Jango

The Jango bikes from Topeak look pretty interesting. There are 9 models, each with a series of “ports” to accept a variety of different racks, bags and other accessories. Jango uses the term “Plug & Bike” to describe the system; an obvious play on the words “Plug & Play” taken from computer parlance. The system enables the owner to quickly outfit the bike for commuting, touring, or fitness, with minimal effort. The bikes themselves don’t appear to be too out of the ordinary, but the list of available accessories is extensive, and the quick change aspect is unique.

Jango

14 Responses to “Jango”

  • Audeamus says:

    I suppose the obvious criticism of what is possibly a clever idea is that the same geometry won’t really work well for all these different guises. A commuter bike should not be as squirrelly and quick to turn as a MTB, nor is it necessarily a good thing for a frame that is stiff and stubby for “fitness” riding to be used for relaxation or touring. If that nut could be cracked, then Jango’s concept would start approaching usefulness, especially for those who don’t have the room nor want a garage full of different bicycles.

  • 2whls3spds says:

    My fear will be a short lived product that you won’t be able to buy replacement parts for a few years or even a year down the road. I have had a few Packaged Deals in my day and nothing is more frustrating to me than to not be able to get a fairly minor replacement part or component, rendering the product all but useless. Other than that, it is an interesting concept.

    Aaron

  • Johnny says:

    Neat idea, but, man, those front fenders are tiny, LOL. I’ve had clip-ons with better coverage.

    I do really like the color schemes of these bikes.

    Maybe the idea will catch on, and bikes will be made in general to not be so hard to put accessories onto? I had to use P-clamps to mount the front fender of my bike, a “commuter” bike! :)

  • cafn8 says:

    @2whls3spds
    That’s a very valid concern. Have you ever heard of the Handspring Visor? About 10 years ago, the inventors of the Palm Pilot started a company called Handspring which offered a PDA called the “Visor”. It was capable for its time and competitively priced. The big hook, however, was the “Springboard” slot, a proprietary expansion slot in the back of the device. The possibilities were endless. Handspring and many other third party companies offered expansion modules ranging from memory add-ons to cellular modules which plugged into the “Springboard slot”. Within a few years Handspring introduced a device without a Springboard slot called the Treo. Before long the “Springboard” was history, and in 2003 so was Handspring, having been bought by Palm, Inc. For those who bought these devices (ahem), they are still useful as long as the original PDA is still in use, but without it, they’re paperweights.

    With bikes, part compatibility and upgradeablilty are much more minor issues, but who wants to be that married to a system of add-ons that only work with one bike? What if you really want a new bike but can’t justify junking all of the proprietary accessories? I’ll take a more standard set of accessories that work with any bike.

    Sorry for the long rambling detour into the history of personal electronics. It seemed relevant.

  • Audeamus says:

    cafn8, my wife still uses a Visor. I sold mine to upgrade to a Tungsten (love the color and better battery life). Works great, syncs with my work computer, and I can upload pictures of my families (human and bicycle).

    Grant Peterson at Rivendell has ranted before about the decline of standardization of bike parts. Used to be that English parts fit Italian and Japanese frames, etc. (and the French as always did their own thing just to be French), but Shimano figured out that if they standardized their gruppos their own way, they could screw Campy, Suntour, Mafac, etc. There’s still some standardization left in tire sizes, head tube and BB dimensions, etc.–just like there was a certain amount of standardization still left in the automobile world until recently–but it’s become completely dog-eat-dog.

    No industry is immune from attempts to build in technological and other forms of monopoly, including bicycling. There’s a lot of good things about bicycles that have completely integrated parts and accessories (e.g., Danish commuting bikes with their matching racks, lights, etc.), but the price is that you buy their system. Everything has its price, I guess.

  • Steve Fuller says:

    I agree with the others that have posted. Interesting concept, and I think a viable one for a certain market segment (ie the new cyclist that wants one bike to do everything). For me, the system has way too many compromises to think about buying into it, whether I was a dealer or a consumer. One the consumer side, one good example is the baby seat. That’s something that you use for two years or so. Then what happens to it? You can’t sell it easily because it likely only works with this make/model of bike.

