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  1. #1
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    My one bike (Jones Diamond/Truss Fork Review)

    This is a long review skip down to the header: The Solution or The Jones for my impressions of the bike.

    A little history: 1986/87 I started my higher end mountain bike story with a Ritchey Ultra after a couple of low end mountain bikes that suffered the fate that low end mountain bikes suffer under someone that puts a lot of miles on them, especially that which a teenager will do. This is the bike that I had except it was full black out (including the braking tracks on the rims which as stupid).



    the geometry was traditional 1980's mountain bike, longer chainstays, 23" TT, long stem, u-brakes, substantial offset fork rake, etc. I rode the daylights out of that bike. It got stolen.

    I next ventured in the land of CNC parts, grafton, IRD, etc. and SoCal bike culture with a Mantis XCR-EC. It was light, aluminum and steel, higher end parts all over, super short chainstays, but when I ordered it they sent me the wrong size but I never realized it. I rode it all over the place but the short TT (21.5") and the short wheelbase made it scary and twitchy.

    Like this (only purple):
    Photobucket

    I ventured into full suspension after this, Mantis Pro-Floater an early rapidly broken lightweight full suspension bike. I then moved to AZ and wanted something choice. Always wanting Fat Chance, I jumped at the Opportunity to get a bike from a new company that rose from ashes of FC and got a pearl orange Independent Fabrications. I rode this bike in various configurations, from a crummy RST elastomer fork to the original Marz Z1 to a rigid Surly 1x1 takeoff fork and from 3x9 to a singlespeed conversion.

    Finally AZ rocks and chunk got me thinking about full suspension again. I jumped at the chance to buy a used 1995 Turner AFterburner. A DH bike with 3.5 whole inches of travel in the rear. Coupled with the Z1 it was a nice ride. I broke the frame. I upgraded to the XCE frame for 3 less pounds of frame alone and rode that for awhile but the big travel bug hit me. Fast forward to the new millennium and I am riding the Santa Cruz bullit with the Progressive suspension shock. Big (for the time) single crown fork. I ride it as a XC bike all the way up to extended FR rides. It is big, heavy, cumbersome and hard to do anything but go fast downhill.

    I find myself spending more and more time on my Independent singlespeed. I stop taking the bullit on the super tech rides and start riding the rigid, v-braked bike everywhere. A conversion to tubeless makes it that much better and the SC gathers dust. Eventually somewhere in the mid aughts a friend lets me try his Dos Niner and I am hooked. The SC gets sold, the IF gathers dust and a Salsa is added.

    This is where my search for the one bike really gets going. The Salsa frame allows single speed or gears so I set up both. The bike is rigid but can take a suspension fork so I hold in my head that maybe some day I'll get a fork and an extra crown race, it will take huge tires or racy tires so I get a few of each. I start with a long stem as I previously have in the past, and a riser, at the time my go to bar since the early nineties. I eventually try a higher sweep bar, then an even higher sweep bar and find I can ride rigid for hours, over rocky trails, 24hr races, fast XC and drop laden technical trails and suffer no hand fatigue or pain.

    I feel like I have found the one bike. However the main short coming in the bike is its in ability to loft off drops that easily (so I go shorter and shorter stems to help alleviate this) and it judder under braking and a tendency to wander in fast sweepers, technical trialsy corners and at high speed on fire roads and pavement.

    The Mantis XCR-EC aside all my bikes have had almost identical geometry. I have always gone with a 23.5" Effective top tube, chainstays in the 16.9-17.5" arena (whether 26 or 29), a 100mm stem more or less, a 43" wheelbase (the bullit was a lot longer due to the slack slack headtube) and 73ish degree seattube. They all have ridden like I prefer, stable at speed, skilled at technical sections, great at climbing and lousy at jumping with style but stable when they are in the air. This perfectly suits my mountain biking style, I'm not a jumper but I am a technical climb descent aficionado, using trials moves when needed and making the most of tire pressure, traction and alternate lines.

    The problem: The failing point for me is that I am 5'10 and the longer TT puts me behind the front center making it hard to manual without a super short stem. The short stem makes it more fatiguing to ride long technical downhills on the upper body because I am fighting that front tire at a lower leverage ratio. Sometimes after epics my upper body is more exhausted than my legs. Finally the bikes designed around a suspension fork aren't designed to be as rigid as they could be without the need for a 480mm A-C, measurement. The Salsa is a perfect example with its long fork, and short head tube it is flexible, the fork needing to be light and compliant is flexible. The enabler fork is a better but it highlights the flexibility of the frame. The end result is on hard landings with sharper transitions you get a lot of feed back through the frame as the fork and frame flexes, a judder or shaking and the bike can veer without input at the bars. The frame is flexible which is comfortable but it reduces precision. It is also scary, your mind runs through the concept of flex failure rates and how many impacts it can take. Eventually my bike failed where i suspected it would, right at the head tube gusset. Too many cycles of impact and too much flexy both in line and laterally there. I got a replacement bike but mentally the damage had been done. I was knew the bike wouldn't be well suited to my riding style.

