“The only bike you’ll ever need”
Jones bikes have been around for quite some time, and Jeff Jones himself has a lifetime of experience in the bike industry. Jones just celebrated 20 years of bikes and the vision has always been clear. Build one bike that is suspension free and capable of any kind of riding. Jones is the only bike brand exclusively building rigid-specific bikes. Over the years, that formula has been tweaked and adjusted to perfection. As a result, Jones bikes look different and ride differently than most bikes. If you ever get a chance to ride one, you’ll start to realize how special these designs are. “The only bike you’ll ever need,” one of Jones’ taglines, is a bold statement. But if I ever wanted only one bike, a Jones would be on my short list.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to ride almost every iteration of Jones’ bikes. I even owned an SWB Space Frame that I took with me on the Colorado Trail Race back in 2018. As a mountain bike, it was amazing. With the big tires I could keep up with folks with suspension at both ends and it was comfortable for all-day, every day riding. I miss that bike. All said and done, the Jones formula has something special going on. So, when they announced their e-bike/motorbike category, I was pretty excited. Here is a bike dedicated to rigid riding and big tires with the power of E.
The Ultimate Long Wheelbase Electric Mountain Bike
Earlier this year, Jones sent out the LWB HD/e BBSHD bike for me to test out. That name stands for long wheelbase heavy-duty e bike, and it’s spec’d with the Bafang BBSDHD motor kit. Jones took the design from his long-wheelbase acoustic bike frame and made it stronger by using thicker tubing and heat-treating the frame for additional strength. It’s also over an inch longer to allowing for motor clearance and big chainrings. These tweaks make this frameset tailor-made for the motor kit. Now you could buy a steel frame and slap this same motor kit on it yourself and save quite a bit of money. But anyone who has done this knows that the weight and power of a 750w bottom bracket motor can make even a Surly Krampus, for example, handle like garbage. It always wants to wheelie and flex under the power, and it’s a bear to wrestle in technical terrain. The Jones, with this extra strength and length, shines above the rest.
Experience Unparalleled Speed and Performance on Your Ebike
Let’s touch on the specs. The Bafang BBSHD motor is a 750w bottom bracket motor capable of kicking out some serious power. The 48v system gets 3 different battery options from jones. A 10ah better, 17ah, or a huge 48ah pack all at 48v. Jones claims some impressive range numbers on the website and I wanted to test that specifically. So, my test bike came with the 48ah pack and the 17ah pack. My main goal was to see how far I could push the bike, fully loaded, off-road, bikepacking style.
Enjoy a Smooth, Powerful Ride with the High-End Components
My first impressions of the bike were that it was big and quite heavy. Spec’d with 29×3.25 tires this bike looks like a monster truck. And with the biggest battery pack, it weighed north of 60LBS. However, once you start riding, that magic Jones formula takes over and you don’t really feel the weight. With 5 modes of power and a thumb throttle on the left side, the bike just goes. Modes 1-3 are limited to 14 mph, and you feel like you are pedaling a regular bike with some help. Modes 4-5 really kick and get you up to 20 mph in no time. I came back from my first ride with a smile on my face.
This e-bike is definitely on the moto side of things. I used the bike on my commute to work for almost a month. 20 miles round trip with about 700 ft of gain. I found I only needed to charge every other day. Most of the time I was in mode 5, full throttle at 20mph. I found myself taking the long way most of the time, hitting all the dirt roads and exploring my town. It replaced 90% of the trips I would have driven in my car. That alone is an excellent reason to get one of these bikes. I took the bike on some exceptionally rough trails near my house and the bike climbed technical chunk with confidence. You can use the throttle for an extra power boost if your legs start to bog down. Descending on trail, the bike is planted and can take the abuse, but it’s no enduro rock basher. However, it’ll still go through anything you point it at. If you’re looking for a single track specific e-bike, I would not recommend this one. If you plan to leave the ground or rage down technical trails, suspension will still be a better option. That said, this thing was a blast on the flowy stuff and forest service roads!
Get Ready to Ride: An Overview of the Features of The Jones Motorbikes LWB HD/e BBSHD
Okay, time for the big ride. I planned an overnight loop from my house of 40+ miles and 5000+ feet of climbing, linking up as much dirt trail as I could. The goal was to test the range of the big battery pack and find out if this bike would allow me to make a door-to-door bikepacking trip without the need for superhuman fitness. I left my house and began climbing up the canyon towards the dirt, keeping the bike in mode 1-2, I pedaled along at 13 mph. A pace that I could only dream of riding on an acoustic bike. My effort was minimal, and soon I found myself at the bottom of my first challenge. Lickskillet Road -the steepest county maintained road in the country. It’s 1 mile long and almost 1000 ft of gain to the top.
I kicked into mode 3 and floated up the climb. As I arrived at the top, I checked my battery life. After nearly 2k of climbing and 10 miles, I had over 90% battery life left. Once the climb was complete, I had more dirt road climbing, and I cruised through it all in mode 3. As I got closer to camp and my battery still read north of 90%, I kicked into mode 4 and went throttle only, having a blast at 20mph down the 4wd road to camp. I pulled into camp with 90% battery left and was over the moon with the possibilities for the next day. In the morning, I packed up my gear and hit the trail. This time, mode 5, throttle only, motorcycle mode. Linking up dirt roads and single-track cuts, further up into the mountains. At this point, I had swiftly finished most of the planned route and began descending the canyon back to my house. As I pedaled down the hill with plenty of battery to spare, I was struck with how awesome this bike is.
