Trail mix

Is it a patio or a pool? This morning it’s a little bit of both.

Drop bars stayed off the menu this week.

After savoring a Jones SWB on the rocks both Tuesday and Wednesday, I broke out my own Jones on Thursday for purposes of comparison.

The SWB is a 27.5+ bike, with a 1×10 Deore/Zoom drivetrain and 3-inch Maxxis Chronicle rubber, while mine is a 29er that rolls with 10-speed, triple-ring XT and 2.4-inch Maxxis Ardents.

The Jones SWB and Your Humble Narrator enjoy a rare shady section of Trail 365.

I’d be happy with either of ’em given our trail conditions. The SWB serves up a bit more flotation in deep sand and over rough stuff with its 50mm rims and 3-inch squishies, but my 29er sort of expands my practice of riding rigid steel cyclocross bikes everywhere. On the Jones I can just gorilla my way over obstacles I have to finesse on a Steelman.

The triple drivetrain gives me a lower low end for the steep bits, too.

Yesterday, just ’cause I could, I pulled down the 1995 DBR Axis TT hardtail and took that out for a spin. This shout out to days gone by rolls on 26×2.0 Hutchinson Pythons, sports an 8-speed, triple-ring, twist-shifter XT/Sachs/GripShift drivetrain, and is the only rim-brake bike of the three (XT linear pulls).

The lads at Sandia Cycles resolved some irksome headset and braking issues for me a while back and the old beast proved surprisingly fun to ride. After a while I remembered that I had a suspension fork and quit trying to tiptoe around things, but the rear wheel wanted to hold onto rocks after the rest of the bike was done with them.

Today is looking like a day for running, or even staying indoors. The skies erupted sometime around stupid-thirty this morning — the full rooster, with thunder, lightning and rain — and at the moment they’re still blacker than six yards up Satan’s colon.

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20 Responses to “Trail mix”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I looked at your NWS forecast this morning. It said a 30% chance of rain. Then I looked at the radar and saw the green, red, and yellow blob heading your way. Guess that 30% wasn’t quite right.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Drop bar bikes on dirt? Who knew?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Steve Frothingham at BRAIN is restoring an MB-1, trying to unearth as many original bits as he can. Sounds like a fun project.

      I never owned a Bridgestone, which was a serious oversight on my part.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Those Bridgestones were nice. I had a cobalt blue MB-2 back in Honolulu, which I donated to a “bikes for the poor” program after getting a slightly nicer Trek mountain bike back in the day. The MB-2 had all Suntour parts, which probably would make the bits incompatible with Steve’s MB-1. Straight out of grad school poverty and looking at looming school loan paybacks and Honolulu rents, I could not afford an MB1 in 1988. Even though that’s what I really wanted.

        One problem with the MB-2 was it had tall gears for a mountainbike, at least with me providing the horsepower, or lack thereof. I think it had a 46-36-26 or some such up front with a 26 low cog in arrears. My riding buddy was a Ph.D. student who was a natural athlete and I was swamped with work as a new Geology Dept. hire. My buddy, Steve, used to clean my clock on mountain rides up on the Windward side in the Koolaus. Shit, he cleaned my clock whenever we rode, come to think of it.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hm, in 1988 I was riding mostly Treks, I think. Broke the drive-side dropout on an alloy 1200 and got upgraded to a 1500 via warranty; had an ugly-ass, whippy purple-and-yellow 1985 560 for backup; and an 830 Antelope (1986, mebbe?) for a mountain bike. 46/36/26 and 14-32 on the latter, which probably would’ve been OK if I’d had the foggiest idea of how to ride off-road (I didn’t).

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        The biggest improvement from mydrop bar version to the one B-stone did was the rear brake. I always hated that stupid under-the-chain-stay idea and they ditched it the year after I bought mine.
        OTOH, once I had a bouncy front fork I didn’t want to ride a rigid one anymore – proven when my first one failed and while waiting for replacement I bolted the original rigid fork back on – UGHHH!!!

    • Hurben Says:

      Yesterday, at the local community Bike Kitchen where I volunteer as a mechanic, a gentleman walked in & donated a mint Trek 830 that he purchased in the States 30 years ago.

      Still had the weird arsed reversed brake levers, (I.E. front on the left), I am probably going to try buy it.

