Jones Plus Bike?

Words Omar Bhimji
Photos Kaz Yamamura
Date Jan 26, 2016

A scan of the images below should tell you that Jeff Jones does things a bit differently. A few years ago I stumbled across Jeff’s website and down the rabbit hole of his bicycle design ideas. An unsuspended all-mountain bike? I was intrigued, but my lizard brain demanded that I flee from it, and some jerk talked me out of asking to review one.

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Jeff Jones: back-woods beardo or bicycle design revolutionary? Let’s find out!

Last fall Jeff raised another fully-rigid middle finger at conventional industry wisdom, announcing the birth of the Jones Plus. I read his marathon blog-post and was both appalled and impressed: he seemed to have both thrown out basically everything that we know to be true about designing a properly functioning mountain bike, and thrown down the gauntlet by declaring that rather than being designed to fill a specific niche, his new bike excelled at every form of riding.

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According to Jeff, the Jones Plus is a bike for riding fast, slow, the rough with the smooth; safely, aggressively, laid-back or raging; with a big load or stripped to the bare essentials; on road, dirt, mud, snow; in the mountains, on the flat lands, around town or across the country; around the world or your local loop; for getting rad or just getting away.

In an increasingly niche-oriented industry, could one bike truly do it all by doing it all differently? I had to find out, and figured a trial by fire was in order: if the Jones Plus bike could excel on the Shore, a lot of bicycle design axioms might need a second look. This is a first look at a rather unique mountain bike I’ve been riding over the past few months, with a full review to follow.

The new Jones bike is simply called the Plus, and is made of steel: 4130 chromoly tubes tig welded in Taiwan. The frames are ED coated – an electronically deposited base coat is covered by a single tone powder coat – for durability and a simple but elegant finish.

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Steel. This you can trust.

One of my original beefs with Jeff’s design ideas was that, for years, he only offered his frames in one size, claiming they would fit riders between 5’6” and 6’2” tall. The Plus on the other hand is available in two sizes: one with a 24” top tube that fits like all of his other frames; and another with a 25” top tube (shown here) intended for taller/longer riders looking for more room and stability.

While earlier Jones bikes have had reasonably compact back ends – for 29ers – the chainstays on the Plus bike are nineteen inches long. That’s basically unheard of, and would seem to suggest a bike that rides like a bus, but Jeff contends he’s been able to all but offset their impact on the bike’s handling by changing things up out front; more on that in a moment. The long chainstays are meant to provide the Plus with stability at speed and on long rides by extending the bike’s wheelbase into DH/touring bike territory. Made of steel, they’re also intended to provide a bit of cushion in chunky terrain and on landings.

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A Shore-worthy drivetrain.

A closer look at the back end reveals a very Shore-worthy drivetrain: Shimano XTR Shadow Plus derailleur and a 11-42 tooth 11-speed cassette, mated with a 28 tooth Race Face N/W chainring mounted to a set of carbon Next SL cranks. Also visible here are a replaceable derailleur hanger and hooded dropouts. Just above the dropouts are four threaded braze-ons for fenders, racks, or what have you; I can’t really imagine what series of additions would require four separate mounting points, but if you need them you’ve got them.

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Chainstays for days

Like all Jones frames, the Plus sports an eccentric bottom bracket. This allows the rider to set up their bike with a singlespeed drivetrain or an internally geared hub, adjust bottom bracket height to preference, or use standard 29” wheels and tires without raising the bike’s centre of gravity inordinately.

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H is for handle

Out front, rather than a traditional flat or riser bar, we’ve got a Bend version of the Jones H-Bar, which sweeps back at a 45* angle. Besides the wild-looking Space Frame, the H-Bar is probably Jeff’s best known product. It’s quite popular with the alt-bike and off-road touring set, but Jeff contends it’s equally at home on technical trails, and he recently boosted the width to 710mm.

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The truss fork received the lion’s share of stares and chuckles directed our way during the review period.

