This is, currently, as good as it gets. The titanium Spaceframe and Truss fork deliver the rigid bicycle that is anything but. Laterally stiff to deliver the power with a vertical compliance that softens the ride? Yes, but this is only the icing on the cake. The Jones geometry ensures the best handling bike there is. It really does need to be ridden to be appreciated. Titanium, used here, provides strength, stiffness and compliance in a light, durable bike. The Jones geometry makes it all worthwhile.
The best a Jones can get?! It’s been a couple of years since I last had my Titanium Spaceframe in stock. Jones Bikes isn’t a massive company, our time and resources are finite and our production runs are always small – limited quantities – but I’m very pleased (and just plain excited) to have this bicycle with us again. I’ve already sent a few out to customers who pre-ordered framesets and I’m building wheels and complete bikes for some others. The pre-shipping shake-down test rides have got me smiling and then some – I do like this bicycle a lot. I think it’s the best Jones I’ve ever created.
It’s a bicycle. You can ride it (hard) off-road, as a mountain bike, on road and dirt as a (fully-laden) touring bike, with gears or as a singlespeed. You can run a fat front tire, you can run slicks – it really is extremely capable. Versatility without compromise. Pure bicycle.
The tubing is most certainly to my individual specification. The down tube is a big 1-3/4 inch diameter custom butted tube. The twin top tube / seatstays and their cross pieces create a superb structure down through the frame – for assured handling and efficient pedaling and a smooth ride. The seat tube (and the geometry) places the rider within the bike for instinctive control and ride-all-day comfort. I’ve added a gusset to the bottom bracket / chainstay junction too which stiffens things up. The chainstays are beefed up a little too. It’s an excellent blend of stiffness, strength and comfort. The tubing diameters, and my unique Spaceframe design give the bike tremendous lateral stiffness and vertical compliance. I’ve a video (my YouTube channel has it here) that shows a Spaceframe at work out on the trails!
The Ti Spaceframe is available with the Jones Ti Truss fork or the steel Jones unicrown fork. The forks are spaced for the Jones 135mm front hub and work with standard 29er tires as well as accommodating 26×4″ Fat tires and several 29+ (3″) variants (and, at the rear, the Ti Diamond frame has room for a 2.4″ Ardent tire on a 50mm rim).
My steel Unicrown is a great fork (the best steel unicrown available?) but the Truss fork is just something else – for hard, aggressive riding its precise steering and exceptional characteristic under heavy-braking make it the obvious choice. I put an awful lot of time, money, prototyping and testing (and then more testing) in to its development and it is something I am very proud to have created. It is unique.
The Unicrown in many situations is perhaps a little more comfortable (if you’re not braking hard off-road as much) and is certainly a good option for adventures and travel – with its low-rider rack mounts – and (as it can tuck under the frame when packing the bike) is easier to transport. The ‘conventional’ Unicrown will suit the majority of road, touring and urban riding. The Truss is there for riders wanting to shove some envelopes with their (off-road) riding or on the road to save weigh and have more precise handling. I can not say that one fork is for dirt and the other for street. They are different and both a valid choice.
I wrote this (below) when we had the Ti Diamond frame (above) available.
It applies to this bike too and is worth repeating. The Ti Diamond post is here.
All my bikes are ‘rigid-specific’ – not ‘suspension corrected’*. This isn’t the most helpful label as it only exists in comparison to ‘suspension-specific’ and that’s just something that gets in the way of rigid specific bicycle design. I am looking to design bicycles that are capable, comfortable, handle superbly and are a joy to ride. The starting point is a blank piece of paper. Not a ‘blank’ piece of paper with a suspension fork already inked in place. If you assume a rider might be fitting a suspension fork to their bike (even if you offer it with a rigid fork to begin with) then you’re compromising the geometry of the frame set and the quality of the ride. This is only true for when it is set up rigid. It is not a compromise when the frame has a shock (since suspension corrected means “to be designed for a shock”. It is a compromise when you use a suspension corrected geometry for a rigid bike).
Suspension corrected rigid bikes have longer and therefore, heavier, weaker and more flexible forks than shorter rigid specific bikes – eg Jones.
Suspension corrected rigid bikes have higher and shorter head tubes so they are weaker and more flexible here and the stand over height is higher towards the front.
Suspension corrected rigid bikes must have steeper seat tube angles and longer top tubes to prevent toe overlap with the front wheel – this is less comfortable and does not handle as well (more so for 29ers than 26”).
Suspension corrected rigid bikes must have a rigid fork that matches the geometry of a suspension fork – design ‘lock’ – there is no opportunity to design a fork for the frame.
Suspension corrected rigid bikes have higher bottom brackets and a higher center of gravity because it is designed to go down as your fork compresses. Rigid bikes can be low ‘all the time’ for better balance.
Suspension corrected rigid bikes must have a longer down tube to reach up to where the head tube needs to be to match the longer fork – this is another compromise… And it needs to have a kink near the head tube so the wide suspension fork crown has clearance.
