Montague M-E1 Review

Montague M E1 Electric Bike Review
Montague M E1
Montague M E1 Shimano Steps E6100 Electric Bike Motor
Montague M E1 Shimano Steps Bt E8014 Battery Pack 418wh
Montague M E1 Ebike Shimano Battery And 4 Amp Charger
Montague M E1 Battery And Charger Details Labels
Montague M E1 Folding Stem Riser Handlebar With Ergonomic Grips
Montague M E1 Shimano Display Closeup
Montague M E1 Herrmans H Black Mr4 E Bike Headlight
Montague M E1 Custom Rear Rack Alloy Fenders Herrmans H Trace Mini Rear Light
Montague M E1 Sr Suntour Nex Spring Suspension 63mm Travel
Montague M E1 Schwalbe Energizer Plus Tires With Reflective Stripes
Montague M E1 Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes 180mm Front 160mm Rear
Montague M E1 Internally Routed Cables Custom Step Thru Frame
Montague M E1 Folding Step Thru Frame
Montague M E1 Hollow Spindle 44 Tooth Steel Chainring Vp Plastic Folding Pedals
Montague M E1 Shimano Deore 10 Speed 11 32 Tooth
Montague M E1 Montague Branded Velo Saddle
Montague M E1 Folded Ebike Side View
Montague M E1 Folding Electric Bike Top View
Montague M E1 Folding Full Size Electric Bicycle
Montague M E1 Shimano Deore Long Cage Derailleur 11 32 Tooth Cassette
Montague M E1 Folding Ebike
Montague M E1 Stock Folding Ebike Behind Trunk Of Toyota Prius Size Comparison
Montague M E1 Stock Folded Bike Going In To Car Trunk
Montague M E1 Stock Folded
Montague M E1 Stock Folding Step Thru Black
Montague M E1 Electric Bike Review
Montague M E1
Montague M E1 Shimano Steps E6100 Electric Bike Motor
Montague M E1 Shimano Steps Bt E8014 Battery Pack 418wh
Montague M E1 Ebike Shimano Battery And 4 Amp Charger
Montague M E1 Battery And Charger Details Labels
Montague M E1 Folding Stem Riser Handlebar With Ergonomic Grips
Montague M E1 Shimano Display Closeup
Montague M E1 Herrmans H Black Mr4 E Bike Headlight
Montague M E1 Custom Rear Rack Alloy Fenders Herrmans H Trace Mini Rear Light
Montague M E1 Sr Suntour Nex Spring Suspension 63mm Travel
Montague M E1 Schwalbe Energizer Plus Tires With Reflective Stripes
Montague M E1 Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes 180mm Front 160mm Rear
Montague M E1 Internally Routed Cables Custom Step Thru Frame
Montague M E1 Folding Step Thru Frame
Montague M E1 Hollow Spindle 44 Tooth Steel Chainring Vp Plastic Folding Pedals
Montague M E1 Shimano Deore 10 Speed 11 32 Tooth
Montague M E1 Montague Branded Velo Saddle
Montague M E1 Folded Ebike Side View
Montague M E1 Folding Electric Bike Top View
Montague M E1 Folding Full Size Electric Bicycle
Montague M E1 Shimano Deore Long Cage Derailleur 11 32 Tooth Cassette
Montague M E1 Folding Ebike
Montague M E1 Stock Folding Ebike Behind Trunk Of Toyota Prius Size Comparison
Montague M E1 Stock Folded Bike Going In To Car Trunk
Montague M E1 Stock Folded
Montague M E1 Stock Folding Step Thru Black

Summary

  • A full sized folding electric bike with premium parts all around. The Shimano STePS E6100 drive unit is an efficient, quiet, lightweight, and narrow to keep the bike compact when folded. The 10-speed Shimano drivetrain uses a reliable Deore derailleur and offers a wide 11 to 32 tooth spread. Shimano Hydraulic disc brakes are reliable and easy to actuate.
  • Good ride comfort due to higher volume 28" x 1.75" tires, adjustable SR Suntour suspension fork, high-rise swept back handlebar, and ergonomic grips. Excellent safety upgrades including reflective tires with built-in puncture protection and premium integrated lights from Herrmans; the headlight has side windows and is rated at 100+ lumens.
  • Industry-leading folding design allows the bike to become very compact and stay folded without rattling or coming undone. Unique levers and latches do not rattle or come unscrewed easily. Purpose-built frame offers low step-thru standover height without introducing frame flex, wires and cables are all internally routed and additional protection was added at the main joint.
  • Due to the non-removable rear rack and aluminum alloy fenders, this folding ebike isn't super lightweight at 55.2lbs. The top area of the rack is narrow and may not work with as many trunk bags or child seats. No bottle cage bosses, or USB charging ports... which is too bad given the optional smartphone Bluetooth app. The button for changing menus on the display is not easy to reach when riding.

