Jones SWB Titanium Review: A Dream Bike and Dream Build

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We take Jones’ premium, all titanium SWB—clad in a wardrobe of boutique parts—for an extended test ride. And we ask the question: if money is no object, can one frameset really provide a viable heart (and soul) for a bikepacking rig, a fast gravel machine, and a trail-worthy mountain bike? Read on to find out…

The Jones Pre-Amble

Amongst my personal bicycles (all variations on a steel ‘plus’ bike theme or cargo machines, I confess), I own the original version of the Jones LWB, which I purchased after reviewing it in 2016. It’s a joy to ride and it was my gateway into the Jones geometry that I’ve grown to love, largely because I find it both comfortable for long days in the saddle and extremely capable on trails.

Last year I spent a number of months riding the more affordable Jones SWB Complete, an $1,800 ‘short’ wheelbase, 27+ iteration of the Jones formula. I took it to home to Europe and rode it daily on forest roads with 2.8″ Schwalbe G-Ones and on ‘proper’ trails with 3.0″ Nobby Nics and a dropper post. Fitted with G-Ones, it was the first time I genuinely saw this somewhat hefty bike’s potential for fast gravel riding. On my local trails with a dropper post, I felt like I was having just as much fun as my friends on 130mm hardtails, even if I had to choose different lines. Despite the entry level parts and price, I was very much taken by it.

At the end of the year, a fortuitous opportunity arose and I was sent the newly launched titanium version of the SWB, built up in a money-is-no-object ‘gravel’ form. The geometry is identical to that of the SWB Complete, with the addition of an eccentric bottom bracket (offering 12mm of adjustment in BB height and opening up the potential for running a Rohloff), a lightweight truss fork, and of course, corrosion-free space metal tubing. There are, in fact, two versions of the Ti SWB currently available: the more traditional Diamond frame and truss fork reviewed here (promising maximum framebag space and utility) and a curvy Spaceframe (which is more compliant and undeniably gorgeous). There are also full steel versions of all these bikes too, which differ from the SWB and LWB completes as they also have eccentric bottom brackets and truss forks, like the Ti versions. And just to add to the gene pool, you can also chop and change materials. For example, a Jones Plus SWB Titanium Diamond frame and steel truss fork is $3,640 and a Jones Plus SWB Titanium Diamond frame with a butted steel unicrown fork is $3,340. See below for an example of a steel SWB with a steel truss fork ($1,350), set up singlespeed thanks to the eccentric bottom bracket, which allows chain tension to be adjusted.

  • Highlights
  • Angles (LG): 69° Head tube, 72° Seat tube
  • Chainstay: 449mm
  • Bottom Bracket: 68mm BSA threaded
  • Bottom drop: 76mm
  • Hub specs: 15 x 150mm front / 12 x 148mm rear
  • Seatpost Diameter: 27.2mm
  • Max tire size: 27.5 x 3″ or 29 x 2.6″ tires
  • Price (frameset): $4,250

But why the Jones life story? I introduce this review with an overview my own experiences because I feel mine is a somewhat typical path for Jones customers. Namely, 1). Initial curiosity, 2). A reticence to overspend on an unconventional/untried system, and 3). A desire to save up for the titanium version!

Besides, Jones reviews are rarely straightforward, largely because these unconventional bikes aren’t the most straightforward of machines to dissect. This, combined with fact that I’ve been riding the Titanium SWB exclusively for 10 months now (driven by both a desire to do so and my inability to return it during COVID-19), means this write-up has taken on a more freeform shape than originally intended. Before digging in further, perhaps this is a good point to make a cup of tea!

How much?!

Make no bones about it, at $4,240, the heat-treated, 3AL-2.5V version of the SWB is an extremely expensive frameset that will be considered by many to be a needless indulgence. It’s not an opinion that Jeff Jones would necessarily refute, either. When I asked him about the differences between the two, and who he sees the titanium framesets appealing to, he was pretty matter of fact. Jeff recommends the steel version to almost all his customers.