The “rigid specific” Jones frames have a shorter, straight down tube that is attached to a taller head tube. Stiffer. Stronger, lighter. I could go on. Rigid specific bikes have geometry that makes sense for the ride, wheel size and rider without compromise.
* Suspension-Corrected (Fork) – suspension forks have more room above the top of the tire, to allow the suspension to move. Frames built for suspension forks are designed so that the bottom end of the head tube will normally be higher up to make room for the suspension fork’s travel. Suspension-corrected rigid forks mimic this geometry: they have longer blades to hold the head tube up to the same height a suspension fork would. If you desire to replace a suspension fork with a rigid fork, you should opt for a ‘suspension-corrected’ rigid fork to preserve the frame’s normal geometry… http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_st-z.html
Four Joneses off down a trail (I posted this on Facebook but it makes sense to have it here on my blog too).
We’re very happy to have Topanga Creek Bicycles join us as a full Jones dealer this month. They have a red steel Diamond frame with steel unicrown fork built up as a demo bike. They also have a black steel Diamond frame with steel Truss fork in stock ready to be built up into a custom bike. This is just the beginning – they’ll have the full range of Jones products available. With the shop only minutes from Topanga State Park (just north of L.A.) they have plenty of trails for off-roading and their touring/adventure cycling experience fits in very nicely with my bikes. It’s a good match all-round and I’m looking forward to working with them.
This is a titanium Diamond frame / Truss fork Jones powdercoated black – the Stealth City Bike. The owner, Gideon, wanted it as inconspicuous as we could manage. Not that easy when we’ve a fat front tire and some quite distinctive Jones elements but it’s better than naked Ti and a big decal on the downtube; Jones titanium Diamond frame, Titanium Truss fork, 710mm Jones Loop H-Bar with ESI Grips, XTR drive train and brakes, Chris King rear hub and headset, Velocity Dually 45mm rear rim, Marge Lite front rim. It should take all the city can throw at it. And then give some back.
I just wanted to say that I had a wonderful trip on my Jeff Jones across the Himalayas from Tibet to Nepal during September. I hope I’m your first customer to ride one of your bikes to the north face Everest base camp in Tibet. The bike was simply brilliant and I enclose a few photographs. It was a marvellous experience, on a marvellous bike – so thanks a bunch, Jeff.
We spent a few days acclimatising in Lhasa, Tibet, before we set out along the Friendship Highway, heading across the Himalayas bound for Kathmandu, Nepal. The full trip was about 600 miles with a sequence of 15,000ft passes at the biggest peaks – Kamba La (15,728ft), Karol La (16,551ft) and Gyatso La (17,217ft). It finished with the longest descent in the world – a 12,000ft sweep from Tong La down into Nepal.
The air was so limpid, the sun so intense, all the colours were rendered a super-saturated technicolour. Off-road we trekked across old glaciers, teeth chattering riverbeds littered with rocks. It was beautiful, stark, austere. Back on the road occasional convoys of 4x4s full of Chinese tourists charged past kicking up clouds of choking dust.
Truth be told, I’d chosen something of the soft option: nobody can get a visa to ride alone in Chinese-occupied Tibet these days, so I was part of a guide-led trip organised by Exodus Travel with 11 riders and a support truck, carrying the cooking and food supplies. Improvements to the Chinese highway now mean the trip is only 25% properly off-road.
The altitude was niggling at times but it only seemed to produce tunnel vision and a bit of a throbbing head. At night you might wake suddenly with heart racing. The effects eased if you drank three litres of water a day and as long as you didn’t race each other it was fine. Tibetans are a wonderfully hospitable people and most welcoming to any stranger riding the mountains. We slept in guest houses or private homes.
At Everest base camp (16,900ft) we watched horsetails of snow spume fountain off the peak and the sun set on the Tibetan north face, a deep custard yellow hardening into a dark bronze. Just behind us was Rongbuk monastery, the highest and most remote in the world. So, so beautiful. Thanks for getting me there, Jeff.
Presence, Thoughts and InterJones 2013 . . .
I returned home (quite) a few weeks ago from Interbike, the big North American bicycle industry show held in Las Vegas each year. I went without bikes or bars and just walked the isles bumping into friends and old acquaintances. It’s nice to catch up and talk with everyone. I love checking out all the bikes and seeing how things are going.
With the show held in a new location this year, the isles and booth locations were totally different than it has been for years so getting lost on the large show floor was easy and finding a booth with a number that was not in order was hard. I ended up just wandering around for the three days I was there and I think I saw all the booths and bikes.
There were many more 650b bikes, fat bikes and bigger tires and disk brakes on more road bikes this year.
Our Jones H-Bars were on display in a few places at the show. ESI grips had one of our new 710mm Loop H-Bars on display with the custom cut 8.25″ Extra Chunky grips and their new handle bar tape. Revelate Designs had a display with the new 710mm bar as well. Surly was showing three 2014 bikes that come stock with the 710mm Loop H-Bar.
We have the ESI grips in custom lengths for the Loop H-Bars in stock in both Chunky and Extra Chunky, available in our store now. 710mm Loop H-Bars are available now in black and silver (Biff and his European retailers have most of these items in stock too).
