Category: Panniers

Way back at Interbike 2007, Moe spotted an intriguing line of bicycles new to the market…check out his photos from back then by clicking here. Jango, a subsidiary of bicycle accessories juggernaut Topeak, has a pretty neat concept going on, and we were eager to get our hands on their products.

Well, after much speculation and hand-wringing, we were finally able to score a test model just less than two years after Jango introduced the bikes at Interbike! Sometimes things move with strange timing in the bike world…

What we got was a Jango 7.1 in 700c configuration:

jango 7.1

The concept is very cool: what if buying a bike was like going to a car dealer? What if you could walk into a shop, select a bike from a range of models and then select pre-configured “trim packages” or choose dedicated accessories from an extensive menu, all based on your needs? Jango offers seven bike models, nine preconfigured “trim packages” and a list of over 30 unique accessories. That’s a lot to digest!

Our test bike is the 7.1. Here’s a little bit about it from Jango’s website:

Bell: Jango integrated courtesy bell, black
Lights: Jango integrated front and rear LED lights
Pedals: Ergonomic Jango Dual Fit safety pedals
Saddle: Pressure free Allay Racing Sport saddle with AirSpan technology
Sizes: XS (430) / S (475) / M (500) / L (550) / XL (600)
Tyres: Jango light weight 700c x 38c
Wheels: Jango light weight wheel system
Grips: Ergonomic grip
Gears: Shimano Alivio 3 x 8 24 speed
Brake: Levers Jango with integrated bell mount
Fork: Jango suspension fork with magnesium lowers. Oil / Nitrogen hydraulic damping with elastomer spring. Variable compression with lock-out function. 50mm travel
Frame: Jango design with patented modular Plug in Play ports and personalized head badge theft deterrent system. Comfort geometry, high strength 7005 alu, double butted
Kickstand: Jango integrated kickstand
Seat Post: Jango with quick mount socket
Bar/Stem combination: Ergonomic Jango Vario Stem with adjustable angle and height. Forged Alu
Brakes: Jango disc brakes with integrated front disc lock
Colour: Jango Silver

With the bike, we also got a large case of assorted accessories, from cargo-carrying bits to lights, security gear, fenders and a computer. We’re going to have a lot to share, so I’ll try to break things down into a series of articles covering the bike itself, the accessories and the overall experience.

In the meantime, check out Jango’s website for a good overview of their concept and their wide range of models, trim packages and accessories. And stay tuned…the test riding has already begun!

Another video review from Epicurean Cyclist that I thought might fit here too:

PROS:
-Looks darn classy
-Nice heavy material
-Good closures
-Some “overstuffability”

CONS:
-A little too small for longer tours
-Not as quick to remove from the rack, like say with an Ortlieb pannier..but with practice you get pretty fast
-Wish that the lacing was more functional…unlacing would actually expand the bag

Our friends from Banjo Brothers sent a little tidbit of information our way today. They’re announcing an offshoot company called The Minnehaha Bag Company which will specialize in classic (and classy!) canvas and leather bicycle bags.

These bags evoke many of the styling characteristics of classic bike bag makers such as Carradice, Gilles Berthoud and Ostrich…stout canvas and harness-leather strapping. Mmmm, it’s some good-looking stuff. Details are a bit sparse just now, but the Bikecommuters.com crew will get their dirty little hands on these bags when we meet with the Minnehaha crew at this year’s Interbike. Stay tuned for more details…and in the meantime, feast your eyes on these beauties:

Small Saddlebag:
small bag

Larger Saddlebag:
larger bag

Grocery pannier:
grocery

Traditional pannier:
pannier

Shoulder bag? (not sure what this one is…but that’s my guess; perhaps the folks from Minnehaha will chime in with some additional details):
shoulder

Also, keep your eyes on the Minnehaha Bag Company website for additional details and more photos of these gorgeous bags.

Way back in September of last year, I posted a review of the Seattle Sports “Fast Pack” waterproof pannier. Here’s how the bag looked when I first got it for review:

shiny new bag

Well, this bag has been on many journeys since last year…hundreds of miles of “soul crushing” loads of pointy-cornered hardbound library books, groceries, dress shoes, tools and assorted other weights. The bag is discolored from sun exposure, tree sap and road grime and has been through 15 or 20 rainstorms, cold weather and any other condition central Florida could throw at it. Here’s how the bag looks now:

she looks rough, but she's still tough!

My verdict on the pannier is this: this bag is indestructible. I’ve stored it outside for all these months on three different bikes, and the only time water ever entered it was when I left it open accidently and my neighbor’s poorly-aimed sprinkler shot over the fence and soaked the bag. Since the bag’s liner hangs from the rim of the external waterproof layer, I simply pulled the liner “inside out” and it dried in a matter of hours.

Despite the bag’s rather wretched appearance, there are no loose seams, gouges or tears anywhere on it. I’ve carried 40 lb. loads of books in there, fully expecting those corners to punch through, but this bag took it all and asked for more!

The mounting system continues to impress me…I’ve never bucked the pannier off its rack mounts despite those punishing loads and they hold tight to virtually every rack I’ve hung the bag on. That’s good quality and great design, in my opinion.

Sure, there are flashier bags out there with more features, but I appreciate the understated “workmanlike” appearance of these panniers. They get the job done without drawing too much attention to themselves. It’s like this: If you value your loads and need them to arrive clean, dry and safe, these panniers by Seattle Sports are hard to beat.

We’ve got a few new products to review from our crew’s recent trip to Sea Otter: a couple items from the good folks at Cycleaware including their “HotRod” MTB handlebar light —

Cycleaware HotRod

and their “Heads Up” eyeglass mirror —

Heads Up

In addition, we’ve got a really cool new pair of “Oasis” sunglasses to show off by Ryders Eyewear

ryders

and a voluminous messenger bag/laptop sleeve combo by the folks at Banjo Brothers

banjo brothers

Finally, in the next few days I will be posting the results of my long-term test of the Seattle Sports Fast Pack waterproof pannier. For right now, let me just say that this thing is bombproof. Also, I will be posting a “final thoughts” article on the Ergon BD-1 backpack that we’ve been testing.

So, stay tuned…lots of useful goodies and information coming your way!