I used it more like a motorcycle on my second day, but on the first day, it was a bicycle. I’d gone quite far with all my camping gear. Had I kept pedaling in modes 1-3, that range would have been even greater. I could take this thing on a multi-night trip without recharging. A full weekend of bikepacking! That’s incredible. I arrived home after 40 miles and close to 6000 feet of climbing with 30% battery left. Okay, Jeff Jones, your claims of great range are true. This bike is made for bikepacking and long-distance (for an e-bike) travel.
Maximize Your Riding Experience with Innovative Design Features
I really get it; the LWB HD/e makes a great commuter, especially with the smaller battery pack. It rides well and carries its weight with poise. With the big battery, it’s an absolute beast. In talking with Jeff, it became clear that he wants this bike to fill a category closer to motorcycles than bicycles, while still remaining a bicycle. That’s why he calls them motorbikes. This is an important delineation. With major brands pushing towards pedal assist only and keeping weight down, Jones has gone in the other direction to maximize range and versatility.
The Pros and Cons of Investing in the Jones Motorbikes LWB HD/e BBSHD
Let’s talk about the price. For the model I tested with the big 48ah battery pack, you will spend $7,850 shipped (that’s with the $230 shipping fee). Woof, that’s a lot of cash! It’s not out of the realm of many e-bikes from the big brands but let’s make some comparisons on the motorbike side of things. In my opinion, the LWB HD/e is best suited for those long-distance rides of 50+ miles. If range is what you’re looking for, you could purchase a nice motorcycle at this price point. My own Yamaha XT250, a capable and approachable dual sport, cost just over $3000 used. New from the dealer, you are looking at around $7000. These two vehicles, although quite different, are similar in size. Indeed, the Jones is narrower, significantly lighter, and much more approachable for those without motorcycle experience. But you basically have unlimited range on an ICE vehicle. With some quick number crunching the overall maintenance costs are similar. When you factor in the price of drivetrain wear and tires over a year on the Jones. Now you may not like this comparison. An individual looking for an E-Bike is likely looking for something other than a motorcycle, for which you need a license plate, insurance, and moto gear for. However, this comparison may be relevant when looking at range and overall cost.
A Critical Look at the Specifications
The Jones LWB HD/e is a well-thought-out bike and sells in several configurations. The fact that you can buy the bike as a regular acoustic bike and upgrade to an e-bike later is really cool. The long geometry and heat-treated tubing makes the bike, sans motor, a stable and comfortable touring bike. Jones tells me it’s been popular with larger riders and folks who want to load up the bike with everything for long trips. This is pretty cool. Looking back at the specs, I do have some gripes. First, the components, spec’d with a 12-speed SRAM SX groupset, I found that the steps between shifts were too close. 12-speed was developed for fine-tuning your cadence and effort on acoustic bikes. I found I needed to shift several times to get into the gear I wanted since I had the power of E to make up for the gaps in gearing. On top of that, a 12s chain is narrower and will wear out much faster than a 9s or 10s chain. Jones likes the SRAM SX groupset because the cassette is steel. That’s good but the SX derailleur is primarily plastic, and the adjustment screws are literally wood screws into plastic. As a full-time bike mechanic, I see these stripped out, cracked, and broken more than any other derailleur. It’s built to be disposable.
I would love to see these bikes with a BOX Prime 9-speed groupset. You still get the same range, 11-50, on a steel cassette, just with 9 speeds. The derailleur is much more robust, and a 9-speed chain will last much longer. The Avid BB7 brakes with 203mm rotors do stop pretty well, and I am a fan of mechanical disc brakes. However, these require more experience to set up well and adjust, especially on 203mm rotors. I would really like to see a hydraulic option. Although hydraulic maintenance requires special tools, stopping power is going to be much better, and once you get the caliper aligned, it’s a set-and-forget situation. The bike with the smaller battery pack looks refined, but this big battery looks really DIY, Mad Max even. I’d like to see this get more refined for the extra $2,220 it costs for the big battery pack. I’ve seen Jones set the big battery pack up inside a frame bag, which looks much better. This would be great if that was included in the price. Lastly, and this is a big one, bikes with aftermarket motors, like the BBSHD, are not serviceable by your local bike shop. Many shops will turn away service altogether on a bike like this. It’s possible to convince a shop to just work on your brakes or wheels rear drivetrain, but I do mean convince! This may be a non-starter for someone who plans not to do their own maintenance.
Jones Motorbikes Bring High Quality Models with Enhanced Features to Meet Consumer Demands
These bikes are new to the Jones lineup, so much so that they live on the motorbike website, separate from Jones’ acoustic bikes. If I have learned anything from watching Jeff Jones over the last 20 years, it’s that he’s constantly tuning and refining his bikes. Through our conversations, I can tell he’s just as passionate about these e-bikes as he is about his acoustic bikes. To me, that means these Jones Motorbikes he’s making will only get better. Jeff Jones is a pioneer and a lone ranger in the bike industry. He will always do his thing regardless of what the industry says. We need that. The LWB HD/e fills a void in the e-bike space. It’s so capable, and the range is astounding. If you’re looking for something different with some serious range, I’d highly consider this bike.