Saved, not scrapped! The JUMP Five arrive.
The Next Web recently asked “Does the mobility industry have a soul?”
Well, I’m very happy to report that it does.
The bikes you see above are The JUMP Five, and they’re here because the mobility industry does have a soul – starting with my local JUMP General Manager, João Barbará and JUMP’s Regional General Manager, Bill Knapp.
João – or J.B., as everyone knows him – and I met nearly a year ago at a Florida Department of Transportation event, and we both felt that the JUMP e-bike and Social Bicycles deserved representation in the Museum. Thankfully, Bill shared our enthusiasm, and with his help, the Museum now maintains the first five JUMP bikes officially in preservation.
And if everything goes well, they won’t be the only ones to escape the scrapper’s claw either. But more on that in a minute.
First, the bikes:
The JUMP Five begins with #05296, an original 5.0 model. It is the very same 5.0 that we rode a year ago on Miami’s Rickenbacker Causeway and fell in love with. #05296 is one of the latest variations of its generation, and may even be an interim model (though we’ve yet to hear of a 5.1, 5.2, or 5.3). It features the dual-mode fork with both roller and disc brake mountings, a foreshadowing of some of the revisions seen on the updated 5.5 model, but runs the conventional Nexus roller front brake. Naturally, it has the original Social Bicycles GPS unit with keypad and built-in RFID/NFC reader.
The other four bicycles are from the newer 5.5 series. These are the later models with larger downtubes designed for removable battery packs, 350W Bafang hub motors with disc brakes, and streamlined rear fenders. Again, yet another bike we’ve ridden before is part of the collection: #19989.
All of The JUMP Five are former press bikes that served Miami and Orlando events over the last year. We were never lucky enough to have JUMP bicycles here in Miami, for the current (and dubiously suspended) pilot is for scooters only. These five demo units are the bulk of what South Florida ever saw.
They would have probably been a big hit too, for it was all I could do to ask my neighbors to keep social distancing when these were delivered. I’ve never seen any other bicycle draw such interest and awe.
The JUMP bikes deserve the praise too. I’ve always felt that they took the engineering ideas of the shared bicycle to a new level on styling alone. Though other shared bikes already put many bike shop-level consumer bikes to shame with stainless fittings on everything, the JUMP goes a step further, with some of the beefiest, deepest Torx fittings I’ve ever seen. And of course, while everyone else runs basic Sturmey-Archer SRF-3’s, the JUMP uses Sturmey’s massive RXL-RD3, with a whopping 90mm drum brake and rotary shifting that eliminates the need for an indicator chain to protrude from the right dropout.
I could go on and on, but my point is that the engineers behind the JUMP essentially took the original Social Bicycles design, adapted most of its original geometry, and built a bike worthy of a World’s Fair from it.
And that World’s Fair is now here at the Museum. Though I usually prefer to refer to the Museum bikes by number, the conspicuous multitude of nearly identical red bikes has led me to name them. Borrowing a page from Sid Fleischman’s celebrated McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm stories, they’re now Will, Jill, Hester, Chester, and Little Clarinda.
Now, I know some of you might be a bit cynical about this. I’m celebrating the preservation of five bicycles while 20,000 are being melted to make beer cans, right? Well, not exactly.
While I won’t deny that the scrapping of bikes to-date has been unfortunate, I’m told that the publicity that emerged from Cris Moffett’s videos prompted a rethink of the scrapping program. There’s a good possibility that 5,000 additional bikes will find new homes in the near future through other organizations. While some may become pushbikes (non-motorized) in the process, there’s a possibility others may retain their electric assist.
I have to say this is quite impressive and an admirable change of direction. I know it is very easy for advocates – including myself – to point fingers when bike fleets get scrapped, but I’ve managed a giveaway of over 500 dockless bicycles myself. It is a monumental task, just on the basis of managing lock removal, and safe dispersal of the Li-Ion-equipped GPS equipment (a big issue just with four cells in a conventional bike lock, much more so with the 36V packs on the JUMPs). Then there’s the the logistics of coordinating volunteers and organizations willing to take the bikes in the first place. Not that I ever regretted taking on such a task when I did so last year; one of the greatest feelings in the world is to play Bike Oprah (“And you get a bike! And you get a bike!”).
And with that said, I leave you with some more beauty pictures of these two. As soon as time and weather allows, I’ll have Bicycle Bios for each up here on the site, complete with individual photo galleries.