Jones Plus Review: A Bike Like No Other

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With its unusual frame geometry, eye-catching truss fork, 29+ wheels and rigid specific design, the Jones Plus sets out to rewrite the rulebooks. We took this unconventional rig bikepacking, trail riding and touring… and were more than a little surprised by what we found.

Close to a decade ago, I swung my leg over a Jones titanium Spaceframe and tore around a local trail. It wasn’t enough time to create an informed opinion – just that it was ‘different’. It did, however, pique my interest.

Later, when I heard about the design concepts behind these distinctive-looking bikes, my curiosity grew – especially when the Jones Plus came out, and I watched the accompanying film, along with this more detailed discussion that followed. In the latter, Jeff Jones discusses the evolution of ideas that led to the Jones Plus, including the bikes that influenced it – a Chinese singlespeed and a tandem, even – and the ideology that underpins it. Namely, his desire to create a bike that could do the majority of riding he enjoyed – on both road and trail, loaded and unloaded – without skimping on technical prowess or comfort. As he puts it: “When I was a kid, I had a bike, and I rode it down the street, off the sidewalk, into the dirt, to the BMX track, off a wooden ramp… and then to school.” And he shares a belief – a passion, really – that a bike designed to be fully rigid from the ground up, could be as capable as one built with suspension in mind. Especially when coupled with the latest generation of large volume tires and wide rims.

Jones Plus Review

So, onto the bike itself. Without burying ourselves in geometry and numbers just yet, the Plus looks long. Which it is. When I first hopped on and took it for the obligatory round-the-block spin, it felt long too. Except it didn’t steer that way. In fact, the bike rode unexpectedly nimbly, to the extent that within minutes, I’d forgotten about its wheelbase. What’s more, my riding position felt unexpectedly upright, especially compared to what I was used to. Yet it was strangely comfortable. It just felt good.

It’s this riding position and extended wheelbase that sets the Jones Plus apart from many other bikes that are popular today. While most favor a short wheelbase, the Jones bucks the trend by sporting especially long chainstays. They measure a whole 19in in length, compared to a Surly Krampus at 17.6in, and a Trek Stache at 16in. Furthermore, thanks to its truss fork, the Plus sports a massive amount of fork offset – an eyebrow raising 76mm, compared to a more modest 47mm on the Krampus. In turn, this is coupled with a slacker than usual 67.5 degree eadtube angle. This helps reduce the reach of the cockpit, while the extra offset (and ensuing low trail) serves to keep the bike lively. And while we’re talking numbers, the seat tube angle is unusually slack too, at 71 degrees, effectively placing the saddle further back than normal. And that’s not all. The mystery thickens with a top tube that’s noticeably shorter than you’d expect from a frame of this size. The result? A riding position that places more weight on the feet than the hands, a cockpit that feels short and upright, and an agility that contradicts the bike’s overall length.

Which brings us onto the Jones’s distinctive Loop H-bars and their 45 degree sweep, an ingredient that forms as intrinsic a part of the package as the frameset itself. Prior to riding the Plus, I was no stranger to these bars: I’ve long been a fan, in all their variations. I’ve fitted both the ‘Loop’ and the more minimal ‘Bend’ to three bikes I own, and I use them for both mountain biking and bikepacking.

Experience these bars on the Plus, though, and they make even more sense. It’s no wonder; Jeff Jones is keen to point out that the handlebar, frame and fork all evolved together. In conjunction with the short top tube (and recommended stubby short stem), bars with such dramatic sweep offer a few distinct riding positions. Sliding your hands back encourages both an upright position, and places you suitably behind the bike for a steep descent. Resting your hands in the middle of the grips offers good control for day to day trail riding. Inch your hands forwards, and you’ll find yourself in a helpful spot for tackling steep, loose climbs, or even tucking out of the wind. Body positions aside, I’ve always appreciated H-bars for the way they take pressure off my wrists and encourage me to shift my hands around, avoiding any numbness associated with long distance touring.

  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review

Out on the dirt, it’s quickly apparent that the Plus delivers the rhetoric promises. Its unconventional numbers translate into a bike that’s incredibly sure-footed and confidence inspiring – there’s little fear of going over the bars – yet is also far more maneuverable than I’d expect from a frame of this size. I immediately connected with the way its light front end felt matted to a stable wheelbase. Undoubtedly a big bike to look at, it seemingly shrinks down in size when ridden. I even found myself cleaning awkward sections of my local trails that might normally have caught me off-guard. Especially steep climbs. When I slid my hands forwards on the bars, it served to shift my body into a position where I wasn’t fighting to keep the front wheel from popping up. At the same time, my weight felt nicely centered, reducing the likelihood of rear wheel slide: the bike felt grounded. I’m already a fan of 29+ format, so I didn’t need any convincing there. The comfort and traction inherent to this wheel size are impressive, no more so that over rugged, babyhead-strewn desert tracks. In terms of all day riding, the short, upright riding position seemed ‘unnaturally’ comfortable for a mountain bike.

As I’ve mentioned, this is a big frame despite its short cockpit. At 6’1″ with a long inseam, I fall somewhere between the 24in and 25in models in the Plus range. I opted for the larger of the two, mainly for the extra framebag capacity. Yet despite its undoubted size, the Plus didn’t feel clumsy or awkward to steer in any way. It was quite the opposite. Even when tackling tight switchbacks, the back end of the Plus had an uncanny ability to tuck itself behind me. Still, even though the 25in frame fitted perfectly, I’d be curious to try the 24in too, just because it promises even nimbler handing. Note that there’s a 23in version due out soon, so all shapes and sizes should be covered.