    The Solution: While enjoying a bout of stomach flu I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading my latest copy of Dirt Rag and in particular the Jones Diamond review. I revisited a lot of threads on MTBR regarding the Jones. I called Jones and talked to him about it. Ultimately everything I read and heard was the culmination of my search. A bike like my Salsa but due to the increased rake a bike with a shorter front center, allowing one to ride a longer stem, still have the ~43" wheel base, the 17" chainstays but since it was not designed around a suspension fork the frame has a much taller head tube, the fork has a much longer steerer and the front end can be much stiffer. So I ordered it and swapped stuff from my Salsa over to it.

    The Jones: I built it up with the parts from my salsa that fit, I got a jones bar to replace my aging mary bar (very very similar bars in fit, and stiffness but the extra hand holds on the Jones is much welcomed), I couldn't use my Chris King headset but I have tired of that particular brands inadequacies anyways. I swapped directly my saddle and seatpost without any changes except moving the saddle back a little. I ditched the 50mm stem I was riding and put on a 100mm one. I built new wheels to work with the 135mm fork spacing and that is one stiff wheel. All 29er wheels should be 135mm, heck all mountain bike wheels in general should be 135mm. The stiffness and strength of that wheel is so much better than the antiquated roadbike inherited 100mm spacing we currently use.

    The Ride: I took it on an epic this weekend. (See: Tor de 50 report). The first ride I had on it besides pedaling it up the street. My observations:

    • The fit was near identical to my El Mariachi, felt similar, stem flipped upside down. Saddle felt right further back.
    • Fat front is ridiculous everywhere. I had some road sections and it felt like it had much less resistance than a rampage or my 29er dissents. Technical descents it was like trail was so much wider and could pick lines that were inches wide and the tire would grip. I ran 10psi and it was the perfect pressure for compliance without any bounce. 210lbs of rider and gear and water.
    • Fork is stiff, frame is stiff. Stiff enough that front braking is a revelation. Instead of lurching or randomly losing grip it just bit in and stayed on. These are the same brakes as on the previous bike with no modifications or anything between bikes. Same rotor front and rear. They worked so well that I had to rethink my braking technique on the technical descents.
    • Rear end is stout. On my old bike I could feel the frame flex on steep out of the saddle ascents. If you are in the 5'9-6' range it is comfortable sitting or standing while climbing.
    • Bottom bracket with the EBB in the lowest location is low. I had a lot of pedal strikes. I eventually raised it later to get a little more clearance but my pedals took a beating on this rocky technical ride.
    • I lofted it off the first rock step I came to and almost looped it out. The combo of the short TT and the fat front made it fly off steps, rocks and bumps. It feels like it has short chainstays but was really comfortable on steep climbs without a tendency to lift the front or the need to hunch over the bars to keep it grounded.
    • The 2 top bottle cages will only take a small bottle but there is still one on the downside of the downtube for a larger bottle.
    • The finish of the frame is impeccable. Getting the fork together through the canecreek headset in an exercise in patience. I needed a 3/8" spacer on top of the Cane Creek 40 headset for a perfect fit.
    • The bike comes with all the clips for the housing locations plus a few extras. It comes with a SS specific and a gear specific dropouts plus hardware for both.
    • The grip length on the Jones bars is huge. Room for shifters, brakes, and full length lock-on grips. I tried my longest BMX style grips and still had tons of room.
    • Using something like the matchmakers from sram would be the best set up to quickly swap from singlespeed to geared setup with the rear full length housing.
    • the dropouts are perfectly spaced which it has been a long time since I have gotten a bike that has dropouts that are exactly 135mm apart.
    • The stickers are probably the only weak spot being a light thin applied sticker. I already have one peeling.
    • Finish is really deep and nice.


    Conclusion: This feels like the one bike to me. What really sold me was when we were screaming down a section of rutty bumpy forest road and bike felt rock solid. Usually on those sections I will ride my brakes because there is a vagueness in my bikes previously but this time it was just solid.

