It’s hard to take compliments sometimes.
It’s even harder to go about sharing those compliments with the world.
But when we get a letter like this, and then get kindly coerced to make it public, we have no choice but to share it.
We posted recently about a special Jones build we were working on. You can read about it here. Howard came in and picked up his custom Ti Jones Diamond Truss complete yesterday and he wanted the world to read this letter:
Tobie, Thank you for orchestrating a spectacular bike build, Thank you for actualizing and surpassing a 28 year dream of what I thought a touring bike should be in 1987. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to associate with such phenomenal talent on a project like this and in the end be the one possessing this work of art.
Louis H. Sullivan one of the most influential architects of the nineteenth/twentieth century taught the concept of “Form ever follows function” to his protégé Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright built a lifetime career firmly based on this concept. And what an illustrious career, becoming the most significant architect of the twentieth century; A creator of the most breath-taking structures with the simple elegance of “Form follows function”. This is what Jeff Jones creates in bicycle frame design and technology. He has created the most innovative design known to the bicycle industry, based on the desired function of that equipment. The end result is superb, simple elegance! This is why it was important to build the rest of this bike with similar simple elegance.
There is good reason that, in April 2014, Jeff Jones asked Tobie DePauw of North Central Cyclery to make his shop the first dealer of Jones Bikes. Tobie is a master of his craft, intently listening to his customers to completely capture all their goals and aspirations making sure that the final product meets and epitomizes the design and function that the client had in mind. Tobie creates an environment where the creative ideas flourish and the best ones bubble to the top. He has chosen excellent staff, and his right-hand mechanic, Chad, was invaluable in the build; not just for technical expertise but also for great ideas from the perspective of another accomplished tourist. When you walk into the North Central Cyclery shop, you’re immediately impressed with the quality of equipment that Tobie stocks. Unprecedented in this era, where everyone buys from the internet and shops aren’t willing to risk stocking quality that may not sell to the average person walking in off the street. Tobie’s shop is a place where you can dream BIG!
Why do I believe that the Jones bike is the most innovative design in the history of the bicycle? It successfully blends the very best of three distinct disciplines; Mountain biking, Off-road touring, and Fat bike technology. It takes the most cutting edge technology and makes it available to each facet of this triad. Let me exemplify a few points:
- The Jones compact frame design allows for 29er wheels with a wheel base similar to a 26er mountain bike. A big footprint for control, grip and road-ability, but nimble handling for technical trails. The best of both and a definitive answer to which is better 26er or 29er…… the Jones.
- The Jones Truss fork creates suspension in the bike without adding power robbing shock absorbers. This produces the perfect balance of road feel and vibration/shock dampening. You get the qualities we love in a hard-tail, non-suspension fork bike, plus much of the qualities we require in a suspension bike. Titanium can only add to that experience.
- The frame design places your weight over the rear wheel for the handling that mountain bikers assimilate by sitting behind their seats. This Jones position, enhanced by innovative Jones H-bars give the bike perfect balance; Making the front light enough for technical skill assist, but completely stable.
- These Jones H-bars place the rider in a new position that is not only comfortable, but provides better muscle usage for more power in mountain biking and loaded touring. The Jones bike is a real billy-goat on climbs.
- This overall concise frame with a big footprint makes the Jones bike not only unimaginable fun, but also the ideal qualities of a touring bike. Add to this the unprecedented stability and handling of this mountain bike and we are talking about the best off-road extreme touring bike conceivable. Add titanium to the mix and it can only get better.
- Now if this isn’t enough, my Jones bike, as pictured, has a substantial 29 X 3.0 front mountain bike wheel, but that is easily swapped to a massive fat front tire. We are currently just waiting for the DT Swiss “Big Ride” 2250 to be available to turn this bike into a fat bike….. force to be reckoned with! Even with its massive presence, I expect the bike to remain nimble and have a light front-end that is fun to man-handle.
Back to my 28 year dream:
- In 1978, after a particularly difficult bike tour, I decided that touring bikes should be developed off mountain bike platforms with the idea that “If your most treacherous day of touring can be made fun and enjoyable, then you have a successful tour”. For a long time I found no success in finding or creating the right blend of mountain bike/touring bike. I in fact found little acceptance of such a concept. Everyone at the time expressed, “soft and comfortable for the long miles”, any bike has all the control and stability you need for touring.
- Bruce Gordon’s Rock ‘n Road hybrid off-road touring bike was the closest I’d see to my concept in many years. Gordon’s bike was still too road-like, with not enough aggressive mountain bike feel to it.
- In 2010 Seven Cycles created the Seven Expat Expedition Touring bike. I had this bike built custom in titanium, the Expat SL version. The Seven builders nailed this one….. It is a true marvel and I love this ride for road and gravel trail tours. However, by 2010 my desire to open the touring envelope to off-road adventures like riding the Great Divide was evolving.
With this idea in mind, I came to Tobie’s shop. I had been following Jeff Jones’ website and was impressed with his innovative design. But did it actually work? When I heard that North Central Cyclery was going to be a Jones dealer, I was so excited. Somewhere to perhaps try a Jones bike phenomenon, just over 100 miles away. But what would that bike shop be like?….. obviously the very best!
I am overwhelmed with pleasure and satisfaction over the fact that I was a part of a very significant bike build, using state-of-the art Jeff Jones design and craftsmanship. Tobie orchestrated the build insuring that everything came together to perfection. The result is a stunning work of art…… simple elegance, with concise functionality….. it was all done the Wright way!
While I’m thanking people involved, allow me to thank my brother-in-law, Brian, who is a great touring compadre and has helped me hone these bike requirements. We bounce ideas back and forth until the best ones become apparent. Thanks also, to my wife, Barb for believing in me and allowing me to invest in this project.
We are deeply honored by these words. It’s a joy to have customers and friends that believe in what we’re doing here. Thank you for the letter, Howard. Thank you, too, Barb.