Folding e-bikes certainly offer unique advantages, but they also comprise a series of compromises thanks to their small frames and wheels. Full-size folding bicycle manufacturer Montague is turning that idea on its head, though, launching the M-E1 full-size folding electric bicycle designed for city riders.
While full-size folding e-bikes aren’t entirely new, most of the sporadic examples we’ve seen are on the lower end of the quality ladder.
Montagues’ M-E1 bucks that trend, combining a leading mid-drive electric motor with a nice suite of bicycle components to create a high-quality, full-size commuter e-bike that can still fold to fit in a closet.
The company describes the M-E1 as the “world’s first full-size performance foldable e-bike.”
The 10-speed bike rides on large 700c wheels wearing Schwalbe Energizer 47 mm tires.
The Shimano STEPS E6100 mid-drive motor is paired with a high-end Shimano Deore transmission and matching Deore hydraulic disc brakes.
The 418 Wh battery is a bit below average compared to other e-bikes in the industry, but the pedal assist-only design of the bike still lends itself to efficient riding. That battery is still likely going to net riders over 40 miles (or 64 km) of range with a decent amount of pedal assist.
Built-in Herrmans LED lighting, full coverage mud guards, and VP folding pedals round out the key feature list.
The true key feature, though, is of course the folding frame. The step-through design increases accessibility while hiding the folding mechanism right at the base of the frame.
Activating the mechanism folds the bike in half, where it can be tipped up onto one wheel and pushed or pulled like a shopping cart. The weight of the bike (a fairly easy 54 lb or 24 kg) is supported by the kickstand during folding, so you don’t need to awkwardly prop it up on your leg while operating the quick release. A second folding mechanism can fold the handlebars down if you need the bike to be extra slim to fit in a car trunk or similar.
It’s actually a pretty slick design – check it out in the video below.
The Montague ME-1 is now available at select retailers across the US and will be rolling out more extensively this spring.
The bike carries an MSRP of $3,599, a price that includes a five-year warranty on the frame and a two-year warranty on the electric drive components. Montague has several dealers but also ships partially assembled directly to customers or fully assembled at a local bike shop in a customer’s area.
Full-size folding e-bikes have long interested me as a way to bring more e-bike accessibility to people living in dense urban centers.
I haven’t lived in a traditional house with a garage in 13 years, so I definitely understand the limited space apartment-living lifestyle. It can be difficult to fit a full-size e-bike into that situation, which can be a bummer since not everyone wants a smaller 20″ or less wheel.
Montague’s M-E1 looks like an elegantly designed solution to that problem, and a solution that perhaps offers the fewest compromises of all. I could nitpick about Shimano’s battery looking fairly 2016, but by and large, I’m fairly happy with what I’m seeing here.
That said, I haven’t had a chance to test the e-bike in the flesh yet, so I can’t comment too intelligently on that front quite yet. I will be testing one soon, though, so I’ll be sure to report back here on Electrek with the complete riding experience.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.