Jones’n for a ride

Diamond in the rough

Jeff Jones’ Steel Diamond bike.

The first wave of the Oregon invasion has landed: a Jones Steel Diamond.

Got the big-wheeled bugger yesterday and we’ve taken two short get-acquainted rides; call it two hours total.

As usual, I can’t say much before the paying customers get theirs, but I will tell you it’s an eye-grabber. A neighbor snatched it away from me at the end of today’s ride and went for his own short roll-around.

Tell you something else. With those wheels and tires you don’t much care what gets in your way, whether it’s a pothole in the pavement or a Prius in the bike lane. Pretty much everything just got demoted to speed-bump status.

Have a look around Jeff’s website for more on his bikes and related goodies.

28 Responses to “Jones’n for a ride”

  1. BruceM Says:

    Hummm … Seems I’ve seen tires that big here on the Manzanita beach! Now, where’s my checkbook?

  2. Derek Lenahan Says:

    I have been riding a pair of his original bars for years. YES.

  3. Steve O Says:

    But you just had to spray paint the evil Pac-man ghost on the picnic shelter, didn’t you?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m not the only scribbler in Bibleburg, y’know. Sheesh. Every time some miscreant tags a bit of public property around here my name is first on everyone’s list. …

  4. Larry T. Says:

    Well, it looks….well….odd. …Is that good? I really dislike sloping top tubes in general for aesthetic reasons, among others. What is this thing for?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Have a look around his website, Larry. Jeff isn’t just making it up as he goes along — he has specific ideas in mind as regards his designs.

    • Larry T. Says:

      Took at look there OG. Sorry, just can’t get past the “flagpole” seatpost idea. I know all the reasons the sloping top tube design is “superior”…but a whole lot of the thing for me is looks (OK, call me me shallow)…and these things don’t do much for me in that area. Was thinking the same thing while watching Amstel Gold Race yesterday – another case where beauty and efficiency may not go together. I’ll take a good looking bike over one that’s lighter or vertically compliant but laterally stiff, etc. pretty much every time. Jones may make great bicycles, they’re just not very pretty to me…that is all.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        I have the same feeling when I looked at a lot of the BMWs on the dealer lot last year. They looked huge, bulbous, and….just weird, and anything but elegant–kinda like many modern bicycles.

        I’m still of the opinion that the simple lines of the bikes of 30 years ago (with and without motors) were nicer, even if the new ones are faster, more efficient, smoother, etc., etc. Can’s someone build a little of both into it?

        For example, I’m not convinced that anyone needs 1600cc and 160 HP to tour on a 750 lb motorcycle, but it sure is easier to get one of those megabeasts wrapped around a Ponderosa pine, as a work buddy of mine found out. Time for a return to elegance and simplicity.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Fit is the most important thing to me. Elegant heat treated steel and lugs cranks my aesthetic motor, but if the cockpit length is too long, and can’t be corrected by a stem or seat post change, then it is worthless to me. I wished I would have bought a Yamaha SR500 when they made them. Our local shop owner has one in his collection but won’t sell it.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I, too, prefer the look of the “traditional” diamond-frame two-wheeler. But I’m not opposed to a weirdo now and then. Remember, the skeptics told the Wright Brothers, “You’ll never get that bicycle off the ground.” And they didn’t. But they did OK with the plane.

        On brief acquaintance the Jones reminds me to some degree of the bike I ride the most, my Voodoo Nakisi, which is another oddball — a 29er designed around drop bars with a flagpole stem, triple-chainring compact road drive, cantilevers, bar-cons and 700×43 Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Road rubber.

        Sure, it looks strange, but it’s a whole lot of fun to ride. As for the Jones, it’s early days yet, and I haven’t put off-road rubber on, but our first short outings have been enjoyable.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Given that I am 5′ 6″ with a 30 inseam (if I am stretching), a little bit of sloping top tube works well for me. It provides me a little more flexibility in frame size without having problem with standover clearance or top tube length.

        The Six-thirteen has about a 1-2 cm slope and the Salsa LaCruz a little bit more than that. Both end up, in my case, without a lot of seat mast showing but with enough steerer tube that I am not running a 30 degree stem on top of a pile of spacers in order to keep my bad back comfortable. For example:

      • Larry T. Says:

        BMW motorcycles? Ugly. They look like dragonfiles on wheels to me. But ugly doesn’t stop sales as the ghastly Ducati Diavel is supposedly their top seller and I’m sure the ugly Porsche SUV thing outsells their sexy-looking sports cars too. In the end I’m far from the demographic who’d be interested in these Jones things anyway….last bicycle I bought was made about a decade ago though I bought it new only two years ago.

      • khal spencer Says:

        The guy who works on my bike, Marc Beyer of OCD Custom Cycles and Repair in Santa Fe, works on a lot of classic bikes. He recently had a ’40’s vintage Moto Guzzi on display as well as several sixties era BMWs (an R50, R60, R60US, and an R69S) all in nice condition. The new ones do look like dragonflies on wheels.