Before I left for the show I was very busy trying to finish bikes that were due. Now that I am back I’m still working on building up bikes and some other projects. Since I did not have a booth at the show this year, I thought that I could at least show you some of the bikes I have in the shop now, InterJones 2013…
Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about the bikes (although I’m not promising to answer everything). This blog post was delayed as so many of the bikes in the pictures have been running the new Bend H-bars and I wanted to get them launched before they started to appear in ‘everyday’ photos. As well as testing the Bend H-bars I’ve been trying out various tire/rim combinations and some bike-packing / luggage kit.
It was in 2002, or thereabouts, that I created the first Jones H-bar after holding two short pieces of tubing in my hands, out in front of me, while sitting on a bike in my shop without handle bars. More sweep seemed natural and right within the natural range of motion for my arms. 45 degrees is half way between a 90 degree sweep bar such as a normal road drop bar and a straight bar. The essence of the bar is the 45° sweep – this is where my hands want to be when riding a bike. Comfortable and controlling. Natural.
The bar was built from three tubes. I built versions in steel, then cro-moly and then Titanium. Adding forward extensions gave me additional hand positions – the multi-position H-bar emerged. I curved the forward extensions to improve the forward aero position. A shim adapted the bars to the OS (Over Size – 31.8mm) stem standard and then the H-bar itself was re-worked with a 31.8 center section – stronger.
A 0.5″ offset from this center section gives riders a choice for bar height depending on how the bar is fitted – Flip the bar over to raise or lower the bar 1″. Most people will want to H-bars in the higher position but the option is there. The next development was the Loop H-bar. The Loop adds to your options, both hand positions and for mounting accessories, shifters and bike-packing. The Loop stiffens the bar too. The crossbar junction moved forward a little to allow the shifters and levers to fit ‘rider side’. Changes and additions but all these H-bars stay true to the original 45° sweep – the hand positions – natural and comfortable while enabling power and control.
The original Loop is 660mm wide (straight across, center to center) but I’ve also developed (with Surly Bikes) a 710mm/28″ version. This adds 35mm to the rearward portion of the H-bar – for a wider more rearward hand position that is great for sitting more upright.
All are H-bars. H-bar for Handle-Bar. They have the 45° sweep, the 0.5″ vertical offset, and a multitude of hand-positions. But can I offer more, with less? I can. Back to basics, back to the beginning, with a twist. Well, with a Bend.
The Bend H-bar.
The original concept, the 45° sweep but the bend, where it is, ensures shifters and levers are a simple fit and the one piece butted aluminum construction delivers a bar 170g lighter than a Loop. Less hand position options, less stuff-mounting space, marginally less stiff but all you might ever need in an H-bar. No more, no less. A simple principle, beautifully executed.
The bikes I ride for long distances or at night have the Loop H-Bars so I have more hand positions and mounting points. The Bend H-bar is nice for bikes that don’t need things attached to the front of the bar (light, GPS, etc.) or an aero position. I am using the Bend H-bar on my single-track day riding bikes – it’s great.
The Bend H-bar is now available in the Jones Bikes shop and Biff has some in UK/Europe (although he needs to update his page – slack!). I’ve done a video too that has me talking through the evolution of the H-bar and some footage of the Bend H-bar. There are three H-Bar videos on my YouTube channel:
Bicycle Times has reviewed a Jones. My steel diamond frame and unicrown forked version. They had various members of the team ride the bike so you get a variety of views. I like that. The feature is in Issue 26 (available now). They finish up by asking “Could this be the one bike to rule them all?” which I’m thinking is a good thing! As well as a print version they do digital editions too.
I kind of only make ‘one bike’ – it just happens to be a very capable bike, whether steel or titanium. This is because it is all about the ride and you can therefore ride my bikes all over the place – on road and off. My bike makes a very good ‘road bike’. With this in mind I sent one to Patrick at Adventure Cycling. He rode it on-road (and off). The review is in the latest issue (Oct/Nov 2013) of Adventure Cycling and it’s well worth reading. Patrick liked the bike enough that he bought it from me. As well as the magazine feature there is a video and Patrick also talked about it (and then discussed things with his readers via the comments option) on his blog .
One thing I must mention is the price quoted in the magazine states that the touring luggage (etc) is included in the stated price – sorry, this is not the case. Still a fine bike at a fair price. I wrote a blog post about the bike before I sent it to Patrick.
I’m in print. That ink-on-paper stuff that used to be the only way things were available. Privateer sent Grant Robinson to see me back in the summer and he took some pictures – and then Steve Worland and I had a fair few conversations about (me and my thoughts on) bicycles.
We talk about ‘rigid’ bikes, fat bikes, suspension, wheel sizes, aluminum, my truss fork, tire pressure, titanium and cricket! And some other stuff too.
Issue #17 of Privateer is now out and the story is in there. The entire issue is a good read – you can find stockists of the physical thing listed at www.privateer.cc and a digital version is available in Apple’s iTunes store.