I’m not going to get into the argument around US versus Taiwanese titanium frameset pricing and quality. Even if the ‘penny welds’ aren’t on par aesthetically with a Californian-built Potts, suffice to say the finish on the SWB is extremely good, as you can see from the photoset at the very top of this post (scroll across for all the detail shots). I’m told by independent industry friends that Jeff Jones is known for demanding the very best materials and that his framesets are fabricated by the finest shop in Taiwan. Compared to a standard diamond frame and unicrown fork, there’s also no denying that a Jones Spaceframe and truss fork are considerably more time consuming and expensive to make. The Why Cycles Chinese-made Wayword frame and US-made Oddity Squid fork is $3,449, by way of example, as reviewed here.

Still, however you choose to justify it, there’s no denying that this frameset is very spendy. Given that I was perfectly content with the bike’s more affordable steel rendition, I was naturally intrigued by whether this significant upcharge would translate into a meaningful improvement in how the bike rides.

But here’s where a direct comparison gets a little complicated. A titanium frame merits a certain pedigree of components and the bike I was sent certainly didn’t hold back. It included a $315 carbon H-Loop handlebar, Jones’ $599 29er C-Rims (with 2.35 G-One Speeds), an Eagle XX1 drivetrain, and to top it off, both a $280 ti Kent Eriksen Sweetpost, and $1,000 Ti Cane Creek eeWings cranks. In short, it was Jones’ vision of the ultimate gravel bike. The net result was a build that tipped the scales at around 24 pounds without pedals. For comparison’s sake, the SWB Complete weighs around 33.3lb.

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden anything this light – that wasn’t a road bike – so jumping onto the ti SWB was also found to be a bit of a thrill. I even giggled at the ease with which my seven-year-old son picked it up. In its gravel form90, it’s lighter than the Bombtrack Hook EXT I reviewed last year. And whilst one can argue that you’d hope so, given its cost, don’t forget that this is also a fully fledged mountain with a beefy wheelset. It still has a couple pounds on the $7,500 Ti Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Miles tested, but it’s similar to the Moots Baxter Logan rode, which has a frame-only price of $3,425. Throw on some 3″ tyres and I’m confident that it will outperform both of those bikes on technical trails.

And about that cost… I asked Jeff just why he specced the bike with such an eyeball-rolling build (which totals a whopping $9,794 as listed below), and he said: “The bike I sent to you is a “Custom Select” Jones bike, and they do not have a standard build. I built this one for me, to be the lightest and fastest road/gravel bike possible. For Custom Select bikes I help each customer pick the best parts for how and where they ride and for how much they want to spend so they get the best bike and ride. Many of my customers do go very high end with the titanium frames, but not always.” A bike built with a GX drivetrain, a Jones aluminium/DT wheelset, Vee Tire Bulldozers, an aluminium H-Bar-Loop, Avid BB7s, and Thomson finishing kit would come in at $6761. Although it’s on par with a carbon full susser, it’s also a completely different entity and likely to appeal to a different person – though I’ll bet any open-minded trail rider will be surprised by how capable the Jones can be.

Can one bike really do it all?

Oh, the perennial question! In my attempts to find out, you’ll see a number of different builds and wheelsets pictured here. For the first few months, I rode it exactly as it was sent to me, with a 29er C-Rim wheelset and 2.35″ G-Ones Speeds. Over the winter, it was my ‘gravel’ bike for fast day rides and weekend adventures. Commuting into town—a 10-mile round trip—had made riding hard out of the saddle, merely for the sheer joy of riding fast. Given that this is effectively a ‘plus’ bike, I wasn’t expecting it to feel that way.

