Interbike 2009

First Look: Jango Flik V9 Folding Bicycle

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


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.


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:


–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:


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:


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:


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!


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

Interbike 2009: A look back

Interbike was just a week ago and I sure do miss it. So how was the show this year? Fun as always, but to me it seemed like there was less foot traffic than previous years. After talking to a few companies, they too had noticed it. In fact some companies only flew in a few core staff members to run their booths. Perhaps this economic stuff is really affecting the budgets of bike shops in more ways than one. One manufacturer told me that more than half of their East Coast customers wouldn’t be able to make it to the show.

For a retailer, Interbike is the best time to go and purchase inventory. Usually manufacturers will offer some incentive or a crazy discount on volume orders. So for a retailer to miss this event, it could mean less profits for them since they will be excluded from the deals.

Let’s talk about what we saw on the floor. TONS of electric bikes. Personally I don’t like them. I also think they are a year late. Gas prices were higher last year…Anyhow, it seemed like there were way more electric bike companies that sprouted this past year than I remember seeing in previous shows. Sanyo (famous electronics company) jumped on the bandwagon and came out with their own electric bike.

You’ve seen most of the pictures already, but classic and mixte frames for the commuter scene made a big impact. I also noticed that there are many companies that are offering single speed commuter bikes with a low start price of $350. Steel made a huge appearance with commuter bikes. In fact a majority of the commuter bikes we have featured so far were made of sweet steel.

Linus Mixte

The material to be used most other than carbon fiber…bamboo! Yup this super renewable source is getting incorporated into the bike scene like crazy. Boo Bicycles was one of the companies that offered an actual bamboo bike, the other brand is Calfee.
Boo Bicycles


Bamboo was also appearing in fenders. In fact Planet Bike will be offering an alternative to flat bamboo…curved.
Axiom Bamboo fenders

Electric bike with bamboo

Bamboo Clothing. Zoic has a commuter line that incorporates bamboo fibers.

All in all, great show. A few of the companies we’ve dealt with before weren’t there, some have shut down for good and others just didn’t have it in their budget to exhibit. But for the most part, manufacturers and retailers alike felt confident that 2010 sales will increase. The commuter segment of the bike industry is growing like crazy. Even though gas prices have somewhat stabilized, bike commuting and commuter bikes are becoming a large influence in our culture. What’s great to see are bike companies responding to their customers.

In summary, classy steel commuter bikes with bamboo fenders are awesome.Baskets seem to overshadow panniers. Carbon hasn’t yet made its way to commuter bikes, electric bikes are way over priced and it almost doesn’t make sense. But to each his own. Foot traffic was ok, not as much as years prior. Manufacturers are offering more commuter bikes, especially 700c. Bakfeit, cargo-ish bikes…not that big of a hit this year. You won’t find halogen lights anymore, everything is LED. Commuter clothing rocks. Some of the stuff look like items you’d wear to the office. Finally…get off your computer and start riding your bike!