13 May 2015

(Review) Jones Titanium Rigid Adventure/Offroad Touring Bike with Rohloff Speedhub

We built this custom painted Jones Titanium Diamond frame with steel Unicrown fork for a customer in Silver City, NM. He already had a steel Jones bike, set up predominantly for on-road touring, so for this build he was interested in building up the Ti version into a hassle-free mixed terrain touring bike. He came to us because he was interested in using a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 for an unstoppable adventure touring drivetrain. We worked with him to select a build kit that would be comfortable, reliable, and keep the weight down as much as possible.

Jeff Jones designs rigid-specific bikes with unique geometry that is optimized to deliver a comfortable and responsive ride. The Diamond model borrows heavily from his Spaceframe geometry but uses a more traditional tube set to keep the cost within reach for more riders. Both frames share heavily manipulated seat and chainstays that are flattened through the center to provide a bit of vertical flex for improved comfort over rough terrain.

Jones is an avid single speed rider, so he uses an eccentric bottom bracket on his bikes to provide chain tension. This makes his frames friendly to internally geared drivetrains such as the Rohloff 14-speed gearhub, allowing the rear wheel to go in and out of the vertical dropouts easily without having to readjust chain tension or rear brake position.

Jones also dislikes the change in attitude that occurs on bikes with suspension when the brakes are applied or the slope of the terrain changes.  He therefor prefers rigid designs to keep the handling of the bike consistent in all conditions.  The rear end is built as short as possible to tuck the rear wheel in behind the curved seat tube and keep the steering quick and maneuverable.  His forks are designed to clear a 29+ or 26" fat bike tire to provide some front end squish in lieu of a suspension fork.  The forks also include eyelets for a low mount front rack should the rider want to carry more than bike packing bags will allow.

The Jones frame features combine to create bikes that are well suited for a wide variety of terrain and make excellent choices for bike packing.

For the front wheel, we laced a Schmidt SON 28 135mm dynamo hub to a Velocity Dually 45mm wide rim and wrapped it with a Surly Knard 29 x 3" tire. For the rear wheel, we laced the Rohloff Speedhub to a 35mm Velocity Blunt 35 rim and wrapped it with a 29 x 2.4" Maxxis Ardent tire, which made the best use of the available tire clearance in the frame.  This combination gave the bike as much cushion as possible while still remaining relatively fast rolling.

The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 offers a full range of planetary gears equivalent to a triple-chainring mountain derailleur drivetrain but uses a single ring and cog. Being sealed inside the rear hub, the gears are protected from the elements and run in an oil bath for a nearly maintenance-free setup that is a great choice for bike packing and touring.

We customized the build kit around the customers intended use, including installing a seat collar with threaded eyelets so a rear rack can also be mounted to the frame should he ever want to use one. This customer decided to go with Avid mechanical disc brakes since they are easy to set up and maintain. The Jones Loop bars are great for riders who want more space to mount lights, bells, GPS and other accessories along with the multiple hand positions that the long swept-back handles provide. The Brooks B-17 has long been one of the most popular choices for anyone putting in long miles, since it's suspended leather design allows it to flex, and the leather will form to the rider's unique sit bone profile over time. Cane Creek's Thudbuster suspension seat post provides a finishing touch for comfort.

Jones now offers a number of stock models that are priced to be more accessible for the average rider. Both the Diamond and Space frame models and Truss forks are available in titanium and steel. If you're interested in building up a bike around a Jones frameset, get in touch, and we'll be happy to walk you through the process.

Build Details:

• Frame: Jones Diamond Titanium (Custom Painted)
• Fork: Jones Unicrown Steel
• Headset: Chris King 1 1/8" NoThreadset
• Stem: Thomson Elite X4
• Handlebar: Jones Loop H-Bar
• Shifter: Rohloff Twist Shifter
• Grips: Ergon GC1
• Seat post: Cane Creek Thudbuster Suspension
• Saddle: Brooks B17
• Seat Clamp: Salsa Rack Lock
• Front Hub: Schmidt SON 28 135mm
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim Race
• Nipples: Sapim Brass 
• Rims: Velocity Dually front/Blunt 35 rear
• Tires: Surly Knard 29 x 3" front/Maxxis Ardent 29 x 2.4" rear
• Cranks: Race Face Turbine
• Pedals: MKS/Rivendell Grip King
• Bottom Bracket: Race Face X-type
• Chain ring: Profile Racing
• Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
• Chain: Wipperman Connex 7R8
• Brakes & Levers: Avid BB-7 MTN
• Rotors: Magura Storm

05 April 2015

Fits By Paul City Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14

We assembled this striking commuter bike for a local customer named Paul, who runs a bike fitting business called Fits by Paul in Marin County. He is an accomplished road rider and works with his customers to fine tune the fit of their road bikes for comfort and to prevent injuries while riding. For the times when he’s not riding his road bike, he wanted something more casual that was also trouble-free for riding around town. As a first for us, the customer built the frame himself while attending a bicycle frame building course.  After the frame came back from the painter, he brought it to us with some of the parts, and we helped him plan out the rest of the build centered around a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub. We supplied the missing parts, built the wheels, and assembled everything into a complete bicycle.

06 March 2015

Surly Troll with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Schmidt Dynamo

We built this eye-catching purple Surly Troll for a local customer who wanted a bike for daily commuting and long-distance touring. He asked us to build it up with versatility and ergonomics being the primary concern. With Surly's nearly indestructible steel frame, a worry-free Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14Schmidt dynamo front hub, dynamo-powered head light with USB charger, and a pair of steel Tubus racks, this bike is ready to serve as a reliable transporter for many years.

The Surly Troll frames are a trusted choice proven on many different kinds of terrain. From commuting to mountain biking to mixed terrain touring – the Troll is an easy choice for versatile builds based around 26 inch wheels. Like all of Surly’s frames, it features sturdy 4130 chromoly steel tubing to ensure longevity even under the harshest of conditions. It includes gussets on the key tube junctions where frames tend to fail - where the seat tube meets the top tube and where the top and down tubes meet the headtube. Troll frames also offers a full array of threaded mounts for racks, water bottle cages, fenders, and Surly's trailer, making them adaptable to satisfy any rider's needs, no matter how they intend to use it.

28 February 2015

Budnitz No.3 Titanium City Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Belt Drive

We built this Budnitz NO. 3 titanium bike for a customer in Southern California who was looking for the perfect all-purpose bike to get around town and to potentially do some long distance rides. He wanted a bike for exploring his neighborhood, riding nearby trails and bike paths, taking out on fitness rides, and eventually working his way up to a self supported transcontinental tour. Most of all, he wanted a bike that would be comfortable, lightweight, and stylish - an all-arounder that would last him a lifetime and rarely need service. His goal was to simply take off on a ride whenever he felt like it, so the build focuses around the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub and Gates Carbon Drive belt system.

21 November 2014

Co-Motion Americano Touring Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and belt drive

This Co-Motion Americano was displayed in our booth at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) last March in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is equipped with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates belt drive, as well as a full compliment of racks and panniers for loaded touring. Co-Motion Cycles – a company who specializes in building bikes for touring, commuting, tandems, and other unique bikes at their factory in Eugene, Oregon – lent us this bike to showcase an example of a fully loaded touring bike equipped with a SPEEDHUB. It attracted plenty of attention among show attendees; a crowd made up of handmade bike aficionados, many of whom travel from all over the world for a chance to see these bikes in person.