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http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models.html

I ask because I've seen on their website they have a model for sportives.

I always thought they were folding bikes but no, they are, as Alex Moulton explains, an alternative to the classic diamond shape frame. Seems like over-engineering to me.

18 comments

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nortonpdj [225 posts] 4 years ago
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They cost a lot and are very heavy compared to a road bike at less than half the price.

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joemmo [1163 posts] 4 years ago
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They are 'separable' rather than folding so they pack smaller but not in under 10 seconds as with most folding bikes.

A bloke I used to work for collected the original 60s/70s models which were quite advanced for their time with front and rear suspension, smaller wheels and split / folding frame. What killed them and the small wheel concept off was the awful 'shopper' bike which bastardised the design but without the engineering or quality.

Like Bromptons, they have a bit of a cult following but unlike a Brompton they aren't hugely practical and the space frame design seems just a bit of an overkill these days.

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darrenleroy [336 posts] 4 years ago
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I can't see why anyone would choose a Moulton over a Brompton but when did cyclists ever let practicality and price get in the way of a decision?

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Welsh boy [680 posts] 4 years ago
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I have never ridden one and cannot imagine a scenario where I would want to. I remember John Woodburn racing one for a season back in the late 1970's. The fact that he soon dropped that idea and that no one else followed his lead surely tells you something about their practicality for serious road use.

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Al__S [1300 posts] 4 years ago
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Had a brief go recently- though it was one that had been fitted with front wheel electric assist. I'd love to take one for a proper go on a sportive or club ride. Fascinating machines. Obviously much more limited in terms of tyres, but other than that if you're not racing (ie care about wheel swaps) I'm not sure there's many downsides, other than being marked as a weirdo. You'd probably turn in to one of the evangelists that bangs on about them supposedly being more efficient, much as recumbent riders bang on about them being better for your back

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darrenleroy [336 posts] 4 years ago
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I do like the quick witted nimbleness of the Brompton I had a ride on. It was surprisingly swift. Probably easier to hop on and off of if needed to in a hurry.

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perfect1964 [36 posts] 3 years ago
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I had a TSR8 (Shimano hub gear) for a couple of years and then bought a AM20-2.

They are not a replacement for full road bike (for my longer (60+ miles)  faster (18mph + average - I know it's not fast but I'm not called Wiggo or Lance) rides I go on the Colnago Master), but they are a fantastic bike for a less battering experience. The suspension is for ironing out road bumps and it is genius.

Very nimble and I can load up with a fair amount of gear for light touring.

I spent more on the AM20 than I have on any other bike and it is more than I would ever spend on a carbon road bike. It is just a unique and rewarding experience given some limitations, the main one being the gearing (small wheels) means its hard to get the gearing to ever really go faster than 25mph on the flat without a 10 sprocket and 58+ chainring. If you're not after a pure speed experience, then it is no issue.

I went off it for a while and even thought of selling. Then my Kinesis 4s (commuter) got written off when a car pulled out and floored me. Got back on the AM20 and immediately realised how much nicer it was to commute to work on and ride as a general run around or winter training than bouncing about on the Kinesis.

If you get a chance, try one. You might get hooked. If you're near London then Fudges Cycles have demo bikes.

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Chuck [590 posts] 3 years ago
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Years ago Ben Haywards in Cambridge used to have one hanging from the ceiling with a full front fairing, I thought it looked amazing! 

I've never ridden one, but I suspect the main reason for owning one these days would be because you just really want one. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course,  but if you were being purely objective it's hard to see how you'd end up seriously considering one unless there's a really compelling argument for smaller wheels?

I'd imagine clever carbon frames and big tyres have made the advantages of both the suspension and spaceframe a bit redundant. 

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ncongdon1 [1 post] 2 years ago
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Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in bicycles, and I imagine that "really wanting one" is pretty much the reason anybody spends more than the minimum on any sort of bike. I can tell you my own experience with Moultons.

I have been a daily, year-round commuter for about 30 years now, since the beginning of medical school and I am in my mid-50s now. I have ridden (and lived) in quite a number of different settings, including the US, HK, China and now N Ireeland. I have ridden prettty much everything with wheels to and from work over time, including long and short wheelbase recumbents, Velomobiles (a Leitra), diamond frame road bikes, Ti and carbon frame MTB, a Bike Friday and a Brompton (the latter 2 both folders). My wife got me one of Moulton's top of the line bikes for my 50th, the NS Speed or Single Pylon (http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models/NSSPEED.html).  I would say that in ascending order of importance, my reasons for putting up with the Irish weather ever day year round are: good for the ednvironment, good for my health and (top reason) because it's too much fun to quit. So my main reason for choosing a bike is that it has to be fun. And of course part of being fun is being fast.  Here is the bike:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorcher_gz/7105324827/in/photolist-bPSDwt...

The Moulton is the most enjoyable bike I have ever ridden, for the kind of riding I do (20 miles R/T daily these days, all weather, lots of rain and wind, a bit of snow). It is very fast (faster than anything else I  have ever had except a high racer recumbent), the small wheels means that it accelerates VERY fast, which is great for urban riding. No, small wheels do not mean that the bike can't be fast, the gearing takes care of that, and I run a Rohloff with a 13 tooth rear cog. The roads here beteween Lisburn and Belfast are pretty rough, and front and rear suspension takes care of that very nicely, one reason the bike is fast in these conditions.  In addition to being a blast to ride, I also find the bike very beautiful, though I obviously recognize that is in the eye of the beholder.

Different strokes for different folks, but after the experience of taking a pretty broad array of bikes out there for daily rides over the last 3 decades, the Moulton is head and shoulders my favorite. Not light, BTW, but weight has very little to do with speed on a bike unless you are climbing Alps, and with the hills we have here in N Ireland, I don't have any trouble getting up them as well as the next guy.

Fun bikes, you should try them some time!  People are laughing at you anyway as an adult on a bike, so who cares if something might make you look 10% sillier?!

 

Nathan

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Bill H [99 posts] 2 years ago
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I commuted on a TSR9 for six years and it was pretty damn perfect for my eight mile commute from the outer reaches of East London into the City. Nippy like a Brompton but without the compromise position on the bike. 

The suspension kept me comfortable (not quite a flying carpet, but close) and the intergrated rack and bag kept my change of clothes, tools etc out of the way.

I now have the slightly fancier TSR 30 touring edition which I use for day rides and touring trips. 

It might not matter to most people but as a conversation starter they are hard to beat. At a ferry terminal, a country church or an urban pub garden, someone usually pops up to ask what it is. 

 

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Shades [489 posts] 2 years ago
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Was in a bikeshop that did Moultons and there was one hung on the wall.  Chatted to one of the staff about them and he said they'd just sorted out a bespoke titanium one that was heading out to Japan.  Can't remember the cost but it was many thousands.

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gazza_d [472 posts] 2 years ago
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I have 2 spaceframes (an APB and a TSR) and ride them both exclusively even though I have big wheelers in the fleet. My Moultons are about the same weight as my 531 steel tourer, and that's with full suspension

Riding a Moulton is like riding a velvet covered ibeam. They are incredibly stiff yet the suspension makes them comfortable. The combination of the small wheels and the suspension gives superb handling and roadholding. They climb incredibly well (unless you thrash up 'em out of the saddle), and descend like they're on greased rails.

They aren't for everyone, and these days the design can seem dated as it hails from the late 70s/early 80s when the only alternatives were whippy steel frames or the odd aluminimum Alan which were thin tubes glued into lugs - very light but flexible.

The Moulton is designed with a low stepover, and low centre of gravity with as little unsuspended weight as possible.The horizontal frame tubes are at just the right height to carry it by, at which point you can feel  how balanced the bike is., which is a couple of examples of how well the design is sorted

The engineering design is second to none and has stood the test of time making it a modern design classic, which is why personally I love them. You have to consider them alongside Brooks saddles, and Carradice cotton duck luggage, rather than compare to modern carbon fibre.

they are always a talking point, and I've had people shout and wave, as well as hang out of van windows taking photos of the bike  1

 

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gazza_d [472 posts] 2 years ago
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oh, and the very first production mountain bike in the world was a Moulton.

That design lives on in the APB, and now the TSR and SST. They are so good they are banned by the UCI

You'll be riding history

 

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muppetteer [95 posts] 2 years ago
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I had a Moulton. I'm not quite sure I'd agree with all the comments here, but here's my thoughts. 

They aren't light. At least not the TSRs. 12+kgs as standard which is quite porky these days. I got mine down to 10kgs, to go lighter is possible but expensive. The ride is good, however don't expect it to ride like other bikes unless you lock out the suspension, which is quite bouncy. And really bouncy if you get out the saddle. With small wheels, the gearing is low, I could spin out on mine on the flat. And there isn't much acceleration. See previous comment on the suspension. 

Luggage options are good, but I had the rear tourer bag, and fully loaded it made the bike feel really draggy at the back. 

I'm looking to get one again, but thats because I'm older. I'd recommend anybody interested in bikes to try a ride on one. Its the differences which makes them interesting. 

//i.imgur.com/BQUOwXb.jpg)

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ConcordeCX [1161 posts] 2 years ago
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I had a Moulton Continental in the late 60s. I was about 9 or 10 years old. Can't remember what it was like to ride.

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Unity1906UK [2 posts] 10 months ago
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Hi I wanted to add a little about my days time trialling on a  Moulton in 1969 to 1970. I purchased mine from Monty Young at Condor Cycles (RIP Monty). Monty helped me a lot back then, he had a TA chainring cut with 74 Teeth mounted on 175 Stronglight Cranks, Built Sprint wheels I belive he found some Clement Tubulars for me, on Campagnolo Record Hubs, 5 speed derailleur I used a Huret I think it was a Jubilee. My Moulton was blue, The rear suspension was shimmed to stop movement and the front suspension was modified to limit movement you had to leave a bit of suspension otherwise the ride was horrendous. I was laughed at a lot but managed a 1.1.44. 25 on the Old E1 course on it followed up by my best a 1.0.19. on The F4 or FI, I believe Vic Nicholson went under the hour  on one. It was hard to ride up hill. I also note it had a Orange Unica Nitor saddle. Sadly it was stolen from my back garden in Chingford, I would love to have had it back but such is life, I am now 69. I am glad I raced on one, I did have a funny moment though, I belonged to the Unity Cycling Club for years, joining when I was 13. Len Quarterly used to time the club tts and I did a long 23 on that Moulton and he said his watch must be wrong as he said those things can't go fast. John Woodburn God Bless Him proved that one wrong.  At the time I was also riding a Lipscombe track bike over at Hearne Hill and Welwyn Stadium. If anyone ever saw that bike or knows what happened to it, it would nbe nice to know.

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OldRidgeback [3202 posts] 10 months ago
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A friend had one of the original Moultons developed in the 60s. I rode it a lot. To be honest, I thought it was awful. The suspension meant it bounced up and down and the small wheels meant the handling was suspect on an uneven road. 

The new generation ones look interesting and the firm has fixed all the issues that made the original models so poor, although those old bikes do now attract good money from collectors. I'd quite like to try one. As for small wheels, well I do have a BMX.

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rogerzilla [3 posts] 1 month ago
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I can only talk about the TSR (20" BMX-sized wheels - the 17" wheeled AM versions are more expensive than most pro spec road racing bikes).

A bit heavier than a steel road racing bike, more comparable to a 700c touring bike in weight. Also a bit slower (about 1mph less for the same effort) the suspension doesn't fully compensate for the smaller wheels. They make quite nice fixies as the chain length doesn't vary and they have horizontal dropouts, which is one way to reduce the weight.

Front suspension is adjustable for preload/height, damping and even spring rate, if you change the spring. It's pretty crude (friction damping, steel spring) but does give a floaty feeling on bad roads. For honking, though, you need to increase the damping to the point where it will only respond to big hits, or suffer excessive pogoing. Generally it's better to spin up hills in low gear if you want the maximum benefit of the front suspension.

Rear suspension is unobtrusive, no adjustment is possible and it works well.

The TSR may not be a real spaceframe as the infill pieces are solid rods rather than hollow tubes and the wraparound "hairpins" (the AM series doesn't have these - it has complex mitred joints) are inherently stiffer anyway. People buy them for the looks, anyway!

They hold their value well, even old APBs (the original cheap Moulton). Mine is the best-aligned steel frame I've had.

A few design and manufacturing flaws: you need an aero bottle and cage as the location of the bottle is right where your knees go; most have a rather obscure seatpost size; the 1" Aheadset is not something your average LBS will carry; Moulton day rack tends to chafe paint; rear pivot MUST be frequently purged with a high pressure grease gun or it wears out quickly; powdercoat flakes off around sharp edges.

Buy it if you want a quirky-looking bike that crashes through potholes as if they're not there and can be ridden all day without beating you up. Don't buy it if you love climbing steep hills or want to do fast club runs or sportives.