Spring Haul I: Montague Folding Frame

This is the first post in a series of three or so resulting from a chance visit to a spring cleaning cycle shop. Besides free saddles, brifters and what have you there were three items purporting to be bicycles to be had for a song, and here´s the first.

I´ve never had one of these before – and, honestly, I hope that I´ll never have the displeasure again. It´s one of those things which have great promise, but where economics dictated that not only corners were cut but whole miles of winding road. To be fair, it was not possible for me to try the machine out as this

Montfullis all that was left of it when I got it.

Whence but the funny angle protruding under and in front of the bottom bracket would my first look go upon beholding the bike? The keen eye of the triple Thanet Silverlight owner (one SL sold long ago) was soon placated, however, but for the first split second I did think I had struck it rich.

Right, what´s so funny about a Montague? The basic idea (shared with a number of folding bike constructions) is that you can have full sized wheels, and that you don´t have to split the chain, or wrap it up with the help of weird and wonderful contraptions: On the Montague, it just stays where it is.

You just open three Q/R handles, clearly marked as “OPEN” for those who really don´t know what a Q/R is,

MontQRopenthen you pull up a safety locking device,

Montlockyou carefully start something which feels like destroying the frame if you´re unused to a Montague,

Montfoldand a few seconds later the whole thing collapses on the floor in a giggling heap. Or was it me giggling?

MontfoldtwoMontheapThe front wheel comes off to reduce the size of the heap,

Montlawyerafter you have tricked another safety device. You thought that lawyer lips are bad? Ha.

And then the front mudguard also comes off. It is held in place by three real, honest to God Tenax fasteners, just like the ones on your MG T or any other oldworldly soft top car.

Montfrontdo

MontTenaxoffMontfrontmudgtenax

I have not yet found out what this Tenax part facing rear on the seat tube is for. Actually, it looks more like a Tecalemit oil port, but this makes even less sense. Or does it?

Montdownt

MontbblowerIf you should feel inclined to unfold the bike, these little blocks, held at a precise distance by a grub screw, see to it that the frame literally clicks back into position. That´s great.

So far, so good. Now for the miles of winding road.

MontcarrierShall we start with this strip of metal holding the carrier rack to the brake bridge? Or what about the really heavy, welded steel tube construction? Or with the plastic grip shifts? Or the useless bottle type dynamo? Or the cheapest rims available? Or the cheapo steel handlebars/extension combo? You could go on endlessly.

You then add the fact that hamfisted doesn´t begin to describe the first owner (all cables were wrapped around the handlebar, for instance) who used acres of sticky tape, miles of additional lighting cables and routed gear cables really adventurously, so that the only recourse to be taken was the wire cutter.

Montcableshbar Montcables

My hope is that there was (or is, the Cambridge, MA firm is still trading) a real Montague for sale in the US, and this contraption was just produced for the German market which back in 1994 (I found several date marks on the bike) was ruled by price alone.

This then is all that´s left of a good idea.

Montframefolded

 

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4 Comments

  1. Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    Will you rebuild it and upgrade the components so the Montague is rideable or are you giving up on it?

  2. Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    Don´t know yet. The frame is very heavy.

  3. Chris
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi. The Tennax Fastener on the seat tube is actually a grease nipple. According to the Manual (can be downloaded from the Montague web site) it should be greased every 6 months to allow the frame to rotate freely. Hope that helps.

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