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26" MTB gravel conversion - thoughts on Jones H bars and Compass tires?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

26" MTB gravel conversion - thoughts on Jones H bars and Compass tires?

Old 03-31-20, 09:07 AM
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DMC707
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26" MTB gravel conversion - thoughts on Jones H bars and Compass tires?

Apologies if this has all been gone over -- I scanned the first 5 or 6 pages of the Gravel section and didn't find much

So the abridged edition before I get wordy --- anybody have any experience with the H bar on a 26" MTB -either regular or the riser version? - and how do these compare to the Surly or Velo Orange trekking bars?
and ---- any experience with the Compass NAtches PAs tire in 26 x 1.8" for use on a MTB conversion?



I have buddies trying to coax me into riding gravel , but I have resisted for years -

Now I am going to pull an old rigid MTB out of inventory to give it a go ('95 MArin Team Edition, Tange Prestige steel ) -- bike is a size M, (17.5" ) with a 23.5" top tube
Given these dimensions, I am not going to attempt a drop bar conversion

Instead I have contemplated going with the Jones H Bar with the additional 2.5" of rise (the head tube on this machine also fosters a long and low riding position - normal for that era) I was curious f anybody on here had any experience with this bar on a 26" MTB , and /or how it compares with the Surly Molokai bar or the Velo ORange crazy bar?

As well, --- Compass has some very cool lightweight 1.8" tires https://www.renehersecycles.com/shop...8-naches-pass/

The tires look to be a file tread and I thought with the wide width, would be nice for gravel and road sections as well --- but would you fellas recommend something with more knobs? Panaracer does make a 2.1" Gravel King in 26" that looks like a possibility , but I didn't think I needed that kind of width for a gravel conversion - what say you guys?

I don't mind spending a few bucks to get some more use out of an old friend that now sits largely forgotten in my attic and if I like this type of riding I may invest in a more dedicated rig later , but these tye of builds seem like nice bikes to have around even if you do have more specialized equipment
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Old 03-31-20, 10:24 AM
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HTupolev
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
As well, --- Compass has some very cool lightweight 1.8" tires https://www.renehersecycles.com/shop...8-naches-pass/

The tires look to be a file tread and I thought with the wide width, would be nice for gravel and road sections as well --- but would you fellas recommend something with more knobs? Panaracer does make a 2.1" Gravel King in 26" that looks like a possibility , but I didn't think I needed that kind of width for a gravel conversion - what say you guys?
This all depends on your particular gravel.

If what you're riding on is mostly rocky aggregate, or if it's dry, slicks can work fine. They'll tend to perform a little better and wear slower on pavement than knobbies will.
If you're be riding on a lot of mud, or wet organic matter, you'll probably want some knob.

How much width you'll want depends on how rough things are.

This is fine on skinny 23mm road tires:



This felt very rough even on my Rat Trap Pass ELs:



If you're unsure, it's not bad to err wide, especially if you go with really supple tires where you might want some more margin with the thin sidewalls and the riding surface.
If you're thinking about Rene Herse and also 2.1", you could go with the Rat Trap Pass. Panaracer decided to have the nominal size be 2.3" because the tire mold uses the same silicon bladder as for their 2.3" knobby mountain tires, and they wanted to avoid mix-ups on the manufacturing floor. But the actual width is usually around 2.1" on non-fat/plus MTB rims; in the photo above, my Rat Trap Pass ELs on Sun Rhyno Lite rims actually only measure about 52mm.
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Old 03-31-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
This all depends on your particular gravel.
If what you're riding on is mostly rocky aggregate, or if it's dry, slicks can work fine. They'll tend to perform a little better and wear slower on pavement than knobbies will.
This felt very rough even on my Rat Trap Pass ELs:
.
i'll know more in a couple of days --- but the gravel I will be riding is Kansas gravel --- if it was as bad as your bottom pic, I know my riding buddies would be complaining about it more --- but its definitely not as smooth as the first pic

I have an old set of wheels with some chubby Continental Town and Country tires mounted up somewhere -- theyre wire bead so wont go tubeless, but for the purpose of experimentation, im gonna track those down and just get out there and check things out ---- that's a pretty slick tire. It wont be a perfect test but will give me an idea before I start spending a lot of dough on tires

For that matter I could just hit it on the flat bars too, but I was wanting to put together something fun and unique while I am tinkering
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Old 03-31-20, 01:42 PM
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Trekking bars are a good choice for vintage MTBs. They offer a lot of hand positions and your old parts will work well. Plus they're cheap. A Jones bar is not cheap and you will likely need to get a threadless converter since it is 31.8 and you are going to want a stem with a plate to install it.

This is my '92 Trek 950 with trekking bars; it's a good ride on gravel as well as the road:

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Old 04-01-20, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Trekking bars are a good choice for vintage MTBs. They offer a lot of hand positions and your old parts will work well. Plus they're cheap. A Jones bar is not cheap and you will likely need to get a threadless converter since it is 31.8 and you are going to want a stem with a plate to install it.

This is my '92 Trek 950 with trekking bars; it's a good ride on gravel as well as the road:


That's a good looking setup and similar to what ive got in mind ---- I just got the quill to threadless adapter yesterday and My LBS ordered the H bars for me with the 2" rise -- I figured if theres not too many reviews out there on them, I may as well take the plunge and review them myself --

My LBS is open, but its a weird scene- they are doing curbside delivery and pickup - I basically called them from the front door and told them to bring me out a 1 1/8 stem adapter, discussed bars and tires , got my change and went along my merry way -- im glad to see they are trying to keep business going though -- I consider them friends and would imagine it would be hard for a small shop owner to pay the guys' for time off if there wasn't any production
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Old 04-01-20, 11:59 AM
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Re: bars, the first time I've seen Jones H bars were when only 26ers were available. So I'm sure they'll work fine on vintage MTB builds.

Re: tires, the width will depend on intended surface. In my experience 2.0"+ will be appreciated on anything rougher than smooth hardpack. On tarmac, a 26" will feel slow even with 1.5" slicks (compared to 700c road bike)
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Old 04-04-20, 06:23 PM
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I have 26" Rene Herse tires on one of my bikes (forget which width but they are reakky wide) and I love them. Just do nit use them if there is a lot of glass or very sharp new gravel that has not been softened by a few thousand cars running on it. If that go with either their endurance casing (I have not tried that yet) or the Gravel king or Challenge Strada Bianca. Those all have excellent ride quality and are great performers on road and gravel as long as no slick mud.
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Old 04-04-20, 06:28 PM
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The compass tires are great. Get the widest ones you can cram in. They work best with tubes BTW.

We have those Jones bars on my wife's bike (along with 38mm Compass tires, BTW). They keep her very upright, and they are quite heavy. She is not in love with them. You need to angle them down (follow their directions) or they will be a torture device.
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Old 04-12-20, 08:40 PM
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Compass tires are great. Love mine.
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