Video Review

Introduction

Make:

Montague

Model:

M-E1

Price:

$3,599

Body Position:

Upright, Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Commuting, Cruising, Travel

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, 5 Year Frame

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

20202021

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

55.2 lbs (25.03 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.6 lbs (2.54 kg)

Motor Weight:

6.35 lbs (2.88 kg)

Frame Material:

Custom Draw 6061 Hydroformed Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

17.25 in (43.81 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

17.25" Seat Tube Length, 21.25" Reach, 20.5" Stand Over Height, 32" Minimum Saddle Height, 41.5" Maximum Saddle Height, 24.25" Width, 72" Length, Folded Dimensions: 38" x 38" x 13"

Frame Types:

Step-Thru, Folding

Frame Colors:

Matte Black with Silver and Royal Blue Accents

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour NEX Spring Suspension, 63mm Travel, Hydraulic Lockout, Preload Adjust (Under Cap on Left Crown), 28mm Steel Stanchions, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Permanent Rear Rack, Fenders

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore Long Cage Derailleur, 11-32 Tooth Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano Deore Triggers on Right (Two-Way High Lever, Three-Shift Low Lever)

Cranks:

Shimano FC-E6100, Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length, SM-CRE61 44 Tooth Steel Chainring with Plastic Chain Cover, Shimano Hollowtech II Bottom Bracket, Hollow Spindle

Pedals:

VP, Plastic Folding (Pull Inner Loop to Unlock)

Headset:

Integrated, Sealed Cartridge, Straight 1-1/8"

Stem:

Patent Pending Folding Design, Aluminum Alloy, 120mm Length, 30mm Base Spacing, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy, High-Rise, 600mm Length, ~150mm Rise, ~80mm Backsweep

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore Hydraulic Disc with 180mm Front Rotor 160mm Rear Rotor, Dual Piston Calipers, Shimano Deore Two-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Ergonomic, Rubber, Non-Locking

Saddle:

Montague Branded Velo, Active

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy, Two-Bolt Clamp

Seat Post Length:

400 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 100mm Outer Width, 80mm Depth, 32 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge Front 13 Gauge Rear, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe 50km Energizer Plus, 8" x 1.75" 700c x 47mm (47-622)

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

45 to 70 PSI, 3.0 to 5.0 BAR, G-Guard 5, Reflective Sidewall Stripes, Addix E

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Plastic Chain Cover (Black), Clear Sticker Slap Guard, Custom Welded-On Rear Rack with Pannier Blockers, Aluminum Alloy Fenders (50mm Width), Massload Double Leg Scissoring Kickstand, Herrmans H-Black MR4 E-BIKE Integrated Headlight (6-12 Volt, 100/120 Lumens), Herrmans H-Trace Mini (6-12 Volt)

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube Mounted Battery Pack, 2.2lb 4 Amp Shimano EC-6000 Charger, Shimano HG-X VIA Chain, 130 RPM Pedal Support, AXA Locking Core and Key, 168mm Q-Factor, Patent Pending Folding Design (Stem Swivel, Mid-Frame Clamp, Fork Stanchion Clasp, Velcro Strap, Folding Pedals)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Shimano E6100

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

60 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Shimano STePS BT-E8014, 18650 Cells

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

417.6 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

90 miles (145 km)

Display Type:

Shimano, Fixed Backlit 1.5" Black and White, Buttons: Circle Menu Button, Settings: Hold Circle Button on Base

Readouts:

Battery Indicator (5 Bars), Assist Level (Off, Eco, Norm, High), Current Speed, Trip Distance, Odometer, Range Estimate, Trip Time, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Cadence Pedal RPM, Clock, (Advanced Settings: Clear, Clock, Light, Beep, Unit, Language, Font Color, Adjust, Shift Timing, RD Protection Reset, Display Speed, Exit)

Display Accessories:

Power Button on Top of Battery Pack, Shimano Button Pad on Left, Buttons: Up, Down, Walk Mode: Hold Down Button to see Walk then Hold Down Again to Activate Walk, Optional Shimano E-TUBE Smartphone App to Customize, Download Updates, Cycle Computer and Mapping

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Rear Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)


Written Review

This review was provided for free, but Montague and Reckless Shipyards did organize delivery of a temporary demo bike for me to test. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Montague products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the Montague electric bike forums.

