When 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 there with me, handling up-hills and down-hills with ease.
The size of the bike fits both me and Trisha, despite our height differences, because the handlebars and seat tube are highly adjustable.
The Flik is also light and easy to carry. I simply locked it up outside at my destination instead of folding it, but yeah – it folds, too.
I have not heard much about the Flik in the last couple of years, which is surprising because it’s such a cool little bike. Most people with folding bikes seem to go with the classic elegance of a Brompton or similar, but the cute baby alien look of the Flik is kinda awesome.
At one point, while riding with a group of about 6 others, a pedestrian called out: “I like your bike the best!” Ha. My companions had some lovely bikes, but the Flik is an attention-getter, for sure.
This month has been a chilly, snow-filled one for most of the US, and Nashville was no exception. I’ve been surprised by bad weather a few times, and spent one week without a car altogether. The result? Occasionally making transportation reminiscent of one of those river-crossing riddles as rides are accepted, vehicles of all varieties are left at the office or elsewhere and walking and public transport play a bigger role than usual in getting around.
For example, last week Le Peug spent a couple of days at my friend Erin’s house. To get him back, I drove to work, walked to happy hour with the girls, then caught a ride with Erin back to her house and rode Le Peug home. The next day, I rode the Flik to work where Minnie was waiting patiently.
Flik got popped in the back for the way home, et voila — all my vehicles safe at home.
Anyone else gotten creative with their commuting style lately?
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
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.
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
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: not my fave feature!
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.
It’s really criminal that I waited so long to post about this, actually, because not only was it a fun 20-ish mile ride with great people, it also marked the meeting of the Flik and Andrew’s Bike Friday. How would the two folders compare?
This morning started off just fine. It was nearly 50 degrees outside. The Flik and I posed for a minute under our tree. If there had been leaves on this sucker, they would have been waving like mad!
Windy morning departure
Of course, two of my neighbors had to leave for work as I was conducting my photoshoot. I’m sure they wondered what the occasion was.
Oh Walter, if only you could take pictures.
Slightly embarrassed but not daunted, we set off, into the wind. Yikes. Nashville could have put the Lakefront Trail to shame this morning, with a steady, strong wind and occasional gusts that had me in the lower range of gears all the way to work. Once I turned north, the wind was coming from the side. I thought that was an improvement until a huge gust almost pushed me out of the bike lane.
I’ve been out of town for a few days, but I’m looking forward to getting back and spending more time with the Flik. It’s a pretty sweet ride so far, and a real conversation starter. Before I left, I recorded this brief, bare-bones video of the folding process over my lunch break — couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some time outdoors in “Dragon Park” on such a beautiful fall day! Apologies for the lack of close-ups — a full review is coming soon.
p.s. if you haven’t found it yet, check out our YouTube channel. From the whimsical to the informative, we’re adding all sorts of things to it these days.