      Fathers day downunder although I’m still waiting for a call from my errant daughter in Australia.

      • Hurben Says:

        Just phoned, alll good.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        What year is the 830, Hurben? I got so mad at mine while trying and failing to climb a loose hill outside of Española that I dragged it to the summit and then threw it into the arroyo on the downhill side.

        Just as it left my hands I remembered I had to ride the thing home. Oopsie.

        I still have several bikes, mostly cyclocross models, with a proper brake-lever arrangement. The others are Yank style.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          That used to be “Italian style” and my wife still insists on it, but bikes sold in Italy nowadays are set up like most of the rest of the world – they even have lawyer lips!
          They say as an ex-moto guy I should prefer that, but it was never an issue since bicycles don’t have a clutch lever.
          We had a couple of journalist/reviewers at Piedmont Cycling Resort last month who turned out to be Aussies – I offered to swap the brakes around for them on the test bikes we provided, but they were OK with the “weird arsed” setup. Perhaps when you’re riding on what (for you) is the wrong side of the road anyway it doesn’t matter much?

        • Herb from Michigan Says:

          Heh heh….several bikes indeed. It would take 3 days to just air the tires of your fleet. But in your defense by God they’s all get ridden out of the corral now and then. Not a stone pony in the stable.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            He’s got all those bikes for these three reasons:
            He can’t bear to sell one.
            He tests bikes for a living and so is constantly tempted to add another to the fleet. It’s an occupational hazard.
            The voices in his head, and there are many, tell him to buy more.
            So, you now see, it his not his fault.

        • Hurben Says:

          I’d put it as mid 80s. Has first generation cantilevers & shimano friction thumb shifters. 5 speed cassette & brake levers that would not have looked out of place on any of my Motocross bikes of the same era.

          It came with the original owners manual but annoyingly Trek did not put a print date in it.

    • Shawn Says:

      I recall a hearty XC Ski racer, wilderness adventure racer and a darn good friend that used to show up at our races in Fairbanks, AK in the 90’s. He had acquired an MB zip that had a broken chainstay that he continued to take to a welding shop for periodic repair. Both bike and good friend (Andy Stearns) were / are tough souls.

      Myself, I still ride 8-speed 26″ wheel rigs because my budget is now, and has been for quite some time, limited. I keep them rolling and enjoy the hell out of them. Although the arms get pretty stiff after a lengthy 35 mile ride. As for gearing, I’m a Pantani-ish kind of rider and prefer my 24-36-48 rings with a 30 rear cassette. I can ride most trails that I like and then scream home on the pavement with the 48-11. I do have another 8-speed hardtail with a SID fork and first generation stealth XTR. I really enjoy it. One of these days when my old jalopy becomes a valuable classic car, I’ll sell it and upgrade to a cushiony 27-fiver and find out why I wasn’t able to keep up with the pack when bombing downhills…..

      Or, I might just pick up one of them thar electric critters like the one I was drafting off of going up one of our local climbs….Well, the drafting part was a limited 60 second adventure at about 18 mph when I normally pull the climb at 13mph. Jeesh !

  3. mooremediaone Says:

    Hi Patrick, I took a look at both those Jones links you provided – the new SWB and the older City & Touring. Great looking, both of them.

    It’s really nice to see someone designing tough bikes without a front shock – keeping the entire frame more simple and practical.

    I can attest that such a frame for off road riding is indeed a blast, since I’ve been doing it with ye old B’stone mb4 with a pair of 2.3 knobs stuffed underneath. Not perfect, but such a fun rude.

    But with either of those Jones, they both provide nice modern goodies that seem to add more comfort, tire size, attachment points and so on.

    Seriously considering this as my next n +1 🙂 But I’m going to wait until Grant P introduces his first mountain bike coming up in a month or so. Guaranteed not to have a front shock either.

    Happy trails,
    ~doug moore

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Doug, Jeff Jones is a bear for the details. He goes waaaaay down into the weeds, trying to figure out ways to make a better bike.

      That said, so does Grant the P. I’m very much looking forward to seeing his latest project.

  4. Mark Rothschild Says:

    …Donny’s… Imaginary WALL

  5. Carl Duellman Says:

    ‘six yards up satan’s colon’ is my new band’s name.

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