October 25, 2015
Traveling by bicycle, one encounters issues not seen in any other cycling disciplines. One common malady is fatigue in the hands and wrists from running the same grip position for hours. Equally common are complaints of neck, shoulder, and upper back discomfort. While posture, bike fit, and component adjustment are important elements worth exploring, using a handlebar that gives you a variety of hand positions is a good idea when spending long days in the saddle.
Traditionally, multiple hand positions have meant using a drop bar or trekking bar. Now, from Jeff Jones and company, comes a third option — the Jones H-Bar®.
Originally born from a bikepacking perspective, I’ve found it useful in a variety of settings. While hand position adjustment on the drop and trekking bars usually require a change in wrist height, the H-Bar® allows a change in hand position with a minimum of angle change in the lower back. This has been handy for me as my back is not as willing to assume the aggressive position it once could, thanks to my time as a messenger and bike-commuting, bike-bag-wearing college student.
The other striking element of this handlebar is how seamlessly it mimics the geometry of a drop bar while also being a suitable replacement for a flat bar. The “Y” sections end up being in approximately the same position as the tops of drop bar brake hoods. Likewise, the outer extensions provide about the same position as a flat cross-country bar, roughly in line with the stem bar clamp.
If you have bar-end shifters and are looking to convert to this handlebar, I recommend utilizing Paul Thumbies in front of the joints. Their hinged clamps allow for installation inside the loop. If the 710mm width is too wide, marks are provided for trimming down to the original 660.
The Jones Loop H-Bar® is available in our Cyclosource store.
Photos courtesy of Jones Bikes
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I'm a fan. Currently running them on my Salsa Fargo and AluBoo fatty. Another point worth mentioning is the additional points to hang/mount a variety of items since you effectively have two parallel bars. And in you're really into reckless fun, my fearless friends tell me the Jones bar is way more comfortable to sit on ;).
Having used the Jones H-Bar on my Great Divide trip, I can confirm that comfort is a real plus. I'll add that control is the other one. I ride with a heavier load up front rather than the back, and negotiating technical sections with the extra weight is no problem due to the width and leverage these bars provide. I've since moved these bars from my Pugsley (great divide) to my Surly LHT for loaded road touring. The Paul Thumbies is a great way to move your bar-ends up to the top. Easy reach and no damage if the bike takes a tar-nap.
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If you were to buy a bike frame intending to use a Jones bar - would you get a frame with a little more reach than what you would typically ride with a flat bar?
Ie. if I usually ride a Large, should I size up to an XL if I'm using a Jones bar?