    I expect to really wring this bike out over the next few months while we are in our perfect riding weather here in AZ, hit up some bike packing, some epic mountain descents and some big epic days in the saddle, but my brief 40 miles in the saddle makes me think that there won't be any big surprises in the future. I'll update here when I discover new things, once i get a ride in with the 29er wheel up front and a long overnighter complete with the bike loaded.

    Is this bike for you? Answer yes to these questions:
    1. Do you tire of tinkering with suspension settings and maintenance?
    2. Do you want a rigid bike, a really rigid bike?
    3. Do you ride technical, drop filled terrain more than long smooth single/double tracks?
    4. Do you not need the latest and greatest thing going in the marketing world of mountain biking?
    5. Do want a super strong front wheel and aren't afraid of having a wheel that is only applicable to this bike?
    6. Do you want the option of running a front tire that can be up to 4.7" wide?
    7. Do you not mind being seen as "that guy" in your group of riding buddies on their carbon duallies?
    Try this: HTFU

  2. #2
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    Here is the comparison of the bikes. The salsa as set up right before getting the Jones:

    2512-11
    Note the short stem and seat back on the rails.


    the Jones as set up for the epic ride:
    Fat
    Try this: HTFU

  3. #3
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    You are making too much sense.

    I think there is some kind of a trend toward (back to) the ATB (All Terrain Bike). A set-up that functions well in almost all conditions, even if it isn't optimized for any of them.
    I am there myself. Can't bring myself to do the fat front yet, but who knows...

    I have always been a fan of the one bike idea - I just need to sell a few.

    -F

  4. #4
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    I'll let you ride my Potts if I can ride your Jones.

  5. #5
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    That review pretty much covers it. Especially this regarding typical suspension corrected frames and forks:

    The end result is on hard landings with sharper transitions you get a lot of feed back through the frame as the fork and frame flexes, a judder or shaking and the bike can veer without input at the bars. The frame is flexible which is comfortable but it reduces precision. It is also scary
    And this regarding the Jones:

    Stiff enough that front braking is a revelation. Instead of lurching or randomly losing grip it just bit in and stayed on.
    For those reasons my By:Stickel hit the road in favor of the Jones.
    Last edited by Enel; 02-13-2012 at 01:07 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    You are making too much sense.

    I think there is some kind of a trend toward (back to) the ATB (All Terrain Bike). A set-up that functions well in almost all conditions, even if it isn't optimized for any of them.
    I am there myself. Can't bring myself to do the fat front yet, but who knows...

    I have always been a fan of the one bike idea - I just need to sell a few.

    -F
    I always kinda hope that the all-mountain genre would turn into do it all bikes, whether they had suspension or not but they are trending more towards the FR side of things. The closest thing we have going is the 29er movement right now and the up and coming fat bike/rockcrawler bikes i think.

    It is kind of liberating to just have one bike in the your quiver that depending on the wheels you slap on is up for almost anything. The fat front is amazing on most terrains. I really was amazed on the pavement especially where it was almost transparent. Perhaps had I had Nates on there it might have been another story but with the larry it just felt totally fine.

    I am looking forward to hitting some trails with the 29er wheel on there, I currently have a rampage going but I have dissents at my disposal as well. Ultimately I am going to build one more wheel, a rear, that will have a more burly rim with the 9spd cassette on it for epic Ascent, descent rides like on Mt. Lemmon and up in Flagstaff, then my flow wheels will be strictly singlespeed. So I can mix and match until my hearts content.

    The nice thing about the frame too is that the 4130 chromo is a proven entity, not the lightest but a forever tubeset. However if anything goes wrong I won't be hesitant to have the bike fixed by any local bike maker either. Not like a 953 frame or anything with weird butting profiles or like aluminum in need of heat treating. The only thing I can think of that would be better of course would be a TI space frame or even a Ti diamond frame but at this juncture in my life the steel is might fine.

    It is a good experiment. Less time tinkering and more time riding!
    Try this: HTFU

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKamp View Post
    I'll let you ride my Potts if I can ride your Jones.
    You are welcome to borrow it anytime, just shoot me a PM and pick it up and try it at Fantasy or Starr Pass or whatever in whatever configuration you want. Let me know, no need to swap. I have kids so riding time can be few and far in between which means many a weekend it sits one or both days.
    Try this: HTFU

  8. #8
    ~~~
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    That was the mother of all write-ups.

    Congrats on finding "The ONE"

  9. #9
    Really I am that slow
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    I keep eyeballing the jones and keep thinking it or a moonlander need to be my next rig....
    Read my BLOG!

