“On yer bike!” Pt. 2: Montague ‘Paratrooper’ folding mountain bike

In Part 1, we looked at the history of the bicycle in WW2 and in service with the Swiss Army up until the early 21st century…

By all accounts the Swiss Condor M93 bicycle apparently excelled in the kind of “Total Resistance” tactical environment practised by the Swiss military.  But it would perhaps be less ideal as a vehicle for rapidly deployable light infantry forces in need of an easily-transportable, lightweight, high-mobility solution. To meet this different set of requirements requires a rather different sort of bicycle.

The Montague Paratrooper®

Back in 1997, the Montague Corporation won a two-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to work with the United States Marines Corps to develop a compact, easily-transportable bike. For this project Montague developed a new folding design, enabling the bike to fold faster for exit from military aircraft while also increasing its load bearing capacity. This gave rise to the Paratrooper mil-spec folding mountain bike.

Features:

  • Heavy-duty front suspension
  • EZ Fire Plus® shifters
  • Strong front disc brake
  • Heavy-duty, double cage, folding, aluminium pedals
  • Quick release levers and recessed safety locks enable the bike to be folded/unfolded without tools (folds to 36″ x 30″ x 12″ in under thirty seconds) and keep the frame rigid and secure while riding
  • The Paratrooper Tactical Bike uses standard wheels and components and is serviceable at any mountain bike shop
  • Different types of cases for various transport options

Advantages:

  • Full-size, rugged mountain bike deployable on almost any terrain
  • Low initial cost with little to no maintenance required
  • A minimal sight and sound signature that is second only to a walking soldier
  • Off-body load bearing, which allows transport of increased loads and thereby lesser reliance on resupply
  • Up to 75 miles daily range with low/no logistic support
  • Folds to 36″ x 30″ x 12″ in under thirty seconds without the use of tools

Because of its ability to be folded for transport, the Paratrooper is an ideal ground mobility enhancer for various types of forces:

  • Airborne and airmobile forces – folded, it fits easily into all helicopters and can even be jumped as part of a paratroopers individual equipment
  • Light infantry forces – allows the easier carrying of today’s combat loads, and also increases the speed at which light forces can move
  • Motorised or mechanised forces – folded and stashed in or on the primary vehicle, the Paratrooper could be used for short-range scouting and patrolling
  • Special operations forces – provides a low-impact (visually, aurally and logistically) vehicle that also delivers higher mobility and load distribution to enhance movement across multiple types of terrain
  • Law Enforcement, Search-and-Rescue forces – provides a compact, quiet, quickly-deployable, high-speed, multi-terrain enhancement to their reach and mobility

Whichever way you look at it, a rugged, folding mountain bike like the Paratrooper offers a number of unique and highly beneficial tactical advantages for today’s operational environments.  Having also ridden one now for several months over a variety of rough wooded and hilly terrain, I can also state that it is a comfortable and easy-to-use ride – as well as rugged.

Further information:

 

http://www.militarybikes.com

 

With the addition of a rear load-bearing rack, and healthy coat of Krylon, my Paratrooper became a low-visibility, field-ready battle chariot:

 

Note:  the inclusion of a rear load-bearing rack of this type actually prevents the bike from folding.  There are racks with a narrower profile that do allow the bike to fold.




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One Response to “On yer bike!” Pt. 2: Montague ‘Paratrooper’ folding mountain bike

  1. Chris Bennett says:

    Wow! I was searching around the net for info about the Montague Paratrooper bike (recently ordered one) and found your page. Nice pics, and I love what you did to the bike. I especially like the rear load bearing rack, and was wondering who made it? I’d love to get one just like that if possible, and if you know, I’d appreciate any help in locating it. Digging for accessories that go well on a Paratrooper bike has been hard going, so any help would be great!

    Regards, Chris