Fold-Up Paratrooper Bike

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

The bike weighs about 29 pounds. It folds up suitcase-small — to about 36 × 38 × 12 inches — and it was initially developed in 1997 for the military with seed money from a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant.

It’s called the Paratrooper, and the bike, as its name says, was made originally for parachuting soldiers. The procedure was: Jump out of the airplane with a bike attached on your back; deploy the chute; land, unfold your bike, and ride quickly off into the field.

Montague Paratrooper folded up.jpg

Montague Paratrooper bike, folded up

Montague Corporation, based in Cambridge, Mass., sells its Paratrooper bikes to the U.S. military as well as common citizens. The folding design lets you pack the bike up small. In a few seconds, a rider can remove the front wheel, fold the frame in half, and pack it away. No tools required.

The company (www.montaguebikes.com) has photos of the bike in use for military missions in desert places that look like Iraq. But it has sold the Paratrooper bikes to any average joe for a couple years now at $879.

Montague Paratrooper plane.jpg

Bike packed up and connected to a backpack for a military paratrooper

There are eight fold-up bikes in the current Montague line. They are popular with travelers who want to take a bike on an airplane or pack it into the trunk of a car. You can fold one up and stuff it under a desk at an office.

The Paratrooper model is a full-size mountain bike with 26-inch wheels and an aluminum frame. It has suspension and 24 speeds.

Montague Paratrooper bike.jpg

Montague Paratrooper bike

This winter, Montague will begin selling an upgrade, the Paratrooper Pro, which will come with a black color scheme and improved components and shocks. It will cost $1,049. Like the original Paratrooper — which only came in Army green — the Pro model is set up for use behind enemy lines, on tough singletrack trails, or simply for rough roads on your commute to work.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by Hurl Everstone - 12/01/2010 11:31 AM

is this a product review, or a press release? Have you actually ridden one?

Posted by Editor - 12/01/2010 12:43 PM

Indeed, this is a lowly piece of news and a “product briefing,” not a product review. We folded, fondled, unhinged, and rolled around on the Paratrooper at the Interbike trade show, but did not pedal the bike enough to form an opinion on performance for serious riding. The company is shipping a 2011 model to GearJunkie for testing.

Posted by Hurl Everstone - 12/03/2010 12:31 PM

let me know if you’d like any assistance with that testing, Stephen. I’ve often wondered if this bike wouldn’t be a lower-cost alternative to an S&S coupler’d frame.

Posted by JR - 12/10/2010 06:25 PM

How to order and ship outside USA by sea

Posted by LBJ - 12/14/2010 10:27 AM

Hey JR – Looks like there’s a list of international distributors on the Montague website – maybe you’d be able to get a bike from one of these dealers? Anyway, here’s the link: http://www.montaguebikes.com/global-bike-distributors.html

Posted by JR - 12/15/2010 06:38 AM

Thanks LBJ, I will try the link you posted

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