On windy days, I tucked my body forwards, placed my palms halfway up the handlebars, and hooked my thumbs into ‘loops’ of the H-bars, finding both speed and comfort in this position. With the mixed quality of paved and compacted dirt roads we have in Santa Fe, the SWB didn’t seem to give up much compared to a traditional drop-bar gravel bike, with the added bonus that it felt noticeably more capable when the terrain did roughen up, as it tends to do in New Mexico. I enjoyed how responsive the G-One Speeds felt (in their 29 x 2.35″ form, they weigh just 500g), though I did sense an element of self-steer when dirt morphed back to asphalt, unless I paused to air them up. Mated to Jones’ wide C-Rims (which measure 49mm internally and 56mm externally), the tyre profile is surprisingly good—as you’ll see in the photos—and you can run them at a much lower tyre pressure than you would with a more conventional gravel bike. But still, I think I’d prefer a 40mm rim. In fact, for all-road riding I actually favour the now discontinued 27.5+ G-One Allround Liteskins (655g), because they have a deeper, more versatile tread pattern, and they mount up well to the C-Rim. I’ve said this before, but I wish G-One Allrounds were available in a 29 x 2.6″ size! The G-Ones Speeds did surprise me, however, with how well they coped with sand when aired right down – the wide rim keeps them nice and stable too.

Here’s the bike as it was sent to me, set up for researching a gravel bikepacking route in Santa Fe. Scroll through for the kind of terrain I was riding.

As dirt roads turned increasingly muddy from snowmelt, I later fitted the SWB with Nobby Nic 29 x 2.6″ tires – adding an extra 900g of rotational weight. Despite their less efficient tread pattern for road riding, they immediately felt more suitable for New Mexico’s mixed-terrain riding. I enjoyed some day trips with friends and a few overnighters in Northern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Even with mud, the frame has excellent tyre clearances. Compared to a 27.5 x 3″ tyre, there’s also more space between the chain and tyre when in the last sprocket of the cassette, a boon when things do get muddy. See the box out below for how a 29 x 2.6″ ‘wide trail’ wheelset changes the ride, compared to the plus tyres around which the frameset is designed. Here it is with Nobby Nics – again, scroll through for more shots.

In February, I crossed the border into Mexico, choosing to run a 27.5+ C-Rim wheelset with Maxxis Chronicles, which felt appropriate to the 800-mile segment of the Baja Divide I was riding. No complaints there at all: I loaded the bike up and occasionally carried 12 litres of water over rough and sandy surfaces. I should mention that I wouldn’t normally choose to travel overseas with such a costly bike. Whilst I don’t believe Ti draws any more attention than steel, the consequences are far greater should anything happen, and that goes for dinging the frame as much as theft.

But before I rode south, I swapped the Eagle XX1 drivetrain for a more humble Shimano 11-speed setup, mated to a longer-lasting 11-50T Sunrace cassette. I did this because I figured replacements might be more readily available (and affordable) in Mexico, plus the SLX shifter and XT rear mech I already owned had proved tough and reliable. As it is, 12-speed SRAM parts of all grades appear to be relatively common in Mexico’s high-end bike shops and the prices are generally in line with the US, so I probably needn’t have worried so much. I also fitted a set of mechanical Avid BB7s I already owned in lieu of hydraulic XTs in the interest of simplicity. I was tempted to swap out Cane Creek’s eeWings but I ended up leaving them on. Eight months later and they’ve remained faultless as well as gorgeous. Does it justify their price? Probably not! But at least they’ve proved to be very dependable.

Price aside, I had no qualms running with the SWB’s lightweight C-Rim/DT hub wheelset, as they’ve already proved themselves to me – the rear rim is offset for a near dishless build and their walls are reassuringly thick. From being a carbon wheel neigh sayer, the C-rims have turned me into a convert! I would note that I’d recommend brass nipples over aluminium ones, even if there’s a small weight penalty. As a minor build detail, I do love the addition of Paul’s Quick Release Seat Post Collar. It’s one of the few quick-release models that clamp tight enough to ensure that the seat doesn’t slip. Here in Oaxaca, it’s made technical trail riding a lot more enjoyable in the absence of a dropper post.

