Commuting on the Montague Crosstown w/BionX Motor

by Dylan on March 11, 2014

New York City weather can be unpredictable: one day it’s 10 degrees and trying to freeze your eyelids shut, and the next day it’s be 40 degrees, sunny, and the sidewalks are overflowing with folks from around the world enjoying the best weather of 2014 so far. With Alt-J playing in my headphones and a Chrome Warsaw II on my back, I carried the Montague Crosstown down the stairs of my walk-up and out into the beautiful Brooklyn weather.

BionX Crosstown in Times Square

Montague Crosstown in Times Square.

Dodging Pedestrians

On any given beautiful day like today, at least 1/3 of NYC’s 8 million citizens are almost guaranteed to be outside enjoying the early spring weather. From Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, to the 87 block sprint to the shop along 1st Avenue in Manhattan, there were people everywhere overflowing the sidewalks and into the bike lane–seriously giving the Crosstown’s maneuverability a run for the money.

As a messenger, every aspect of my daily bike (a 2007 Fuji Track) has been designed around two major components: maneuverability under load and comfort under load. It takes a lot of pride to say that, given the conditions, the Montague Crosstown handled itself better snapping in and out of stray pedestrians than anything I have ridden so far, including my own bike! I had no problem squeezing through crowds, or avoiding a collision.

This particular Crosstown was suped up with an electric conversion kit called the BionX System which NYCeWheels bike shop had installed. The BionX is very versatile and can be installed on virtually any bicycle. Average Joe Cyclist, for example, friend of NYCeWheels and author of the Avereage Joe Cyclist Guide, put a BionX on his Devinci Copenhagen 2008, converting it into an electric bike.  In this case, the Montague Crosstown had been fit with a 350 watt BionX motor and a 36 volt lithium Ion Battery.  It was fantastic, I never thought a hybrid bicycle–let alone a hybrid folding bicycle–could ride like that.

700c Hybrid…folding?

Yes, I said folding. You got a problem with that? I don’t. At 6’5″ and well over 300lbs I couldn’t believe that I, too, could ride a folding bike without looking like, well, a big guy on a really little bike (not to say the little bikes don’t hold their own!).

Combining elements of mountain, road and touring bikes, hybrid folding bikes take the best out of all three worlds and put them in to one package. Montague managed to put those elements in to one folding package, and do it right. NYCeWheels managed to take that great package and stick a great motor on it, and that’s even better.

BionX Crosstown MotorPut a motor on it.

The snappy responsiveness of the Crosstown wasn’t noticeably affected by the weight of the BionX motor, but the motor made a definite improvement on my (already late) commute across the Williamsburg Bridge, allowing me to soldier up the span at around 15 mph and comfortably coast down at 20, speed kept in check with one of the folding bike kit’s four user-selectable modes of regeneration.

Mind you, regeneration is not a substitute for at home charging, but it does help stretch the battery life out. By intelligently using regeneration, I was able to make it all the way up to NYCeWheels on one charge!
[you can view my commute on the Crosstown here via Edomondo!]

Summing Things Up

I really enjoyed my ride on the Crosstown BionX bike, and I definitely appreciated the fact that it’s a folding bike that feels like a full size bike, because, well, it is a full size bike. Which folds and has a motor. What more can you ask for, the Crosstown BionX bike has it all.


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