Alternative to Jones H bar ?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
gregoryoftours
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby gregoryoftours » 28 Mar 2019, 10:50pm

slowster wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
gregoryoftours wrote:I wonder how long it'll be before Mr Jones gets wind of it and shuts it down again.

I'm always puzzled as to how he can,how do you patent such a thing as a handlebar shape :?

As I understand it patent law in the US is different to the UK, in that you do not need to prove that your invention meets all the requirements to get a patent. Instead the validity/strength of the patent is only effectively confirmed if the patent holder takes someone to court for copying their innovation. The court then makes the judgement on the merits of the patent (whether the innovation was sufficiently novel etc.) and decides if the patent is valid and should be enforced by the court. In the UK (and Europe?) it is more difficult to get a patent because it is necessary to convince the patent office first of the merits of the application.

There's a thread on this on Singletrackworld, and one poster has pointed out that there is Design Rights protection in the EU, which would probably apply, but only if the product were launched in the EU (which was never likely given that Jeff Jones is based in the US).

As for the implication that Mr Jones is a wealthy powerful person who is able to use his lawyers to get the sale of the copies stopped, the reality is that up until a few years ago Jeff Jones was a one man band, and I think that even now he only has a few employees. Similarly the UK/EU importer and distributor is a one man operation. There is probably zero likelihood of them being able and willing to afford a legal battle with Planet X, which is a much larger business. It's true that previously Alpkit started to sell a copy of the Jones bars and stopped doing so, but I believe that was not down to any threats from Jeff Jones. I think it was simply pointed out to them that they were selling a knock-off of the Jones bars (something which they might not have fully appreciated, because the bars are apparently a 'catalogue' item being offered by a chinese manufacturer), and so they decided to stop selling them because they presumably felt it was wrong to sell a knock-off of someone else's design (something which Alpkit probably felt more keenly because they are themselves a relatively small company).

But I guess that imagining, with no actual grounds for doing so, that Jeff Jones is a rich businessman with expensive lawyers makes it easier in some people's minds to justify purchasing a knock-off copy of his handlebar design. You might not feel quite so comfortable and pleased with yourself at having got a bargain if you knew that it was just a small business, and that the damage to the business caused by the widespread copying of his design might mean that he would have to make employees redundant.

Ultimately there's an important issue at stake here, which is how much protection is given to those who innovate, which is becoming more sharply defined as a result of the vast manufacturing capability of China and the weakness of Intellectual Property laws in China, with the result that unscrupulous importers like Planet X can buy copies of almost anything. Indeed, it would not surprise me if Planet X made its decision to buy the bars knowing that Jeff Jones was too small to have any comeback, whereas they would not do so if the product being copied was from the likes of Specialized (whose lawyers went so far as to order a bike shop to change its name from Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio, because Specialized had trademarked 'Roubaix' in the USA and Canada).

As it stands, it looks like the playing field is skewed against the small innovator in favour of large wealthy corporations. Small innovators often have to take major risks in investing their time and money to develop their designs and bring them to market. If they find that their products are rapidly copied, then that will deter them, and innovation will increasingly be confined to the mega corporations - in other words, it will be stifled. Because, although various aspects of Jeff Jones' designs have been seen before, in many respects he went against the flow of current bicycle design to produce bikes that are a relatively unique combination of those various aspects, including the bars. He developed his products not by sitting at a CAD machine, but over many years by a process of progressive experimentation to find the optimum design. If he had not come up with the design of his bars, I doubt they would exist: the major handlebar and component manufacturers would probably never have been interested in spending time and money developing such bars and bringing them to market.

I know that Jeff Jones is not a rich and powerful individual. He does however have highly questionable judgement with regard to facial hair. I underestimated the difficulty and expense of legal action in relation to patents, and assumed that the several similar versions of Jones bars that have been and gone over the years have been due to his threatening legal action.
I would consider buying some Jones bars if I lived in the States and didn't have to pay the overly inflated price they are here. It's too much for many people to pay to get a slight variation of the many examples of extreme sweep bars that exist, (which is what I'm using them for, rather than the loop) and run the risk of not getting on with them. Many people I guess are of the same mind, hence my comment, which was meant more along the lines of 'bummer for us' rather than being especially angry at Mr Jones.
I find it hard to believe that Alpkit were unaware that they had ordered Jones bar design copies.
I have 2 Jones bars that I bought second hand, neither of which I would pay full UK retail for despite liking them.
I don't feel bad for buying some planet X knockoffs to see how they compare and to use on other bikes. I'm not doing Mr Jones out of some sales because I'd never buy them new; I suspect that most people who buy the cheap ones will be the same, and I doubt that many of Mr Jones' potential customers would touch planet X with a barge pole! The Jones bars are better made and lighter, and in the case of the 'm' bar the planet X version is a bit narrower and a slightly shallower angle of sweep.