Jones SWB vs. LWB (29+ vs 29 vs 27.5+)

So, what’s the difference between the LWB (29+) and the SWB (27.5+)? Although discussed in the SWB Complete review, here’s my take in a nutshell. Contrary to popular expectations, the LWB is a very quick handling bike that excels on technical trails. I actually find it superior as a mountain bike, especially over rocky and slabby terrain, in part thanks to its massive 29+ tyres. The extra fork offset (76mm compared to 55m on the SWB) also adds confidence to the riding experience, because the front wheel is kicked out that much further in front of the handlebars. In some ways, I believe it’s truer to Jones’ design vision of what the ultimate rigid mountain bike should be.

However, I really like the inherent versatility of the SWB. For instance, its bottom bracket height remains similar between the 27.5+ and 29 x 2.3″ wheel formats, which makes it extremely versatile – it’s fun as a mountain bike and very capable as gravel bike. Its compactness is perhaps most noticeable in how the front end can be more easily lofted. It’s a little lighter and in terms of travelling, it’s easier to pack in a box on a trip overseas. There’s better tyre availability around the world, too. 29+ remains very US-centric.

All things being equal, the riding position between the two is the exact same. However, to achieve this the SWB uses a laid back seat post, whilst the LWB’s recommended post is inline. This impacts framebag size (the LWB is larger, noticeably) and means the LWB actually lends itself better to a dropper post (not that it’s stopped me from using one on the SWB). In terms of sizing, I should add that at 6’1”, Jeff Jones recommended a Medium frame to me in both bikes. I chose a Large and I’m very happy with it. If I was to experiment, I’d consider sizing down on the LWB but definitely not on the SWB.

As for running the SWB with a 29 x 2.5/2.6″ setup, I see advantages and disadvantages. Remembering that this is a fully rigid bike with no active suspension to offer a helping hand, 27.5+ feels markedly more comfortable over rough stuff. Like its 29+ sibling, 27.5+ can bulldoze through most terrain and it’s better at low pressures in soft sand, like that found on the Baja Divide.

All this said, I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed riding the SWB with a 29 x 2.6″ wheelset. In this mode, the SWB feels more taut and precise. It’s peppy and quicker to pick up to speed, even if tyre weight is largely similar (Schwalbe’s Nobby Nic is 1010g in 27.5 x 3″ and 950g in 29 x 2.6″). It seems less sensitive to finding optimal tyres pressures, too. And whilst the overall riding experience isn’t as plush, the larger wheel diameter rolls nicely over rocks and being markedly taller, decreases the chance of pedal strike. Perhaps of most importance for those who live in wet and muddy parts of the world, the ‘skinnier’ tyre has less of a tendency to plane over mud. There’s better chain to tyre clearance too, which means you’re much less likely to collect and track mud into the drivetrain. As an added bonus, it’s more likely to fit in public transportation bike racks.

More recently, most of my riding has been unladen as I’ve been unable to bikepack over the last few months due to Covid-19. During this time, the SWB has proved itself an ideal steed for both day rides on rural terracerías here in Oaxaca—which are a mixed bag in terms of surfaces- along with blue and occasionally black-graded steep and rutted singletrack, as seen on Trailforks. Being such a light bike, I can’t deny that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed how it rides bereft of camping gear. Unladen, my steel bikepacking bikes generally weigh 33lb or more!

Geometry:

All sizes of the Jones SWB have a 69° head tube angle and a 72° effective seat tube angle. The chainstays are 17.68″ (449mm) from bb to axle center and the fork offset is 55mm, which is greater than normal but less than the slacker LWB (67.5 HA, 76mm offset). Here are the wheelbases for the three sizes:

Small: 41.9″ (1066mm)
Medium: 42.98″ (1091.72mm)
Large: 44.05″ (1118.95mm)

The SWB is also rigid specific, so you’ll either need to run it with a ti or steel Truss fork, or Jones’ unicrown alternative, which has the same axle to crown length and fork offset. It’s heavier but more utilitarian – complete with cargo cage eyelets and low rider mounts.