  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review

Talking of size, the Plus’ headtube is also especially long, another factor that brings the handlebars closer to your chest. Unlike the majority of modern mountain bikes that are built around a suspension-corrected geometry – lengthening the distance between the axle to crown and shrinking their headtubes as a result – the Jones is built around its rigid specific truss fork, with no suspension in mind. If you’re not planning on running a suspension fork in the first place, this means you’re not be subject to the compromises of a frame designed to accommodate one. In fact, this is the first bike I’ve ridden that hasn’t required me to stack up headtube spacers like casino chips. I even found myself lowering the stem a touch, to run the saddle in line with the handlebars. Straight out of the box and without any tweaks, the Plus felt so comfortable I quickly found myself using it for everything, from trail rides to commutes around town, and ferrying my 3 year old to preschool with our Weehoo. Later, I used it to pull a Tout Terrain Mule trailer on a dirt road family tour. And of course I took the Plus bikepacking too, both in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, and on an extended, often sandy desert tour near Las Cruces, further south in the state.

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As for suspension, or rather lack of, I’ve not missed it on the Jones. I have to admit that since the advent of ‘plus’ and fat tires, I’ve largely lost interest in suspension forks for bikepacking. Sure, I see the benefit of active, controlled dampening over a passive one that relies on adjusting air pressure, especially for big hits. But I’ve always enjoyed the way a rigid bike climbs, the predictability in the way they descend, and their inherent simplicity. The Plus elevates this to new levels. The truss fork felt precise, while low pressure, 29+ rubber took the sting out of the trail, all but eliminating small bump chatter. Perhaps my riding wasn’t as fast as it might have been through more raucous singletrack, but I wouldn’t consider my enjoyment diluted in any way. Granted, I’ve not tested the bike down the kind of terrain some might demand of their mountain bikes. But watching Jeff Jones in action suggests that’s down to the rider, and not the bike. I’m sure I’d run out of skills before the bike runs out of capability.

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  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review

Moving on. With so many bases to cover on a bike that’s this unique, please bear with me! One other aspect worth noting is the Plus’ low bottom bracket: a relatively large 88mm drop. In comparative terms, it’s even lower than the Surly ECR (80mm), except that the Plus comes specced with 170mm rather than 175mm or even 180mm cranks. This is unusual for a frame of this size, and offsets the its bottom bracket height to some extent. This makes for a low centre of gravity, which adds to the bikes sense of stability. Yet, taken as part of the magic Jones formula, I very rarely noticed an increase in pedal striking, despite the rocky, slabby and steppy nature of some of my local trails. Note that the Plus sports an eccentric bottom bracket, which means you can rotate the crankset up by as much as 12mm, if this becomes an issue. Alternatively, you can use this adjustability to run a 27.5+ wheelset, or even conventional 29er hoops. Although it might be an interesting experiment, I can’t see myself going that route; 29+ suits the bike so well.

Jones Plus Review

But how about downsides? Yes, there are some, depending on what you intend to with this bike. As someone who enjoys travelling overseas, the main limitation is the somewhat proprietary parts, making the Plus less flexible and utilitarian than it might be otherwise.

The truss fork features a unusual 142mm TA spacing. This rules out the use of a dynamo hub – unless you use a 135mm model and machine a set of stepped spacers. The next generation fork, due this summer, will simplify matters by widening out to 150mm spacing. As well as offering a wider choice of hubs, this will make it compatible with new TA dynamo models from the likes of SON and Shutter Precision. But in the event of a failure, both 142mm and 150mm replacement hubs would be tricky to source abroad.

Due to the position of the brake caliper, you’ll also need to fit a PM Bone if you plan on running a Rohloff Speedhub, in order to both anchor the hub, and stop it slipping out under high torque. Unfortunately these are only available for QR hubs and not threaded axle versions. To complicate matters, the next generation of Jones Plus frames will feature Boost spacing, ruling out a Rohloff altogether – at least the widths in which they’re currently available.

Other detail changes: the current frame features a water bottle mount under the downtube, while the Boost version will have triple eyelets, better suit to an Anything Cage. As it is, I circumvented this minor issue by running a Blackburn Cargo Outpost cage, which only requires standard water bottle mounts. Tire clearance is certainly on the generous side throughout, and the 4130 chromoly frame is very nicely finished. For those who seek to trim weight, there’s a ti version in the pipeline, or the option to team the chromoly frame with a ti fork in the future. Prices for the ti models have yet to be announced.

Elsewhere, there’s no less than 4 eyelets on the dropouts for ultimate rack adjustability, depending on the model and wheel size you intend to run. Unfortunately, there’s nothing on the seat stays to compliment them. To fit a rear rack, you’ll need to rely on P-clamps, or a seat post collar that includes rack eyelets. The former works fine, though it’s undoubtedly more fiddly to set up, and a little ugly too. Same goes for the fork. There’s no provision for water bottle cages, though Jones now offers a set of neat plastic P-clips. They’re not as practical (in terms of how easily they can be fitted and removed) as eyelets would be, but they work just fine. The good news is that there’s a new set of fork mounted soft bags due out at some point, to make use of the space opened up by its truss construction. In the meantime, all that truss space lends itself well to creating packing.

