We can argue all day over how many bikes you should own, but I’d say your portfolio is incomplete without a “Well-Worn Jeans Bike:”
So what’s a Well-Worn Jeans Bike? It’s one that’s extremely broken in, which makes it comfortable, but which also makes you a little uneasy because once a pair of jeans gets really threadbare you always feel like you’re this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to one of your balls popping out at an inopportune moment. (As opposed to an opportune one, like a medical exam.)
In the case of a Well-Worn Jeans Bike, the equivalent of a ball popping out while crossing your legs on the subway would be something like your deeply concave rim finally giving out on a wet descent:
Though as you can see from the first photo, I’ve now replaced those wheels with the vintage Mavic Scaryums that came with my New-To-Me Titanium “Forever Bike,” which is the equivalent of slapping a patch on the crotch. And sure, the infamous Mavic freehub could always quit on me, but at least the rims are in great shape.
In addition to my Well-Worn Jeans Bike, this past weekend I also Spent a little time on the Jones LWB:
I haven’t had much time for the long all-terrain rides at which the Jones excels. It’s also been rainy, which means the trails have been muddy, and on top of all that I’ve been on a prolonged friction-shifting binge. All of these things have conspired to keep me off the Jones–so when I got on it and headed up to the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall, the bike’s voluminous tires, quick shifting, and general air of extreme competence on both road and trail made me feel downright exuberant:
Not that this exuberance was reflected in my Strava times, mind you, though in my defense I do always stop to check out the wildlife:
Regardless, of all the bikes I’ve owned over the years, while I wouldn’t call the Jones the GOAT I’d certainly place it among them, for the simple reason that it (and the SWB that preceded it…and the Pine Mountain that preceded that one, and turned out to be a Jones gateway bike) drastically reduced my dependence on Lycra, and when you’re cutting down on Lycra that’s a sign you’re living well:
In turn, my Rivendells have similarly reduced my dependence on clipless pedals, and even closed-toe shoes for that matter, which is also a clear sign of progress:
At this rate, I’m frightened by the idea of some other bike brand coming along and reducing my dependency on wearing pants.
Anyway, I’ve previously noted that Jones and Rivendell are similar in that they’re each the product of one person’s single-minded vision, they owe nothing to bicycle industry trends at large (and if anything they inadvertently help set them), and of course they derive both their comfort and ther performance from an upright seating position. At the same time, they’re different in that Jones uses a utilitarian/new-tech approach, whereas Rivendell uses a curlicue/classic-tech approach, but in the end whichever one you choose you wind up in the same place, which is to say standing on a hilltop someplace, wearing sandals, and not giving a fuck whatever anyone else thinks.
Another difference is that Jones is embracing ebikes–their line-up now includes e- and e-ready models–whereas Rivendell will probably embrace crabon fiber and internal headsets before they embrace ebikes.
As for the regular non-ebike completes, Jones is currently out of stock, but it looks like they’ll be back soon with updated component spec:
And also something you don’t tend to associate with Jones, that being color:
As for my own Jones, so joyous was our reunion this past weekend that I decided it will be the bike I take on my end–of-summer vacation this year, which in my world is the ultimate honor. See, this is around the time of year I start “auditioning” my bikes for this distinction, and last year of course it went to the A. Homer Hilsen:
In fact, I was so pleased with it in that regard I just figured I’d bring it again this year, but I ride the Homer so often as it is that I figured I was long overdue for some Jones immersion. To that end I will be making some subtle changes and additions to the Jones (it’s long been under-accessorized) and I will share them with you in due course.
And no, I won’t be adding a motor.