Amongst other differences to many modern mountain bikes, the Jones geometry is known for its relatively short reach and high stack, giving a more upright riding position than most people are used to. A full geometry chart isn’t available, maybe due to numbers that are likely to be off-putting to some – especially if the bikes are studied rather than ridden. Instead, there are three height recommendations for the three sizes available, with accompanying standover clearances. If in doubt, give Jones a ring to discuss the finer details. As mentioned, Jeff Jones pointed me towards the Medium as I’m between both sizes. I opted for the Large and I’m glad I did, although I admit that I’m curious to know what the Medium would have felt like, and whether it would have worked for me. My height and inseam can be found at the bottom of this review.

SWB Spaceframe sizing:

Small: Rider height 5′ – 5’8″ (152cm-174cm), Standover at center of top tube is 26.5″ (67.3cm)
Medium: Rider height 5’6″ – 6’2″, (171cm-188cm) Standover at center of top tube is 27″ (68.6cm)
Large: Rider height 6′ – 6’6″, (183cm-198cm) Standover at center of top tube is 28″ (71.2cm)

SWB Diamond frame sizing:

Medium: Rider height 5’8″–6’2″ (174cm-188cm). Standover at center of top tube is 30.5″ (77.5cm).
Large: Rider height 6′–6’5″ (183cm-202cm). Standover at center of top tube is 32″ (81cm).

Need some more numbers? Use Bike Insights to make comparisons between the Jones SWB – trail, reach, stack etc – and other bikes you may be more familiar with.

SWB frame and fork weights:

Titanium Plus SWB Spaceframe: Small 2295g, Medium 2400g, Large 2455
Titanium Plus SWB Diamond frame: Medium 2232g, Large 2335g
Titanium Truss Fork: Small 1020 g, Medium 1025g, Large 1043g
Steel Truss fork: Medium 1345g
Steel Unicrown fork: (one size) 1436g

Jones didn’t have a full list of steel frames to hand. But a ti Diamond frame is around 630g lighter than a steel Diamond frame and a ti Spacefame is around 700g lighter than a steel Spaceframe. This means the overall difference between the framesets will be 900-1000g, depending on the frame style and the size.

Further to the box out above, Eagle-eyed readers will notice this bike isn’t available in a size small as a Diamond frame. Shorter riders are limited to the Spaceframe (as shown here), which has a $300 upcharge and a slight weight penalty. Like the Diamond frame, it includes a number of rack mounts for running small panniers, which is useful if the clearance between your seat and the rear tyre is too limited for a standard seat pack. Otherwise, the Truss Fork Packs can expand capacity significantly. Whilst the framepack is smaller on a Spaceframe, it actually works out to be a similar volume to a similarly sized hardtail, as the frame isn’t suspension-corrected.

The Ride

I deep-dived into how the SWB Complete handled and in all honesty, when you’re in the thick of the moment, this bike doesn’t feel all that different. It’s a good reminder of the importance of geometry as much as a choice in frame material. It is a good deal lighter though, which makes it markedly more enjoyable to climb on – it’s like a mountain goat. And whether frivolous or not, it does make it more pleasant to shoulder the bike over a landslide or up a flight of stairs. With a titanium frameset at its core and a choice of minimal bikepacking bags, there’s lots of potential for a very lightweight rig. This said, its weight – or lack of – is most noticeable when riding it unladen, as below (scroll through for detail shots).