Speaking of which… As lovely as the truss fork is, its curvaceous shape also limits real estate under the handlebars. I found a relatively small diameter handlebar roll, like Bedrock’s Entrada, works best. Or simply strapping a waterproof dry bag straight to the bars, wedged in by the fork. The truss also kicks weight out further forward, another reason to go light on the handlebars. Similarly, a front rack is effectively ruled out. Note that if you intend to travel with this bike, removing and refitting the fork is a more fiddly process than normal. And the bikes extra long wheelbase could make packing it into small boxes or bags (like Ground Effect’s Tardis) potentially tricky.

  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review

Jones Plus Review

  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review

In terms of a finishing kit, the Plus can be specced with a range of options, including a dropper post, 1x drivetrains and various wheelsets. Our test bike was built up with immaculate attention to detail, and everything worked faultlessly. I specified XT hydraulic brakes; although it’s hard to imagine anything more capable for single digit braking, I’d stick with Avid BB7s if I was intending to bikepack abroad. Knowing I prefer the range of a double, I specced a Surly OD crankset, which shunts the smallest chainring to where the middle chainring would normally be, and the middle to the outer position. Doing so improves the chainline for Plus tires, which would otherwise cause the chain to rub. Factoring in the diameter of 29+ wheels, I didn’t miss the larger chainring; had it been my personal bike, I’d likely replace the 39/26T rings with a 36/22T configuration, to gear it down further, given my preference for mountainous terrain, and often heavy loads.

Also worth lauding are WTB’s Scraper rims, which are light and stout, and supremely easy to set up tubeless, even with a mini pump. There are a choice of tires available; I chose Maxxis Chronicles, which roll incredibly well, though I did notice a small amount of self steer on pavement.

I’ve extolled the virtues of the Jones bars already. Small point, but I should mention that I didn’t get along so well with the ESI grips, which felt overly firm in my hands. It’s good to hear that there’s a softer compound grip due out too.

The test bike also came with a framebag made by Revelate Designs, which costs an additional $205. Thanks to the Plus’ long headtube, the bag is simply cavernous. Quality is top notch; it also features Revelate’s new zippers, which are sewn in with stretch fabric. I’ve yet to come close to busting these zips, no matter how much I overstuff the bag.

  • Jones Plus Review
  • Jones Plus Review

Jones Plus Review

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable ride, across all its applications.
  • Surprisingly capable over technical terrain.
  • A stable load carrier, that doesn’t sacrifice enjoyment either.
  • Possibility of different wheel sizes, to suit different riders and frame sizes.

Cons

  • Lack of braze-ons for fork-mounted water bottles and Anything Cages, as well as easy fitment of a rear rack – you’ll need to use p-clips.
  • Somewhat proprietary parts, though this is changing with the next frameset evolution.
  • Relatively expensive for a Taiwanese-made chromo bike, though quality is excellent, and the fork is undoubtedly costly to manufacture.
  • Rohloff compatibility is limited on the 135mm versions of the frames, and (currently) ruled out on the next generation of Boost frames.

Build Kit

  • FRAME Jones Plus steel (Blue) 25″
  • FORK Jones Steel Truss
  • SEAT COLLAR DKG Bolt-on Silver
  • HEADSET Jones H-Set Silver
  • STEM Thomson X4 Silver 80×10
  • HANDLEBAR Jones Aluminum Loop H-Bar 710 (Silver)
  • GRIPS Jones H-Grips for 710 H-Bars and ESI tape
  • BRAKES XT M-8000 Hydraulic with 180/200mm XT Icetec discs
  • SHIFTER XT Rapid Fire 10 speed
  • REAR DERAILLEUR XT Shadow+ SGS
  • CRANKS & CHAINRINGS Surly O.D. 170mm 26/39
  • BOTTOM BRACKET Surly Threaded BB
  • CASSETTE XT 10 speed 11-36
  • CHAIN XT 10 speed
  • FRONT HUB Jones 135/142 -F Hub
  • REAR HUB XT 32 Hole 6 bolt Black
  • SPOKES DT-Swiss Competition spokes with DT aluminum silver nipples
  • RIMS WTB Scraper 50mm Black
  • TIRES Maxxis Chronicle 29×3″ EXO TR
  • SEATPOST Thomson Elite Straight/Silver
  • SADDLE WTB Pure V
  • WATER BOTTLE MOUNTS 3 inside frame, 1 below downtube
  • RACK MOUNTS Rack mounts at dropout only
  • EXTRAS Adjustable eccentric bottom bracket

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Wrap Up

The Jones Plus is amongst the most enjoyable bikes I’ve ridden. Lately, it’s the bike I’ve reached for when heading out for a ride of any kind – be it on trails, dirt or even around town. It’s that comfortable, and that capable. It even makes me feel like a better rider.

The only downsides are its somewhat proprietary parts, and the specificity of the frame – namely, that while it can accommodate extras like water bottles, Anything Cages and a rear rack, it doesn’t come quite as naturally as more conventional designs. If you’re like me, and you regularly fit and removes accessories, this could be a minor grievance. I’ve mentioned the lack of dynamo compatibility, so it’s good to know that future forks won’t have this limitation. Of course, there’s the price tag too to consider too. $3700+ is a considerable investment for a fully rigid chromoly bike, even if there’s a whole lot of tube bending going on.

