Montague Bicycles director Jim Griffiths tells BikeBiz about getting praise from the Gadget Show and the rise of the Swissbike brand...

COMPANY PROFILE: Montague Bicycles

Can you give us a brief history of Montague Bicycles?
Swissbike is a part of Montague Bikes and has been specifically developed to give the range we offer a more leisure and lifestyle appeal. It also moves us on from the original military heritage, though that will be retained with models like the Paratrooper and the new Tora.

The Swissbike branding has really taken off in the last six months or so and is the focus of most enquiries we receive. Continued interest from the emergency services means we need to focus on one brand for the future.

You received plenty of praise at the Gadget Show. Tell us about that:
Being featured on the cult-viewing TV show late last year was a real boon and the interest and enquiries from that appearance continue to this day. We followed that up with a stand at The Gadget Show Live in April and had 30,000 people looking at the bikes over three days, so interest in the brand is at an all-time high for us right now.

The folding market has taken off in recent years in the city. Is there a market for folders that are capable of going off-road?
Most definitely. Our bikes were designed for that market and are ideal for anyone who wants to get out into the countryside on a bike. Many people struggle with bike-racks or simply want the security of leaving their bike inside their vehicle when they’re not riding, so our foldable mountain bikes fit this niche extremely well.

We don’t try and compete with the traditional small-wheeled folders for the core commuter market, but we do now have a lot of customers using our bikes for ‘park and ride’ commuting.

How’s business?
Business is good. We’re now into our second year as the UK distributor of Swissbike and Montague. Despite all the economic doom and gloom, we’re finding the picture is nowhere near as bad as the media would like to paint it.

Are there any plans for expansion?
We are lucky to already be in quite large premises, with room for planned expansion, so the main aim is to bring on some dedicated people to look after the emergency response and corporate sectors. That’s an area where we see a great future for our bikes.

Are you seeking UK dealers?
Yes, we get calls and emails daily from people asking where they can see, try and buy in-store and we simply haven’t had the time to develop the dealer network fully as yet. We are particularly keen to find outlets in the South-West, central London, the Midlands, the North, Scotland and all parts of Ireland.

Can you tell us a bit about the fold?
The fold is really simple; just two quick-releases and you’re done. With practice it takes about 30 seconds. The front wheel comes out first (secured with a CLIX skewer), then undo a second Q/R on the frame and the whole bike folds in half. There are no cut frame tubes so, most importantly, no hinges, which means the core strength of our frames is not compromised by the fold. Once folded, the bike fits into our large nylon carry-bag and, at approximately 13kg, is very easy to carry with the supplied shoulder strap.

TEL: 01730 711140

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