

25 02 2013
Jeff Jones headtube badge...

Jeff Jones headtube badge…

Click on any of these images to read a post on Jeff Jones’ Blog about the new and improved diamond frame and unicrown fork he is selling. The attention to quality and detail is quite impressive.

EBB for clean SS/FG or IGH setups..

EBB for clean SS/FG or IGH setups..

Jeff also mentions in his blog that he is testing out a new prototype frame. From the photo below it looks like he has a new frame that can take Surly’s 29×3 .0″ Knard tires on 50mm rims – front & rear. That would be rad! :)

Jeff shredding a prototype...

Jeff shredding a prototype…

I’ve admired Jeff’s bikes for a while now, but I’ve been waiting on a full fat Jones before taking any action. A 29er+ Jones would probably be as good if not better. I hope we’ll hear some details on what Jeff has in mind and get an idea on the timeframe for seeing a production frame.

Stay tuned for some news as soon as I get it….





Jeff Jones Loop H-Bar Review…

27 08 2012

Jones Loop H-Bars on my Surly Pugsley…

I’ve been using the Titec version of Jeff Jones’ H-bar design for ~4yrs and liking it a lot for all day comfort. It provides 3 distinctly different hand/body positions as you move from the end of the bars to the middle cross bar to the forward position. The normal cruising position is with your hands on the rear part of the bar towards the ends. This give you lots of control and an upright riding posture. If you move your hands to the front on the bars you narrow and lower your riding position for better aerodynamics. I sort of think of these bars as drop bars for MTB shifters/brake levers.

Front view…

The Titec H-bar has a fairly short grip areas at the ends of the bar making positioning controls – particularly gripshift style shifters – a challenge. I’ve always managed to find a work around, but the resulting shifter and brake lever placement never made me happy on steep technical terrain.

Lately it seems that the Titec H-bar is hard to come by. I’m not sure if that’s because they are no longer making them or if there is just a hiccup in the production cycle. So I thought I would review the aluminum Loop H-bar which is sold direct by Jeff Jones. Getting your hands on a Loop H-bar shouldn’t be too hard.

Titec H-bar top & Loop H-bar bottom…

If you click on the image above you can read a detailed post discussing the differences between the the two versions of the H-bar. What should be obvious is that the Loop H-bar has a closed loop of material at the front of the bar and that the rear bar end portion is considerably longer than the Titec H-bar. The middle cross bar portion also meets the outside portion of the bars at different angles. The upshot of all this is that you have room to fit any controls & grips you want without a hassle. The forward loop also gives you some bar space to mount lights, GPS or other gadgets.

Tons of room for brake lever, shifter and grip…

There are a couple downsides to the Loop H-bar vs. the Titec H-bar:

  • Loop H-bar costs $120 vs. the $75 the Titec H-bar sold for when you could actually find them for sale
  • the extra grip length of the Loop H-bar shortens the effective top tube reach and requires a larger frame or longer stem

The Loop H-bar is probably a bit heavier due to the extra material up front, but I’m not a gram counter so it’s not something I worry about. You can get a cut version of the Loop H-bar from Jeff Jones that is similar [not identical] to the Titec H-bar and Jeff offers his bars in an expensive titanium version as well if you want to lighten your wallet.

The “loop” in the Loop H-bar…

My hope was that by getting an optimal placement of the grips/shifter and brake levers I’d really like these bars for technical riding. They work better than Titec H-bars when tackling steep gnarly MTB terrain, but I can’t say I love them for that application. While the Titec H-bars were poor for that type of riding I’d rate the Loop H-bars just okay. By comparison using a standard MTB riser bar on my Pugsley is much better when mountain biking than the Loop H-bar.

Now bars are a personal thing and Jeff Jones really promotes the use of Loop H-bars on his line of MTBs. So they work for some people. Just not me.

