Spotlight: Jango Flik

Background

Topeak is primarily known as a manufacturer of high quality bicycle tools and accessories, the most well-known being their popular bicycle pumps and multi-tools. They also manufacture everything from bags and bottle cages to racks and repair stands. Theirs is one of the most complete lines of accessories on the market.

Topeak is also the parent company to Jango bikes. Jango has developed a line of what they call “Multi-Activity Bikes”. The concept is that by changing out the wide range of Topeak/Jango “Plug & Bike” accessories — each specifically designed to integrate with these bikes — the bike is capable of transforming from a day tourer, to a grocery getter, to a loaded tourer, etc. Here’s an explanation from Jango:

Jango establishes a new type of bicycle. The Multi-Activity Bike. All Jango Accessories have been specially developed for Jango Bikes. They are exclusively designed and produced by Topeak, the Premium Manufacturer. Integrated Ports for precise and seamless integration of Bikes and Accessories. The brilliant Plug & Bike Port technology makes for perfect integration of Jango Base Bikes and Jango Accessories. Jango is simple to use and understand – no complicated technical knowledge required. The innovative Modular System guarantees your enjoyment. High Quality, Function & Styling. Everything is possible from a minimalist sporty fitness bike to a fully equiped Travel Bike with trailer. Functional, elegant and simple.

While any number of bikes can be modified to be used for multiple purposes (my Surly Long Haul Trucker is a good example), the Jango concept integrates the accessories a little tighter, and arguably, makes the modifications simpler for beginners who have little to no mechanical skills. The downside to this concept is that the Jango system locks you into using only proprietary Topeak accessories. While I very much like the quality of Topeak’s accessories, I’m more of a advocate for open standards and universality in part-and-accessory mounts.

The Flik

The Flik is Jango’s folding model. Late last year, Jango loaned us a Flik V8 to play around with and we’ve been riding it for a couple of months now. It’s an attractive folding bike with 16″ wheels and a two-position fold. The V8 is the 8-speed derailleur model with V-brakes, rear suspension, and rigid fork. Four other models are available with varying combinations of drivetrains, brakes, and suspension. You can view the other models on the Flik website.

The fit, finish, and detailing on the Flik are excellent. It’s a pretty bike.

The Flik’s relatively open cockpit makes it feel larger than it is. It rides similar to a full-sized bike and it was comfortable for 20+ mile trips, something I can’t say about all of the folders I’ve ridden.

This is what Jango calls the “shuttling” mode. The concept is that when the bike is partially folded, it has a small footprint for wheeling through train stations or on crowded sidewalks. While the idea sounds good on paper, in the circumstances in which I ride I didn’t find this fold to be an advantage over simply leaving the already-small bike unfolded.

This is the full fold. While not as compact as a Brompton or a Tikit, it’s a super-fast and simple fold that may be sufficient for people who need a folder for putting into the trunk of a car or storing in a small apartment. It’s sufficiently small for taking on the Amtrak train (which is outfitted for full-sized bikes), but it’s too large to carry on our City buses where packages (and bicycles) aren’t allowed in the aisles.

This is the folding stem. Slide the gray ring and flip the black lever and the bars fold down. It takes just a second or two.

This is the lever that initiates the main fold. Flip it forward and the rear of the bike hinges up and over. Simple and quick.

Pull this ring and the fold unlocks. Again, easy.

There are lots of interesting details to admire on the Flik. It’s really attractive up close.

Michael and I both like the rear suspension on this bike. Small bikes with small wheels can ride quite harshly (Michael didn’t much like my Brompton due to its relatively harsh ride and super-quick steering, but she really enjoys riding this bike). The rear shock and 1.75″ tires work together to smooth out the ride on the Flik.

The Shimano drivetrain is smooth and reliable and the gear ratios are appropriate for city riding. We both like the RapidFire shifter and prefer this type of shifter over twist shifters. While I generally prefer internal gear hubs on folding bikes, the weight savings that come with speccing a derailleur drivetrain are not an unwelcome compromise on a folder.

Like the other Jango bikes, the Flik accepts a wide variety of accessories in the Plug & Bike system (35 according to Jango). While I’m not 100% sold on the concept for full-sized bikes, I think it works brilliantly for a folder. Because there is little standardization among folding bikes, many accessories are proprietary in any case. And in the case of the Flik, a wide variety of well-made and well-integrated accessories are available.

The bags attach to the rear rack via a sliding rail system. This is the forward latch that holds the bags in place. It’s a slick system that’s super-easy to use; a real advantage when shuttling on-and-off of trains, etc.

This is the integrated wheel lock that’s mounted on the front left V-brake caliper. While it won’t keep a thief from carrying off your bike, it’ll make for a good laugh when he endoes… :-) Speaking of brakes, the Jango branded V-brakes worked fine and provided plenty of stopping power and decent modulation (there’s not much to say about V-brakes – they all seem to work reasonably well if properly adjusted).

This clever little kickstand rotates in two directions which enables it to work when the Flik is folded, unfolded, or in shuttle mode.

This is the integrated headlight mount that accepts the Plug & Bike headlights.

Ding, ding! Another nice little detail…

Topeak manufactures the Allay “AirSpan” saddles. The Flik came outfitted with the “Racing Sport” model. That translucent area in the middle of the saddle is an air bladder designed to reduce pressure on sensitive tissues. The air pressure can be adjusted with the valve under the nose of the saddle. Michael found this saddle to be quite comfortable, while it wasn’t a good fit for me. As always, saddle preferences are highly personal and subjective.

