When I heard there was a possible chance to test the Jones Plus LWB Complete Bike through Fat-Bike.com, I was immediately interested. First, I was interested because I have only personally seen a few Jones bikes. Secondly, I have known of a few folks who made the switch to the Jones H-bars, in recent years and I thought that was a radical change, seeing how different they are from traditional mountain bike and drop bars. Lastly, I was interested because who wouldn’t want to ride a new bike, for a while?
The first step in the process of testing the Jones Plus LWB was to talk to the man himself, Jeff Jones. Talking to Jeff helped determine the proper sizing and tire choice for my height and riding style. After exchanging a few emails and a 30 minute phone call with Jeff, I had a size large, shiny red Jones 29 plus, knobby-tired, complete bike, in a box and on the way.
When the bike arrived it was quick and easy to set up. The drivetrain was adjusted spot on, right out of the box. All I needed to do was adjust the brakes and position the H-bars. To properly position the H-bars, Jones sends a set of clear instructions, to ensure a proper and comfortable set up. I also removed the tubes and set the tires up tubeless, when the bike arrived.
I chose to go with a knobby tire versus the slick tire option, as most of my riding takes place on gravel or dirt. The Jones Plus LWB comes stock with Vee Tire Company’s 29 x 3.0 T-fatty tire. The T-fatty was the easiest tubeless conversion I have ever experienced. The tires went on the Jones specced 50 mm rims by hand and I was able to set the bead with a standard floor pump, without any leaking or sealant seeping out. The rim and tire pairing performed great in all conditions, with some small PSI adjustments. I had no problem running the tires on pavement, gravel, or dirt.
The body positioning on the bike was upright and very comfortable. The Jones Plus LWB is definitely designed to be easy on the body. Originally, I was reminded of a beach cruiser or that I needed to get a paper route with the old school, upright, look. Don’t let the relaxed look fool you though. The Jones Plus LWB performed awesomely on a variety of terrain, including the rough and twisty singletrack, here in Teton Valley.
My favorite type of riding on the Jones LWB was riding on gravel roads and double track. The long-wheelbase combined with proper PSI adjustment in the tires, smoothed out a lot of chatter and small vibrations. When you add additional weight to the bike it smooths things out even more.
To my surprise, my second favorite type of riding on the Jones LWB was on pavement, streets, and pathways. The Jones Plus LWB seemed to cruise along effortlessly and keep a fast rolling speed, on this surface. I found myself using the Jones Plus LWB on a daily basis to run errands, go to the store or to the post office, instead of hopping in the car, as I usually might do.
The Jones Plus LWB would be easy to overload, with its huge variety of front and rear rack options, and mounting options for bottle cages and larger 3-bolt cage mounts. The only place that I felt mounts were missing was on the seat tube.
The Jones H-bar was something I was greatly skeptical about. This judgment was based entirely off the look of the H-bars. To my surprise, the H-bars were very comfortable and more importantly, they felt solid and stable. I never felt out of control and I never experienced arm fatigue or hand issues, as I have over the last several years, riding.
I liked the drivetrain and gear ratio on the Jones Plus LWB. I run the same gearing on my personal bike. If I were to use the Jones LWB for a daily commute, I would possibly think about adding an extra tooth or two upfront.
The one thing I wasn’t crazy about with the drivetrain was the 170mm cranks. I felt like they were a bit short for a larger bike. Like all other components on the Jones Plus LWB , the crank is specced by Jeff Jones, for specific reasons. The crank is specced at 170 mm so that one can have a lower bottom bracket and achieving a lower center of gravity without having to worry about crank strikes. Additionally, a shorter crank is easier on the knees, as your knees don’t bend as much. Also with today’s lower gear ratios, a longer crank is not necessary.
The Jones Plus LWB has Tektro mechanical brakes. They worked well overall. I did notice on long descents, the brakes started to squeal, when the rotors got hotter. I tried cleaning the rotors to address it, but I was never able to fully resolve this issue.
I really wish I had been able to take the Jones Plus LWB on a multi-week adventure. This bike is definitely made for long days in the saddle. Without a doubt, it can carry a load. If given the choice I would choose the Jones Plus LWB over my drop bar mountain bike for any type of riding. Overall, I thought this was a great bike and I really enjoyed the time I had with it. One of the best things about the Jones Plus LWB that I did not mention previously, is the price. At just over $2000.00 you get a bike capable of taking on a great variety of riding, from multi-day adventures to your daily commute and anything in between.