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The Blue's series has been on Montra's most successful bicycle models over the years. This is mainly due to the attractive price and also the simplicity of the design and functionality this hybrid bicycle carries. We got the opportunity to test ride the Blues 1.1 from the 2016 range of Montra bicycles and here is what we thought.
The frame material and tech in the Blues 1.1 (2016) is the same as in the previous version of this bicycle. The 6061 alloy frame is not the lightest you will find among similar hybrid bicycles. The frame geometry slightly resembles that of a recreational hardtail MTB, with its slanted top tube and the upright riding posture. The welds at the frame joints are definitely better than what we have been seeing in the past on the Blues 1.1. This commuter specific bicycle has a sleek yet functional frame which will transfer less vibrations from the roads on to the rider's body. The SR Suntour front suspension fork has a minimal 50mm travel which can be felt only slightly while rolling over speed breakers or potholes but it isn't going to change the transfer of vibrations drastically.
To go with the name, the Blues 1.1 (2016) does come in a full blue colour. The blue shade is more metallic and the gloss paint job makes it sparkle. The colour matching white/blue saddle adds a nice touch to the look of the Montra Blues 1.1 2016. This bicycle is also equipped with 2 bottle racks, mudguard and rack mounts which makes it tourer friendly as well. The white front suspension fork brings out a good contrast to the aesthetics of this bicycle.
Commuter/Hybrid bicycles are always in need of quick gear shifts for the varied speeds one might ride in, depending on the traffic on city roads. During the test ride, I had to ride through fast moving traffic which required me to keep a check on the gears constantly. The Shimano Altus front and rear derailleurs worked well together with no skipping of gears. But, the transition time on higher gears at the rear derailleur was longer than usual. The Shimano Altus 21-speed trigger/thumb shifters worked well during the test ride with no real discomfort felt during constant shifting.¾
The ProMax alloy V-brakes on the Montra Blues 1.1 (2016) looked bigger as a component with longer but sleek brake pads. When put to the test on dry conditions the braking experience had no complaints. In wet conditions I suspect the brakes to slow down a bit, which is normal for any bicycle with V-brakes of this type. The Shimano brake levers were short on length when compared to the handle grip length which left me reaching inward to get hold of the brake lever. If you are someone who is used to riding with a few fingers on the brake levers, you might find doing the same on the Blues 1.1 (2016) a little stressful on the palms.
The XMR Zoom Alloy handlebar on the Blues 1.1 were impressive mainly because of its extended length and a shape with very less raise. The lesser raise gives the rider an MTB riding feel due to its stable and straight riding posture.
The Montra Blues 1.1 (2016) rolls on a pair of Kenda Kourier 700c x 35c hybrid tires. These tires are well supported by the double-walled XMR alloy rims which will last longer. The tire treads looked smoother and I expected it to skid during braking on turns but these tires had enough traction to support the braking and give a faster yet safer ride experience. Montra have teamed up with Velo to create specific saddles for their bicycles and the Blues 1.1 (2016) uses one of them. These saddles were designed keeping in mind only cushioned comfort and not much of an ergonomical design. Hence there was no performance positives from the saddle and it might even start getting uncomfortable on rides which last more than 2-3 hours. The overall ride quality was above average on flat city roads.
Hybrid bicycles are designed with comfort as the main focus. The Blues 1.1 has comfort written all over it. Right from the front suspension fork to the riding posture, these features make this bicycle an easy to ride commuter. The minor gear lags are shadowed by the easy shifting and fast rolling wheels. Priced at Rs.19,750 the Montra Blues 1.1 (2016) is a bicycle to consider if you are looking for a capable commuter which can double up as an occasional tourer.