One of the most physically impressive bikes in our shop is the beastly Montague Paratrooper. A 24-speed mountain bike complete with full-sized 26-inch wheels and 80mm shocks, this bike regularly surprises customers with its ability to fold in half to a package small enough to chuck in a car trunk. I think it is the unique frame, which is centered on a single massive aluminum tube rather than a full-length top tube/down tube setup, that catches customer's eyes. The Paratrooper was designed with military use inmind, and it shows--this fatigue-green monster is built like a tank, and looks like it could take a serious beating. Though clearly intended for use on dirt tracks, I took the bike out into the urban jungle to get a feel for what it can do.
Perhaps the most important thing I noticed about the Paratrooper is what I didn't notice--its ability to fold. Whereas almost all of the Dahon and Tern bikes that make up the majority of our stock feature small wheels and strange frames by conventional bike standards, the Montague's feel is exactly what I might expect from any standard mountain bike. Its folding mechanism is based around a central hinge located just underneath the seat post. A quick-release lever and safety catch on top of the main tube allows the bulk of the frame and front fork to rotate freely around the rear triangle. Popping off the quick release front wheel and attaching it to the handlebars using the integrated velcro dongle reduces the entire footprint to just slightly larger than one wheel. At 29 pounds, it is not terribly heavy for a mountain bike, so I found myself darting around NYC at a decent clip with minimal effort, and even hoisted it up on my shoulder to carry it up flights of stairs in apartment buildings.
Though my ride through Manhattan and Queens did not offer much by way of big drops to test the bike's shocks, I did jump a lot of curbs and potholes. The Paratrooper took it all in stride, smoothly absorbing my landings and keeping me upright through my more ungainly moments.It also handled nimbly for such a stout frame, and the stopping power of the Promax disc brakes saved me from some overly close encounters in the hectic New York traffic.Bigger shocks, more gears
For riders looking for even more spec'd out folding mountain bikes, the Paratrooper's big cousin, the Paratrooper Pro, features a 9-speed cassette for a total of 27 speeds and slightly larger 100mm shocks. Montague also manufactures a pair of high performance mountain bikes built around the same basic geometry as the Paratrooper line. The SwissBike x70 sports 30 speeds and Shimano Deore components, while the top-of-the-line x90 is kitted out with an adjustable 85-105mm suspension fork, extra wide tires, hydraulic disc brakes, Sram X components, and weighs in at a svelte 27 pounds to boot.
These Montagues are designed to tackle singletracks and back-country roads without sacrificing portability, and they fulfill this role exceptionally well. However, their other potential uses should not be overlooked. I have seen many city commuters roll out of our shop on a Paratrooper after becoming enamored of its design aesthetic and athletic feel. One customer who was concerned that he would never be able to find a folding bike for daily use that could support his 250+ pound bulk ended up selecting the Paratrooper Pro, feeling that it was the only bike that could take the load. Given their adeptness at shredding gnarly back-roads, an appeal that extends to both mountain and city bikers, and their ability to fold without sacrificing wheel size, the Paratroopers and SwissBikes are extremely versatile rides to be reckoned with.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or a full-time mountain junkie, head over to the Montague section of our website and get your ideal folding mountain bike today!About the Author
Miles Schneider is a folding and electric bike specialist at NYCeWheels in New York City, plays the electric violin, and loves dogs.