Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Jeff Jones

I was lucky enough to have a brief time to speak to Jeff Jones and a brief ride of his latest incarnation of titanium rolling art. There has been a lot of chat on the forums with regard the beauty and geometry (and admittedly the price) of his bikes. Here are my thoughts.

The bike in question is a new design based on ultra low standover, ultra flexible in vertical plane and using extending chainstays to tension the chain. The seat angle is fairly lax as is the head angle, with a longer rake on that amazing truss fork. This keeps trail sorted. The chainstays are very short, comparable to 26 inch wheel length. All this gives a super agile bike, adept at lofting the front wheel over obstacles but retaining stability at speed. It's certainly a good way to butter the bread but requires a 'fuselage' approach with a lot of proprietary bits and bobs.

The ride: Admittedly this was a flip-flopped test, but I was left with the very certain impression I would like to try the bike for much longer over much rougher terrain. It handles like a bike. A good bike. The frame is super sweet and stiff to pedal but the amount of travel (if we can call it thus) is *amazing*. It really utilises the metal properties of Ti.

Construction: Top notch, beautiful welds, supreme attention to detail. Certainly as nice as my Seven, but a whole bunch more work involved. You really have to see it to appreciate how much work this thing took to construct.

Overall: Waiting list~? eep. In terms of aesthetics I love the swoopiness. I think I prefer a less pronounced version (see pic below) but then you wouldn't get the insane bump eating flex.

Jeff himself: A great geezer. Very knowledgeable and quite clearly in this for the love of it. A top notch rider too as you may glean if you spend any time on his website or reading others' thoughts.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Back in the saddle

Back from the U S of A. What a trip...

Started by driving through the near endless Forrest from Newark Airport to State college, stopping off at various wee places (including the Straub brewery - fantastic beer). Then took part in the random happenings and general lovely/reckless bike race that was the singlespeed worlds. Hooked up with great old friends and made lots of new ones. More on this episode later.

then to New York. A very pleasant time with visits to the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. The latter had such a sobering air. An atmosphere of loss, community, courage and optimisim which seems to have pulled the inhabitants of New York closer together. Really real, and really emotional.

Back out on the niner today after rolling around on my 26 inch wheel bike while USA side. 4 hours to get the legs working after the plane-crush acting as early prep for the Ruthin round of the Merida 100km race in 3 weeks.

All good. Will be returning to some of these items in more depth shortly. Soon.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Next stop, east coast USA

Welp, avoiding Heathrow is a boon as we jet off to Newark manana. The first leg of our trip to State College, PA for the singlespeed worlds. Hopefully will have a chance to update, meanwhile take 'er easy. Adios amigos for a short time...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Morning coffee

  • Is there anything like that first cup of coffee in the morning? Recently I have tried to make a point of sitting and savoring my first cup of coffee of the morning. Rich, dark, hot and stimulating. Sounds like a design for life. It certainly beats drinking a steaming mug on the fly whilst trying to focus on numerous unimportant tasks. I find it sets a good tempo for the day. Coffee and bicycles seem to go hand in hand, and I hope where ever you are, you have the opportunity to enjoy a good cup of Joe today. I so often dream of camping high in the mountains, climbing out of my tent and brewing up as the sun begins to evaporate the dew. Bliss.

Monday, August 08, 2005

What is it about....

Sloping top tubes? just lovely...


Happy Birthday Martin...Hope it is a great day ( I believe you are filming as an extra in the Obree film biopic) and a great year.

View from the tree line

Went for a ride today. Just a ride. Not a race, an expedition and there was no agenda other than to enjoy myself. Sometimes I am guilty of going for a ride 'in order to do something'. Either do a certain distance, perhaps as training or a certain route in order to try and connect up a loop I have been eying on a map. I have even been known to go and practice certain things, for example technical root riding in the wet, or fast narrow singletrack if I have avoided it for too long.

Today I just went for a bike ride.

It was splendid. I rode near Aberfoyle, a small town in the Trossachs of Scotland. It was super dry and dusty - my ideal riding conditions. I rode for (only) 2 and a half hours. It flew by. I stopped to look at Loch Drunkie which was dappled with sunlight. I stopped to look at the 3 Beinns visible all with bright green on their steep flanks. I never forced the pace and I tried to stop the competitive 'must go faster, further' urges.

I think I enjoyed myself.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Time to go

Welp. Time to pack the bike into its box and get ready for the trip to state college USA. There were some concerned looks from my wife about the fact its only a few days to go, and I always need to get something done at the last minute. I'm pretty fortunate in having a travel singlespeed bike. This is a steel frame which has s & s machine couplings in the top and down tube. This allows the frame to be split in two and the whole thing popped into a travel box. MUCH easier to portage and deal with in the airport, transfers and taxis.

If you are interested, check sandsmachine.com

Wednesday, August 03, 2005





Growing up?

A thought occurred to me today. Is it possible one's taste in bikes matures? If so how would that maturation be defined? If you look at m-w.com, mature is synonymous with "slow careful consideration" or having "completed natural growth and development".

Is this how one comes to singlespeed bicycles? The removal of unnecessary additions to the purity of the most efficient machine? 2 wheels 2 cogs and a chain. Where does it end? fixies? Rigid forks? Both?

Certainly it mirrors my development, but I s'pose in writing this I am hardly objective. It is, afterall, what I want to ride. Well, not fixed yet...

The other aspect to all this is appearances. Is there anything more beautiful than the unfettered appearance of a minimally adorned bicycle? Does it not hint at the grace of the machine and the rider and indeed the experience? Hopefully I cry!

Then again, the last definition for mature is "belonging to the middle portion of a cycle of erosion". Take from that what you will...

As part of my aesthetic maturation curved top tubes seem to be the thing for me at the moment. That and rigid forks. Very 'Bauhaus'. Will post a few pics lifted from various sites, mostly mtbr. If anyone is keen for me to delete em as I have not asked, I apologise and will do so on request...In the meantime ponder, consider, mull over and cogitate the beauty of a curved top tube...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Now recovered after the Selkirk Merida. I am beginning to wonder whether there is a place for a 100 mile race in the UK now. There are so many people who compete at 100 km and are really racing hard, that there must be the pool of riders capable of doing a 100 mile race. They are pretty popular in the States. Maybe I'll look into it myself. I have been wondering about doing something since the dust settled on the naegears/singlespeed euros. We'll see.

Today's coffee recommendation:Singletrack Deadline Blend from Hill & Valley. Nice a wee bit nutty and dark.