The 3D Spaceframe is a gleaming spaceship of a bike. Gracefully flowing lines that hide their real purposes, clean and unfettered with loud graphics. But would it ride as well as everyone was telling me? Iâ€™m not a connoisseur of bikes like the rest of the Dirt Rag team, so I wasnâ€™t sure Jeffâ€™s re-engineering would make any difference to a less experienced rider.
Justin, Karen, Eric and Jeff had taken off on their own in the park to put their Jones prototypes through their paces, leaving me to a secluded ride on the Spaceframe â€œFat Frontâ€ set-up. Under the canopy of the trees in Hartwood Acres, the sun seemed less intimidating and a breeze wandered through the woods on occasion to keep things cool. At my leisure, I was able to experiment with the bikeâ€™s new geometry and try it out on familiar singletrack as well as a newly discovered trail that wiggled off through the trees into an open meadow and up and down the banks along our resident creek.
It took only a bit of warm up on the trail before I started feeling right at home on the bike. I canâ€™t say that the Spaceframe instantly made me a better rider, but it was easy to adapt my riding style to the new specifications. That alone speaks volumes for the frame design. So many adjustments and re-engineering, but you just donâ€™t feel it. It all works together and makes for a better ride. In the end, I even found myself willing to be a bit more daring on descents and larger obstacles thanks to the large Surly Endomorph tire on the front.
Jeff has also extended his redesign beyond the frame and the bike I rode had a few different accessories worth mentioning.
The set-up on the Spaceframe included a simple thumbshifter system. You flick the lever on your right handlebar up or down. Up for uphillâ€”low gear, or downâ€”high gear, for downhill. Flicking down was a little tricky at first, but much easier on my artsy left brain than the traditional gears that require all the two-lever stuff.
I was also running with only six gears and you might think that would limit performance on steep climbs, but the gears I did have served well enough and I didnâ€™t miss the extra rings. This again has something to do with the bike geometry and the riderâ€™s position in the saddle. Hereâ€™s a link to more details for you gear heads. I’m just as happy to call it magic.
The handlebars are a Jeff Jones creation as well with the handlebar sweep bringing your hands and arms in closer to your body. It felt slightly odd for about two seconds. After that, my only other thought was how sturdy I felt standing on my pedals and balancing on them.
Some lucky Dirt Rag staff member will have the chance to test ride one of these Jeff Jones bikes so look for more detailed review in the future. From experience, I can say that this bike is easy to ride and a real pleasure as well, no matter your skill level. Itâ€™s definitely going on my wish list.
For more information on Jeff Jones and his frames check out the latest issue of Dirt Rag (#136) and this interview from issue #105.
More on Jeff Jones
We’ve written quite a bit about Jones and his bikes through the years. Here’s a quick recap:
Karen’s first impression of his titanium SpaceFrame
Karen’s full review of the titanium SpaceFrame (from Issue #141)
Our Industry Insider interview from 2010
Another interview from 2004 (Issue #105)
Justin’s first impressions of the steel diamond frame in touring mode
Justin’s first impression of the fat front truss fork
A look at Jones’ Taiwanese-made steel SpaceFrame