Yes, the Montague folding mountain bike. One hummerific of a bike to be sure! I’ve mentioned it on the Cranked blog previously: Marco. And alluded to my riding it a bit in issue five of Cranked. It was fantastic that the people at Montague decided to loan Cranked Magazine this bicycle. I myself have not had any kind of all-terrain mountain bike available since I got rid of my Scott Peak zero-suspension MTB about six years ago, so it was nice to have something to roll over rocks, pot-holes, and dirt-jumps with.
So far, the dirt-jumps are the most action it has seen. Is this a good medium for the Paratrooper to be tested on? I think it would be fair to say yes, especially by what they at Montague have to say about it: PARATROOPER® MOUNTAIN BIKE and specifications.
* Tough, rugged, and ready for anything, this mountain bike is dropped from the sky to land prepared for action.
* “Here’s a bike you can drop out of an airplane, check as luggage, strap on the side of a tank, travel over any terrain, store in a closet, and ride into combat or to a picnic.”
Is this really what our military rides when they use bicycles? Do they even use bicycles really? Strapping it to my tank has proven difficult, but I’m guessing I won’t need it folded to it’s smallest dimensions were I to get over the hindrances of actually not having a tank. That said, I have stored it in a closet of sorts and have found that having to take off the front wheel leaves the front disc brake mechanism exposed to strikes against the floor. I’m not sure if that’s good or not, the actual disc being exposed to falls and unbalanced collisions seems detrimental to it’s “straightness”. Leaving the front wheel attached in its folded configuration keeps it rather cumbersome and large still. The diminished size was beneficial the one time it was transported in a car’s trunk.
How does it perform on those dirt jumps? Surprisingly not all that badly. It might be a bit on the heavy side (29 lbs.) for this type of riding, but like I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I was able to clear some tabletops with it. Were I a more skilled off-roader, I imagine I would be able to rock some gaps with it much like the fellas here are doing: ROAM YouTube video. There’s a lot of chain slap of course. I would assume this would be typical of any MTB bike hitting dirt jumps. The biggest issue I must say I’ve had with this bike is the spongy front suspension, and lack of a rear disc brake. The suspension may prove beneficial during some downhilling or single-track, but I think I’d want it to be a bit stiffer. The bounciness of the fork’s suspension while riding it on the street and up any hills definitely demonstrates a gigantic loss of power in pedal strokes. This would be pretty ugly I’d imagine attempting to crank up some single-track hills.
The drivetrain on the other hand is pretty smooth and speedy. Apart from my not being used to the available gear ratios, I have had little problems with it shifting between gears. The rapid fire gear shifters are nice and responsive. A tune up might be in order after some of the rough riding it’s gone through as it does have some trouble staying in one gear at the top and bottom of the cassette.
If the bike didn’t have to be returned to Montague, all in all, the temptation to saw through the locking mechanism of the folding joint might prevail in order to have not only a folding mountain bike, but a swing mountain bike. Imagine that type of control hitting the dirt jumps. Otherwise, all patriotism aside, were I to go into combat, depending on the terrain I would like to have a bicycle with me of course, but I would probably request something a bit more solid and forgo the “benefit” of the folding mechanism.