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Swiss Army Bicycles

Posted on | February 10, 2009 | 18 Comments

Unlike other modern military forces who abandoned the bicycle as troop transport after WWII, Switzerland maintained a cyling light infantry until the mid-90′s.

Swiss military bicycle MO-93Above: The last model Swiss military bike, the MO 93 could lug over 300 pounds. Below: The single speed model MO 05 saw service in the Swiss military from 1905 till 1993  ( images: Militärvelos Shop and Velo Zürich ) 
Swiss Military bicycle MO-93
Swiss Army bike parts
Militärvelos Shop in Switzerland carries vintage parts for both the 05 and 93. Including the frame bag, rack, and Edco hub for the 93 shown above. Below are chainrings for the 05.
MO-05 chain ringsAnother web site selling Swiss Army bikes: Das Schweizer Militärfahrrad
Swiss Army Bikes on Flickr
A Bicycling magazine video from the 90′s on the Swiss Velobrigade:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/FkjpDZ1O4C0&hl=en&fs=1]

Recent Developments:
Lest you think now that the Swiss have abondoned military cycling transport that the military bicycle is history check out the latest in US defense research:

Montague Paratrooper tactical folding bicycle      

In 1997, under a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Montague partnered with the US Marines to develop a tactical folding all terrain bicycle. Check out this comparison table comparing the bicycle to other means of military transport: 
Efficiency Chart
SYSTEM LOAD CAPACITY DAILY RANGE SPEED FUEL PER DAY

Foot-Infantry 50 pounds 25 miles @ 3 MPH 3 lbs. MRE for rider   

24 lbs. H2O for rider


Bike-Infantry 75 pounds 75 miles @ 10 MPH 3 lbs. MRE for rider   

24 lbs. H2O for rider


Horse/Rider 100 pounds 100 miles @ 15 MPH 40 lbs. Hay   

150lbs. H2o

3 lbs. MRE for rider

24 lbs. H2O for rider


Motorcycle/Rider 100 pounds 300 miles @ 40 MPH 55 lbs. Gas   

? oil + pumping/storage

Equipment

3 lbs. MRE for rider

25 lbs. H2O for rider


5-Ton Truck 10,000 pounds 300 miles @ 40 MPH 710 lbs. Dsl.   

? oil + pumping/storage

Equipment

3 lbs. MRE for rider

25 lbs. H2O for rider


AAV (APC) 10,000 pounds 240 miles @ 30 MPH 1,234 lbs. Dsl.   

? oil + pumping/storage

Equipment

3 lbs. MRE for rider

25 lbs. H2O for rider


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/8c3Ql4tsfr0&hl=en&fs=1]

Swiss Bike is selling a bike based on the Montague tactical folding bike to the civilian market.

Some beautiful B&W photos of a Swedish Army bike.

Lot’s of pics and info on military bikes at Combatreform.com/atb.htm

BSA Airborne bicycle

Comments

18 Responses to “Swiss Army Bicycles”

  1. One brake Single Speed fools - Page 4 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed
    April 6th, 2009 @ 5:20 am

    [...] Thinking about it, very old bikes had them brakes as well, I think. Just that the evolution didn’t go as fast in the east. Still to be found on the old revision of the swiss army bicylce: http://ruedatropical.wordpress.com/2…army-bicycles/ [...]

  2. lance
    April 26th, 2009 @ 4:26 am

    Not a fair comparison with motorcycles – 300 miles is a pretty small day for a fit soldier, and 30 miles per hour is pathetically slow on any road – be it sand or asphalt.

  3. lance
    April 26th, 2009 @ 4:26 am

    (but the bike and the idea is cool)

  4. ruedatropical
    April 26th, 2009 @ 6:24 am

    Lance, the table came from a defense contractor (the developer of the bike) trying to justify their funding and promote their product so it’s not an un-biased source:)

  5. David
    July 8th, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

    Will the frame bag on the MO 93 fit on the old type MO 05?

    Is ther any place you can buy the frame bags for them in the

    US?

  6. ruedatropical
    July 9th, 2009 @ 2:40 am

    David, I have not seen any US vendor. As to the question about the frame bag, you should email one of the online retailers in Europe linked to in the post.

