Question: Full size folding bikes?

I have a friend who wants a bike so he can bike to work from the train station.

He’s considering a full sized folding bike, like those available from Montague with 26″ wheels.

Are full sized folders at all practical for multimodal commutes? Can you haul these into a bus or train?

Caltrain’s folding bike rules say a folded bike must fit under a seat (as if) or in a luggage rack. I’m don’t know uf Montague’s folders fit the bill and I don’t want to give any bad advice.

If you have real world experience with 26″ folding bikes on public transportation I’d love to hear from you.


  1. I’m starting to think that I really do need a folding bike partially because the big wheels are so bulky. It sort of defeats the purpose of a folding bike, I think, especially in the instance your friend is considering using it.

  2. I’m starting to think that I really do need a folding bike partially because the big wheels are so bulky. It sort of defeats the purpose of a folding bike, I think, especially in the instance your friend is considering using it.

  3. I’ve never used a full-size folder, but my ancient, 20″ split-apart bike is one of the most comfortable bikes I’ve ridden. Like Fenriq says, bigger wheels mean less compact mean why have a folder at all? I think some people expect a 20″ bike to have a vastly different ride, and if that’s what your friend is thinking, they should try some out before spending too much time worrying about a 26″ folder.

  4. Semantically speaking; yes. Full size folders work great. Logistically; no.
    That is to say that if you are entering a public transportation vehicle with a full sized folder during peek (or whenever “regular” bikes are not allowed) you will generally be allowed on. But, They are not any more convenient on a train or a bus than a full sized bike. They are about as tall, a little shorter, but much wider; which is often a limiting factor in these situations. There is no benefit to a full size folder that hasn’t been compensated in some way by the more reputable brands of small wheeled folders (read “Brompton”).

  5. I’ve been commuting with my Montague Boston on the Dutch trains over here for about at least the last half year. I bike between around 10 minutes at one end, and 5 at the other of my commute. I’m pretty happy with it. The bike does fold to a surprisingly compact package for a full size folding bike (that’s taking the front wheel out), and would be even more compact if I bothered to drop the seat down when folded. Compared to a Brompton, no, it’s not that small or compact when folded. Compared to a bunch of those Dahon style folders, that fold in the middle, with small-med size wheels, I think it’s roughly the same amount of space it takes up when folded. (as I notice of all the other riders on the trains with folding bikes – which is increasing)
    It rides really nicely, and no deraileurs is a +. Simple, clean bike. Folds easy. Quite happy with it thus far.

  6. I have a Montague bike, and I commute with it to and from work everyday – I live on th east coast, so I take Amtrak – I don’t know about Caltrain, but I can fit my folded Montague in the luggage compartment at the end of the train car without any problems. I really love it – and I, at least, prefer them to the small-wheeled folders, as I don’t like the way bikes handle with small wheels and really long steer tube/seat post. The Montague rides just like a non-folding bike, and is small enough and easy enough to take on the train. You should tell your friend to check out all the different models here:

  7. I commute on light rail with a Xootr Swift, which is smaller than the Montague, but still close to a full-size geometry. Folding the bike in half makes a big difference on a crowded train. It is easier to board and you can sit with the bike in front of you. I got the Swift for a five mile commute, but if I was only going a mile or two I probably would have gotten a Brompton or Dahon.

  8. It is a question of the rules and fares of your public transportation system also. Here in Germany a full size bike makes no sense as you have to pay for the transport and you will often even not be allowed to take it during rush hour. In the ICE which connects bigger cities you cannot take a 26 or even 28inch bike at any time … Just folded bikes with 20inch wheels and below.

    At the end you have to go for the right compromise … In my opinion it is a rigid bike for everything beside where you need the folding bike…

  9. I actually own a Montague Navigator bike that I use for my commute as I live in the Bay Area. I take BART and Caltrain. When I fold my bike, I normally place it on the Caltrain Lugguge Car where luggage rack is located. My bike is 21′ and it fits perfectly on the rack using the older Caltrains. When I board the newer model Caltrain cars, I fold the bike and I place on the side rack in the Caltrain bike car. Sometimes when the Caltrain bike cars reach full capacity, they will still let me board the train because they said my bike folded while the other bikers got “bumped.” With that being said, I never got “bumped” on Caltrain even with the cars full. Same with BART, as long as my bike folds, BART station agents always lets me through the gates during commute hours as long as I have it folded. In my opinion, my full size Montague Navigator bike is a great investment. Mine is light, fast, and easy to fold. The fact that it can fold and not get denied when boarding a train is huge and the fact that it is well designed with high end performance parts! I definitely recommend a Montague bike.

  10. One more thing I would like to add: When taking a Montague bike on a Caltrain luggage car, I normally have it folded and I place the bike and second tire on top of each on the luggage rack. It fits perfectly and Caltrain operators do not mind at all because Caltrain’s size requirement of a folded bike is less than 36′ at the widest point. Mine is 28′ which means a Montague bike is compliant within the bike rules for Caltrain. But, what it cannot do is a Montague bike cannot fit under the seat of any Caltrain car. Good luck.

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