Having tried all of Jones’ different handlebars, I’d say the carbon version does add noticeably to front end comfort. More important, though, is figuring out the right tyre pressure—often 12-15psi, though I found myself creeping ever lower. Why the obsession with tyres pressures? The SWB is rigid specific, which means there’s no option to fit a suspension fork. Instead, it’s almost all down to the high volume of its plus-sized tyres. And despite the slender titanium tubes, Jeff Jones actually points out that a triangulated truss fork can feel harsher than the unicrown version over some terrain – like corrugated roads – as there is effectively no fore and aft chatter. Combined with a 150mm TA hub, it does, however, makes for super-precise steering that comes into its own on technical terrain, with no flex under braking.

Divining the right air pressure is also important at that back, especially when mountain biking. Thankfully the SWB has an extra trick up its sleeve. Although keeping to a more traditional 27.2mm diameter seat post limits options for modern droppers (there are only a few good ones available), it does make a considerable difference to rider comfort on a rigid bike – especially when you have plenty of post exposed and it’s made from titanium! After all, as practical as the classic diamond frame may be, it isn’t a naturally forgiving shape. Hence the option of a SWB Spaceframe, which allows the frame to flex vertically for comfort, while remaining torsionally stiff.

A relatively low bottom bracket gives a nice ‘in the bike feeling’, whilst the recommended 170mm crankset (which is 5mm shorter than you’d expect) goes some ways towards improving ground clearance. But compared to the SWB Complete, I was grateful to have an eccentric bottom, which caters for different cycling styles and wheelsets. For example, much of my riding here includes technical singletrack, so I’ve adjusted it to the uppermost position. This is 12mm higher than the way I ran it on the Baja Divide and makes a significant difference to pedal strikes, especially as I favour broad platform pedals, rather than lower-profile clipless ones. If I was spending most of my time gravel riding, I’d probably lower it back down again, or settle on a mid point.

Jones bikes are noted for their unconventional geometry, and this stands out all the more next to current industry trends. Most notably, the extra fork offset serves to lower the SWB’s trail figure and thus sharpen handling, while a relatively long wheelbase (despite the name) helps maintain a sense of stability on descents. It also makes this bike a surprisingly proficient climber on technical terrain. There’s plenty of room to move around the cockpit without losing traction at the back, or needing to force your chin down to the handlebars to avoid the front end popping up.

Like all Jones bikes, the SWB is designed in tandem with Jones’ iconic H-Bars, which sport a distinctive 45-degree sweep, as well as extra-long grips. The idea here is to use the full length of the bar, rather than restricting yourself to a single hand position. Scoot right back on descents for a confidence booster over technical terrain. Hold on to the middle of the grips for day-to-day riding. And slide forwards when climbing, to place more weight over the front of the bike. This forward position also serves to lengthen your back and place the body in more of an aero tuck on a windy day, without the compromise in lower back comfort that results from being stooped in a drop handlebar – particularly over long periods of time. In fact, whilst the multitude of hand positions is often cited as a reason for running drop handlebars, I’d suggest there are just as many options on an H-Bar – especially when you factor in the bike’s short top tube, which puts you in a better place to use them all. It’s here that the bike differentiates itself from fitting a different handlebar to a more conventionally designed rigid mountain bike. The SWB’s geometry is as much about a rethink in body position as it is about adaptive handling.

  • Tailfin Aeropack Bikepacking
  • Tailfin Aeropack Bikepacking

Niggles? There area few, even with a bike of this price! There are no water bottle mounts on the seat tube and the positioning on the downtube means it will work with some cages better than others. King Cage Ti Many Thing Cages didn’t fit on my pre-production test bike, though from what I understand, the final version has slightly different eyelet placement – and the decals will be improved too.

As mentioned, my bike came with a ‘gravel’ build that included 38T chainring and a 10-50T Eagle cassette. The intention here was to ensure the gearing didn’t top out too quickly on all-road rides. Whilst this has largely been the case, it’s not a trade-off I’d make again, as it translates into too large a gear inch for mountain touring. Next time, I’d go with a 34T and leave it at that.

