When I headed out on my first ride on the Montague Paratrooper I was unsure what to expect. I had seen a few of Montague's older videos of guys in camouflage riding the folding mountain bike through rivers and dirt trails and what not but that didn't really give me a good impression of what it's like.
I'm not much of a mountain biker. I don't do downhill trails, dirt jumps, or anything too extreme. I do hit the occasional dirt road or run across a street full of pot holes though and I figured that the front suspension and sturdy frame design of the Paratrooper bike would lend itself to this sort of riding. On my very first ride I got a chance to try out each of these situations, plus I could take it on a ride through the NYC Subway system and test the folded size of the bike.
I took the opportunity to fold my Montague Paratrooper several times before taking it out on the first ride. Compared to some other folding bicycle designs it doesn't fold up as small and it doesn't really stand up when folded. Then again, those small folding bicycles don't ride nearly as nice as the Paratrooper. Having large wheels is a positive and negative characteristic at the same time. On the one hand you have the positive characteristics of a smooth ride and nice handling and on the other hand you have the negative of not being as small when folded. If you have a bit more space for storage and you want to feel like you're riding a regular bicycle while riding your folding bike then you would prefer the Paratrooper.
The first think I noticed when I jumped on the Paratrooper folding bicycle was just how sturdy the frame felt. It was very stable when pedaling hard and tracked straight and true when flying down some of the hills around New York City. The disc brakes brought me to a satisfyingly quick stop each and every time I needed to slow my progress through the city streets. I love disc brakes by the way, they automatically push any bike that has them up a few notches in my mind.
Part of what makes the Montague Paratrooper such a stable bicycle is the super sturdy frame design. Unlike most folding bicycles which put a hinge right in the middle of the main tube the Paratrooper design swivels the frame around the seat post. This distributes the stress of your weight and pedaling force over a much larger area and prevents the frame from flexing each time you press on the pedals. Whenever the frame flexes you lose power and waste energy. The inflexibility of a bicycle frame is what makes it feel sturdy and confident - the less flex the better.
When folded up the Paratrooper bike does fit into some much smaller spaces than it's nonfolding mountain bike cousins. For example, the Paratrooper bike can fit into the trunk of your car whereas a normal bicycle would have to go on a bike rack. The same applies for a boat, an RV, a plane, or any other short-on-space type situation.
All in all I'd say the Paratrooper bikes - and Montague mountain bikes in general - have the best ride quality of any folding bicycle. They don't fold up super small but when folded they're already half the size of regular bikes. That makes all the difference for convenient storage and transport.
If you value ride quality over the size of the fold then you'll prefer the Montague Paratrooper over some of the other more compact folding bicycles.