    On the dealer side, you probably already have some standard Topeak items that you stock. If you sell this bike, it’s going to really be due to the special accessories. If you don’t have the accessories in stock, you’re going to look like you don’t like the product, or you’re a liar. You’re also going to have extra floor and storage space set aside for those accessories. It’s hard enough to make a profit selling bikes without having to deal with having accessories that only work with one brand. I certainly wouldn’t carry them.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    The specialty nick-knacks seem a bit annoying to me, but I REALLY like the trailer. That is so sleek. I wonder what they’re charging for that and if it will work on other non-Jango bikes. That thing might have some staying power it it tows well.

    Scott

  • Adrienne says:

    I will say this about Topeak stuff- if you are a mulibike family like mine is, Topeak is great. I put the same Topeak rack on several bikes and got a good set of Topeak luggage. Whoever needs it can use it without compatibility issues. With the suspended bikes, they can share the clip on rack and bags. I am able to make very little luggage work for multiple users.

    As to the bikes, they are not for people who are really into riding- we usually like the fiddly nature of bike stuff. These are made for those who are just getting into commuting but are intimidated by all of the info out there (when was the last time you heard 3 bike geeks in a room all agree on what the best —- is?). If they are decent bikes, people will be happy with them.

  • mb says:

    Oh gosh, I remember Visors so well. I had a Springboard too. I had a colour Visor. Decent Palm for its time but yes, that Springboard memory module was useless with any other Palm device.

    I’m starting to like Topeak racks and bags too and I am thinking of standardizing all my four bikes with them. Two of them already have the racks. And they work with my Ortlieb panniers too.

  • Steve says:

    Who’re you calling a bike geek? I resemble that remark!

  • David Hembrow says:

    Bikes sold for utility use here come ready fitted with a better rack, full length fenders, a proper chainguard, two child seats if you want, panniers, built in lighting and computer far more nicely integrated, built in lock, single or double kickstands etc.

    What is the point of a bike where all these things are optional and add to the price ? It only makes sense if you don’t want them.

    What’s more, how do you fit a second child seat, or a baby seat for 3 month old children (what they describe as a “baby seat” is for rather older children), or a seat for an adult, or really high capacity panniers, or a bracket to carry a push-chair, or… any of the other quite normal things that people have on bikes here.

    You can’t even get a low step through frame, which as anyone who has traasported children on a bike will know, is a rather useful feature to avoid kicking your child in the face when getting on the bike. It’s also suitable for a much wider age-range.

    I don’t see the useful innovation. It’s merely a gimmick – and likely a short lived one at that.

  • Alan says:

    @David

    The Jango appears to be primarily intended for the U.S. market; a wholly different market than the Netherlands. It isn’t designed to be used strictly as a utility bike — the appeal is supposed to lie in the fact that the same bike can be used for sport/fitness, transportation, etc., etc. I’m not saying one way or the other whether the concept is sound, but it is an interesting idea, particularly for the U.S. entry-level market where people will be at least as likely to use their bikes for fitness/club riding as for utility/transportation. The ability to quickly add/remove accessories (weight) may very well be appealing to people here.

  • David Hembrow says:

    However, this is unlikely to be the cheapest entry level option, and in any case it’s almost certainly cheaper and more convenient simply to buy two or more bikes. Then you can take whichever one suits you out of your shed and ride it straight away instead of spending some amount of time fiddling with adding or subtracting parts. As you ride your bike you are then not going to experience any compromises made in the design in order to make it changeable in this way.

    There is a reason why bikes outnumber people in this country – people have different bikes for different purposes. There have been attempts to do this kind of thing before. If they were practical this would already be common place.

  • henryinamsterdam says:

    David,
    I agree on pretty much all counts. A modern Dutch city bike will do just about every practical function better than this attempt to reinvent the wheel. The Jango is a marketing gimmick, basically a moderately priced mountain bike with some frosting to make it look like a utility bike….

 
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