Ultimately, the Jones Plus is truly unique. Looking at its numbers alone – especially the extended wheelbase and low bottom bracket – it would be easy to dismiss it as a touring specific bike. But this just isn’t the case. It’s an incredibly fun and extremely capable trail rig – despite the lack of suspension fore and aft – that somehow mates stability, manoeuvrability and a real ability to climb in one surprising package. And it’s as a package that you really have to look at the bike. There’s a balance of forces at play… those lengthy chainstays, the massive fork offset, that slack seat tube, the long head tube… Honestly, it’s such a different approach that to frame design it’s hard to pin down exactly what’s going on. It just works.

In short, I’ll wager the Jones Plus will challenge your preconceived ideas of how a bike should feel and ride, wherever you choose to take it. My advice? Try one if you can…

  • Size Tested 25″
  • Sizes Available 23″,24″,25″
  • Weight (as tested) 32lbs/14.5kg
  • Price $3,730
  • Contact Jones Bikes
  • Recommended Uses Bikepacking, trail riding, touring… and pretty much anything in between.

Rider’s Background

I’ve been embarking regularly on two-wheeled explorations for the last 18 years. Most recently, I connected the length of the Americas via the road less traveled, and explored Mongolia on a fat bike. Given my love for mountain biking and backcountry touring, my ideal journey fuses the two, keeping to quiet dirt roads and singletrack where possible.

Height: 6’1”
Weight: 165 lbs
Inseam: 35”

Disclosure

The Jones Plus was loaned to me for the duration of the review period.

Jones Plus Review

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  • http://www.offroute.ca Skyler

    Great, thorough review! I’m still skeptical at the merit of the geometry for super technical riding, but a lot of Jeff Jones’ ideas are very compelling. It looks like it might take a good riding position and rotate the whole person 30 degrees backward on the bike. Cruiser! The low BB, short crank arm combination is something I predict will take over all cycling disciplines as the big players look for “something new” and discover that winning combination.

  • mikeetheviking

    A thorough review for a thoroughly engineered bike…EXCELLENT

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks Skyler. Of course, it depends on your definition of what ‘super technical’ riding is. But really, where it’s unmatched (by anything I’ve ridden at least,) is that is the Jones a very capable trail bike – let’s say for the majority of terrain, for the sake of argument – it’s also ridiculously comfortable. And it’s fun on gravel. And you can commute on it, happily. And you can go bikepacking with it!

    Be interesting to hear what these guys think:
    http://nsmb.com/jones-plus-bike/

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks Mike. There’s actually tonne more that could be said about this bike, but this review is probably verbose enough already… Be great to hear from anyone else who owns/has had a chance to try one.

  • http://www.offroute.ca Skyler

    It will indeed be interesting to see how it fares on the Shore. I guess I don’t mean to doubt that it can be ridden on that sort of trail, I’m more skeptical that it can be ridden recklessly. I used to ride an ECR (slowly and uncomfortably) on all manner of chunder. Riding a rigid bike fast in places like Sedona or BC is questionable at the best of times, but having a long cockpit forgives some amount of “oh shiiiit I hit that too hard”. And front suspension changes everything. Still, your review has definitely left me more compelled by Jones’ geometry idea.

    For touring, this looks unquestionably fantastic. And who needs braze ons for anything cages on the fork when the truss forth is basically a giant anything cage… Skinny dry bags and some Voile straps are sure to work well, no?

  • Cass Gilbert

    Yeah, that kind of riding is out of my skillset, so I’m looking forward to reading what others think. What’s especially interesting about the Plus is the short cockpit/long wheelbase combo. It shouldn’t feel that good…

    All the fork really needs is some kind of plastic stiffeners to brace stuff against the tubing. For sure, there’s a tonne of bikepacking potential with all that space…

  • Helmut Przikling

    Very good review, which has facilitated my decision to buy me a Jones plus diamond frame in 25″. Again many thanks and regards from Germany

  • Wm Coe

    How would you compare this verses the ECR for intl. dirt touring?

  • Cass Gilbert

    It’s a really different beast. I love my ECR, partly because everything about it is so standardised, making it very world friendly. It’s my ultimate dirt road utility bike – it’s affordable, and you can throw anything on it – from full racks to a basket to rackless bags. Lots of room for a big front roll. I’ve set mine up high at the front end, so it’s very comfortable too. But the Jones takes comfort to a new level, without sacrificing a really fun ride. I much prefer it as an unladen trail bike. As I mention, the front fork spacing could be an issue, especially if you like to run a dynamo, as I do. I’ve never pulled apart the headset/clamp, so I’d get comfortable with that before taking it abroad.

  • http://www.teamusa.org/velo Chris Schmidt

    So good. Thanks for an awesome review!

  • StaySaneSleepOutside

    this is awesome, Cass. thanks! i can see the 2016 ti version as an ecr replacement and ultimate one-bike option. before reading this, i was in love with the ecr geometry and thought my ultimate bike would be just simply a custom made ti ecr that could fit fat tires too, but i think this might be it. your thoughts? fitting fat tires, like my 29+ clad ti mukluk is designed to, is the only catch. my interests are like yours – mostly dirt touring and some trail ‘mountain biking’ but probably while laden with gear. i’m not a speed or technical guy and i much prefer 29+ over 29. thanks!

