J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike is a way we have been thinking about bicycles recently. It stands for Jump On Your Bike And Go!
In bicycle advocacy and marketing, there has been a long pursuit for the holy grail of bicycles for mass consumption, what Ted dubbed the O-Bike. It seems that if a bike were to achieve O-Bike status it needs to offer the convenience and reliability that is expected in today’s car. With this in mind, we are going to begin asking the question, what does it take to make a bike ready for Jumping On Your Bike And Going?
Consider the experience of waking up in the morning and thinking about the choice of riding a bicycle or driving the car to work. What is it that makes the car so appealing given this choice? Why do people who have gone so far as to purchase a bicycle for commuting still end up driving into work? If the bicycle industry can’t provide a bicycle that is more appealing than a car most of the time to many consumers who have purchased a bicycle, how can we hope to reach out to other commuters who are even less inspired by the idea of bike commuting?
We need a bike that calls out to cyclists, that is always ready to Jump On Your Bike And Go.
What is a J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike?
This is a wide open question at the moment and the truth is that any bike can be a J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike–if it is setup in a way that makes it as easy to use and as reliable as possible.
So while we aren’t exactly yet sure what are the best ways for making a bike a J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike, it is easy for us to describe bikes that are not ready to jump on and go. Bikes that require special equipment, do not have easy ways to carry your stuff, are not outfitted with user-friendly add-ons like fenders and lights, and bikes that are difficult to lock are all definitely not J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bikes.
Up for debate are the level to which features are integrated, the exact setup and style of accessories, the inclusion of electric assist, and specifics on the frames and components. These are all aspects we are interested in looking at as we move forward with this project.
To sum up, J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike is the pursuit of an ideal bicycle that offers as much convenience, reliability and ease of use, all within a package that is affordable and attractive to a wide spectrum of users.
Launching into a pursuit of this ideal in bicycles, we have gathered up a fleet of electric bicycles that represent some angle or direction of the J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ concept. The five electric bikes that we are testing are the Hebb ElectroCruiser 700, the A2B Metro, the Ohm XS750, the Urbana Current, and the Kahlkoff Pro Connect.
These five bikes are all built with the intention of being reliable and convenient to use right out of the box. These bikes are great examples of the forward thinking into usability in the bike industry. We will be looking at these bikes both from the perspective of explaining how they offer much toward the ideal in bicycles that we seek. We will also be looking at them from the perspective of discussing how much more they could offer, and focus this type of critique in the direction of the bicycle industry as a whole.
Our goal for this project are as follows:
- Compare and review our five examples of electric bikes as excellent examples of bicycles designed for easy use out-of-the box.
- Come up with a variety of accessory configurations that would make these bicycle as usable as possible.
- Acquire and setup these various accessory configurations on each of these bikes and compare and contrast them.
- Craft up some concept level accessories–if we find that there is nothing available for some of the accessory configurations that we have in mind.
- After we have thoroughly tested all of the electric bikes and accessory configurations, attempt to express the best of what we find by building on “best of” J.O.Y.B.A.G.™.
- Take this one step further by working with a custom builder to build a J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike with as many of the desired features integrated into the build of the bicycle.
- Use all of these various experiences to think and write about bicycle’s designed for maximum, long term usability
- Inspire plenty of interesting discussion along the way.
The J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike ideal is at the moment a notion. It is a collection of thoughts that are yet to be hashed out, tested and proved. I invite you to join us in hashing out this ideal. I’ve got a list of burning questions I want to answer myself, and that I’m guessing that you, our readers, already have answers for.
- Is your bike already ready to Jump On and Go?
- Does the idea of a J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ bike offer possibilities for expanding your use of a bicycle?
- What type of accessories would make a bike J.O.Y.B.A.G.™ ready for you?
- What is the best frame design for J.O.Y.B.A.G.™?