Observations:

  • Montague is a relatively new electric bike company that is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They specialize in folding designs and launched with one model called the M-E1 (being reviewed here). From what I see, they really nailed the folding design because it is easy to approach and stand over, rides comfortably, and the frame does not flex. The company uses a marketing phrase “Folding Integrated Technology (F.I.T.)” and has designed the frame to suit riders from 5’4″ to 6’4″ in height.
  • This folding electric bike is unique because it is built around full sized 700c wheels with 28″ x 1.75″ tires. Most competing folders that I see in the ebike world utilize 20″ wheels, which are not as comfortable or stable. Despite the larger wheels, this bike folds to become extremely narrow and compact. Montague designed a clasp that connects the left stanchion to the rear rack, they added an axle protector to the rear where the fork might otherwise collide, they used latches that won’t spin off or dangle, and they included a velcro strap to reduce vibration when folded… Excellent job!
  • The drive system on this ebike is the upgraded Shimano STePS E6100, which is 20% more efficient than the original E6000. It’s still extremely compact, quiet, lightweight, energy efficient, and uses a standard 168mm Q-Factor (so the bottom bracket isn’t super wide). It’s an excellent choice for hybrid road-oriented electric bikes, in my opinion. The display is super small, which reduces the potential for damage during folding and transport.

Pros:

  • The bike feels sturdy and safe when riding, especially for a step-thru folding design. It also feels secure and solid when folded. This makes it easier to lift and reduces the possibility of rattling, scraping, and dings when stored in an automobile, boat, plane etc. I love the bolt protector on the rear wheel, the inclusion of a long velcro strap on the handlebar, and a “deflopilator” stabilizing spring from the fork to the main tube.
  • Most folding ebikes aren’t as comfortable as this one. The full sized 700c (28-inch) wheels have a lower attack angle that rolls over cracks and bumps easier. The tires have higher air volume because of the larger radius and hybrid 1.75″ diameter. The suspension fork, riser handlebar, and ergonomic grips help out too. You could purchase a suspension seat post with 30.9mm diameter (or use a shim) to really upgrade comfort, but then the saddle won’t go as low (so keep that in mind if you need to minimize folded height).
  • I’m not a big fan of double-leg kickstands because they add weight and tend to hang down lower than a good side mounted stand… but this one scissors off to one side, has adjustable legs, and is sturdy enough to support the bike when folded.
  • It’s easy to charge the bike when folded because the port (on the right side of the battery) is easily accessible. It really feels like they thought things out when designing which way the frame folded so as not to obstruct the battery lock or charging port.
  • This bike is “commuter ready” in all types of conditions because it comes with a chain cover to keep your pants or dress clean, sturdy aluminum alloy fenders, an integrated rear rack, and integrated lights. I do wish that it came with a bottle cage mounting point on the downtube, but maybe they skipped to maximize frame strength? Consider an aftermarket cup holder, but take time thinking through where to mount it so you don’t compromise up the folding design or scratch the frame.
  • I love the puncture resistant high-speed rated ebike tires from Schwalbe, they should reduce the possibility of flat tires. Even so, both wheels have quick release which makes it easier to change flats. This is one of the big advantages of a mid-drive ebike.
  • Safety is a big consideration for me, especially when riding in the city, commuting, or traveling to new locations (all perfect use cases for a folding bike). The reflective tire stripes increase your visual footprint and the lights are both highly visible from multiple angles. The headlight has side cutouts, points where you steer, and puts out 100+ lumens with a light beam that only spreads down and is cut at the top to not blind oncoming traffic.