Rather than a normal suspension or bladed unit, the Plus sports a truss fork. Two traditional looking fork blades are mirrored by a second pair that run from a collar above the bike’s headset down to the front axle. The two sets of blades are also joined by a set of spurs extending from the fork crown. 

According to Jeff, the truss configuration allowed him a lot of latitude when it came to dialling in the Plus’ handling. The truss fork allowed him to take the bigger-wheel/more-offset corollary to previously unheard of extremes: 76mm of offset, to be exact, which means a front axle over an inch further forward than, well, anything else out there!

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Four fork blades meet four brake pistons.

The last stop on our tour is the ground floor. The front hub is a proprietary 15mm x 142mm thru-axle, front-specific number developed by Jeff, who has been spec’ing extra wide front hubs on his bikes for many years for the stronger and stiffer wheels they provide. The hubs are laced to 50mm wide prototype carbon 29+ rims, mounted with 29 x 3” Maxxis Chronicle tires set up tubeless. Stopping these massive hoops is the job of a set of Shimano Saint M820 brakes chomping down on 203mm Ice Tech rotors front and rear.

JonesFullyRigidPlus_NSMB_KazYamamura-2

Fully rigid for the Shore? Valar Morghulis!

Visually the Jones Plus is the unique sum of its rather unconventional parts. I’ve done my best in this first look to highlight each of them, because I think they’re interesting and worthy of examination. But focusing too much on them individually misses the point of the bike: they’re meant to work in concert, creating a very specific, distinct and capable ride. I’ve been itching to get one of Jeff’s bikes out to our neck of the woods for years, figuring it would either flame out spectacularly, or blow my mind. So which will it be? You’re going to have to wait for the full review for the answer.


How could this bike possibly be your everything? And our everything?

Comments

boomforeal
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boomforeal  - June 7, 2016, 10:22 p.m.

hi folks, the full review got posted last week, for anyone who subscribed here but missed it

apologies again for the looooong delay

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - April 21, 2016, 8:54 a.m.

hey, this is the author/reviewer -- apologies to those waiting on the full review. still working on it, but life has been getting in the way. hoping to have it done and posted soon…

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geraldooka
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Michael  - April 29, 2016, 10:34 a.m.

Standing by 🙂

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jay-danforth
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Jay Danforth  - March 25, 2016, 1:42 p.m.

Can't wait to read the full review. When do you think that will be posted?

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alex-hillis
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Alex Hillis  - Feb. 23, 2016, 1:44 p.m.

Waiting for the review!

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718_cyclery
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718_Cyclery  - Feb. 18, 2016, 6:25 a.m.

We just became a Jone Frame/Bike dealer (one of a very few in the country), and are really in love with this bike and its capabilities. We also subscribe to Jeff's notion that things need to be turned on their ear now and again.

Joe, Owner
718 Cyclery (www.718c.com)

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mikey
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Mikey  - Jan. 28, 2016, 2:08 a.m.

I do hope Omar comes with some truly hardcore NS actionphoto's but this movie from Jones shows nicely that you can do more with a rigid then you might think: (But then again, I'm Dutch, so what do I know about mountainbiking 😉 )

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 29, 2016, 8:04 a.m.

If you've been riding MTBs a while you started rigid by necessity. I know I "can" ride my local trails rigid. I even do so occasionally, but I never come back thinking I want to ride my FS bike any less.

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6od
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6od  - Jan. 27, 2016, 9:12 p.m.

I've had my 25″ Jones Plus for 9 months now and it is as great as all the "hype" makes it out to be. I have two wheelsets and the 29+ version of this bike is rugged yet plenty nimble, with confidence-inspiring handling on the trails. On washboarded gravel, it feels like you're in cheat-mode. When it's set up with 29 X 60mm slicks it's fast as hell and gets up and goes instantly on the road. The bike is a rare marriage of speed, stability and comfort. The Jones Plus isn't weird for the sake of being weird; Jeff Jones' design is absolutely revolutionary, brilliant and all about a better ride.

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michael
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Michael  - Jan. 27, 2016, 7:18 p.m.

