Montague Paratrooper Folding Bike

I’ve been using folding bikes with varying degrees of satisfaction for a few years now. As I do much of my hillwalking using the rail system it makes sense to have a folding bike as once folded they are (in general, and certainly throughout Scotland) treated as luggage, rather than a bike, and while there are restrictions on bikes, there are none on luggage. A few years back I arrived at Dalwhinnie station to await the southbound train. Shortly after two other cyclists arrived and I asked if they had cycle reservations, which they hadn’t. The trains on the Perth line are limited to two bikes, and there were three of us. When the train arrived the guard refused to allow them on board, despite the fact they would have to cycle all the way to Perth! After a hard day when you are cold and wet that’s the last thing you need.
Since then I’ve gone through a variety of folding bikes, however most are aimed strictly at the commuting market. There are probably as many Bromptons in London as there are rats nowadays! There aren’t that many folding mountain bikes the go though, but one that caught my eye was the Montague Paratrooper.

“It’s claimed it was designed for the US military and will can be deployed by parachute or helicopter. Having access to none of those I’ll take their word for it. I do have access to the mountains of Scotland and have been giving it a good workout, on and off road. It is a full size mountain bike, with 26” wheels, adjustable front suspension, 24 speed Shimano gears and front and rear disc brakes and comes in matt green.

It comes boxed and Montague were good enough to throw I a bike bag for it. It required little assembly, needing only to have one pedal fitted, along with one wheel and the seat. If you are happy adjusting brakes, gears and the like you should be able to set it up yourself, otherwise you may want to let a bike shop give it a check over for you. I had to adjust the brakes slightly but the gears were perfect straight from the box. I had a few niggles with the pedals, though that was my fault, and once tightened properly they have fine. The pedals are not of the folding variety. Montague do sell folding pedals but I have never found this type of pedal to be particularly robust, and it’s unlikely it will give that much of a reduction in bike width when folded.

Folding the bike is straightforward and quick. Open the quick release latch on the front wheel, flick the Clik safety release, and the front wheel is off. Open the catch on the top tube, press down and with a slight pressure the frame opens. It’s that simple. You can additionally lower the seat, the whole operation taking easily under a minute. To re-assemble, just reverse the procedure. I find it easiest to replace the front wheel while facing the bike. The bike can be stowed in the bag for transport and this provides a good way of carrying it without getting oil and muck all over other people luggage. I was very impressed with the fact the strap goes into the bag and secures onto the frame of the bike. That negates any worries of the stitching on a sewn strap giving way. I can unfold the bike from the bag and assemble it ready for use in around two minutes.

I’ve found it to be solid enough in use, and had no concerns that the bike may ‘open’ while traversing rough ground. The pedals have a great chunky grip, as have the handlebars. The thumb controlled trigger shift gears are well positioned, easy to see and index easily.

My only gripe is that the handlebars are quite narrow. For a bike designed for the military, where guys tend to be big and broad, it’s perhaps surprising, although making it bigger would of course increase packed size and weight).
All the replaceable parts such as tyres, gears, brakes, are of the standard type you can pick up in any bike shop, so repairs and servicing can be done easily by you or any bike tech.

Retailing around £799 this is not a cheap and cheerful bike, but one to seriously consider for off road use where a folding capability is required. It folds down to a reasonable size and should when folded fit into a reasonably sized car boot.

Bike
Weight (claimed): 29lbs
Weight (actual): 33lbs (15kg)
Cost: £799 rrp.
Claimed Dimensions (Folded): 36”x28”x12”
Dimensions (Folded): 36”x30”x15”

Carry Bag
Dimensions: 36”x28”x12”
Weight: 810g
Price: £99 (offers sometimes available- check the small print on the website).

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26 comments on “Montague Paratrooper Folding Bike
  1. twothreeuptwothreedown says:

    ……………………….There’s quite a few on ebay right now, a bit cheaper too!

  2. afcass says:

    Unfortunately the Cycle To Work scheme doesn’t extend to ebay…

  3. Mr_C_Hinecap says:

    I would not suggest anyone buys such a bike for off road use. If you want a bike for off-road use that breaks down, you need to pay real money and get S&S couplings built into a frame. £800 could buy you a lighter, better specced and far more durable bike than this that would give you a far more reliable and durable ride. A gimmick frame that was never adopted after trials.

  4. sandmanfez says:

    All bicycles fold, as do their riders, when you run over them in your G-Wagen.
    Just saying.

  5. DeltaDog says:

    Fuck that.

    I bought a crated motorbike for £800 a couple of years ago.

