Monday, May 27, 2013

Jones H Bar Review

I have been riding the Jones H bar for about 3 months now and I think I will give an initial review.  I have to say that I think it is fantabulous.    I have logged several hundred miles with the handlebar.  No tours as of yet, so I will have to update once I have taken it out fully loaded.  I have ridden it for a long ride of over 7 hours, and in a variety of conditions including paved road, gravel and dirt roads and single track.

I have a personal mechanic (Josh), who put it on my Salsa Fargo small frame.  The bike is actually designed for a drop bar and has shorter top tube than a standard MTB.  I had to go with a 90 mm stem.  I am pretty short at only 5'4".  The backsweep of the bar makes it important to take your time fitting a proper stem length depending on your frame design.  On a standard mountain bike with a longer top tube I do not think this would be an issue at all.  To complete the set up I added Grip Shift Attack 9 speed shifters and Paul Love Lever 2.5 brake levers.  I also put on  Ergon GP1 short grips.  I wrapped the bar in some beautiful green Salsa cork tape.

Once set up it was time to ride.  Being a smaller rider I was a bit concerned about riding a 29er.   The H bar is nice and wide, 660 mm wide at the widest.  I find the wide bar gives me lots of control and leverage to crank up hills and descend in tight corners on technical single track.  The bar has lots of hand positions but I noticed that on more technical types of terrain I spend most of the time with my hands in the widest position on the Ergon grips at the ends of the bar.  This position gives the most control.    On smoother or flatter sections I like to take advantage of all the other positions.  I can stretch out my hands and fingers in the loop or ride in an almost aero position on the front of the loop.  The front position is also great for stretching out your back.

The super snazzy loop shape also is great for attaching all your bike gizmos to the bar.  So far I have only my computer on the bike but even with my front bedroll attached I still have plenty of space for aero bars, gps, lights and what have you.

The drawbacks of the bars are that they are a little bit on the portly side at 502 gm according to the Jones website.  I think the weight reflects the durability of the bar.  It seems to be extremely well made with nice smooth welds and feels like it will never break.  I don't notice the extra weight while riding.  The other potential drawback is the sweep of the bar leaves your brake levers a bit exposed during a crash.  I purposely left the levers a bit loose so they move rather than bend in a fall.  So far have only fallen on soft mud (knock wood), but the arrangement worked well and the lever moved but no damage done.

All in all I would highly recommend this bar to anyone looking for a mountain bike bar with lots of hand positions and space to hang all your doodads and gear.   In fact it is the only bar so far that has actually tempted Josh to consider changing out his beloved Salsa Woodchipper drop bar.   I am excited to take it on a tour in a couple of weeks and see how it fares in the long haul.  Will keep you posted.


I have now gone on a tour with this bar and I love it!   We rode from Ovando, Mt to Helena and back, then up to Seeley Lake on the Great Divide route and other roads.   I did put on aerobars, but really I think they are overkill unless you are doing a whole bunch of riding on flat roads.  I hardly used them.

I attached my front roll with the Revelate Sling.  I won't be using the sling again as I found that it works just as well to use the Revelate pocket and straps around the Jones Bar.  The bike handled well with the load on the bar and it did not get in my way.

I didn't have any numb hands, cramps or back pain.  I stretched my fingers, my electronics were all attached and stayed that way.  I crashed in the mud and rocks on the top of the Great Divide and my brake levers stayed intact.  Overall I am super happy with the bar and plan to keep using it.

Update 7/30/2014:

Valerie Completed the 2014 Tour Divide race with her Jones Loop H-bar in a finishing time of 27 days and several hours.  The 3rd place female finisher of the Grand Depart.  Bravo Valerie!  The Jones bar continues to be a perfect match for her Salsa Fargo.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Bear Song

So I have developed a bear song to repel bears while I ride my bicycle through the woods.  I am not sure that the song in itself is repellant but my voice certainly is.  The song is also good for passing time on the bike as I can't usually remember all the words and have to make up new ones as I go.

Here is the basic song.  You should adjust it to fit your own bike and situation.  I yell the lines in capitals.   Make up your own tune.  I usually sing out of tune

You are a very big bear ...BIG BEAR!
I think its not very fair ...NOT FAIR!  (Continue repeating the last two words of each line by yelling them through the rest of the song)

I am real small and real tough
I think you'll find me quite rough

My bike is made out of steel..
I know you'll not like the feel

Of biting down on the frame
You'll only have you to blame

When you break all of your teeth
It will cause you so much grief.

I have some pepper bear spray
You'd better just stay far away

So thanks for letting me through
And I won't be bothering you.

I have seen about four bears while riding my bike; all been black bears.  No grizzlies yet,  I think it will work, however as I have seen grizzly tracks, but no bears while singing.  During our Tour Divide Tour I sang this song very loudly while going up and down Richmond Peak.

I know there were bears in the area as we saw the tracks and also the trigger safety from someone's bear spray.  Josh swears he smelled pepper and he was sneezing a lot.

I am also afraid of cows on my bike.  We had a mean heifer when I was a kid.  She liked to kick and butt people.  I am working on a cow song.  Will consider posting it when finished.