  • Considering all of the extras on this frame (rack, fenders, lights, suspension fork) it isn’t extremely heavy at 55.2lbs. I think this is mainly due to the lightweight Shimano E6100 motor and lower capacity battery pack. You can easily remove the pack to reduce weight by roughly 5.6lbs.
  • Montegue did an excellent job with the aesthetic here. They routed all of the cables through the frame, so it’s not messy. They chose matte black because it blends in with the default color of third party fenders, lights, and cable covers. They added stickers to the suspension fork and battery pack to match the blue and black accents. They also co-branded the Velo saddle, and added colored accents there too. Very detailed execution here.
  • This a small thing, but the chain actually cycles backwards when you pedal backwards. This makes drivetrain maintenance easier and is uncommon for many competing mid-drive motors (including earlier Shimano builds).
  • Above-average drivetrain gives you 10 speeds with a respectable 11 to 34 tooth cassette. This means that each step between gears is smaller, so you can find a more comfortable cadence. The Shimano Deore derailleur is reliable and crisp to shift with, and the Shimano Deore trigger shifter provides a two-way high lever that can be actuated with your thumb (just like the low gear lever) which means you can keep your fingers on the brakes while shifting.
  • The brakes are also excellent! Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with a larger 180mm front rotor that improves leverage and cooling. They are nicer than I was expecting and reflect the “full bicycle riding experience” that the bike achieves.
  • Notice the hollow spindle (stiffer, lighter weight), and the premium Shimano crank arms with full 170mm length. This is another area that is above average, especially for a folding electric bike.
  • Even though the charger is larger and heavier than average, even for a fast charger, it does fill the battery quickly! It’s a 4 amp charger with a proprietary plug, so it won’t get mixed up with other electronics you might own.
  • The Shimano E6100 motor is smaller than most competitors, and it has a narrower Q-Factor. Apparently it’s 20% more energy efficient than the previous generation E6000, and is designed to be highly water resistant (along with the battery). It provides up to 130 RPM pedal support and offers a respectable 60 newton meters of torque force with 250 to 500 watt output. These are great numbers given the small size and low 6.35lb weight of the motor.
  • The motor controller is very responsive, measuring your pedal speed, rear wheel speed, and pedal torque. It’s so responsive that they do not include motor inhibitors on the brakes. The end result is a cleaner cockpit with fewer fail points and a ride that feels like an extension of you vs. a separate drive force.
  • Montague appears to ship direct to consumer but also sells through a network of shops that can provide test rides and in-person support. I got to experience this in Vancouver at Reckless Shipyard in North Van.
  • The display is kind of small, but this works to your advantage when folding because it’s less vulnerable to bumps and scratches. The important menus are easy to read (battery charge level, assist level, and current speed). I love that it has a dynamic range readout, so you can get more insights and reduced range anxiety compared with the five-bar battery infographic.
  • I like that the battery is removable because experts in the field have told me that extreme heat or cold can be damaging to Lithium-ion cells… Not everyone has space for a bike inside their house (even a folding bike, especially if it’s wet or dirty). The battery isn’t that large or heavy, and taking it off to charge is pretty simple with the side slide-in design.
  • The bike uses high-quality headset and bottom bracket parts that I believe are sealed against water, which means you won’t get the same rust, squeaking, creaking, and friction over time as lower quality ebikes. Given the fenders and light here, it’s a bike that I expect people would ride in the rain or through puddles, so great that the rest of the hardware is stainless and high quality in general.
  • I like that the display has a menu system with lots of options (just hold the little circle button below the display panel to get into settings). One of the options is to turn off the electronic beeping noise in case that annoys you ;)