  7. Lynne
    July 21st, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

    I am in possession of a folding Swiss Army Bike – red in color – never used – has been stored in my garage since purchasing it sometime between 1986 – 1990 I believe. Am looking for any information as to whether there are more of these, or if this was some type of promotional bike. Trying to find the value of it.
    Thank you

  8. Rusty Bayonet
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    I do WWII reenactments and I have an MO5 model ( I think ) dated 1984 I want to use as a German WWII bike. I am in need of the back rack and an air pump. is there someplace out there that has the vintage parts???

  9. josef
    April 29th, 2010 @ 7:52 am

    hey how do i buy one of these bike’s either the Swiss Army or the US Marines bike?

  10. ruedatropical
    April 29th, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

    Swiss Bike is selling a bike based on the Montague tactical folding bike to the civilian market. See link in above post.

    You might find used Swiss Army bikes here: Das Schweizer Militärfahrrad and Militärvelos Shop -see links in post.

  11. Axel
    October 18th, 2010 @ 5:16 am

    Swedish military bikes are regarded as throw away items by the Swedish military. And they are not used as rider propelled vehicles, the troops are hauled via a tractor, holding a rope. They are very popular as civilian bikes too though, but are very heavy to ride. The robustness is they only thing to like about them. I prefer a more normal touring based bike, even tho its not as bombproof…not having any wars to use it in in any forseable future!

  12. Retrovelo Frame Bag :
    February 21st, 2011 @ 6:34 am

    [...] Swiss army bikes used frame bags for the better part of a century. Retrovelo’s modern version of the frame bag is a leather business attache… the perfect bicycle briefcase for office commuters. [...]

  13. David H.
    April 11th, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    Those Swiss bikes are awesome… they look heavy but indestructible.

    But that other “military” bike at the bottom is a flaming joke. Look at that fork! That’s BEGGING for a destroyed set of front teeth. I’ve seen them branded as all kinds of different things – like a “HUMMER” bike. They’re DAINTY at BEST. On par with any Wal-Mart death trap – crappy aluminum, crappy mild steel, terrible design… any military that uses that thing is out of its mind. And “Paratrooper” !? Right. I’d bet a thousand dollars that thing weighs twice as much as a traditional folding bike from five years ago. That makes about as much sense as para-trooping with a musket.

  14. Todd
    July 19th, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Those Montague SwissBikes are absolutely awesome

  15. Montague SwissBike X50 20″ Mountain Bike (26″ Wheels) Review | Mountain Bike Review - MTB Review
    October 6th, 2011 @ 5:47 am

    [...] #split {}#single {}#splitalign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#singlealign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}.linkboxtext {line-height: 1.4em;}.linkboxcontainer {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;background-color:#eeeeee;border-color:#000000;border-width:0px; border-style:solid;}.linkboxdisplay {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;}.linkboxdisplay td {text-align: center;}.linkboxdisplay a:link {text-decoration: none;}.linkboxdisplay a:hover {text-decoration: underline;} function opensingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = ''; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = 'none'; } function closesingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = 'none'; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = ''; } Montague SwissBike Releases New TX Commuter BikeHigh-end mountain bike has a ‘Look’ of its ownMontague Folding Bikes! Paratrooper, Navigator, SwissBike, Crosstown, Fit, Boston, Paratrooper Pro, & More!Swiss Army Bicycles : La Rueda Tropical [...]

  16. Steven Wilgus
    November 20th, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    Hello, and thank you for any help you can provide. I bought and it was delivered a Swiss Bicycle Trailer. I have no way of connecting it to the seat post. Do you know how they were done on the military bikes? I have searched like a crazy man on line but no definitive information is to be found!

    If you know of a source to buy one, I would be very grateful.

    Thank you,

    Steve Wilgus
    El Paso, Texas, USA

  17. Gunnar
    July 31st, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    According to a BBC report the bicycle infantry was actually maintained until 2003, with the decision made in 2001.

  18. Swiss Army Bicycle: The ”Militärvelo” : ILoveSwissMade.com
    December 9th, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    [...] velociped-oldtimer.de . Interesting sites with English translation are: Hanz on objectbook.com , La Rueda Tropical,   radfahrer.ch  and [...]

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