    Nipple twister and bike builder at Borealis

    http://www.borealisbikes.com/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowerThenSnot View Post
    I keep eyeballing the jones and keep thinking it or a moonlander need to be my next rig....
    You know i really wanted to try a fat bike but I feel that the evolution of the fat bike isn't done yet and in the next few years we are going to see it really take off as a do it all kinda bike. I am still doubtful that I would need a fat rear tire, especially in the AZ desert where I prefer my tires faster and harder and the q-factor thing scares me a bit too.

    Am fairly certain that the Jones and the Jones-esque design of a bike designed to be rigid and have a lot of rake and little trail is a well sorted design and it won't be evolving any more so I will have this bike a long time, at least until the rockcrawler do everything fat bikes show up. Then we'll see I guess.

    If you come down to Tucson way you are free to take it out and ride it to your hearts content.
    Try this: HTFU

  11. #11
    Really I am that slow
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    You know i really wanted to try a fat bike but I feel that the evolution of the fat bike isn't done yet and in the next few years we are going to see it really take off as a do it all kinda bike. I am still doubtful that I would need a fat rear tire, especially in the AZ desert where I prefer my tires faster and harder and the q-factor thing scares me a bit too.

    Am fairly certain that the Jones and the Jones-esque design of a bike designed to be rigid and have a lot of rake and little trail is a well sorted design and it won't be evolving any more so I will have this bike a long time, at least until the rockcrawler do everything fat bikes show up. Then we'll see I guess.

    If you come down to Tucson way you are free to take it out and ride it to your hearts content.
    Cool thanks, always welcome in my corner of the world as well!
    Read my BLOG!

    Nipple twister and bike builder at Borealis

    http://www.borealisbikes.com/

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    Nice write up. I've been wanting a Jones for quite some time. I'm really torn. I'd love to have a full on Ti, but that's a lot of $. Thinking a diamond with a Ti Truss, or maybe just hold out another year and pick up the spaceframe and truss in full ti... argh!

  13. #13
    Is that Bill rated?
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    Sitting on my EWR OWB with a Pug fork, Large Marge rim, and a Rain King flaring out over 70mm I can identify with a lot of what you like about your bike. I hope to get back on a true fat once I can get an actual soft compound for a 3.8" tire, but aside from my intense obsession with soft rubber, your bike would suit very well.
    Well, it was a good try.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedge View Post
    I'll blame you and Enel for my impending divorce!
    But it is the one bike, get rid of everything else! Your SO will love that idea and then you can get a couple of wheelsets and such. Everyone wins!
    Try this: HTFU

  15. #15
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    I'll blame you and Enel for my impending divorce!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    But it is the one bike
    Only if you only buy one
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    Only if you only buy one
    Yeah well you always can use a back up...for friends and stuff. Then someday you might need a TI one too. But it is still the just one bike, just copies.
    Try this: HTFU

  18. #18
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    Super cool bike....How well do you reckon a slow old guy who rides plain ol singletrack
    with very short climbs, intermediate rooty trails,would like this bike ??

    I ride a rigid bike and know I like that aspect....

  19. #19
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    Nice review. It sounds like you are loving the Jones.

    I have a Jones ti spaceframe / ti truss fork, but it doesn't get ridden much. I tend to still ride my full suspension bikes more. But, I was thinking about switching to a fat truss fork so I can ride a fat front tire. Hmmm....
    Kokopelli Racing

    "Curb drops to flat, or curb drops to transition? There's a BIG difference there." Qfactor03

  20. #20
    artistic...
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    The Diamond JOnes reminds me a lot of the Yo Eddy.. i have not ridden the JOnes but my intuition says both have a lot in common.
    want: Ibis ti handlebar. suntour 31.8 front derr. bottom pull

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    But it is the one bike, get rid of everything else! Your SO will love that idea and then you can get a couple of wheelsets and such. Everyone wins!
    My GF has seen me looking at the Jones site. She's smart enough to know that no matter how cool or useful a Jones won't replace my 6"+ travel FS bike or my Pugsley fat bike. It probably won't replace my 29er HT although that's the one bike that it threatens - a bit.

    It's a good story though and it might buy me a couple weeks of nag-free time to enjoy the new bike until it's obvious nothing else is leaving the garage!
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    You know i really wanted to try a fat bike but I feel that the evolution of the fat bike isn't done yet and in the next few years we are going to see it really take off as a do it all kinda bike. I am still doubtful that I would need a fat rear tire, especially in the AZ desert where I prefer my tires faster and harder and the q-factor thing scares me a bit too.

