Saturday, September 23, 2023

Montague M-E1 review: a full-size folding electric bike

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You will feel a light sweat on your forehead on long trips, but never so much that you get messy. It is satisfying. Personally, I want to feel like I’m exercising when riding an e-bike, and all too often it’s easy to avoid on more powerful bikes, especially models with throttle.

The big feature here is the size of this thing – it has big 28 inch Schwalbe tires despite being a folding bike. This means it does a better job rolling over the bumps for a smoother ride, and indeed my rides have been very comfortable. (The front suspension also helps.)

It also makes it look rather ordinary. I ride a bike to see my friends every time I get a new foldable electric bike tested, and for the first time my dad said, “This one looks normal.” It doesn’t come out like a sore thumb, important in a city like New York.

I don’t seem like a fool to ride it either. This is partly because of the full size frame. I don’t feel that low to the ground with this electric bike, a common feeling on most foldables, and that makes it ride like a right cruiser rather than a go-kart. Montague recommends it for people 5 ‘, 4 “to 6’, 4” (perfect for me!), But since it’s only available in one size, it might be too big for some.

Shimano hydraulic disc brakes never failed to stop me quickly whenever a car decided to park on the bike path. As far as range goes, I’ve often gone close to 30 miles before it needed to be recharged, and that’s usually on maximum pedal assist. On a drive to a Jollibee in Queens, about 10 miles round trip, I came home with over half remaining in the reservoir (and lots of delicious food). Of course, you can increase the range if you require less help from the engine.

The only snag I ever had was with the seat post. I was carrying a ton of camera gear in my bag and the seat sagged halfway through. I looked like I was riding a child’s bike. A nearby bicycle store was able to tighten it up, and I haven’t experienced this issue after three months.

That’s another thing – Montague has a pretty sturdy dealer networkSo there’s a good chance you can order one from a local store (or at least take a test drive). This means that you also have a place to have the bike tuned or repaired. The frame is covered by a five year warranty and the motor has a two year warranty from Shimano. It’s better than competitors like GoCycle and Electric.

It’s a polished, well-built folding bike that’s fun to ride. If there is one thing I could change it would be to make it a bit lighter, but otherwise the M-E1 is very close to perfect.


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