  6. Cutaway says:

    From Honest Abe’s Midnight Sales ?

  7. sammym says:

    Genuine question. Were you given this to review? Or did you actually spend £800 for it?

    I wouldn’t buy it myself as I don’t need a folding bike. And I don’t think their is a need for the “military” paint job. I’d feel embarrassed to ride that anywhere I could be seen.

  8. afcass says:

    If I was given the bike to review I’d say so. Pretty sure I mentioned I
    got it using cycle to work scheme, so I won’t be paying the full £799.

  9. brettarider says:

    The spec looks pretty pants cable disc brakes and basic delore drive train on an 800 quid bike! What’s the spec of the front shock? You could get a Forme stag with better spec for nearly £300 less and when the wheels are off is a small frame. If you only need a folding bike due to getting it on the train just use your bike bag and take the wheels off the bike becomes luggage then. I wouldnt even like to take that off the road without the fear if it giving way and doing some damage.

  10. Grumblegrunt says:

    no piccatinny rails for lights and lasers, m4 mounting clips or a bayonet fitting. I’ll wait for the mk2

  11. Mattb says:

    No V-shaped hull either!

  12. sunnoficarus says:

    £50 on ebay gets you a folding Raleigh shopper and a pair of 20″ wheels off a BMX bike. They even come in a olive green colour.
    Smaller, lighter and probably better offroad than this thing.

  13. Mr_C_Hinecap says:

    “In your use of the bike did you find that the mechanism was weak or faulty? I’ve not had any problems with it.”

    I’ve never used one. A friend had one and I gave it a good thrashing – or as good as I dared without breaking his pride and joy. It is not that well engineered, the frame is an intrinsically poor design, the components low quality and the folding aspect is not well built.

    It is not designed to take a beating like a proper mountain bike. You don’t see proper mountain bikes designed like that for a reason – it does not cope with the fatigue very well.

    I’m a qualified and experienced mountain bike leader with a lot of experience of bikes. If I want a mountain bike, I’ll buy one. If I want a bike for travelling, I’ll probably get one with S&S fittings in the frame. If I want a folding bike, I’ll get a Brompton or something.

    As I said – it is a gimmick. It looks sort-of-mountain-bike-ish, but it is a folding bike. Mountain bikes don’t fold by design because they need strength, and this design doesn’t give that. There are much better folding bikes and travelling by train with a bike is not that difficult to do. I wish you well with it, but it ticks none of the boxes well that it claims to.

  14. Nimbus says:

    [QUOTE=Mr_C_Hinecap;4765858]You can lace most any hub into any size of wheel. Why wouldn’t it work?[/QUOTE]
    3 speed hubs have a fairly low spread of ratios. Ok on the flat but very limited off road.

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)

  15. Mr_C_Hinecap says:

    But, technically, it would work.

    Like the concept of a folding mountain bike. Yes, it can be done, but should it be done?

  16. thegimp says:

    I’ve just bought a new motor with less than adequate boot space compared to my last 20 year old merc estate, which i could just chuck a bike in.

    Only time i use the bike is to cycle to the pub to pick up my motor. This montague would pay for itself in 53 pissups

  17. Mr_C_Hinecap says:

    I don’t say it is unfit for purpose. It is a folding bike that looks a bit tough, which is fine. However, I would not advise anyone to buy it under the impression that it was the same as a mountain bike of the same cost, but that you could fold it up. I have seen enough people spunk enough cash on the Bike Shaped Objects seen around camps and barracks the world over – overly heavy rubbish that couldn’t take a decent ride around Swinley Forest without falling apart. It is a lot of money for a bike that is neither good at being a folding bike nor being a mountain bike and there are far better mountain bikes and folding bikes for the cash.
    The ‘trials’ it supposedly went through are not relevant to this discussion and squaddies will steal anything not tied down, so implicit value has nothing to do with this either.

  18. Mattb says:

    2 questions:

    1) Are there any folding mountain bikes that you can buy that are better

    2) How can you insist that it’s going to fall apart unless you’ve tested it?

  19. smallbrownprivates says:

    Right I can settle this fairly quickly.

    Is it pricey?

    Is it green?

    Do the americans use it and would we like to steal one from them?

    Does it offend purists?

    Are there rumours it has been seen propped up against the boathouse?

    More than 3 out of 5 “yes”s then the Bike can be classed as “Gucci” and therefore without any logical justification, be an object of squaddie consumer lust and fantasy.

    I want one – for similar reasons as the gimp, trying to cram a normal bike in to the car when I’d left it sozzled somewhere was not funny with a polo (the car not the mint) and a hangover.

