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Informal Review of Montague Folding Bikes
by Fred Meredith, 9-26-01 | As posted to the austin-bikes email list
I've been riding a Montague off and on since 1993. The are pretty useful for specific situations, but getting David Montague to make any changes to the design to make the bike more useful just hasn't happened.
 
I have the folding mountain bike model. When I ordered it from his biggest distributor in Seattle I specified the gearing I wanted (28/38/48 in front and a 13/30 cogset). I also got it with a rear rack and later put a front fork on it that had bosses for lowrider touring racks on the front. I also installed aerobars with a bar bag.
 
Because of the strange seat geometry I had to put a "triathlete" adaptor on the seat post to get the saddle further forward and in the proper position for efficient cycling.
 
Montague desiged the bike for pilots and RV owners as quick transportation from airport to nearest hotel or from RV park to store, etc. He didn't care if it was too heavy for real riding, or not the proper geometry for long distance riding.
 
When I had finished modifying mine, I put it in the shoulder bag. (You don't want to be toting this bike in the bag very far. A few blocks will do it for most.)
 
BUT, the bike in its bag gets on the Amtrak as luggage and not baggage, an important distinction when you want to get off at a stop where they don't get into the baggage car.
 
With all my gear either stuffed into the bike bag with the bike or packed in my panniers, I boarded Amtrak in Austin and got off in Phoenix, then took an Amtrak bus to Flagstaff.
 
In Flagstaff, at 6:30 in the morning, I unpacked and unfolded the bike in the Amtrak station there and donning my cycing clothes pedaled off for Kingman and then Laughlin (about 135 miles) where I spent the night in a casino hotel. (Walking a bike through a casino is an interesting experience.) The next morning I rode over the mountain pass to catch the quiet highway to Las Vegas (avoiding the truck infested narrow roads up to and across the dam). That day was about 105 miles.
 
The Montague weighed about 34 pounds with racks and aerobars and no panniers. That's a bit heavy for this kind of riding. I did have Avocet Cross road tires so it wasn't quite like riding a mountain bike that far. The aerobars gave me a low (and restful) position not usually available on mountain bikes.
 
David Montague DID give me the bag for the bike and wished me luck. Local Camelbak rep Tom Delaney sponsored me to the tune of giving me a new Camelbak for my ride in the desert and some Camelbak stickers for the bike (making the sponsorship official I guess).
 
I didn't ride the bike back, but it was handy in Las Vegas during the Interbike trade show as that town is clogged with cars most of the time. The Amtrak station was in the basement of a hotel on Fremont street and I rode the train to LA and then from there to San Antonio and Austin.
 
That, in my opinion, is what the Montague is good for. It's a good, sturdy alternate touring bike that can be transported easier than a conventional bike. I have taken my Montague to Ireland for extensive riding and to Ecuador where it was not the best bike for climbing the Andes, but when the road turned to cobblestone or even dirt, it was sure better (with the wider tires) than a conventional touring bike.
 
Oh, I've also ridden my Montague on many Critical Mass rides back in '94 or so. Not for its foldability, but for its stability at slow speeds which is what you get when a couple of hundred people with 30-50 cops show up for the CM ride.
 
Sorry, I got carried away, but that's my take on the Montague. I haven't ridden the newer funky frame Montague, just the pretty conventional looking one.

 

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