    Am fairly certain that the Jones and the Jones-esque design of a bike designed to be rigid and have a lot of rake and little trail is a well sorted design and it won't be evolving any more so I will have this bike a long time, at least until the rockcrawler do everything fat bikes show up.
    ^^This^^

    I too had the hots for a fat bike. The problem is...I rode a few. It was neat rolling along listening to the tires hum, but it was not what I would call lively. It felt more like an off road touring bike to me, just not as fast.

    Do you think the Steel Diamond or Space frame Jones w/truss fork would be a good fit for a fairly aggressive rider that likes high end FS AM bikes? This would be a second/third bike with the goal of being simple to maintain and fun to ride within it's limits.

    I know the Jones is a rigid bike, but I was hoping to take the edge off with a set of 50mm rims (26 rront Husker DU and 29 rear 2.4 Ardent). If I go down this road, I want it to replace my Salsa Fargo set up with Titec H bars. The Fargo is great for road and gravel stuff, but it is too stiff for me on rough trail with 2.0 mud tires. I want a bike that can cover more, from fun technical trail rides to light touring...and keep things interesting.

    The only down side I can see for the Jones is the EBB. I don't plan to run SS and I have heard an EBB can be the cause of excessive creaking. Are there any EBB's out there that tend to be more solid than others? (no tightening before every ride and quiet)

    Thanks for the great write up!
    Portland Off Road Navagators

  23. #23
    drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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    You've written a lot of stuff I thought in my head about my Jones, but was too lazy to tap out on the keyboard.
    "Keep your burgers lean and your tires fat." -h.d. | bikecentric | ssoft

  24. #24
    drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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    Mine creaked initially, but I discovered I wasn't tightening it enough. After that, I'd only hear a peep after a few months of riding in all kinds of weather.
    "Keep your burgers lean and your tires fat." -h.d. | bikecentric | ssoft

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13 View Post
    ^^This^^

    I too had the hots for a fat bike. The problem is...I rode a few. It was neat rolling along listening to the tires hum, but it was not what I would call lively. It felt more like an off road touring bike to me, just not as fast.

    Do you think the Steel Diamond or Space frame Jones w/truss fork would be a good fit for a fairly aggressive rider that likes high end FS AM bikes? This would be a second/third bike with the goal of being simple to maintain and fun to ride within it's limits.

    I know the Jones is a rigid bike, but I was hoping to take the edge off with a set of 50mm rims (26 rront Husker DU and 29 rear 2.4 Ardent). If I go down this road, I want it to replace my Salsa Fargo set up with Titec H bars. The Fargo is great for road and gravel stuff, but it is too stiff for me on rough trail with 2.0 mud tires. I want a bike that can cover more, from fun technical trail rides to light touring...and keep things interesting.

    The only down side I can see for the Jones is the EBB. I don't plan to run SS and I have heard an EBB can be the cause of excessive creaking. Are there any EBB's out there that tend to be more solid than others? (no tightening before every ride and quiet)

    Thanks for the great write up!
    As far as the the EBB it is a bushnell which is a really nice expanding type of EBB. I had on in my El Mariachi for 4.5 years with nary a problem. The occasional creak but mostly that was from either being dry or having rattled loose, which they can do as they are held tight with a threaded connection and it can back out a bit. However giving it a crank now and then with a 4mm allen key is all it takes.

    I find the Jones is the perfect All Mountain rigid bike. Check out some of Aqua and Enel's posts for examples but on just ride I easily lofted it off a 2' to flat steep I didn't see and it just kept rolling along, I did an insane technical descent having never seen it and the only place I dabbed was in 2 of the multitudinous switchbacks and that was mostly because the trail was so raw that it was hard to see them and I would stall as I tried to set up a nose wheelie or ratchet turn in the few seconds I had before I ran off the trail. I am looking forward to hitting a few more trails I know so I can give it a baseline.

    A lot of people will build up the Jones with a set of dirt wheels and a set of wheels with some touring style tires. You can get a frame pack from Jones for the Diamond and he is prototyping a frame pack for the space frames as well. The Jones loop bars are really comfortable and have ample room underneath to strap on all kinds of stuff. The more upright position is comfortable on long roads and dirt roads which I experienced at least 20 miles this past weekend. The Larry is really well suited to loose rock and still having a really nice roll on pavement and fast surfaces. I am sure the Nate would be killer but the thought of dragging that tire over smooth surfaces scares me. Not sure how the Husker Du would fair.

    I find myself seeing videos and wonder how the Jones would fair there. Hopefully I will get it out on some more epic descents in the next couple of weeks as AZ moves into its perfect riding time.
    Try this: HTFU

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