Jeff Jones has been innovative for years.
Initially, I remember seeing his fat front 29ers with the truss fork show up for the first time on trails in San Diego over half a decade ago. I was wildly intrigued. Running a slightly wider tire up front always made sense to me, but a FAT tire up front on a rigid 29er? Interesting. Fast forward a couple years and I finally purchased a 29er. I ran 2.4 inch tires on that rigid singlespeed to get the maximum volume, cushion, and traction possible. It worked very well for my purposes. I kept experimenting with tires, stems, and handlebars in an attempt to balance comfort, handling, and efficiency. Meanwhile, I was watching Surly and Jones Bikes release their 29+ bikes. 29×3 inch tires. Those were much bigger than the 2.4 inch tires that I was running. 2.4 inch 29er tires were the biggest that the industry made prior to the Surly Knard. I wondered about the ride quality. How would it compare? What wheels would I need for tires like those? What frame and fork? My biggest question was “How can I test this platform without jumping all in and investing thousands, just to find that it isn’t for me?”
Well, fast forward again and I am currently riding a 29er with a 29×3.0 up front and a 29×2.4 on the rear. I am very pleased. I have ridden many bikes now with 29×3 front and rear and can say with assurance that a bike with ability to run plus sized tires front and rear will be in my future. The geometry of the available plus bikes, however, will likely be the biggest factor in which bike I end up with however. What I like about what Jeff Jones is doing is that he doesn’t wait for the market to tell him what will sell. He makes bikes for himself and they are different. On one hand, there is a chance that they could be made only for him and not work for anyone else’s body nor riding style. On the other hand, he could be making bikes that work better for many other people besides him and allow for riding styles of the people who buy them to improve, change, and have access to better comfort, handling and efficiency.
In this blog post, Jeff talks about his Jones Plus bike, how it came to be, why he designed it so differently than a normal 29er and even very differently than the standard 29 plus bike, the Surly Krampus.
One thing i know for sure, Jeff is right about a lot of things from what I have experienced over the last 5 or so years. Take a look at the video below where he discusses and rides his bikes. One thing he mentions is, most riders don’t need suspension for what they are riding. I absolutely agree.
Let me know how you agree or disagree with him in the comments below.