Shredding the gnar with my Loop H-bars…

On the other hand I do love these Loop H-bars for all the other non-technical riding I do. For a commuter bike or a touring rig they are ideal. You get a bunch of hand positions including one that’s reasonably aerodynamic. The main hand position at the end of the rear portion of the bars is particularly nice as it is relaxing for the body and hands are spread wide for lots of control on the bike. At the moment four of the bikes in our garage are equipped with either Titec or Loop H-bars.

Fully taped Titec H-bars…

You’ll notice that my Loop H-bar only have Ergon Grips on them and the rest of the bar is bare. The H-bar is totally functional without any tape for shorter rides. However, I’ve had issues with riding them for longer all day/multi-day trips – especially when it’s cold & wet. The bare metal gets slippery and sucks the heat from my hands. That’s not fun. I like a double wrap of cork tape on these bars once I’ve got my controls figured out. It gives a nice comfy place to hold onto. I’ll be wrapping my Loop H-bars sooner or later.





Fun Fun Fun!

16 04 2012

Sharon and Laura excited about a Dirt Girlz MTB Club ride...

Since a vehicle was heading to Hartland I figured I might as well go for a ride...

This strange guy on a rigid bike started following me.

I tried to shake him, but he was too fast!

He was getting close to my bike at stops. Was he thinking of stealing it?!

I would have had to chase him on this bike. It doesn't even have pedals!

He called his bike a Jeff Jones Spaceframe Truss Fork.

He called himself Porcelain Rocket....must be his Burning Man playa name?

He could ride that strange bike pretty well...

I tried his bike and got distracted by that crazy huge front tire! Doh!

He didn't let me ride his bike after that...something about liability and bad PR...

That's cool. I kept rolling on my Santa Cruz Nomad...

As soon as he saw I had the camera out he went all crazy like...

I just did my best not to make him angry at that point...

Finally he stopped to pee so I blasted out of there...

If anyone asks you my name is Jesus-Eduardo and I'm from Guadalajara Mexico!





Jeff Jones Spaceframe bike porn…

29 03 2012

My photo of Scott on the Jeff Jones homepage...





Return of the Shred…

22 03 2012

Scott gets the first drop in with his Jones...

After a bunch of riding down in Sedona AZ I was excited and also a bit apprehensive to return to the brooding winter trails on the South Shore of Vancouver Island’s rainforest.

The Jones Spaceframe looks right at home in the woods.

Sedona’s cheerful sunniness and endless traction had spoilt us.

Sharon takes the highroad...

I didn’t realize how much I missed our rocky, rooty, loamy trails until I went away and came back.

The lowdown...

They are challenging, but they are also beautiful.

So stoked to be home I'm glowing...

Best of all we have so many miles of trails and so few local riders it’s like a private playground.

Note the 4" & 5" rubber most of our bikes sport for traction...

Scott brought his Jones Spaceframe for its first dirt ride. It’s a super sweet bike and we are all keen to see how it performs on our trails.

Sharon carves it up...

Sharon stuck to her trusty Santa Cruz Nomad all mountain rig with skinny 2.35″ tires, but 6″+ of suspension travel at both ends to smooth out the bumps and keep the wheels glued to the trail.

Fat green machine...

I threw a leg over my Surly Pugsley that I Jones-fied as an experimental comparison with Scott’s Jones Spaceframe.

Sharon lost in the green zone...

The fact we can all ride well and have fun on such different machines is testament to the great mountain bikes that are available to riders these days. They are different for sure, but the bottom line is they can all get you around your local trails with a smile on your face.

Torture testing the Spaceframe...

The important thing is to get out there and ride your bike. The rest is just details!

Green with Envy?

I was really happy with how the Pugsley performed with knobby Surly Nate 3.7″ tires and moving my riding position a couple inches to the rear. The result is a fun playful bike that can climb slick terrain and isn’t afraid of the steeps.

I do miss Sedona's red rocks though...

It’s quite a contrast after riding a SC Nomad day after day in Sedona!