    However, when I have £800 nicker spare to get one, then I will deffo have more money than sense, (unless I can find some random work justification – what was the scheme again??)

    ( I can also imagine Mr_C muttering to himself “if G1098 is good enough for the Army, its good enough for me” and looking askance at para smocks, sock cuffs, idle berets with badges over ears etc etc)

  20. Nimbus says:

    [QUOTE=Mr_C_Hinecap;4765975]But, technically, it would work.

    Like the concept of a folding mountain bike. Yes, it can be done, but should it be done?[/QUOTE]
    3 speed hub and 20″ wheel? -no, the gear ratios are something like 33% higher and lower than direct drive. With a 26″ wheel this is ok for the flat, but you lose out as the wheel gets smaller.

  21. sunnoficarus says:

    Raleigh even made a BMXy Shopper, the Raleigh Commando

    Sturmey archers work fine off road, just fit a 22t or 24t rear cog. The things are way too highly geared as standard.

  22. Buzz says:

    It’s very badly over priced, there is a higher spec version that you can probably pick up for not much more if you look around which isn’t a half bad MTB and yes they have been used by the US military.

    Having said that if you shop around you can get a second hand Rudge Bi-folder which is a double diamond design which has the hinge made from the seat tube, they are a much neater design and also repairable as they are steel rather than aluminium. SS couplings while nice in theory for a demountable bike for air travel are stupidly expensive to get done, plus you are having to shell out for a bike on it’s own first to convert, which will most likely have to be 4130 steel in plain gauge which is what most of the SJS cycles “Thorn” frames that are availble with SS couplings are made from. If I was going to splash the money for a true demountable I would go the whole hog and get a Moulton demountable, which spookily enough has 20″ wheels and a hub gear although these days there is the option of the 8 speed hub gear rather than a 3.

    http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models/TSR8.html

    As for “off roading” you dont need suspension forks or discs unless you are getting into very lumpy twisty turny single track and some very technical riding, as military transport on badly engineered roads the rigid MTB is a very usable bit of kit. You also dont need a huge spread of gears, you will get away with a 3 speed Sturmey wide ratio as long as you keep the gears spinny and not too tall.

    People have crossed Africa on Sturmey hub gears as they are robust and fool proof, needing nothing more than 40 weight motor oil to keep them running.

  23. Doc1701 says:

    A few years ago I bought the model down from this one. Thus far, it hasn’t broken.

    A few points. Firstly, this bike belongs well and truly in the Great Cycling Size Distortion Delusion field. This is where all cycling goods are designed for malnourished dwarves. I’m a 6’3″ bloke, and fairly heavy with it; the biggest size of Montague is a bit on the small side for me, and needed a longer seatpost to be comfortable.

    Secondly, the frame I have isn’t what I’d term a proper mountainbike frame. The bottom bracket’s too low, and it isn’t a lively frame at all; I don’t feel like I fancy hurling this thing down a mountainside like I did with my old GT or the Marin I have now.

    However, for a folder it is a much better piece of kit for off-roading than most of the small-wheeled ones. I own a Tern Link-D8 folder, and whilst civilised enough on the roads even for me (I’m right at the upper edge of the size range), it gets frisky even on a dirt track, you get the feeling that the front wheel’s got a mind of its own and fancies playing silly buggers. On the Montague, you don’t get that feeling.

    Other things to bear in mind: the stock tyres are heavy crap; replace ‘em like I did. Ditto the pedals; bike companies always skimp on the pedals. Stick some nice wide flatties on there, you’ll be much happier.

    Apart from that, what you end up with is a pretty reasonable compromise sort of a bike. It isn’t a super-duper off-roader “down a mountainside” sort of a bike, and the frame won’t take ultra-high thrashings but it ain’t really meant to. No folding mountainbike can be thrashed off-road with quite the same level of safety that you can do with a non-folding frame, but you can do a decent job and this is just such a decent job.

  24. Effendi says:

    Do they do a ‘Montague Hat’?

    I’ll leave now.

  25. KIWIACORN says:

    I’ve got an earlier model, which has dodgy brakes. I didn’t pay 800 quid for it!! I bought it because I wanted a folding bike to put in the back of the car, and/or chain in a folded up state as I’d previously had two bikes stolen. I live in Kenya and the roads are friggin awful, too dangerious to ride on so I needed a mountain bike to ride to work on the tracks next to the roads. It’s stood up very well to the more or less constant jarring bumps, small holes etc so I think it has the necessary strength. Plus it is so distinctive, it would be hard for a thief to dispose of it.

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