0xymoron
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby 0xymoron » 29 Mar 2019, 1:41pm

slowster wrote:
Ultimately there's an important issue at stake here, which is how much protection is given to those who innovate, which is becoming more sharply defined as a result of the vast manufacturing capability of China and the weakness of Intellectual Property laws in China, with the result that unscrupulous importers like Planet X can buy copies of almost anything.



Since you seem convinced that Mr Jones has legally-enforceable proprietary rights over this design of handlebar I assume you have studied his patent(s)? You presumably know what claims are covered in his patents, what the priority dates are, and what the prior art is (I bought a similar, not identical, handlebar from Rose Bikes the best part of 20 years ago)?

Before you traduce other peoples' and organizations' ethics perhaps you could provide some solid evidence that they are indeed infringing Mr Jones' rights?

slowster
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby slowster » 29 Mar 2019, 5:36pm

0xymoron wrote:Since you seem convinced that Mr Jones has legally-enforceable proprietary rights over this design of handlebar etc. etc.

Given that comment you haven't actually understood what I have written.

0xymoron
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby 0xymoron » 29 Mar 2019, 6:34pm

slowster wrote:
0xymoron wrote:Since you seem convinced that Mr Jones has legally-enforceable proprietary rights over this design of handlebar etc. etc.

Given that comment you haven't actually understood what I have written.


And you haven't addressed the point I made, since you seem willing to accuse Planet-X of being unscrupulous without providing any evidence.

Unless you think Mr Jones has the absolute right to control the sale of handlebars with a front loop extension irrespective of his legal rights (and I'd love to see you make that case), I fail to see how you can criticise anybody who sells handlebars designed around those principles. Mr Jones may well own such rights, but I rather suspect you don't know one way or the other.

PJ520
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby PJ520 » 30 Mar 2019, 3:32am

A bit of trivia about US patents. You cannot patent (a) a toy (b) a cure for cancer or (c) a perpetual motion device, any other idea is patentable (it doesn't even have to work). The way the discussion is going Jones bars (or 'bars as Mick F would have it) are a perpetual argument device.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

slowster
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby slowster » 30 Mar 2019, 10:38am

0xymoron wrote:And you haven't addressed the point I made, since you seem willing to accuse Planet-X of being unscrupulous without providing any evidence.

Unless you think Mr Jones has the absolute right to control the sale of handlebars with a front loop extension irrespective of his legal rights (and I'd love to see you make that case), I fail to see how you can criticise anybody who sells handlebars designed around those principles. Mr Jones may well own such rights, but I rather suspect you don't know one way or the other.

Unlike probably every other handlebar shape and design on the market, the Jones Loop handlebar is instantly recognisable as being something designed and sold by Jeff Jones. It's doubtful if I showed you any other handlebar design that you would similarly be able to identify the designer and manufacturer with the same level of confidence. The chinese manufacturer of the bars being sold by Planet X has very clearly copied the Jones Loop bar. In short, it's a knock-off. Blatently copying an original designer's work and taking advantage of the time and money invested by the designer (and his distributors and retailers) to build up a demand for the bars is unethical, i.e. unscrupulous.

As for the legal rights issue, you still clearly haven't understood what I wrote and continue to ascribe beliefs/opinions to me and then seek to criticise me for those imaginary beliefs.
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Going back to what I wrote earlier, I think the issue of protection for designs and innovation, especially for small businesses, is going to become more acute beause of the impact of chinese manufacturing. The copying has tended to focus on the more mainstream/high volume/high price items, like frames, but I suspect that is less profitable now for chinese manufacturers because of competition amongst them. There's probably now just as much opportunity, if not more, to make a profit by copying less mainstream/lower price products. For example, I suspect it would be possible to get a chinese manufacturer to make perfect copies of Carradice's bags and sell them for less than half the price of the Carradice version.

Brexit could also have an effect, since it may become harder for British manufacturers/designers/innovators to defend their designs in the EU if/when Britain is a third country, which might prompt many British designers to relocate to the EU.

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Mick F
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby Mick F » 30 Mar 2019, 10:47am

dondelion wrote:No love for bullmoose bars? They have a similar swept back style to the Jones. I'm currently riding the Baja Divide on my Surly Troll with them (slowly, fully loaded and with panniers) and they are a revelation after years on drops.