  • Mark

    I have a jones plus and have put as many miles as possible on it. I now commute on the ECR and pack on the plus. I had custom bags made to colour match from Ovea Negra. totally agree with lack of fork bags PR used to make a set but that collaboration seems to have ended. I set up a rear rack and run PR micro panniers. it tracks like a dream and so far has been pretty bomb proof. I just got and installed one of the King Cages you mentioned in your previous article and that will soon be replacing honacer attachment from bedrock, you guys seem to have good ideas all over the place. Please keep them coming, as for the doubters I feel this bike is truly trail ready.

  • Lewy

    Great review. I don’t really want to ride one as I will probably will end up having to own one.

  • Matt M.

    Even more disclosure: Did Mr. Jones ever get his bike back?

    I often describe my ECR using similar phrases (surprisingly agile, predictable, surefooted, etc..) and feel quite comfy on it. It sounds a lot like the Jones Plus just dials up the goodness on all fronts.

  • Tim Fitzpatrick

    Cass, great review and I’ve been using the Jones Carbon Loop bar for a while and love it. Would like to try the whole package when I can. Did you get any sense of when the titanium plus would be available? Saw it was supposedly sometime in 2016 and see they’re doing pre-orders for the new Plus Boost frame and fork now.

  • Mark Troup

    Tim, the Ti Plus just became available for preorders today. Check the blog on the Jones website! Looks like it will start shipping in June.

  • Tim Fitzpatrick

    Thanks Mark, I got the email from Jones just after I posted!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks for confirming that!

  • Cass Gilbert

    The Ti version will surely be pretty dreamy! I can’t see how the Plus could fail to fulfil your criteria. My ECR does double duty as the Sage-mobile, so I appreciate the various mounts on its fork, for running the likes of a front rack or basket. But that kind of setup may not be relevant to you. Let me know what conclusions you come to!

  • Cass Gilbert

    I’m a big fan of the bars on pretty much any bike. But as I mentioned in the review, it made even more sense to me on the Plus. Thinking ti? I don’t doubt it will be great ride!

  • Peter

    Hi a great review
    I did not like my Jones Plus until I emailed Jeff a few times about fit and setup
    But once I changed my setup to have a short stem, seat back more and how I love my Jones.
    :-)

  • StaySaneSleepOutside

    why do you still have the ecr? what is the difference btwn the two, in your opinion? i loved my ecr, just thought it was too heavy, so a ti one is my dream. thx

  • Tim Smith

    I bought a 26″/29″ Ti Jones Diamond in early Spring of last year as my ultimate trail bike. I’m in the Midwest so don’t need the mega-travel required on more epic trail out West. After 6 months of riding including a fun 5-day bikepack in the Daniel Boone NF in KY, I decided I need a bedecked Jones for every other type of riding and bought a “basic” chro-mo 29″ Jones ATB-style as reviewed in BicycleTimes, with a rear rack and fenders. Desert Island Scenario, yes, I have to take the Ti one, but I can’t talk enough about how comfortable and fun both the Jones’ are. I did miss out on the 29+ version, but everything I read is that they are big bikes, and at 5’7″ I don’t need that big a rig. I couldn’t be more pleased with the trail manners of the Ti or the “do everything” quality of the ATB. Big fan, and the comfort level is revolutionary. They make you really want to spend all day on two wheels. Thanks for the review.

  • Mark

    I have an ECR and it is a great bike, The Jones handles completely different a totally different riding position and ride. It is way more nimble and responsive, one of the examples I can give is when dirt road touring when you hit bad wash board at reasonable speed. the ECR gets a little lose on the front and the control is way diminished. The Jones even with full load track and drifts like a trail bike, predictably. I wish the Jones had the attachment points the ECR. I think both are good bikes. both were built to be pack animals. Titanium is just outside of my budget but if it is within yours I bet it would be a nice ride. Try the jones for your self

    Sent from Windows Mail

  • etbarbaric

    Awesome review Cass! You guys are doing a great job here. I’ve ridden a Jones Plus for almost a year now, and I simply love it. Love. It. Some have professed skepticism about technical riding on this bike… I guess that depends on your definition of the term. I currently use mine 100% for trail riding in the desert southwest (southern N.M.)…. so alternately rocky/sandy/rough/loose, etc. I am not one to catch a lot of air or take big drops, but the Plus is my everyday trail bike. With 3.0 knobby tires and those monster chain stays, it simply climbs anything… I continually surprise myself by trying things that I don’t think I can climb… and up I go… most of the time. With the relatively low trail, the front end stays controllable in slow climbing situations. Being fully five inches longer than my other bikes (I ride a 24, and am ~5’9″), I really worried about it going around corners… The bike is very maneuverable and that is simply not an issue. The combination of that slack 67.5-degree HTA _and_ huge offset (for relatively low trail) is simply genius. The slack HTA makes this bike a joy on steep/rocky/loose descents. Cass mentioned the back end “tucking in” on hairpins. I experience this as well. I am able to put the front wheel exactly where I want it. More amazingly, the rear wheel almost always ends up _exactly_ where the front wheel went. I built mine from a frame, and fitting/assembling the truss fork is a little daunting… but it’s really fine. The comfortable short cockpit and upright posture is a revelation… speaking as one who’s still trying to overcome the brain death of low stretched-out 1980s riding advice… :-) I’ve built a standard 29er wheel set for mine too… as a set of “road wheels”, with 29×2.35 Schwalbe Supermotos… It is an amazing ride on pavement… but I prefer to be out in the dirt. So if you’re looking for blasting lift-served ski areas… well… I can’t help you there (maybe the North Shore guys will chime in). If you’re looking for almost anything else, including rocky/sandy/bumpy/ledgy trail riding… get you one. For context, I rode a Pugsley in 29+ before building the Jones… The Pugsley ends up _much_ taller due to a much higher bottom bracket. It is also difficult (but not quite impossible) to get the Pugsley to ape the Jones cockpit. Hope this ramble is helpful to someone.

