Getting My Hands Dirty

I’ve been doing most of my riding on the road these days, but this past Saturday the heat and humidity relented somewhat, and so I figured it was a good time to finally get back off of it again:

I was long overdue for a reunion with the Jones, and it felt good to finally get some dirt under my tires.

While riding a Jones without the eponymous bar is kind of like going to a pizzeria and ordering the Sicilian slice instead of the regular, I’ve been enjoying the novelty of the Tosco bar:

I like original bar too, of course…

…but as I mentioned last week I have a thing for sweep:

Obviously the Tosco requires a longer stem, but it’s really not all that different from the Jones bar in that it gives you a rearward portion for upright cruising and for sliding back in the saddle on steep descents, as well as a forward position (where I’ve got that second set of grips) for more detail-oriented maneuvering, and of course for getting “aero.”

For pure offroad riding the Jones bar is much better, and as Jeff himself noted during an email exchange around the time that interview with him, it’s possible this bar could slip or worse under hard use–you know, like this:

But I ride like this:

So I’m not too concerned.

Nevertheless, I will be restoring the bike to its original state in the near future so I can once again take full advantage of its Jonesness.

In the meantime, having been fully brainwashed by Rivendell, the other quirky thing I’ve been doing on the Jones is using a Silver2 friction shifter, which is not supposed to work with a SRAM Eagle drivetrain but actually does–with one caveat. As I mentioned when I first installed it, you’ve gotta push it kinda far to get into the lowest gear. However, that’s less of a problem on the Tosco bar than it is on the Jones bar due to the different shape, and the lever is still easy to reach here…

…at which point it’s in the penultimate gear:

After that I’ve got to stretch juuust a bit to get the chain onto that last cog…

…but it happens before I have to contort myself too much:

No doubt there are friction shifters that would work better with this particular drivetrain, but there’s a special joy in using something that’s not supposed to work but does, even if it doesn’t work perfectly. In fact, I was feeling so smug about my renegade drivetrain that shortly after taking the above picture I executed a hard multi-cog shift to my very lowest gear just to prove that I could do it–and then this happened:

I’ve never over-shifted a chain into the spokes with a 50-tooth cassette, but now that I have I can assure you it’s not fun:

It really got stuck in there good, too:

Eventually I was able to free it, after which I looked like I’d been fingerprinted:

The harrumphers out there may be inclined to impugn the gigantic cassettes of today for making thrown chain recovery exponentially more difficult, whereas the techies might say I brung upon on myself with my silly friction shifter. In fact, I have only myself to blame, because clearly the limit screw was off, and I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Fortunately nothing was damaged, and the rest of the ride was trouble-free:

Speaking of Jones, my LWB is the first version of the complete bike (that would be “V1”), and I see now that it’s up to V3. Most companies that sell complete bikes don’t go into much detail about the parts, especially on the lower-priced models. Maybe they’ll draw attention to something like the shifters because that’s what people are trained to look at when they shop (“This bike comes with XT instead of SLX so it must be better!”) but you don’t know anything about that unbranded hub or all that other stuff the typical consumer tends to overlook until it needs attention or you want to change the cassette. Jeff Jones on the other hand tells you everything–and I mean everything–about what he put on the bike and why:

“How thick are the plates on the chain?” is a question you probably weren’t asking, but he’s got you covered anyway:

I’ve never worked for a big bike company, but I’m guessing most of them haven’t personally tested a derailleur to destruction on a monster e-bike before deciding to put it on a complete bicycle:

The newest Jones completes also come with a choice of hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes, and as a fan of the latter who’s had to endure all sorts of “Mechanicals are insufficient to stop me and my awesomeness!” from Internet MTBros I appreciated his utterly pragmatic breakdown of the actual differences between the two system:

He also goes into all the detail you could possibly want on the differences between the complete bike and custom build frames:

Most bike companies fill their websites with syntactical cellulite about how a bike is “fast on flow and loves getting down on techy trails.” Yeah, but does it have a kickstand plate?

Speaking of the stuff on the latest Jones completes, it looks like 9-speed is the new 12-speed:

It’s amusing to see companies using marketing buzzwords and flashy websites to say what the harrumphers have been harrumphing all this time–not that it’s a bad thing. I’m glad some companies seem to be sticking to mechanical:

They call it a “manifesto,” I call it common sense:

The cable is dead, long live the cable.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: