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Sir James Dyson and Lord Norman Foster pay tribute to designer Dr Alex Moulton 50 years after the iconic small-wheeled bicycle was first launched

On 12 November 1962 Dr Alex Moulton first unveiled the iconic small-wheeled full-suspension bicycle and at a recent gathering Sir James Dyson and Lord Norman Foster marked the 50th anniversary by paying their tributes.

At the Moulton Bicycle Company’s factory in Bradford on Avon 120 people gathered to mark the occasion. Historian Tony Hadland led a narration of the evolutionary timeline of the Moulton through the five decades, which is still hand-built in England. Highlights included John Woodburn’s record breaking ride from Cardiff to London, 162 miles in 6 hours 42 minutes.

Special ‘Moulton Jubilee’ leather saddles were presented by Richard Grigsby (ex-Moulton racer and founder of Cyclescheme) to Dr Alex Moulton, Sir James Dyson and Tony Hadland.

Industrial Designer Sir James Dyson paid a warm tribute to Dr Moulton: “Alex came to lecture to the Dyson engineers about 10 years ago and he showed us his engineering notebooks. They were full of lists of empirical testing of products, long before you actually start to engineer and design what you're about to do. And this is wonderful practice; it's not old fashioned practice, it's modern practice on how to engineer a well-engineered product. So thank you for setting such a good example to our [Dyson] engineers."

Lord Norman Foster (via video link) provided the final words: “The 50th anniversary of the Moulton bike - what an occasion, what an anniversary, what an icon. Synonymous with the Mini, the mini-skirt - the mini bike. So, heartiest congratulations - great occasion, great bike. And also great to ride, I have to add.”

The Moulton was an innovative bicycle when it first appeared. It strayed away from the traditional double diamond bicycle frame design and uses a frame without a top tube. Small wheels were chosen because Moulton believes small wheels resulted in less rolling resistance, and suspension at both ends is there to offer a comfortable ride.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.