Fleet, Fun Folder: the Jango Flik

It’s been several weeks since the Jango Flik T8 arrived at my door. Overall, my time with this fleet, flirty folding bike has been a real pleasure. Cute as a button, the Flik is something of a social butterfly, with the ability to attract stares and start conversations.

the Flik in Dragon Park

the Flik in Dragon Park

This is a ride that’s  sporty yet practical, with 8 speeds, a rear suspension and an eye-catching design. With an MSRP of $1199, this is no bargain bicycle, but the smoothness of the ride and the ease of the fold demonstrate real quality. My favorite design feature is the wide, comfy grips that make the slightly bent forward riding position an easier adjustment for a sit-up-and-beg-er like me.

flik grips

the wide, comfy grips

Like all Jango bikes, the Flik is compatible with a wide range of Topeak accessories. I was sent a few of these to try: a spacious rear rack bag, which I liked quite a bit; a handlebar headlamp, which was pretty much useless; and a handlebar bag that can hold a cell phone or iPod — well, if said iPod is newer (and hence smaller) than my circa 2005 Mini. The bike also has space to fit a headlight or tail light and a customizable head badge area.

That said, the bike lacks a few of the amenities you might want in a commuter bike, like fenders and a chainguard — much to the dismay of my gray pants. :)

flik rear wheel

flik rear wheel

In the above picture, you can also see the rear suspension. This is the first bike I’ve ridden with a rear suspension, and it feels like riding in my grandfather’s Grand Marquis rather than my Mustang. The Flik actually bounces up and down if you’re pedaling hard. It’s a subtle movement but definitely a movement! Personally I didn’t find the suspension a major plus as I tend to “post” when I ride over large bumps on a bicycle, but if you ride regularly on rough pavement or gravel roads (which the Flik’s wider tires can do easily) it might be appreciated by your bottom.

One thing my bottom never grew to appreciate was the seat, an “Allay Racing Sport saddle with AirSpan technology.” Despite repeated adjustments (you can actually pump it up or deflate it using a little button under the very front of the saddle) it never felt quite right for me. That’s an easy change, though.

flik seat

Flik seat: not my fave feature!

“Flikstand”

Pedals, rubberized and collapsible

Now it’s time to talk about what it was like to have a folder in my life. Like most folding bikes, the Flik is aimed at multi-modal commuters, who go from train to bus to bike and back around again. Though I never took it on a bus, Nashville’s only form of public transportation, I did end up taking many car/bike multimodal trips  that wouldn’t have been possible (for me) without a folding bike, like the East Nashville Greenway ride. You end up riding more, in a lot of ways. I have to admit I also took advantage of my friends’ trumk space a couple of times, after a night out or if it suddenly started raining. Why not?

There was one more benefit of having a folding bike in a city without many bike amenities: In the absence of bike racks, you can just take it in with you! The Flik waited patiently for me in the office, and even accompanied me into the coffee shop a time or two. Having a folder also meant that it could fit in my condo with no problem.

My only complaint about the Flik’s foldability was that it didn’t get quite small enough. It didn’t fit in the trunk of my Mustang convertible (though it did fit in any other trunk) and when completely folded up, it was difficult to maneuver, with the handlebar stem flopping awkwardly alongside of the frame. (There is a second folding mode that preserves steering ability on the more expensive V-bar version of the Flik.)

And while I found the bike a little uncomfortable on the 20-mile ride, it performed excellently on my 5-mile roundtrip commute. Every time I rode it I felt fast and sportier than usual, not a bad thing! The 8 gears gave enough versatility to get around hilly Nashville, although I used the higher gears more often than I do on my Bat and wasn’t able to increase speed through pedaling at speeds above 15 miles or so.

At $1199, the Flik is priced similarly to the Bike Friday Tikit (which starts at $1298). It is nearly twice as expensive as the Dahon Vitesse D7, the other folder I have experience with. The Flik provided a better ride than the Dahon — you don’t feel like you’re riding a folding bike, From what I could tell from a brief test ride (it was too big for me, sob) the Tikit was comparable. The Bike Friday folds smaller and a bit more quickly, and has fenders, but the Flik has rear suspension and a sportier look. Which one you choose is probably a personal preference.

With bike commuting on the rise, folding bikes are going to be more and more in demand–it’s nice to see another quality choice out there for cyclists. The Jango Flik is definitely a strong contender in the category.

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18 thoughts on “Fleet, Fun Folder: the Jango Flik

  1. Pearl says:

    Love the new look of the site. And the crazy Flik bike: wow! I only wish you had included a picture of the bike folded: am so curious to see what that looks like.

    • Trisha says:

      Thanks, Pearl! The “Riding the Nashville Greenways” post does have a pic of the Flik folded. I am going to add more pictures to this review if I ever find the cord to connect the camera to the computer . . . grr.

  2. Doug says:

    Trisha…nice work on the new look for the website. It really looks great.

  3. dukiebiddle says:

    I apologize ahead of time for the PG-13 comment, but is it just me or does the stitching on that saddle make it look like the backside of someone wearing a thong? It’s making me uncomfortable.

  4. E A says:

    @dukie – you got a point there!

    Trisha, nice review… I’ve wondered about handlebar grips like that. Good to know that they do ease the forward pressure. I do like the sporty look of this bike. Are fenders available as an option?

  5. Scott says:

    Thanks for the review! The lack of fenders, chainguard and sporty seat are kind of dealbreakers for me.

  6. Trisha says:

    @Scott — I feel like seats can be subjective, but it’s really a shame fenders and a chainguard weren’t included, especially on a bike intended for commuting. Maybe on a future version.

  7. The moddish aesthetic of the Flick looks really good next to those sculptures, and also with the bold print on your dress.

    The bicycle is not something I can see myself riding, but I do appreciate its design. Especially the fact that you were able to ride 20 miles on it says a lot.

  8. Giffen says:

    That seat kind of intimidates me. Maybe it would fit better on a racing bike. (I guess I’m not really into the whole lycra/fetish subculture.)

  9. Christa says:

    Nice. I’ve not seen this bike brand before. Seems quite useful.

    I would love to test the various folding bikes. I want one just for train travel.

    Wonder how a wicker basket would look on the front handlebars.

  10. MarkA says:

    That is some crazy looking bicycle! One of the reasons Bromptons have become very very popular over here in the UK is that they can be used for intermodal transport, but are also practical in terms of having built in fenders and all the rest – the Flik is cool looking but kind of odd at the same time – like it want’s to be a sports bike deep down inside!

    Congratulations on the new web page ladies, it looks FABULOUS!

  11. Dottie says:

    Great review! I’m sure that must be a huge conversation-starter (social butterfly – I like that). I agree that Flik really needs to include fenders. I don’t understand a folder without fenders, since it’s such a utilitarian bike otherwise.

  12. Vee says:

    You aren’t the only one who doesn’t love the seat look…

  13. Vee says:

    @Vee – hmm that was in reply to dukiebiddie…

  14. Tinker says:

    Nalgas, the seat has nalgas, hombre!

  15. Foo says:

    The Tikit starts at $1098.

  16. [...] I visited Nashville a couple of weeks ago, I used the Jango Flik, a nifty folding bike that Trisha reviewed a while ago.  The bike was a lot of fun!  I zipped all around town, at least 12 miles, and the Flik was right [...]

  17. [...] to the park and picnicked for a few hours with a bottle of wine and some good cheese.  I rode the Flik folding bike and Trisha rode her beloved Kate Spade [...]

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