What It Is

The Flik would be an excellent choice for someone who needs to store a bike in a small apartment, stow it in the back of a car, park it in the corner of a small office, or take it on a train that has facilities for full-sized bikes. It has a comfortable, open cockpit that makes it more appealing for longer rides than some other small wheel folders. The fact that it’s set-up for the Plug & Bike system gives the owner access to a wide variety of excellent accessories.

What It’s Not

The Flik is not a Brompton. In other words, it’s not a bike that can be taken onto a crowded bus or stored under the desktop in a small cubicle. The fold is secure, but on the large end of the range for 16″ folding bikes. This large folded size makes the Flik cumbersome to carry and less than ideal as a bike for multi-modal commuting in tight conditions.

Why You Might Like It

The main advantage the Flik has over its competition is its ride quality. The longish cockpit and excellent rear suspension give the Flik a comfortable and smooth ride, not unlike a full-sized bike. The fact that the wide selection of Plug & Bike accessories are so well integrated into the bike design is a real advantage as well. If you don’t have a need for a tiny fold, and you’d prefer a folder that rides more like your standard bike, you might really like the Flik. We did.

Specifications

  • Frame Size: One size fits all
  • Folded Size: 32.9“ x 13.1“ x 31.9“
  • Suggested Rider Height: 4’11” – 6’2.8”
  • Maximum Rider Weight: 242.5 lbs.
  • Suspension: MCU elastomer damping, 10mm travel
  • Shifter: Shimano Rapidfire 8-speed
  • Crank: Forged aluminum crank arm, 50T
  • Derailleur: Shimano Sora
  • Cassette: 8 speed, 11-28T
  • Brakes: Jango V-brakes
  • Grips: Ergon
  • Saddle: Allay Racing Sport
  • Wheels: 16″ x 1.75″
  • Weight as Tested (without bags): 27 lbs.
  • MSRP: $1399

Jango Flik

Disclosure

Topeak provided the loaner bike for this review. EcoVelo was not compensated in any way for writing this review.

14 Responses to “Spotlight: Jango Flik”

  • Tamia Nelson says:

    Very good write-up on an attractive folder, Alan. Super photos, as usual. Thanks!

  • Alan says:

    Thanks, Tamia! I’m glad you enjoyed the write-up. It’s a fun bike…

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Perry says:

    Cool bike and ultra-stylish model. ;-)

  • Mohjho says:

    I see the bottom bracket is in the swing-arm, let us know how that feels.

  • Alan says:

    @Mohjho

    I could make the suspension bob just a little if I tried hard enough (by putting the bike in a high gear and cranking hard), but if I rode how I naturally do on a city folder (in a reasonably low gear at higher crank RPMs) it was not an issue for me.

    Alan

  • CTP says:

    wouldn’t an internal gear hub work better on a folder like this?
    also, i’d lose the kickstand… an extra half pound of weight on a bike you’re going to be carrying, when it’s really not needed…

  • Alan says:

    @CTP

    Jango offers this bike in various configurations, some with internal gear hubs. The IGH models are more expensive and a little heavier – everything’s a trade-off! :-)

    Alan

  • Lucinda says:

    This bike looks pretty neat, stylish and unique.I’ve been wanting to purchase a folding bike for some time now, and I’m trying to decide which one’s the model to go with. I do like this Jango Flik, but I’ve also been looking at Montague’s full-size Crosstown folding bike. I guess white is a look I like, but the 700c tires of the Crosstown also sound more in tune with city riding. Any suggestions?

  • Deltatrike says:

    Great review, Thanks!

  • Iowagriz says:

    What is in the bag under the back rack? I looked on their site and couldn’t find. Bag for transport after folding? Bike cover for outdoor rack? Tent? :)

  • Alan says:

    @lowagriz

    That holds the nylon slip cover…

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Lucinda

    I haven’t ridden the Montague, but the Flik is a great bike for riding in the city.

    Alan

  • Nipper says:

    An interesting review.

    I have seen the Flik on a few different blogs and in some You Tube videos and wondered what the fuss was all about. I like small bikes and have a Brompton and a Dahon, but I can see no point in this bike because the fold looks so pathetic. You comment on situations where this fold could work, but surely in all cases where a fold is needed a Brompton would be far superior. Added to which the Brompton gives many more options for mixed mode transport and storage. My experience of riding a Brompton is that it is very comfortable and stable. Is the ride of the flik really that much better that it outweighs the severely compromised fold?

    Best
    Nipper (Confirmed Bromptonaut)

  • Alan says:

    @Nipper

    I rode a Brompton nearly everyday for a year and wouldn’t mind owning one again at some point. While it’s a great bike in many respects, its tight cockpit and quick, quick steering is definitely not for everyone. I loved my Brommie but my wife didn’t like it at all and quit riding it after a short while. The Flik, on the other hand, is smoother, more stable, and rides more like a conventional bicycle, which made it more appealing to her. While I can’t think of a better bike for true multi-modal commuting, not everyone needs the Brompton’s super-compact fold; for those people, the Flik (as well as other larger folders) provide appealing alternatives. As always, it’s a case of “horses for courses”.

    Regards,
    Alan

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™