Cons:

  • The frame only comes in one size, which I suspect helps to keep the cost down a bit. The extra-long 400mm seat post and high-rise handlebar (that can swivel forward or back to increase or decrease reach) allows the bike to fit a fairly wide range of riders. The company proposes 5’4″ to 6’4″ tall.
  • Due to the premium motor, drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, upgraded tires, and fancy folding features, this ebike is priced fairly high at $3.6k and I was surprised that they chose the lower capacity 418 watt hour Shimano battery when the 504wh and 630wh packs are just 0.3lbs to 1.0lb heavier.
  • The included battery charger is long and heavy, weighing 2.2lbs vs. 1.5lb of most competing packs (even the comparable 4 amp charger from Bosch). It’s nice that it will fill the battery quickly, but I feel that they could have made one side of the plug removable to help make it more compact. I do appreciate that you are not required to use a dongle to plug into the battery when off the bike frame. I also appreciate how the battery easily clicks onto the frame with a side-slide design vs. downwards press.
  • I feel that the double leg kickstand sticks down pretty far and adds weight vs. a normal rear mounted kickstand… but at least it’s adjustable and very stable. They probably chose it to keep the overall length and size of the bike as compact as possible and to steady the bike when folded.
  • The folding plastic pedals aren’t as stable and stiff feeling as a metal folding pedal. I do like the inner loop release lever design and appreciate the larger reflectors, they just aren’t as comfortable or reliable feeling as a full sized pedal or folding metal option.
  • I wish the display had a USB charging port built in, so you could maintain a smartphone or additional lights or electronic accessories while riding, especially since this ebike is compatible with the Shimano E-Tube smartphone app.
  • In order to change the display readout from current speed to trip distance, odometer, range estimate etc. you need to press a tiny circular button on the base of the display panel. Why don’t they duplicate this button on the control pad (where the up and down buttons are) so you can reach it without taking your hand off the left grip? This seems like a simple improvement that would vastly improve safety and user experience and is on par with what nearly all other ebike system makers do including Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, and Bafang. A commenter named Don mentioned that Shimano systems are plug-and-play and you could swap the stock two button for the Shimano SW-E6010-R which has a mode or select button in the center. Still no power button here, and it appears that it’s designed to mount on the right vs. left. I’m not sure on pricing or availability, but it’s worth mentioning for sure!
  • Similar to the inconveniently located menu button for changing display readouts, the power button for the bike is located on top of the battery pack. This means that you either have to turn it on before mounting the bike (which introduces some risk of unplanned operation while mounting), or get on and reach way down. Why not have a power button on the control pad or the display?
  • The E6100 motor is a nice upgrade from the older E6000 motor, however, there is no shift detection present. That’s really a feature that is unique to Bosch, and it just means that with Yamaha, Shimano, Brose, and others, you want to ease off a bit if you’re shifting wile riding with the most powerful motor settings engaged.
  • The rear rack acts as a support for the rear fender and clasp point for the front fork when folded… but it’s kind of large and heavy looking compared to most bolt-on racks I see. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer nearly as many features as they do. It does not have a max weigh rating, does not have a wide enough deck to mount most trunk bags I’ve seen, probably will not work with most child seats, does not have loops at the base for clipping a bungee cord. I was told by the company that the tubing is compatible with most clip-on panniers from Ortlieb, Thule, Axiom, Arkel and Vaude. I did not see a weight rating on it, which would be nice to know.
  • This con may be resolved with recent software updates! In the past, I have noticed that the Shimano motor controller calibrates output each time the bike is turned on… so if you’re riding the bike or putting pressure on the pedals it could have some issues and need to be power cycled. This is not something you have to worry about with most of the other ebike mid-drive systems like Bosch, Yamaha, and Brose, and it could throw an error on the display so you’ll have to restart the bike.
  • Very minor complaint or consideration here, the bike doesn’t come with a bell or other signaling device. It’s cheap and easy to find one aftermarket if you wish, but would be nice to have at this price point.
  • The headlight is mounted to the arch of the suspension for, which is an unsprung platform. This means that it bounces up and down with terrain and might rattle lose a bit easier than if it were crown or stem mounted. The rear light is highly visible, but protrudes beyond the sturdy aluminum alloy fender. This makes it easier to bump or crush if the bike ends up on its side or back end during folding and transporting. It’s not a super sturdy or tough light in general.

Useful Resources:

Comments (8) YouTube Comments

Don
4 weeks ago

Regarding the 2 button assist level switch with no mode button. You can easily swap it with one of Shimano’s assist level switches that also have a mode button, such as the SW-E6010-R. It is plug and play.

Regarding the torque calibration error, if you apply pressure to the pedals when powering up. I believe this has been addressed in a more recent software update.

  Reply
Court
4 weeks ago

Thanks for the feedback about the torque calibration error! I tested it on the M-E1 and didn’t get the error, so I think you’re correct and I’ll add a note to my review. Also, great to know that their electronics are plug and play! That makes sense, I’ll add a note there as well. Great job Don ;)

  Reply
Don
4 weeks ago

Hi Court, thanks! One correction on what I posted. The 3 button switch I listed, SW-E6010-R, is for the right side of the handlebar. SW-E6010-L is the correct p/n for the left side.

Ian Cooper
2 weeks ago

Is there a non-electric option? I was considering a Montague, but having to take off the front wheel, and not being able to fold it and wheel it around, were major deal breakers. This bike seems to fix those issues, but the electric motor seems a bit inefficient. I can get 100% energy efficiency by doing all the work myself – and I get a great workout.

  Reply
Court
2 weeks ago

Hi Ian! A non electric version would be less expensive and a lot lighter. I feel like they designed this specifically to be electric, and I didn’t see another similar model on their official site. Perhaps it’s in the works? Regular bicycles are very efficient, but electric help people who want to go further, who have knee injuries (like myself), and people who want the highest return on energy in general. People are actually less efficient when buying food, eating, digesting, converting into physical motion to power a bike than just getting some electricity off the grid… especially as more solar and wind come online :)

  Reply
Ian Cooper
2 weeks ago

If you have a knee injury, an electric bike has no advantage over a regular bicycle – the leg motion is exactly the same, and you should be spinning (not forcing the pedals) on a regular bike anyway. And the idea that cycling wastes energy through buying food is complete nonsense, because cycling takes LESS energy than driving (or even walking) to get groceries, and when you eat, none of that energy gets converted to fat, as it does when you have a sedentary lifestyle.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.