In terms of luggage, Jones sells a number of Ortlieb and Revelate bags, including custom-made frame bags. I’m not, however, a big fan of the slender Sweetroll handlebar bag. Although it fits securely on H-Bar Loop bars and lends itself well to the shape of the truss fork, it’s awkward to pack. Note too that the truss fork and H-Bar loop don’t play well with large, top-access handlebar bags – the style of bag I much prefer. I found a BXB Goldback Medium to be about ideal, though I had to swap the H-Bar Loops for the H-bar Bend to be able to open the lid more easily. The bike fits fine in a bike box (wide ones are best due to the 150mm TA front wheel) but if you do have to remove the truss fork – to pack it in a bike bag, for instance – it’s a lot more fiddly to take out and set up again than a standard unicrown fork.

The upside of the Ti truss, apart from saving a few hundred grams of weight, is that you can get use Jones’ excellent Revelate-made Truss Fork Packs, which I reviewed here. These bags will really suit smaller riders who aren’t able to run a large seatpack. And, if you don’t want to invest in them, I’ve noticed that 1.5L Nalgene bottles fit well, held in place with a Voile strap—good for desert rides like the Baja Divide. Otherwise, Jones offers adaptor clamps to run water bottle cages and cargo cages.

Given the frameset’s versatility, I really think it’s worth investing in two wheelsets to get the most out of this bike. But remember that the front wheel is spaced at 150mm, like a fat bike. Although there’s some real benefit here—namely, it makes for a very strong, dishless wheel, especially when built up with C-Rims—it rules out off-the-shelf wheelsets. This makes an additional set of gravel-friendly wheels more costly. Whilst there are plenty of 150mm dynamo hubs on the market, it also means that if it were to fail on tour (as has happened to me in the past), a replacement front hub will be that much harder to find.

Build Kit

  • FRAME Jones Titanium Diamond Plus SWB pre-production (L)
  • FORK Jones Titanium Truss fork for Plus SWB pre-production
  • SEAT COLLAR DKG Bolt Type.
  • HEADSET Jones sealed cartridge bearing H-Set for Truss fork,
  • STEM Thomson Elite X4. 60mm x 10°
  • HANDLEBAR Jones Carbon Loop H-Bar 710mm
  • GRIPS Jones EVA H-Grips for 710mm H-Bars.
  • BRAKES Shimano XT M8000 Hydraulic with 180/200mm XT Icetec discs
  • SHIFTER SRAM XX1 Eagle
  • REAR DERAILLEUR SRAM XX1 Eagle
  • CRANKS & CHAINRINGS Cane Creek Titanium eeWings 170mm + SRAM 38 t X-sync
  • BOTTOM BRACKET Wheels Manufacturing Black
  • CASSETTE XX1 10-50t Black
  • CHAIN XX1 Eagle 12 Speed.
  • FRONT HUB DT Swiss 350 Big Ride
  • REAR HUB DT Swiss 350, Boost, 6-Bolt, XD Driver
  • SPOKES DT-Swiss Competition Black spokes and DT-Swiss Silver Alloy nipples
  • RIMS Jones C-Rim 29 (Off-Center drilling at back).
  • TIRES Schwalbe G-One Speed TL Easy 29×2.35″
  • SEATPOST Kent Eriksen “Sweetpost’
  • SADDLE WTB Pure
  • WATER BOTTLE MOUNTS 2 inside frame on downtube, cargo cage mounts on downtube
  • RACK MOUNTS Rack mounts at dropout (3 options) and seat stays
  • EXTRAS Eccentric bottom bracket (12mm adjustability)

Pros

  • Jones geometry is extremely comfortable, which makes riding more enjoyable.
  • This really is a super fun trail bike too. Don’t let looks and lack of suspension deceive you!
  • Great climbing prowess thanks to fork offset, Jones bars, and wheelbase (which isn’t actually that short).
  • Extremely versatile frame that really can do (almost!) anything with a change of wheels.
  • Truss fork is very light and precise, while the optional Truss Pack is great for extra capacity.
  • Superb wheelset that includes offset drilling and wide hubs for the ultimate in strength to weight.
  • Ti too pricey? Choose steel! Lots of options to suit your budget, too.
  • Feels like a bike for life as long as parts remain available.