I think you need a large handlebar mustache to rock this sled. I love it, but full rigid is not my cup of tea since Judy 1991. And yeah, big wheels are not suspension.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 11:55 p.m.

pft judy wasn't even a twinkle in daddy turner's eye in '91

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etbarbaric
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etbarbaric  - Jan. 27, 2016, 12:50 p.m.

I've owned a Jones Plus and ridden it almost exclusively since the early summer 2015. Looking forward to the full review, but I know how I feel about the bike… 🙂

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chantal-felten
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Chantal Felten  - Jan. 27, 2016, 12:31 p.m.

Pretty much 110% sure this is a bike I will never own, but uber excited to read how it actually rides…give us part II pronto 🙂

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Dirk
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Dirk  - Jan. 27, 2016, 11:18 a.m.

I looked at his website. The $1350 for the frame/fork seems okay. The $600 for fork only does not.

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adamm
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AdamM  - Jan. 27, 2016, 11:36 a.m.

Why is the fork price so outrageous? Look at the amount of fabrication time and effort that goes into it. It's got more complicated tube shapes and more joints than the frame.

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Dirk
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Dirk  - Jan. 27, 2016, 12:57 p.m.

This is all true. I just wouldn't expect almost half the price of a $1350 frameset to go towards the fork. Frame seems like a bit of a bargain when you factor it in. Of course, no frame only option.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 11:42 a.m.

jones offers a "standard" bladed fork for half that price. the truss is a marvel of engineering and fabrication; there's easily as much going on there as there is with most steel frames. given the market - the only other option for a truss fork is to go custom (black sheep offers them starting at $1500) - i don't think jeff's fork is overpriced

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 9:19 a.m.

for the record, that "jerk" comment/link wasn't meant to throw morgan taylor - who had his own big-tire come to jesus moment years ago - under the bus. the Shore wasn't ready!

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drewm
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DrewM  - Jan. 27, 2016, 2:49 p.m.

The born-agains are the worst eh?!

Years ago I ran a Jones H-bar on one of my hardtails and I definitely experienced pros/cons (it was definitely very ergo/comfortable… I should dig it out for my commuter)… anyways, would be curious how the bike rides with a "normal" bar vs. the Jones bar in more technical terrain if you have the opportunity to swap it out.

Would also love to read a comparison vs. your suspended 29'er hardtail.

Thanks for the review; a very interesting bike!

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 4:09 p.m.

i was a skeptical about those bars, and was certain i'd be replacing them with something more Shore-worthy after a nominal test period… potential spoiler alert: i haven't swapped them out yet! but i certainly should before wrapping up the review

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 27, 2016, 9:19 a.m.

I tried my buddy's 29er Jones [not the plus version above] and ended up buying a Surly Krampus as my bikepacking rig.

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jonas-dodd
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Jonas Dodd  - Jan. 27, 2016, 7:51 a.m.

Very interested to hear how that thing rides. I'm hoping that mr. Jones' claims amount to something other than just 'cause.

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rvoi
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rvoi  - Jan. 27, 2016, 7:05 a.m.

that front growler rack is genius!

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 1:19 p.m.

jeff is not adverse to developing wild stuff to increase the functionality of his bikes. some kind of padded framing to facilitate carrying a growler in the truss fork sounds like a good idea. check out his hikeabike aid, the gnarwal:

.

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kyle
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Kyle  - Jan. 27, 2016, 6:23 a.m.

Am I the only one that likes regular mountain bikes anymore? A real modern one, Pike, 650b, 1×11 XT, dropper, I'm no 26″ luddite, but OOF @ this ride and all the others like it. Tires are not suspension. Please stop.

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jonathan-harris
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Jonathan Harris  - Jan. 27, 2016, 6:41 a.m.

Not at all, but variety is the spice of life. Good to see a different angle every now and then. Looking forward to seeing the final review.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 27, 2016, 8 a.m.