There is a reason this is called a rainforest!

There were some juicy sections of trail to remind us we were riding in costal BC.

Sharon chillaxing in the MTB skills park...

After the ride we goofed around in the Hartland MTB skills park.

Scott throwing the Jones around...

Scott impressed us with his stunt riding on the Jones.

Lean Mean Speed Machine...

I tried to operate the new DSLR reasonably well, but all the controls and options are pretty daunting I must say!

My Surly Pugsley...dirty, but happy...=-)





Jones Spaceframe vs. Surly Pugsley…

20 03 2012

My Jonesly/Jugsley with a Jones Spaceframe...

The Jeff Jones Spaceframe mountain bike with wild truss fork is a design I’ve been keen to check out for a while. Besides the usual issues of cost and storage the Jones presents a few new problems that slow any bicycle acquisition plans:

  1. totally unique design makes you ask how is it going to ride?
  2. relatively high cost for a production bike makes you want to make the right choice.
  3. one size frame that is on the small side of what I’d normally get makes me wonder if it will even fit.
  4. rare as hell so forget about a test ride.
  5. Jeff Jones advocates the use of a 5″ front tire/wheel, but since he uses a proprietary front hub/fork any wheel you build will only work on this bike…so do you build it as a 29er of a half-fat? Trying both is expensive.

A boy and his new bike...

As luck would have it Scott “Porcelain Rocket” Felter is even a bigger bike geek than me. So it’s not completely shocking to me that he just built up a shinny new Jones steel Spaceframe. I was very happy to hear this both because I am stoked for a buddy to get some new wheels and because I would finally get to ride a fabled Jones mountain bike and see if everything I read online was real.

What Jeff has to say about his design...

So what’s so special about a Jones Spaceframe design?

  • Jeff has been perfecting his concept for years building custom bikes for himself and customers.
  • his custom business was so successful he no longer takes any orders due to an excessive waiting list.
  • he has a rabidly loyal following of customers on his custom and production bikes.
  • Jeff designs complete bikes including frame/fork and components. This allows him to refine his designs in a way that a frame builder can’t.
  • His bikes put your weight way back over the rear wheel for a light front end that is easy to loft over obstacles.
  • a short TT and swept back bars put you well behind the front wheel sitting, but as you stand your weight moves forward to keep the front wheel planted on steep climbs.
  • an ultra stiff fork with low trail front end and 135 wide front hub makes for very precise steering.
  • clearance for widest 29er tires in rear and Surly’s 5″ Big Fat Larry on the front.
  • EBB for IGH or SS use, but gears are and option as well.
  • design of frame is supposed to help smooth out ride by transferring bump forces away from rider.

It’s too early to confirm or deny the performance claims of the Jones design, but you can agree that Jeff has built a very unique mountain bike that’s pushing the boundaries of the industry paradigm on the trails. I can also say that it’s a beautiful bike to behold in person with lovely lines and a purposeful stance.

She's a playful steed...

Once you get over the unique design you’ll rightly ask yourself what kind of riding is this bike for? Based on the limited experience I’ve had with it so far and what I’ve read about other folks’ rides online I’d characterize it as an all mountain play bike. It’s capable of rolling along smooth XC trails just fine and when the trail gets steep and techy it has the rearward weight bias, leverage at the wide bars and stiff front end to drop down anything you have the balls to try. Now it’s fully rigid – fat front not withstanding – so you will be going slow and choosing your line with care when my Nomad’s 6″ of travel wil allow it to bomb the gnar without a second thought. I don’t think that’s a better or worse option – they are just two different ways to come at a problem.

Lazy gets a spin...

Whether or not the Jones design makes sense for you will depend on where you ride and who you ride with. I don’t ride for the fastest average speed or most miles of trail complete per session. I ride to smile!

So far the Jones has been a smile factory...

