Sidlaws wrote:Hello everyone,
Does anyone have anything positive (or negative) to say about buying a Moulton?
Sorry, rather late to this party, but yes.
Sidlaws wrote:Looking forward to contributions from anyone with experience of riding Moultons, or knowledge of the equipment spec, good or bad.
I've had an APB, a TSR2 and now a new Jubilee, and have had a variety of F-frames since 1989 including a speedsix on which I did big miles in the early 1990s. I did a fair bit of touring and camping on the APB until it was mashed by a car, and hope to do rather more camping on the Jubilee starting this year.
In general, and as others have noted upthread, Moultons provide an exceptionally smooth ride by the standards of most bikes, and have certain advantages generally related to size and packability. The small wheels may however bring other issues related to speed and off-road capability, although opinions vary somewhat on how large these issues are. It is generally recognised that a smooth riding style suits the bike rather better than a punchy, powerful style. It is always worth remembering that Moultons are the creation of an individual and very strong-willed designer, and the resulting bikes were all engineered to suit his preferred riding style. If your preferred end-use and riding style align closely with that of the late Alex Moulton, you will probably enjoy riding his bikes greatly. The more your end-use and riding style differ from his, the more likely you are to be disappointed with the bike.
Sidlaws wrote:I'm thinking of the SST model (basically a slightly uprated TSR -- crucially incorporating a beefier rear-pivot bearing) equipped with the latest incarnation of Alfine 11 hub gear (SG-S7001-11).
The SST is probably the sweet spot if you want a bike to actually ride. As you note the improved rear pivot is the big upgrade, although it could be argued that this pivot should just be fitted to TSRs without charging more money for it. If you're riding a lot the new pivot might well be worth it.
The rear disc is probably a good thing and a major advantage of a hub gear on a small-wheeler is that it moves the chain as far from the filthy ground as possible. See how low it is on my Jubilee below. If you are happy with the gear range the Alfine variant seems a very sensible option.
I went round the houses quite a lot before settling on a Jubilee (105) - practically it's not worth the extra cash over an SST, but the BoA frame looks nicer to my eye and will hold its value better, for what that's worth. However I think the non-hairpin BoA frame is rather more laterally flexible than the Stratford hairpin frame. That's not a problem at all unless you're using front panniers, but I was surprised how much flex you can get along the Jubilee by wobbling the handlebars while in the saddle. One of my issues with the APB was that front-end shimmy was quite easy to induce unless you were quite careful loading your front panniers. I think the redesigned front pannier rack is stiffer than the old APB one, and so far I've had no shimmy issues on the Jubilee but only just started riding with the front panniers.
The Moulton definitely rides nicely with a load, but if, like me, you are rubbish at travelling light it is harder to fit all your stuff on than a traditional tourer with four big panniers and a bar-bag. On the APB I used to use a big Ortlieb holdall (see avatar) on the rear rack which held everything but sagged over the sides and when strapped down was hard to get in to. I'm experimenting now with a couple of bike-packing handlebar rolls below the rack and then a large Moulton bag above - see below - which gives a similar capacity but is also not without its issues. If you are not going camping on the bike, or can pack lighter than me, these may not be issues.
When travelling light I really like the little day rack and tail bag, and the SST/TSR day rack is rather neater than the Jubilee. This is probably the best integrated day bag on the market.
Luggage apart - and apologies for the dive into that rabbit-hole, it's what's concerning me at the moment - I would recommend all cyclists to own a Moulton at least once in their lives. As this thread has demonstrated they can generate strong opinions for and against, even amongst owners. You might get on well with one and think it the best bike you've ever ridden, or you might not. If you're familiar with Bromptons you will already be familiar with the disadvantages of small wheels and idiosyncratic bikes, so I suspect your Moulton experience will be fairly positive. If you were coming at one having only ridden Specialized Venges, you might be more surprised.
Finally I would be tempted in the first instance to buy one second-hand and see what you think. Although Moultons hold their value very well compared to normal bikes, you would still lose money if you buy an SST, don't like it, and sell it again. A month on any second-hand bike TSR will tell you whether you like Moultons or not and you could re-sell for what you paid without problems, before taking the plunge on a new SST. Or not.