Cons

  • Plus tyres aren’t a match for a plush 130mm suspension fork. Expect to make different line choices.
  • Undeniably expensive frameset, though there are mix and match steel options available too.
  • Truss fork and H-Bar Loops limit options for handlebar bags.
  • Truss fork is also fiddly to remove if you need to pack the bike into a bag.
  • Jones’ C-Rims are more suited to wider tyres than 2.35s, though the rims are incredibly tough, with lot of stability at low pressure.
  • 150mm front hub spacing means you’ll need to go custom for a second wheelset.
  • Getting the right tyre pressure takes time and experience.
  • 3″ tyres and 1x drivetrains can create issues in muddy conditions.
  • Size Tested L
  • Sizes Available M & L (S available as a Spaceframe)
  • Weight (as tested) 10.88kg (24lb)
  • Price $4,240 (ti Diamond frameset + ti Truss fork)
  • Contact Jones Bikes
  • Recommended Uses Bikepacking, trail riding, gravel riding, touring

Wrap Up

In case it’s not obvious, I absolutely adore this bike and I’m thrilled to have been riding it for so long. In its dream lightweight build with fast-rolling tyres, it’s no slouch on gravel day rides. Swap them out for knobblies and a dropper post and the Ti SWB morphs into a super fun mountain bike for everything but the most demanding trails (depending on the pilot, of course). Load it up with bikepacking bags, and enjoy a riding position that’s extremely conducive to long, comfortable hours in the saddle. And by bucking modern industry trends, the bike has a timeless feel. Assuming currents standards remain available, you’ll likely enjoy riding the SWB for many years to come, without feeling an itch for something new.

But that leads us to the big question. Is the ti version of this bike worth the massive upcharge over the steel one? I have to admit that the bike, as sent to me, is as close to the ‘one bike does everything’ experience as I’ve ever tried. But I also have to concede that the gains are marginal. Weight aside on this particular build, we’re talking nuances and in all likelihood, an emotional response to titanium. Ultimately, it’s simply not going to make or break your riding experience compared to its steel doppelgänger.

In fact, if you’re going to buy a titanium SWB (or LWB, for that matter), I’d be inclined to nudge you towards the Spaceframe, especially if it’s not being primarily used for bikepacking. Despite all the extra tube bending, the Spaceframe is only a few hundred dollars more, and I can see how its curvy design has the potential to make a more noticeable difference to the ride.

I referenced the idea of a bike’s soul in this review’s excerpt, because whilst it’s easy to see how a number of steeds can be used for a multitude of disciplines, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to leave us genuinely satisfied. I believe that the SWB—be it steel or Ti—is one of the few bikes that can actually live up to this often elusive ideal. My reasoning is pretty simple. When I’m riding it—whether on gravel, trails, or touring—I rarely wish I was aboard anything else.

So yes, if money is no object and parting ways with a wad of cash won’t impact the rest of your life, then I say why not, go for the titanium model! Even if the law of diminishing returns applies, it’s still the ultimate conclusion of a superb bike. Otherwise, rest assured you’ll be almost as happy with the steel version, a considered build, and a nice set of lightweight wheels. Either way, I have no doubt that the SWB will bring you joy wherever you choose to ride it.

Rider’s Background

I’ve been embarking regularly on two-wheeled explorations for over twenty years. I’ve crossed the Republic of Georgia on dirt roads, tackled the Colorado Trail, ridden the UK’s Lakeland 200, and followed the Trans Alps in Europe. Given my love for mountain biking and backcountry touring, my ideal journey fuses the two, keeping to quiet dirt roads and singletrack where possible.

Height: 6’1” (185cm)
Weight: 165 lbs (75kg)
Inseam: 35” (89cm)

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