Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

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

Postby georgew » 3 Mar 2019, 3:55pm

As someone has already said....it depends upon what is important to you.

I've cycled and toured over forty-odd years and have had many touring bikes including a custom-built Mercian, custom-built Longstaff, an Airnimal Joey, and others. When I lost one-third of my large heart muscle and had circulatory problems, my TSR 27 and my Esprit allowed me to continue to cycle when hand numbness stopped me using my other bikes.

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

Postby Mick F » 3 Mar 2019, 4:01pm

It's the bobbing that absorbs much of the effort.

From what I remember, don't quote me, is that Alex Moulton's idea was that small wheels are faster than big wheels. They accelerate quicker, are more aerodynamic, and a small-wheeled bike is the way ahead. Big wheels are bad. Small wheels are good.

Sorry Alex, you are wrong ......... when riding in the real world.

Mine is still a delight to ride though. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Postby pwa » 3 Mar 2019, 9:44pm

Part of the reason for choosing a Moulton has always been comfort. The main reason perhaps. I wonder if the current ease of getting a 700c bike that will take wide supple tyres has reduced that advantage. Would Dr, Moulton have persisted with his small wheel experiment if, in the early days, gravel bikes had been around?

I still love the look of those space frames though.

pete75
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Re: Moulton SST -- reasons (not) to buy?

Postby pete75 » 4 Mar 2019, 1:08pm

Mick F wrote:It's the bobbing that absorbs much of the effort.

From what I remember, don't quote me, is that Alex Moulton's idea was that small wheels are faster than big wheels. They accelerate quicker, are more aerodynamic, and a small-wheeled bike is the way ahead. Big wheels are bad. Small wheels are good.

Sorry Alex, you are wrong ......... when riding in the real world.



This may suggest the Moulton is reasonably quick.
http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/herita ... ordsracing

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

Postby Brucey » 4 Mar 2019, 1:14pm

IIRC a lot of moultons that were used for racing had very different wheels and suspension from standard models.

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

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

Postby Mick F » 4 Mar 2019, 1:18pm

................. and they were racing on tracks perhaps?
....... and not climbing seemingly endless Cornish hills?

Mine flies along, until I come to a hill going upwards.
Me, same bloke, on a "normal" bike, I'd leave myself standing compared to a Moulton.

I still love it though! :D
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Mar 2019, 1:42pm

I remember John Woodburn record breaking riding a Moulton an I'm surprised that London-Cardiff is the only record mentioned, because my vague impression is that there were more. My memory is probably jumbling it all up with his feats on conventional bikes. Although I couldn't have put any details to it, I remember the success of Moultons in team pursuits. It seemed pretty obvious then that it was because each rider could ride closer to the one in front, but in the pic in that link they are miles apart. On the Cornwall theme, I see somebody won the Fowey Triathlon riding one. However, no mention of anybody riding one in the national hill climb championships.

We've had a few threads from people asking about folders more generally and I think my usual comment is that climbing on one can be like riding a rocking horse. As others have suggested, the smoother the pedalling action, the less bouncing about. The steeper the climb, the harder it is to ride smoothly. Over-geared = wrestling with the bike, under-geared = legs bouncing the body about.

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

Postby Mick F » 4 Mar 2019, 3:31pm

London to Cardiff is flat or thereabouts.

Over-geared = wrestling with the bike, under-geared = legs bouncing the body about.

That's why it's best to relax. Try to do it faster, and it takes more effort squared.

It's the main reason I say that on average overall, I lose one minute per mile on mine compared to Mercian.
Going up the hills is the culprit.

From our house and climbing Gunnislake Hill takes 11mins on Mercian, but 14mins on Moulton.
It's less than a mile and a half, but mainly up the hill.

Coming back home from there, there's nothing in it. Both bikes will top 45mph coming down.
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Postby fossala » 4 Mar 2019, 3:56pm

Mick F wrote:...Coming back home from there, there's nothing in it. Both bikes will top 45mph coming down.

Nothing descends like a Moulton.

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

Postby Mick F » 4 Mar 2019, 4:12pm

Ah, this is where you aren't correct.
Come down off Dartmoor down Pork Hill towards Tavistock.
Fastest I've done it on Mercian was 52mph and regularly hit 50mph down there.

Can't get above 47mph on Moulton, though looking at my records, I've only done it a couple of times. I must try again! :D

This is due to the space frame and its poor aerodynamics perhaps?
Not so good in cross-winds either, plus if it's quiet, you can here the frame humming as you ride.
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Postby fossala » 4 Mar 2019, 6:30pm

Mick F wrote:Ah, this is where you aren't correct.
Come down off Dartmoor down Pork Hill towards Tavistock.
Fastest I've done it on Mercian was 52mph and regularly hit 50mph down there.

Can't get above 47mph on Moulton, though looking at my records, I've only done it a couple of times. I must try again! :D

This is due to the space frame and its poor aerodynamics perhaps?
Not so good in cross-winds either, plus if it's quiet, you can here the frame humming as you ride.

I didn't say fast, more confidence inspiring. I'd argue that they are fantastic (as much as a bike can be) in a cross wind. Any small wheeled bike is.because the front wheel doesn't get caught by the wind as easily.

BTW the humming only happens on the TSR (caliper model only). I think it's to do with the brake cable.

