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Project Monty: Folding Adventure Bike

Sometimes, even shopping can be an adventure – especially when you keep an eye out for great deals at the local pawn shops! I made out like a bandit today when I picked up this Montague folding mountain bike for just shy of $200. I’ve actually been eyeballing the Montague paratrooper bikes for a while, but I’d never felt compelled to drop upwards of $700 for a new one. Since I was already in the market for a mountain bike, this deal was too good to pass up.Montague Folding Paratrooper Bike

Of course, the bike needs a little work. I’ll need to clean it and give it a thorough tune up, but after taking it for a test ride, I’m convinced that it’s going to be a pretty slick set of wheels. You can probably tell that I’m all about modding my gear, and this bike is no exception. Project Monty will be an ongoing effort to turn this pawn shop bargain into the ultimate adventure machine!

Before we get into the tuning and modding, I’ll go over the bike as it stands. My first impression of this hardtail is that it appears to be rock solid. Since I’m pretty sure this is the low-end (and discontinued) MX model of their folding bike series, I’m not expecting it to be a beast, but nothing about it looks cheap or flimsy. It does feature Shimano front and rear derailluers, a Suntour suspension fork, and Tektro brakes, so it’s at least up to par with most entry-level mountain bikes.

The most interesting part of the bike – and the part that already had people raising eyebrows when I took it for today’s test run – is the fact that it folds in half. The patented Montague FIT folding system is what makes the idea practical rather than gimmicky. A quick flick of a lever and the rear of the bike is released from the rest of the frame, and the bike folds in half with the seat tube as a pivot. Since the hinges aren’t in the middle of the frame as with most folding bikes, it ends up being completely rigid when deployed for action. No flex, no wobble. Very cool.

Montague X50 folded

You have to know when to hold ’em…etc.

So what’s in store for Project Monty? The plans include a paint job (I just can’t abide the silver and red “euro” look), and I’ll be showing you how to pull that off on the cheap and still get great results.

I’ll also be adding a number of new parts to replace the old, including the seat and grips. Once I get to cleaning and tuning-up, I’ll determine if any of the mechanical components need immediate replacing as well. Then it’s on to functional accessories, such as lights, panniers, and a mount for my GPS.

Who knows what else will come along and inspire me, but stay tuned and see how it all turns out! In the meantime, you can read more about Montague’s full line of folding bicycles on their website. If you’re thinking about buying one for yourself and you’re shopping new, I would recommend skipping the modern version of the MX, the SwissBike X50,  and going for the Montague Paratrooper model or higher. You’ll gain disc brakes and 24 speeds versus the X50’s 18, which isn’t a bad upgrade considering the narrow price difference.


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