Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
hercule
Posts: 945
Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby hercule » 1 Mar 2019, 9:29pm

I’ve done tens of thousands of miles on my Moulton AM which I bought second hand in the early 90s. So it’s had quite a bit if use. Mine has 17” wheels, so smaller than the SST’s 20”; the 17” wheels are a fraction larger than the Brompton’s 16”... in fact you might be able to squeeze the Moulton wheels into a Brompton frame. I’ve also got a Brompton so can offer a comparison.

The ride quality is far, far better than the Brompton. I’ve ridden both on forestry tracks; on the AM I can ride at speed in perfect comfort. If the surface gets soft then you do bog down pretty quick on both machines. On the road I rate the AM as more comfortable than my big wheel bikes. If you can ride 100 miles on a Brompton then you could probably ride 400 on the Moulton (indeed Moultons seem popular mounts for the PBP). The AM is also much more solid and resilient than the Brompton; split and put into travel bags it takes up maybe twice the space of a folded Brompton. Luggage carrying is good (two small frame mounted front panniers, big rack bag), if anything the rear suspension is improved with a load. I can’t make the frame flex like some of my diamond frame bikes do under effort. You do need to be a spinner rather than a masher to get the best out of the suspension.

I’ve really not found the suspension to cause me any problems; like anything it needs maintenance, a dismantle and clean every couple of years has worked for me, very occasionally new bearings and friction washers. The rear suspension on my AM is essentially maintenance free (occasional lubrication of the pivot bushes, I can’t remember when I last did that!). Mine doesn’t have grease nipples, but it is a different design from the TSR.

Would I buy another one? Probably not, but because my AM ticks all the boxes for me! If I had my time again, undoubtedly.

I share more than a few misgivings about the developments since the AM, I was a member of the Moulton Bicycle club (twice) but resigned my membership because of what I saw as a uncritical and craven attitude to some of the company’s more bizarre design decisions. In recent years they seem to have been chasing after the Asian markets with designer products that frankly aren’t practical; still, I guess it brings in the money and is good for our trade balance.

I did briefly have one of the older APB models, I’ve never seen the TSRs or the the SST. I did consider adding a SST to the fleet at one point but comments from owners suggested to me that it would be overshadowed by my experience of the AM. If I did have to replace my AM it would probably be with another; if you were doubtful it might be safer to buy a second hand AM, if you didn’t like it you could probably resell it for the same price as you bought it for. Apparently even taking inflation into account my AM is worth twice what I paid for it in 1992: best investment I’ve made!

hercule
Posts: 945
Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby hercule » 1 Mar 2019, 9:44pm

I should add a caveat to my previous comments about the manufacturers... they have always been helpful in sourcing parts and they are the sort of small outfit where you can suddenly find yourself speaking to the MD. I wanted a day bag rack for my AM, a bike that was made in 1990; they were happy to build one from scratch at a reasonable price and even the colour was a near-perfect match!

Tao
Posts: 26
Joined: 30 Aug 2016, 5:12pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Tao » 1 Mar 2019, 9:54pm

fossala wrote:In the latest Moultoneer magazine that came through the door I read that they've re-made the "y" frame Moulton. So now Moulton has died, they're running out of ideas so started using ones Alex cast aside...



This the one?
Image
Moulton Flyte

Apparently it'll be on show at next week's Moulton Bicycle Week.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 45785
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Mick F » 1 Mar 2019, 10:09pm

If that's the offering, no thank you.
Looks more like a Shopping Bike. :shock:

Handlebars too shallow, and what's the gearing top and bottom ratios?
At lest it's not got BLACK mudguards. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
Posts: 34775
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Brucey » 1 Mar 2019, 11:05pm

Tao wrote:
fossala wrote:In the latest Moultoneer magazine that came through the door I read that they've re-made the "y" frame Moulton. So now Moulton has died, they're running out of ideas so started using ones Alex cast aside...



This the one?
Image
Moulton Flyte

Apparently it'll be on show at next week's Moulton Bicycle Week.


it'll ride a lot like other moultons because of the suspension. But that frame design was probably rightly rejected in the first place and its resurrection now is almost certainly simply because it is cheaper to build; all those parts/joins in the spaceframe take time and effort to make.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sidlaws
Posts: 8
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 8:46pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Sidlaws » 1 Mar 2019, 11:12pm

Some excellent insights, and mostly positive overall. I do appreciate the marmite quality of the Moulton, but can't the same be said of any niche product?
The A11 SST has a rear disc brake (TRP Spyre), which seemed odd to me at first blush, but given small wheels' braking issues (accelerated rim wear, heating etc), I've come to appreciate that the rear disc and front calliper combination might have some merit.
Thanks Hercule for the line about comfort, though 400 miles might be a bit more than I'd ever intend... or perhaps not. PBP 2023... see you there :o

Mick F -- I've been catching up with interest on your experience of the TSR... none of which does much other than encourage me. I am coming to the conclusion that front shifting on the derailleur equipped Moultons (TSR & SST at least) can be a bit iffy, and my experience with the Brompton on mucky roads (boy do they have a mania for salt hereabouts!) and the consequential need to clean are what drive me toward considering the A11. Efficiency (or lack thereof) is an issue but not an overriding one -- I'm not a powerful cyclist, and never will be and so don't particularly worry about speed. But I'll see if I can't get a ride on an A11 bike before deciding. I've 2 months until my employer's next Cycle To Work Scam period opens... plenty of time.
Mick... how does it go with the rear-pivot joint? Is it just a case of hooking up a suitable grease gun and giving it a quick squirt, or is it more involved? And, one for Brucey perhaps, what kind of grease?