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

Postby speedsixdave » 4 Mar 2019, 8:05pm

Brucey wrote: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


That's a bit unfair, Brucey - the abominable Raleigh bracket is the exception that proves the soundness of the joint on a suspended F-frame Moulton. The tube size and thus joint area is also rather smaller on the 7/8ths scale Minis and Midis than on the full-size Moultons. Many thousands of suspended F-frames (full size and 7/8ths) were made and many still ridden 50 years later, and broken front joints are not a recognised problem. That's not to say that no joint has ever failed, and one joint is clearly going to be more highly stressed than two, but if engineered to the same standards as the 1960s suspended bikes, there seems little reason to fear this joint on the Y-frame Flyte.

There may be other philosophical issues with the Flyte, but I do not think the head joint is one of them.
Big wheels good, small wheels better.
Two saddles best!

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

Postby fossala » 4 Mar 2019, 8:26pm

speedsixdave wrote:
Brucey wrote: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


That's a bit unfair, Brucey - the abominable Raleigh bracket is the exception that proves the soundness of the joint on a suspended F-frame Moulton. The tube size and thus joint area is also rather smaller on the 7/8ths scale Minis and Midis than on the full-size Moultons. Many thousands of suspended F-frames (full size and 7/8ths) were made and many still ridden 50 years later, and broken front joints are not a recognised problem. That's not to say that no joint has ever failed, and one joint is clearly going to be more highly stressed than two, but if engineered to the same standards as the 1960s suspended bikes, there seems little reason to fear this joint on the Y-frame Flyte.

There may be other philosophical issues with the Flyte, but I do not think the head joint is one of them.


I have to agree that it's not the front joints that are the problem on early full suspension Moultons. People should be more concerned about the poorly brazed steerer tubes that snap or maybe the rear forks that WILL crack eventually.

I ride Moulton's still from time to time but the list of engineering or manufacturing "mistakes" that have been made is appalling. And you better hope something doesn't go wrong like my faulty TSR fork which I had to threaten Dan Farrell with possible future legal action to get them replaced. Or maybe the owner of the New Series that was reviewed by Bicycle Quarterly that turned out to be faulty. Moulton only said they'd fix it if he promised not to lend it out for review again.

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

Postby fossala » 4 Mar 2019, 8:27pm

While I'm ranting I might as well quote myself.
fossala wrote:I have owned a few Moultons and I think as a do it all bike they are fantastic. My pride and joy is my AM-18, it is off the road while all the salt is down but I can't wait be be riding it again in the next few months.

The downside about Moultons are three fold. First is the poor design on many models, the second is the attitude at Moulton if you do have a problem, third is the lack of OPEN discussion about these problems.

Problems I can think of from the top of my head are.

APB suspension is too low, can lead to seat tube collapsing.
Series 1 rear forks not being strong enough.
Early series 1 front forks where not brazed correctly. It is common for the steerer to detach from the forks while riding where the brass hasn't fully flowed.
Paint on new models come of if you sneeze near them.
Moulton TSRs didn't have bump stops large enough at some point (don't know years that where effected), this meant that the forks banged into the leading link plates damaging the forks. This happened to me and Moulton refused to warranty them until I threatened legal action. IMO the damage that happened to my forks and them knowing it was a design fault that could lead to sudden failuer should result in complete recall and replacement.
Stainless steel New series rusting through.
£500 stems that go rusty in a year
Faulty rear flexitor on New Series that was leant to Bicycle Quarterly and ended up with a bad review. Moulton only fixed on proviso that the owner wouldn't lend out for review again...
Rear suspension on pivot on TSR is a faulty design. Is fixed on the SST still selling the TSR.
Early AM fork where too weak so they changed the design so there wasn't any taper.
Bridgestone Moulton rear forks can break at the pivot. I guess this is because the aluminium can't take the flex.

I'll post more when I think of them.

I would 100% never buy a Moulton new and I would only buy a few models (Later AM/Series 2/MK3) second hand after I have inspected them.

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

Postby brumster » 4 Mar 2019, 8:34pm

fossala wrote:While I'm ranting I might as well quote myself.
fossala wrote:I have owned a few Moultons and I think as a do it all bike they are fantastic. My pride and joy is my AM-18, it is off the road while all the salt is down but I can't wait be be riding it again in the next few months.

The downside about Moultons are three fold. First is the poor design on many models, the second is the attitude at Moulton if you do have a problem, third is the lack of OPEN discussion about these problems.

Problems I can think of from the top of my head are.

APB suspension is too low, can lead to seat tube collapsing.
Series 1 rear forks not being strong enough.
Early series 1 front forks where not brazed correctly. It is common for the steerer to detach from the forks while riding where the brass hasn't fully flowed.
Paint on new models come of if you sneeze near them.
Moulton TSRs didn't have bump stops large enough at some point (don't know years that where effected), this meant that the forks banged into the leading link plates damaging the forks. This happened to me and Moulton refused to warranty them until I threatened legal action. IMO the damage that happened to my forks and them knowing it was a design fault that could lead to sudden failuer should result in complete recall and replacement.
Stainless steel New series rusting through.
£500 stems that go rusty in a year
Faulty rear flexitor on New Series that was leant to Bicycle Quarterly and ended up with a bad review. Moulton only fixed on proviso that the owner wouldn't lend out for review again...
Rear suspension on pivot on TSR is a faulty design. Is fixed on the SST still selling the TSR.
Early AM fork where too weak so they changed the design so there wasn't any taper.
Bridgestone Moulton rear forks can break at the pivot. I guess this is because the aluminium can't take the flex.

I'll post more when I think of them.

I would 100% never buy a Moulton new and I would only buy a few models (Later AM/Series 2/MK3) second hand after I have inspected them.


But they do look rather nice IMO.