Planet X sell Nitto's version for £70 https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBNIBULL9 ... -handlebar
Why would anyone want handlebars 670mm wide? :shock:

They're too wide to get through the door into the shed, let alone the house.
Mick F. Cornwall

reohn2
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby reohn2 » 30 Mar 2019, 10:52am

Mick F wrote:
dondelion wrote:No love for bullmoose bars? They have a similar swept back style to the Jones. I'm currently riding the Baja Divide on my Surly Troll with them (slowly, fully loaded and with panniers) and they are a revelation after years on drops.

Planet X sell Nitto's version for £70 https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBNIBULL9 ... -handlebar
Why would anyone want handlebars 670mm wide? :shock:

They're too wide to get through the door into the shed, let alone the house.

It's a different type of cycling,and if you think 670mm is wide there are 750mm and wider not that I think such a wide 'bar is needed mind.
670mm isnt an overly wide handlebar for flats or offroad riding,plus it offers the ability for them to be sawn down for a custom fit.
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gregoryoftours
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby gregoryoftours » 30 Mar 2019, 9:39pm

Mick F wrote:
dondelion wrote:No love for bullmoose bars? They have a similar swept back style to the Jones. I'm currently riding the Baja Divide on my Surly Troll with them (slowly, fully loaded and with panniers) and they are a revelation after years on drops.

Planet X sell Nitto's version for £70 https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBNIBULL9 ... -handlebar
Why would anyone want handlebars 670mm wide? :shock:

They're too wide to get through the door into the shed, let alone the house.


That's fairly standard, the narrower Jones bars are 660mm, wider ones are 710mm.

gregoryoftours
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby gregoryoftours » 30 Mar 2019, 9:45pm

dondelion wrote:No love for bullmoose bars? They have a similar swept back style to the Jones. I'm currently riding the Baja Divide on my Surly Troll with them (slowly, fully loaded and with panniers) and they are a revelation after years on drops.

Planet X sell Nitto's version for £70 https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBNIBULL9 ... -handlebar


I really like the look and the sweep, but I'm quite fussy about angle adjustment and there is none with these. I use a bar bag and a mount won't go on these easily. Also there isn't a fat section in the middle so lights/accessory clamps will need shimming out quite a bit. I have a bike these would look lovely on, but they're a bit too expensive for me at £70.

dondelion
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby dondelion » 31 Mar 2019, 5:47am

I'm using an Alpkit Stem Cell XL bag in the gap between stem and bars and it fits perfectly. My cockpit has definitely been minimised due to the lack of flat surfaces though. The bars are really comfy and it feels like a natural position even after long hours in the saddle. My partner is using On One Mary bars on her Troll and they have a similar angle on the sweep.

reohn2
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby reohn2 » 31 Mar 2019, 9:40am

PlanetX 'mike' :- https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBOOMB/on ... -handlebar are another alternative,though at 40degrees have a little less backsweep than Jones and no loop for alternative hand positions.
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gregoryoftours
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby gregoryoftours » 1 Apr 2019, 12:41am

reohn2 wrote:PlanetX 'mike' :- https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBOOMB/on ... -handlebar are another alternative,though at 40degrees have a little less backsweep than Jones and no loop for alternative hand positions.

They are a knock-off of the Jones 'm' bar, also known as the Jones bend bar. They are what I use for touring as you can use them with an ortleib bar bag mount.

Tiberius
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby Tiberius » 8 Apr 2019, 4:26pm

Planet X 'Geoff's' back in stock....

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBOOGB/on ... k-in-stock

gregoryoftours
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Re: Alternative to Jones H bar ?

Postby gregoryoftours » 8 Apr 2019, 6:26pm

Mick F wrote:
dondelion wrote:No love for bullmoose bars? They have a similar swept back style to the Jones. I'm currently riding the Baja Divide on my Surly Troll with them (slowly, fully loaded and with panniers) and they are a revelation after years on drops.

Planet X sell Nitto's version for £70 https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBNIBULL9 ... -handlebar
Why would anyone want handlebars 670mm wide? :shock:

They're too wide to get through the door into the shed, let alone the house.

In the case of the 710mm Jones bars, the manual makes quite interesting reading (in my opinion)
https://www.jonesbikes.com/content/Jone ... web_v3.pdf
They aren't designed to be used with a longer stem than other types of bar despite the backsweep. The primary position on the bars is intended to be quite far in from the ends which is also significantly further forward than the grip right at the ends. Using the grips near the ends is supposed to be a secondary position that brings the hands closer as well as wider and gives a very upright riding position. I wasn't aware of this until I read the manual.
This is Mr Jones himself explaining a bit about them -
https://www.charliethebikemonger.com/je ... 2415-p.asp