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British BSA folding "Parabike"

Article about: Speaking of para bikes...does anyone have any manuals or any information regarding how they Brits tested the folding bikes? Does anyone know of any bikes that were actually airdropped? Did t

  1. #1

    Default British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Hi Guys, as I collect British Airborne items I thought I would show you one of my larger items, a Paratroopers folding bicycle. The were used by many Airborne units, both Parachute and Glider born plus they were also used by the Commandos.

    These were made by the famous "BSA" (Birmingham Small Arms Company) from 1942 until 1945. My bike dates from 1943. They were either jumped with from the aircraft by the Paratrooper or landed by glider. In 1945 a drop crate was developed so four bikes could be dropped at once by parachute, but this drop crate did not see combat use to the best of my knowledge? I have done quite a lot of research about these bikes over the years.

    My bike is a second patern version and differs from the first pattern in the design of the down tubes which support the seat. The first pattern had twin down tubes, where the 2nd pattern has a single tube which was stronger. Early bikes were painted "Service Brown" while later ones, like mine, were green.

    As you can see, the bike folds in half via use of two large wing nuts located on the frame. The handle bars also fold sideways by use of a "Tommy Bar" fitment. The simple rod pedals also slide inwards. The are held in place by a spring load ball bearing which locates in the groove in the pedal.

    I restored my bike as 99% of the original paint had been removed. I had the paint colour matched to traces of the original and it is an exact match. New seat, decals and handle bar grips have been fitted. One tyre is still the original "War Grade" marked rubber. I sometimes ride it and I have taken it to Arnhem a few times to ride around the battlefield and drop zones.

    These bikes are very fought after. The Danish Army also made a copy post war.

    Cheers, Ade
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  2. #2

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    That's a cracker that Ade, i notice it even has the BSA letter's to form the chain wheel,if i remember rightly didn't the also have a little moped what used to get dropped in the DZ for them i remember seeing a pic of one somewhere, nice restore by the way.
    cheer's Ronnie

  3. #3
    ?

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Wellbikes !!

    I remember my father saying that they were too noisy and always breaking down !!!

    Here's a shot of one restored .. at the Arnhem 60th .. in 2004

    http://battlefieldsww2.50megs.com/arnhem11.JPG

    Gary J.

  4. #4

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Hi Ronnie, thanks! There is even a BSA marking on the lamp bracket. The "Welbike" was made by Excelsior. Here is a website with some good pics:

    Welbike Parascooter

    Welbikes are widely copied: not so much for deception but many people desire to own one and cannot afford the crazy money they seem to command. Many friends of mine have made replica's. The engines are not too hard to find, so it "just" a case of making the frame, forks, wheels, etc.

    Actually both the Parabike and Welbike were not a huge suscess. They were OK on hard paved roads, but no good across country.

    Hi Gary, that is a good friend of mine in the pic you show and a member of our group.

    Cheers, Ade.

  5. #5

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    a picture of my genuine Welbike and James "Clockwork Mouse" with folding BSA bike
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  6. #6

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Very nice collection of Airborne bikes. I like the James ML. The don't seem that common to find. I have rode my friends example. A 125cc is about the biggest cc bike I feel safe on

    Any plans on buying a Royal Enfield "Flying Flea" so you would then have the set?

    Cheers, Ade.

  7. #7

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Hi Ade, thanks for your comments on my bikes.I went to see a Flying Flea last year, it was on ebay. I offered the seller a fair price for it but he let it run on the auction. When I came home my computer went T*** up and I missed bidding on it. It went for 100 less than I offered him for it. Really hacked off with him and my computer.

    I have three WWII B/D jackets and berrys if you would like some pics. John.

  8. #8

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Very nice collection of Airborne bikes. I like the James ML. The don't seem that common to find. I have rode my friends example. A 125cc is about the biggest cc bike I feel safe on

    Any plans on buying a Royal Enfield "Flying Flea" so you would then have the set?

    Cheers, Ade.
    As for feeling safe on a M/C, my eldest son races a 1000 cc Aprillia and he tried out the Welbike at full speed (30 mph) and it frightened him because it was so unstable and no front brake. My other son refused to ride it and he rides a Ducatty996,

  9. #9

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    If anyones after a Royal Enfield my dads friend has one in his shed for a restoration project, I dont have any information on it though.

  10. #10

    Default Re: British BSA folding "Parabike"

    Hi John, I have riden a Welbike a few times and I was suprised that the turning circle seems quite wide on them. But as I said I am no biker

    I would love to see your BD and berets. Please start a thread on them.

    I bet the air was blue went your PC let you down! It is odd how people refuse good offers, but it is down to greed I guess.

    Cheers, Ade.

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