N.

rfryer
Posts: 636
Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby rfryer » 2 Mar 2019, 8:26am

Sidlaws, where are you based? I've got a TSR that I converted to Alfine 11 last year, and if you're near Edinburgh or North Cumbria you could give it a try

I've only given it one longish ride in its latest configuration before winter set in, and it rode well. However, the stats were disappointing; despite putting in a fair bit of effort, I'd not come close to my speed on my diamond framed bikes. It didn't feel that slow! Still, I set it up this way for touring, so comfort is a priority, and I'm happy to select my daily distance to match my capabilities; it's not a race.

I also own a Brompton (as my daily commuter), and the ride quality of a Moulton is hugely more comfortable. It's less portable, of course, but the ability to bag it and throw it in a car is handy.

Luggage carrying capacity is also impressive, if you get front and rear racks. It handles really well carrying a load.

Hope that helps!

Brucey
Posts: 34775
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Brucey » 2 Mar 2019, 8:49am

re pivot grease; anything is better than nothing but best would be a grease that is meant for highly loaded bushings and other slow-moving parts. Preferably this should be loaded up with solid lubricants.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 45785
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Mick F » 2 Mar 2019, 9:00am

Sidlaws wrote:Mick... how does it go with the rear-pivot joint? Is it just a case of hooking up a suitable grease gun and giving it a quick squirt, or is it more involved? And, one for Brucey perhaps, what kind of grease?
Two answers.

I bought a new grease gun to make sure that I had a good 'un. The old one I have is tired and old and the chuck was worn. I picked it up donkey's years ago secondhand. The new gun from MachineMart is excellent and will take a cartridge to make it easy to charge.

I use general purpose grease. Until the original pivot wore out at 4,400miles - it probably wore out much earlier than that, but I only noticed it a 4,400miles - I'd only lubed it with the old gun and I reckon not much grease went in at all.

The way I see it, it takes a minute to turn the bike upside down to expose the grease nipple and only another minute or two to inject grease at high pressure so you see it emerging from the bushes. A quick clean up, and Bob's your uncle. Considering it's so easy to do, it can be done as often as you like so normal general purpose grease is good enough.

I do it regularly now, and it's been done six more times since I renewed it 2,000miles ago. (I keep a log!)
I don't expect it to wear for years now, if at all ...................... providing I keep greasing it.
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
Posts: 34775
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Brucey » 2 Mar 2019, 9:07am

pardon me for stating the b-obvious here but the reason there are special greases for suspension bushes etc is because 'general purpose' greases aren't really up to the job.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 45785
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Mick F » 2 Mar 2019, 9:42am

We had this discussion before.
We both agreed that any grease is better than no grease.

The mere fact that I'm putting it in regularly and frequently and lots of it too, it'll be ok for the foreseeable. Not perfect, but ok.

The new kit I bought included new bushes and a new spindle. The spindles don't wear, it's the bronze bushes that wear. I kept the old spindle in there and only fitted the new bushes, and when (if?) these bushes wear, I'll fit the new ones I've bought from Simply Bearings ready for the next time it wears.

Dirt cheap in comparison to buying from Moulton.
Mick F. Cornwall

reohn2
Posts: 35222
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby reohn2 » 2 Mar 2019, 10:19am

FWIW I think the Flyte looks nicer than the space frame Moultons but understand why some people would disagree with me on that.
PS,anyone know how much?
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

pwa
Posts: 9843
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby pwa » 2 Mar 2019, 10:26am

reohn2 wrote:FWIW I think the Flyte looks nicer than the space frame Moultons but understand why some people would disagree with me on that.
PS,anyone know how much?

The thinking behind the familiar space frame must be that a bike with suspension needs rigidity more than compliance. But this new simplified frame (Flyte picture above) just looks a bit rubbish to me. That front join at the head tube is being asked to do a lot of work. It is all that there is to resist twisting between front end and the rest of the bike, and it is a very small area of weld. I associate that sort of thing with bottom of the range cheapo bikes.

Brucey
Posts: 34775
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby Brucey » 2 Mar 2019, 11:04am

the front join has been a source of trouble in the past; IIRC the moulton Midi ( a Raleigh cost-cutting confection) had no front suspension and the frames broke at the front joint. Raleigh's solution? - a pressed steel external reinforcement that you bolted on. Unbelievable….

Image

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

hercule
Posts: 945
Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby hercule » 2 Mar 2019, 12:13pm

Brucey wrote:
Tao wrote:
fossala wrote:In the latest Moultoneer magazine that came through the door I read that they've re-made the "y" frame Moulton. So now Moulton has died, they're running out of ideas so started using ones Alex cast aside...



This the one?
Image
Moulton Flyte

Apparently it'll be on show at next week's Moulton Bicycle Week.


it'll ride a lot like other moultons because of the suspension. But that frame design was probably rightly rejected in the first place and its resurrection now is almost certainly simply because it is cheaper to build; all those parts/joins in the spaceframe take time and effort to make.

cheers


I don’t think I’ll be a customer...

- Those front forks with the tapered fixed legs (towards the back) are what I had originally on my AM. Modern bikes have no taper. I had to switch mine at one point and the stiffness of the newer forks was immediately obvious and gave much better handling.

- Ridiculous swan neck stem that leaves no margin for height or reach adjustment without buying a new one (doubtless at some cost).

- It doesn’t separate! Never thought this would be much of an issue for me but in fact it’s been incredibly useful over the years, fitting the bike into cars that would never have taken a standard bike (eg Mazda MX-5) and hiding it discreetly away (in hotel wardrobe on one occasion)