  • etbarbaric

    Yes, a short stem is key to fit on this bike. Otherwise you miss out on the forward hand positions… and that would be a shame… :-)

  • etbarbaric

    The bike is a mountain goat… Long chain stays rule… There. I said it.

  • Frederick

    After riding my Plus for a month, I would add that there is a sweet spot within the bike that transfers the trail through my feet and legs and not through my arms and shoulders. Jeff explains this in one of the videos and it is a lot more upright than I was used to but once I got a feel for it, I could relax my upper body and absorb the trail features much better.

  • jan

    For Rohloff there is the new PM-bone fitting the 135 Jones and similar frames as a torque anchor:

    http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/pm_bone_pm_pm/index.html

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks for your feedback, Fredrick. I would agree – that’s the intended result of the slack seat post and short reach and long headtube. Feels different initially, but it works out!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks for your thoughts Eric, both here and in previous missives!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks Jan! I emailed Rohloff while writing this review to confirm whether or not there was an adaptor that worked more neatly than the torque arm, for the dropout that the Jones uses. I was told there wasn’t, so assume that this new adaptor is only for Post Mount, rather than IS tabs.

  • etbarbaric

    A few geometric thoughts on the Jones Plus compared to the Surly ECR. Not trying to overthink here, just provide some comparisons in case they are helpful. It can be difficult to find geometry details on Jones bikes. Full disclosure: I don’t own an ECR, but there are several Surlys in my family. I came close to buying a Krampus or ECR before buying the Jones. They seem like great bikes. None of this is meant to disparage Surly in the least. They rock.
    – Suspension. ECR is suspension corrected, the Jones is emphatically not. If you think you might want front suspension, don’t get a Jones. This means the ECR gets a relatively short head tube while the Jones has a long-ass head tube. Adding in the height of the truss fork clamp, it is easy/automatic to get the Jones bars up high, if that is your thing. It is difficult to get the bars low… which is no longer my thing. Long head tube also lends itself to a big triangle, useful for bike packing. The triangle on the 25-inch Jones Plus is cavernous!
    – Head tube angle. 69.5 degrees on the ECR vs. 67.5 degrees on the Plus. Two degrees is enormous! Jeff talks about how this shortens the cockpit on the Jones. As I mentioned, I think it is also a boon for descending.
    – Trail. Assuming 29×3.0 tires, the ECR has relatively moderate trail (90/96mm) for a “mountain bike” due to its relatively large offset fork (as these things go). The Jones plus has substantially lower trail (74/80mm)… with the simply massive 76mm offset truss fork compensating for the shallow HTA and long wheelbase (http://www.yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/trailcalc.php). Really long bikes like mountain tandems have even lower trail, as it is necessary to pull the front wheel under the bike.
    – Seat tube angle. 72.5 degrees on the ECR vs. 71 degrees on the Plus. Theoretically this helps get CG back further over the rear wheel… Both are obviously augmentable with offset seat posts.
    – Chain stays. 17.75 for the ECR vs. 19 inches on the Plus. I credit this with some of the Plus’ climbing prowess.
    – Bottom bracket. Cass points out that the Plus is lower than the ECR. Frankly I somehow missed that.

    All of that said, I’d echo Cass’ comments that it is the complete package that works, and not these geometric details in isolation. The ECR’s design point was 29+ touring, and it clearly excels there, as many here attest.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Something I just thought about recently. The long wheelbase, combined with the awkwardness in removing the Jones’s fork – and it’s shape – makes it potentially harder to pack this bike into small boxes/bags, especially if you use ones like Ground Effect’s Tardis.

  • jan

    It works fine with a is-pm adaptor and looks like this:

  • etbarbaric

    FWIW, unlike most forks, the truss fork steerer tube is a completely separate piece that can be removed entirely from the rest of the fork. Not sure if that helps with compaction, but I thought I’d mention it.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Wow, that’s quite a series of adaptors! But you’re right, it works. Neither Jones nor Rohloff, seemed aware of this, so definitely good to know, thanks! It’s hard to figure out from the pic – does the wheel just drop out easily?

  • Cass Gilbert

    Yes, you’re quite right of course! I just think it ultimately isn’t quite as soft-bag friendly because of that lovely truss and the space it takes up – compared to a slender unicrown at least, which just be turned inwards, tucking it out of the way. I haven’t had a chance to really experiment though – and where there’s a will, there’s always a way!

  • etbarbaric

    And of course removing the steerer tube doesn’t make the whole mess all that much shorter… given the upper truss fork clamp… So I guess it doesn’t buy you all that much…. a couple inches, maybe.

