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Remember that oddly-shaped bicycle box that came on “Brown Santa” last week?

box

Well, some of our guessers were right: it IS a folding bicycle. A Jango Flik V9, to be exact. Released in Asia and revealed to great interest at both Eurobike and Interbike 2009, the Jango Flik is a new player on the folding-bike scene. We’re lucky to have gotten a sample to test for a few weeks before it gets sent back to parent company Topeak, and I wanted to give you a look at some of the major features before we get down to testing it.

riding

First, a bit about the bike from Jango’s own website:

Frame: UniFit, single size
Folding Time: Shuttling, 2 seconds; Storage, 4 seconds
Weight: 12.9 kg/28.4 lb.
Maximum Rider Weight: 110 kg/ 242.5 lb.
Suspension: Front spring w/ 20mm travel, rear elastomer w/ 10mm travel
Shifters: Shimano 9-speed Rapidfire
Cassette: SRAM 9-speed (11-28)
Chainring: Single 50T ring with CNC chainguard
Brakes: Jango mechanical discs with integrated DiscBlock lock
Saddle: Allay Racing Sport
Grips: Ergon ergonomic
Wheels: Jango 16″ disc rims
Tires: Continental TourRide w/ reflective sidewalls

This bike is packed with urban-friendly features, such as
–a simple 1×9 drivetrain with disc brakes front and rear and tires with reflective sidewalls:

rear

–short-travel suspension both front and rear:

front susp.
(spring-damped with 20 mm of travel, non-adjustable)

rear susp.
(elastomer-damped with 10 mm of travel; preload-adjustable)

–an integrated rear rack that folds with the bike:

rack

integrated front wheel immobilizer (DiscBlock lock), and lightning-fast folding mechanisms. The folding mechanisms are easy to use and FAST. Jango claims a 2-second switch between fully-deployed and the intermediate “shuttle” mode, and this is quite accurate. Pull a lever and fold the bike and you arrive at this:

shuttle

You’ll notice that the integrated kickstand swivels to allow the bike to stand in “shuttle” mode. That’s a nice feature!

Two quick motions with the hand to undo the front-end folding mechanism and safety block, coupled with the above lever pull and you arrive at this, the fully-folded “storage” mode:

storage

As part of my review I will include a video or two of just how quick it is to fold this bike in both modes. It couldn’t be easier, and Jango has put a lot of thought and time into creating a system that makes folding effortless for the user. I will also compare this folder to a more “traditional” folding bike, both in terms of folding ease and final folded size.

I haven’t had a lot of experience with folding bikes — many of the people who know me and my cycling habits know that I’ve been clamoring to fill a gap in my bicycle fleet. Here’s why: although I’m not a multi-modal commuter, there are days when it’s time to go to work and it’s pouring down rain. With the vagaries of Florida’s weather, it is almost invariably sunny and dry within a few hours and after I’ve “chickened out” by having my wife drive me to work, I wish that I had a folding bike on hand to make the return leg rather than wait to be picked up. A folding bike would be awfully handy for such a scenario, as it would be for someone who does part of their morning commute via carpool, bus or train.

Besides, in the brief experiences I’ve had with folding bikes, I’ve learned that they are FUN to ride. Sure, they look weird, but once I get on something happens and I realize I’m wearing a huge grin.

I’ll be testing this bike in the urban conditions in and around Tampa — navigating the urban corridors and otherwise using the bike the way Jango intends it: as a handy, portable travel solution for city-dwellers. Stay tuned and in a few weeks we’ll have the full review.

Let the testing begin!

yeehaw!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.