Scott set his Jones up single speed with a fat front and Jones Loop H-bars to stay true to the Jones philosophy. It looks like an ideal bike for our local riding which is slow and techy with traction issues and lots of wet dirt for munching an expensive drivetrain. Scott’s a monster so there is no doubt he’ll still crush us mere mortals no matter what he rides so I’m keen to see how normal folks like Sharon, A-Man and myself fare on the Jones.

Ponesly?, Jugsley?, Jonesly?

I couldn’t help, but notice some similarities between my Pugsley and Scott’s Jones:

  • fat front
  • Loop H-bars
  • Pug = 23.4″ eff TT vs. 23″ on Jones
  • Pug wheelbase = 42.6″ vs 42″ for Jones
  • Pug and Jones = 72.0 deg seattube angle
  • Pug HT angle = 70.5 & Jones = 70.0
  • Pug fork offset = 43mm & 55mm for Jones

With a seatback seatpost [or jamming my SA saddle all the way back] to simulate the rearward weight bias of the Jones my Pugsley gets pretty close to the same numbers. The biggest difference is the Jones has lower trail than the Pugsley plus the Pug has a fat rear tire as well.

Cousins?

Before Jeff Jones sends out a hit squad to silence my heresy…;-) I am not suggesting my Pugsley is the same as a Jones. I can’t do anything about the fork offset of the Pugsley so the handling will always be different. All I am saying is that it seems possible to replicate some of the elements of the Jones design in a Pugsley to, hopefully, end up with a fun playful bike that makes a good companion for a Jones on our local trails.

Time for some Nates...

As amazing as the Jones Spaceframe & truss fork combo is the Pugsley has some advantages of its own:

  • can be run full fat, half fat or full 29er
  • Pugsley complete can be had for about the same price as Jones Spaceframe/truss fork/Loop H-bar
  • full fat means a Pugsley can be used in snow/sand where a skinny Jones 29er rear would sink
  • you can use a suspension fork on a Pugsley
  • a stock Pugsley comes setup with a versatile XC geometry and cockpit position
  • if you want you can Jones-ify a Pugsley with Loop H-bars and a setback seatpost
To take advantage of  the full fat option I put some Surly Nate tires on my Pugsley. This gives me a huge rear tire footprint for traction on our sloppy trails and some passive suspension effect due to the 4″ wide low pressure tire.

Jones Loop H-bars...

You can see in the picture above how far back your hands are using the Loop H-bars vs. a flat bar or XC riser bar. This shortens your effective top tube quite a bit so you need to either buy a larger frame if you want the typical centered XC/touring body position or you need to get a setback seatpost and push your body weight further over the rear wheel. The later option allows for using both positions depending on the mission at hand. When I get a chance I’ll try the rear biased body position in sand/snow to see if less weight on the front wheel compromises the traction at that end on flat terrain. If it doesn’t that would be awesome to not have to switch back and forth.

Ramming the SA all the way back...

Without a setback seatpost the best I could do was ramming my SA saddle all the way back…sadly this bent the rails….I’m too chicken to verify how badly….hopefully I didn’t trash and expensive saddle…=-( I’ll be getting this issue sorted as soon as possible.

Scott throwing the Jones around...

Let’s face it talk is cheap…what we need is some back to back trail riding testing. Don’t worry we are happy to oblige…=-)

Dropping into the Green Machine...





Jones-Pugsley Hybrid…

17 03 2012

Photo: Tripower @ MTBR.com

I’ve had some lust going on for a Jeff Jones mountain bike for the last year or so. Besides the cost of getting a new bike I really don’t have room for a new bike and a half fat Jones doesn’t replace my Surly Pugsley’s soft conditions capability so it’s not like I’d be simply replacing one fat bike with another.

I just found a post on MTBR.com discussing the positive results of creating a Pugsley Jones hybrid franken-fatty – click on the image above to read it. I’m not 100% sold yet, but I am fully intrigued. I will be looking into this further for sure!