Through the years, strapping my bags to my bike, loading them up with camping gear, and hopping over my saddle has been described as “the couch.” Maybe it was a reference to watching football every Sunday on the couch, with a beer, food, and your team on the boobtube, everything you need, right? What I’m getting at is that the couch is pretty darn comfortable. A least at the beginning of the game, before your team goes down 14-0, that couch is a pretty cozy place.
When I thought my couch was as comfortable as it could get, I slapped on some 710 Jones Bikes Loop H-Barson my Surly Moonlander. The main reason was to give me a more upright position to cure my unnecessary pains. Not until I actually talked to Jeff on the phone did he convince me that his bars are capable of so much more. Riding my bike down Schafer Road, into the canyons and along the White Rim, I kept thinking to myself, he was right.
The Jones Bikes Loop H-Bars
Jeff Jones has gone through a number of styles with his bars, but has stuck to one major theme, a lot of sweep, 45 degrees to be exact. Also present on all of his bars is a 13mm rise/drop. Starting with his original steel H-Bar with one hand position, all the way to the Loop H-Bar – Jeff understands the need for comfort, and carries through with these innovations.
Jeff Jones designed the Loop bars to make for a better overall ride. The bar gives riders more hand positions, an inherent benefit for bikepacking. The extension bar out front gives space for plenty of fun gadgets, like lights, GPS, SPOT, and other items. The loop feature also stiffens up the bar. Jeff originally started with the 660mm bars, Surly asked Jeff if they would make some longer ones for a hand full of 2014 bikes. The rest is history, even Jeff said he digs the longer bars.
“It’s made from two different tubes that are butted (one is also tapered) then both are bent , mitered and welded together, then heat treated, etc. This is not a normal handlebar that is made from a single piece of bent tubing. And it is not made it giant numbers like most normal bars. It is very well made and works very well” says Jeff Jones.
The Loop H-Bars have been on my Moonlander since June, primarily for the fatty commuter I put together early this summer. But my intentions have always been to use them for long days in the saddle. Recently I have done just that, trying to figure out if these bars are Tour Divide friendly. Although the bars are pretty beautiful naked, I installed extra long ESI Chunky Grips and some red Lizard Skin Bar tape, which doubled as my bag stabilizer and bar protector.
Unless you purchase a custom bar, 45° of sweep is the most you are going to find for mountain biking. A normal bar will typically have about 9° of sweep. Some companies, like Salsa, have bars with more sweep (23° ). Either way, it’s no where close to what Jeff Jones is doing. By using so much sweep, the bars keep you more upright. It also keeps you more centered on your bike, rather than leaning forward which proved to be helpful on descents.
I have noticed the sweep does not hinder my riding performance, it actually gives me more confidence which was hard to believe before my first ride with them. The industry trend has gone towards shorter stems and wider bars. 710mm bars could be considered short now. But the H-bars actually feel much longer than what they really are creating a bar with stability and responsiveness. You don’t have to move the bar all that much to get your bike to do what you have ordered. The bar comfortably kept my hands, and shoulders in a position that I enjoyed being in. I am currently using a 90mm, 10mm rise Thompson stem.
After I got off the White Rim last week, my next ride on my full suspension was rather interesting. I instantly moved my hand from the grips and tucked my hands in closer to the stem of my bars. My body understands comfort, and it instantly mimicked the upright position of my Jones Loop H-Bars. My standard position would be right over the brake clamp, it is a nice middle ground.
While pedaling out of the saddle or in more aggressive terrain my hands would sit at the ends of the bars, giving me full leverage to pull up or crank down. When I needed to have my hand on the brake for descents, I would align my hands with the brake, about 2 inches in from the end of the bars. When I was working against the wind I would lean over the bike, and reach my hands on the loop further away from me. This position makes you more aero while not sacrificing comfort all that much. I also found myself resting my forearms on the loop part of the bars mimicking aero bars.
A few things to note. When I plan on using the bars for more singletrack, I will likely roll with an 80mm stem. I did not notice too much reach out of the 90mm stem, I just want a little more comfort and control on the rough stuff. Your hands naturally want to be placed at the end of the bar when descending, this took some getting used to for me. I could always trim my ESI Grips a bit and move the brake clamp down the bar, but it would create a useless space on the bars, the opposite of what these are meant for.
Multiple hand positions
Plenty of space for gadgets
Flip bars for 13mm rise/drop
Have to move hands to brake
Heavy, but carbon available soon
The Jones Loop H-Bars are the alternative to your standard flat or drop bars. The ability to have so many different hand positions, while creating so much extra space, without sacrificing function of steering is a huge bonus. I keep finding new comfortable positions, which is likley to alleviate the issues with numb hands. Jeff has found the sweet spot between sweep, rise, and length to make a fantastic product, especially for adventure cycling.