        When Porsche reorganized and got out of top level racing in favor of building overweight 911s and ponderous SUVs, I knew it was time to bail out on that brand.

  5. Khal Spencer Says:

    Looks like it would be a great commuter down on some of the crap pavement in Santa Fe.

  6. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Is the saddle to crankset geometry normal? Maybe the bent seat tube is playing tricks on my eyes.

  7. David Rees Says:

    I think Larry is being kind. To my eye it’s hideous, but if it works for it’s intended purpose, it doesn’t make any difference. How do you like the disc brakes Patrick?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      David, I’m coming to terms with disc brakes (mainly because I don’t have any choice). Patrick O’Brien is more familiar with the ins and outs of the Avid BB7s than I am, if memory serves; they seem to be the ones getting the most spec.

      A tech-editor pal raves about the Shimano discs. I kinda liked the Hayes CX5s that were on the Kona Rove. But it still seems to my uneducated mind that we’re adding complexity and expense for a negligible improvement in braking.

      Meanwhile, if you want to talk about something that’s startling to the eye, check out what SRAM has planned for us. Good gravy. They’ve gone after the bloody road calipers now too.

      • khal spencer Says:

        BB7s are nice brakes. I’ve got a set on the LaCruz and they are very easy to control and I prefer not to be grinding off my rims when stopping on long downhills. Plus, I can go for long periods of time without making minor truing adjustments on the rims without having it affect braking.

        Main down side is on my LaCruz, its a PIA to rig up fenders and racks around the caliper attachment hardware on the front fork and seat stays.

  8. Ira Says:

    I had a KHS Aero many years ago that sported a curved seat tube. It made for a slightly rougher ride and faster rear tire wear because the saddle was almost directly over the rear axle. And I also found the chain needed to be replaced sooner than most, because the short chain stays caused some fairly sharp angles when cross chaining. On the plus side, the bike handled pretty well, you could practically turn circles between parked cars.

  9. khal spencer Says:

    I imagine form follows function here, though. To make room for those huge 700c tires, I suspect they needed to wrap the seat tube around them. A straight tube would either result in less tire clearance or a really shallow seat tube angle. I’m not fond of the massive, industrial look and feel, but if I needed a massive, industrial bicycle for a specific purpose this could be it.

    We had a good friend, the late Hilde Kautsky-Cherry (yes, THAT Kautsky family; Karl was her grandfather) who retired to Eugene and as a progressive/socialist, she was a good friend of utility bike builder Jan VanderTuin of Center for Appropriate Transport ( Hilde introduced me to Jan when we were on vacation one year and I was impressed with his vision and he lent me a nifty, short-wheelbase recumbent to ride while we were staying in Eugene. Jan designs human powered vehicles around specific purposes. If one asserts that human power, coupled with wheels and sprokets, can make this a better world, form does follow function, even if it doesn’t look like an Eisentraut.

  10. Larry T. Says:

    If anyone doubts where I’m coming from, this will explain it
    so good I posted this link on the CycleItalia blog.

  11. khal spencer Says:

    Bad news from Boston.

  12. Tim Joe Says:

    It looks like a purpose-built bike. Lose the mud-guards and put on a set of woodchippers and hack out some single track. I would.

    I think anybody making a living off bicycles deserves a standing ovation. Anybody, mr Jones included.

    Am I the contrarian on this site? God, I hope not. I seem to be doing that, though. But I gotta tell ya, bicycles are my life. Total immersion. So…


    There’s also beer. tj

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jeez, what would a contrarian on a site full of ’em even look like? Scary, I bet.

      Since I’m writing for a touring audience I’ll probably spend the bulk of my time on the Jones doing roadie kinds of things, with racks and bags and what have you (he was even nice enough to include a full complement of waterproof Ortlieb panniers for evaluation purposes).

      But I also want to slap a set of WTB 29×2.1 Nanos on it, or maybe the Panaracer 700x45s, and go scooting around the single-track in Palmer and Bear Creek parks. Just ’cause, like, you know, I can an’ stuff.

  13. Futon river crossing Says:

    It would be a shame if you’re Jones never saw any dirt! I’ve had my Jones for 4 years, and whilst it’s fine on the road, off road is where this bike is intended. Build up a spare set of wheels or two, BIG RUBBER is needed and some wide rims too. Some 50mm rims with large volume tyres, a 3″ Surly Knard up front and 2.4” on the back. Wide rims will enable you to run really low pressures, in the region of 12 to 15psi. Also, a 4.8″ ,at 8psi or so, FAT front tyre is really something else!

  14. James Johnsen Says:

    Bought a Jones Diamond frame with unicrown fork about 4 months ago. Super affordable. All I can say it’s the finest riding bike I have ever owned. I have owned many frames including a Yamaguchi. If you decide to buy a frameset, also buy his bars and have him build you a set of wheels. The bars complete the super comfortable position on the bike. Jeff definetly knows what he is doing. Take his advice on rim choice, wider is better. Velocity P35 is a good place to start. The unicrown fork has a built in crown race and excepts a 135mm front hub for a super strong front wheel. Not regrets here

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