June 28, 2009
What it is: A folding bicycle
How it works: It's a full-size folding bike that pivots at the seat. Made by Cambridge, Mass.-based Montague Co., a company that produces folding bicycles exclusively. After years of making mountain bikes, this is Montague's first stab at a road bike, released at the end of 2008.
The good: Unlike many folding bikes that look decidedly anemic, this is the full-size vehicle, and it folds! That makes it perfect for travel. I threw it in the trunk of my car recently for a long road trip. It fit easily and left room for a few smaller bags. I took it riding through the downtown area of a city along the way, through city parks and in wooded areas outside of town. I had to do some curb-jumping and small bits of off-roading, but the TX, a road bike with slick tires, handled whatever I threw at it. Because there are no breaking points on the frame, it gives a strong ride; you would never know you were riding a folding bike. The disc brakes were hyper-responsive.
The bad: The biggest difficulty was putting the thing together. The first few times I did it, it took eight minutes to assemble, and at times it felt as if I were wrestling the bike. But the more you do it, the easier it is. A couple other small gripes: The bike is a bit weighty (30 pounds) and tough to get into its case. A second pair of hands helps.
Retail cost: $699.
Availability: For a list of dealers, call Montague at 800-736-5348. More information at swissbike.com.