  • etbarbaric

    You mention fitting fat tires. Do you mean truly fat (as in 26×4+)? If so, the Jones Truss Fork can take a 26-inch wheel, with up to a 4.8-inch tire. The back, not so much…. I’ve stuck a Surly ClownShoe rim with a Surly Bud 4.8-inch knobby tire into the Truss Fork and it fit with no issues. I haven’t ridden it extensively in this configuration, as I’m not quite sure what it would be good for…

  • rocketman

    I’m kind of curious if the rear would fit the Bontrager Hodag’s in 27.5 x 3.8? On a 50mm rim they measure about 92mm wide. Could add a fatter option for sandier rides.

  • Peter

    Hi I have a long upper body so I had my Jones setup with a 70 mm stem.
    I had and still do have my saddle set as far back as I can.
    I used all off the Handlebar positions with this setup But! I keep getting arm pump on fast down hills with a load of Braking bumps! after reading the new support page (on Jeff’s website) and watching the new Jones Plus Video I changed to a 40 mm stem and leveled my Jones Loop bars (to as per Jeff’s support page) and now it’s great :-)

  • Peter

    That has been my plan too.
    I have been waiting on the new Rohloff adapters to get to New Zealand.
    Been until that time my QR has not moved in the last 2000 km’s

  • jan

    Yes, the wheel drops out as easily as with the OEM2 / OEM solutions. Just the positions of the external gear mech are more limited by the big plate.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks!

  • Cass Gilbert

    I imagine it’s fine too. I’ve run a similar setup on another bike with a solid axle version Rohloff – which should be even less likely to pop out. But obviously not something Rohloff or Jones can officially sanction.

  • Cass Gilbert

    I think it’s doubtful – there could be some tyre rub issues too. The new Boost version will have slightly better clearances, from what I understand, with plenty of room for a 29×3.25 (like the Crux) on the new 50mm carbon rims. Beyond that, you’re probably into the realms of a fat bike…

  • Joe Ramey

    Thanks Cass for the review! I wrote up my impressions last summer after riding the 25″ Jones Plus for a short time. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/internet-bob/Jones$20Plus/internet-bob/v92_t69-FYQ/Mvy7_9-T1WkJ Now after nearly 11 months, my impressions have not changed much. I describe the impression of sitting “in the bike” that I now believe is a function of the slack seat and head angles. I was attracted to the low trail front end achieved with a slack head angle and large fork rake. I had also grown to appreciate the increased climbing ability of longer chainstays. I was concerned about the shorter cockpit and forced high handlebars. Now I am fully converted to the advantages of that position. I do have some sizing experience to add. I am 6 foot tall, so just a bit shorter than Cass, with a 33 inch inseam (more precisely a 89cm pubic bone height). I chose the 25 inch frame and am glad I did. When I am off the bike, it looks huge, but when I get on it feels really good. I have had no body clearance issues. The big bike tracks technical single track supremely well. It is a pleasure on road with slick tires. It is by far my favorite fair weather bike and has made other bikes in my garage obsolete. Full disclosure: I am good friends with etbarbaric that has posted here and we have drunk the Jones cool aid together. Etbarbaric and I came to this bike from somewhat different places, different old-guy body issues, different riding preferences, different cycling strengths and weaknesses. We both have found cycling nirvana on the Jones Plus. Jeff Jones makes a lot of what may sound like boastful claims about his bikes. I eventually accepted all of his claims as accurate and transformative for my riding. The Jones Plus is a better bike than I am a rider. If you are on the fence about this bike, I urge you to go for it.

  • etbarbaric

    That’s a great anecdote Peter, thanks. Many of us have been through our own denial episodes with this bike. I am not tall (5’9″), but I too have a long torso, and have gotten lots of advice over the years that I needed to “stretch out on the bike”. This lead to discomfort and ultimately disenchantment with cycling. Turns out I just needed to sit up and let those arms hang!

  • rocketman

    Hmmm… kinda reacting to Jeff’s remark about fitting his hand in the chainstays with the tire on. The 27.5 Hodag is a couple of cm’s shorter than a 29+ Crux too.

  • Cass Gilbert

    More width than length, I’d imagine. But best go to the man himself – he’ll know best!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks for the feedback Joe, much appreciated.

    Jeff Jones rides as 24″, seems to be a similar height (in the 6′ realm), but runs the bike with a lot more exposed seat post. I’d like to try the 24 out of curiosity, but I was certainly very happy with the 25″. Like you say, looks big, but doesn’t feel it!

  • etbarbaric

    Dunno. I show a little less than 1/2 inch on each side of a “3-inch” Chupacabra on a 50mm Surly Rabbit Hole rim. The stays seem rather optimized for the 29+ diameter… which is to say that it doesn’t necessarily get wider as you move back. So… you could certainly ride a fatter 29+ tire… but then you’d presumably want some mud/snow clearance as well. Now, if you talk Jeff into building a full fat bike, I’m all ears… :-)

  • Wm Coe

    That makes sense too. I have a Krampus and its my only bike, but I have been thinking about getting more of a gravel touring type bike and thought about the ECR and the Jones and a few others like the Fargo or Vaya. I am wondering if having two similar 29+’s, Krampus and ECR, in the quiver is a bit limiting. Would it be better to branch out to the Vaya or something different from the 29+. Something to take on intl trips….

  • Michael

    Funny how the Jones TT is described as short yet the Krampus is described as long… A medium Krampus has a 24″ TT a large is nearly 25 and the x-large is well over 25.