You are the only one!
Haha. Don't worry, Kyle, the site isn't changing direction - we'll still have plenty of coverage of the bikes and parts you like. But Omar pushed for this one and we think that trying something a bit different for us is healthy. Some of the above commenters seem to agree. Vive les Différences and all that.

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sgtrobo
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sgtrobo  - April 21, 2016, 8:29 a.m.

so….did part 2 ever get posted (or written….or was it totally scrapped)?

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 27, 2016, 9:20 a.m.

Don't worry Kyle. I feel the same way. I had a fatbike and a 29+ back when neither were popular. They work well for specific bike missions, but for 80%+ of my BC riding I'm on a 650B 160mm FS bike.

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skyler
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Skyler  - Jan. 27, 2016, 4:18 p.m.

But if you're poor, and want a $2500CAD bike to do everything everyday, the entry-level FS bike is not going to be a better choice than something like a Krampus. If you can afford 3 or 4 bikes, fat-tired hard tails won't be better at descending than your dh or trail bike, or better at climbing than your 23lb xc bike, or better at dirt road grinding than your cx bike. But you could sell all your other bikes, be happy on a plus hard tail, and go spend 3 months riding it instead of working.

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 27, 2016, 4:46 p.m.

Poor people don't buy $2500 bikes. 😉

I'm happy with 2 bikes a 160mm FS bike and a rigid 29er/29+. They get used 80%/20% respectively. That might be skewed too much to the rigid bike, but I don't keep ride logs.

I'd rather have a used $2500 FS bike for my local riding than a new fat tired hardtail. The FS bike out rides the hardtail for that purpose up, down and sideways.

I've tried all sorts of options coming to this opinion. If a rigid or hardtail 29+ was an amazing ride for me I'd be all over it.

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 27, 2016, 4:49 p.m.

That said if a rigid or hardtail plus or fatbike works for you and the riding you want to do I've got no argument with minimizing the cost of a person's bikes.

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skyler
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Skyler  - Jan. 28, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

To be clear, in not advocating for the use of rigid bikes on the Shore. My neck/back/helmet/missing tooth can tell you that it's not a great idea. But, hard tails can be made exceptionally capable with the use of big wheels and wide tires, they can be more affordable, and can also excel in many other venues outside the Shore. Duh, enduro bikes are better for short laps most places in BC, but big wheels do surprisingly well as all-arounders. One $2500 bike is near the cheap end of things these days, with our dollar…

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 10:01 a.m.

actually, the whole impetus behind the development of tires WAS to provide (pneumatic) suspension

https://books.google.ca/books?id=y-QDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA60&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false

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craw
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Cr4w  - Jan. 27, 2016, 6:26 p.m.

All that modern stuff you think is 'regular' started out as some goofy idea someone thought to try a long time ago. Modern geo once seemed odd, same with pretty much every other thing you listed. Some of these visionary ideas don't work but some of them do and will probably be added to your list eventually.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 27, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

s'truth!

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mikey
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Mikey  - Jan. 27, 2016, 4:46 a.m.

I am riding a Krampus and it is also slowly becoming my everything. Dialled geometry and bigger tyres can be very convincing. But then being from the Netherlands I won't be riding anything as insane as the Northshore.
Can't wait to read the rest of your review. Finally something more interesting then the latest carbon full suspension superbike!

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hoonton
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hoonton  - Jan. 26, 2016, 11:08 p.m.

subscribed. few things more fun than weird bikes in the woods. thankyou Omar for bringing this to us.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 26, 2016, 11:42 p.m.

my pleasure, glad you're interested

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cooper
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Cooper  - Jan. 28, 2016, 5:45 p.m.

Agreed, super cool to see something this different. For better or worse.

Can…. can I try it sometime? I was sad I missed the Frommer the other day when I heard you showed up on this.

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boomforeal
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boomforeal  - Jan. 28, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Who dis?

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gotama
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Gotama  - May 16, 2016, 1:05 a.m.

Hi, do you know when you'll be putting out the follow up to the Jones Plus initial review?

Reply

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