  • Michael

    Pretty keen to see how that review turns out.

  • Michael

    Great review. I think the whole discussion on geo and trail is pretty interesting. I’ve learned to take bike geo numbers on paper with a grain of salt. Given the seemingly innumerable ways that a single bike can be configured its really tough to tell how it will ride until its actually ridden. For fun I ran the trail numbers and compared them to my Krampus (I’m a bike nerd this is my fun) the Jones comes out at 87mm and the Krampus at 98mm how that 11mm translates to handling is anyones gues, especially when you consider the affects of handlebar width, sweep and stem length…

  • Daniel Jackson

    Hi Cass,

    I’m debating between a Jones Plus and Daniel Malloy’s new Tumbleweed. Given your extensive experience on both, might you comment on their differences? My impression is that the Jones would be a much better trail bike.

    Thanks much for your great review.
    Best,
    Daniel

  • http://nsmb.com Pete Roggeman

    I was just going through Omar’s review draft yesterday. He has some very interesting thoughts about the Jones Plus on our terrain. Coming soon.

    Great job on this review, Cass – that was a really good read.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Great to hear! I’m sure you will be really happy with it.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks Pete. Looking forward to hearing Omar’s thoughts!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Hi Daniel,

    I haven’t tried the final version of the Tumbleweed, so there could be some differences – weight and geometry tweaks, from what I understand. But basically, I see them as two very different bikes, even if there’s some overlap.

    For one, the TW is designed to accommodate 26x4in tires as well as 29+. It’s also built to run a rigid or suspension fork, and the geometry is more in line with a Surly Krampus (rather than, say, an ECR). Although it’s not Rohloff-specific, the frame is designed around one (and you’ll need a Rohloff if you want to run 26x4in tires). It’s also built around more readily available standards – 135mm QR front and rear. All this makes it incredibly versatile, be it for trail riding, or ‘expedition’ use.

    The Jones is kind of a complete package – you buy into the handlebars, fork and geometry. I really, really liked the way it rode as a rigid bike mountain bike, and I’d certainly recommend trying one out to see if the formula works for you. Very comfortable, and very capable. But I’m also someone who doesn’t hanker for suspension when I’m riding trails. I’m sure there’s situations where a 29+ or 26x4in trail bike, teamed with a suspension fork, is pretty amazing too.

  • Smithhammer

    I can’t help but wonder what a B+ version would be like….

  • Andres Quemada

    Cass, thanks a lot for this review, I am wondering how would you compare the Jones Plus to the Krampus, especially for trails?

  • etbarbaric

    Omar’s North Shore review is in!
    http://nsmb.com/jones-plus-long-term-review/

  • http://nsmb.com Pete Roggeman

    Here’s Omar’s complete review. For those of you that were interested to know how the bike fared on the shore, he lays it out nicely: http://nsmb.com/jones-plus-long-term-review/

  • http://asphoto.co.nz/ Andrew

    Cass, after months of research, this article was the deciding factor in me getting a Jones Plus! It’s sitting in the spare bedroom waiting for the wheel builder to finish his stuff then it’s off on NZ Spring adventures! Excited much.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Hi Andrew, I’m sure you’ll LOVE it! I ended up buying the frame from the test model, and the bike continues to astound me. Please let me know how you get on. Did you go steel… or ti?!

  • Cass Gilbert

    A fantastic read, from a totally different perspective.

  • Steve

    Just everything about this bike looks and sounds good. Even the ride videos somehow manage to convey that special feeling and experience of being on a bike. I notice all of the reviewers for the plus are tall though. Can’t help wondering if this frame with 29″ would be too big for a little guy like me that rides a 16 inch MTB frame.Love the unique design though, the upright ride position and frame and fork structural integrity ( and the fact that it was trail tested rather than simulated on a computer.)
    I did a double take though when you mentioned that these are made in Taiwan! For the price I would have at least expected them to be home made, if not by Mr. Jones himself. It says a lot that someone of your experience can write….” It is amongst one of the most comfortable bikes i’ve ridden, it even makes me feel like a better rider.” Wow. Very Impressive.

  • http://www.whileoutriding.com Cass Gilbert

    Steve, it is indeed a fantastic bike, and I’d recommend it highly.

    Yes, it’s expensive. But I’m sure you’d pay a lot more for a US-made version of the frameset. And Taiwanese frames are very well made!

    I believe there’s a 23in spaceframe-style Plus due out at some point, with low standover. Keep Pedalling in Manchester (http://www.keeppedalling.co.uk/) have a demo of the 24in frameset. Could be worth taking it for a spin…

  • Cass Gilbert

    Unfortunately, seems these aren’t available for threaded axle-type Rohloffs. Just QR and thru axle.

  • Duncan

    Hi Cass, how did you finally manage to set up your threaded-axle Rohloff on the Jones plus? Is there an adaptor (combo) you found that works well for those of us without the QR version? Cheers!

  • Cass Gilbert

    As you probably know, the adaptor combo only works with Rohloff QRs. Figuring that the threaded nuts probably do a better job at anchoring the wheel in place than a QR, I’ve been chancing it with a standard Monkey Bone. By now, I’ve probably put a good 1500km of riding into the setup, and the wheel hasn’t come close to moving. Loaded and unloaded, and throughout the gear range. I know it’s not officially endorsed by Rohloff, but from what I can see, it works just fine.

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