Moulton vs Laidback

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belgiangoth
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Moulton vs Laidback

Postby belgiangoth » 22 Oct 2018, 9:18pm

On another forum someone asked about Moultons - which got me thinking ...
If there is really an advantage to small wheels, why are laidbacks moving to bigger wheels - even with suspension? It seems that the better rolling of the larger tyres is an advantage, with or without suspension.
Is the advantage of a Moulton that you use the standard walking/cycling muscles so don't have to retrain (or learn to ride a new type of bike I guess?)?
It seems to me that Moulton's spend too much time claiming advantages that are not an issue for many riders (no crossbar). Is their suspension really that much better than a full suspension bike? (I have to ask as I have an aversion to suspension).
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rfryer
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby rfryer » 22 Oct 2018, 10:07pm

On the whole, small wheels don't offer significant advantages. They're robust and have the potential to be light. On the minus side, tyres wear out faster, there's less choice, and significant road imperfections (potholes, drains, cattle grids) are less easily rolled over.

There's no advantage to Moultons in terms of muscle usage - the rider's position is the same as on a diamond frame.

The lack of crossbar, and the small wheels, combine to create a separable bike that is easy to transport. That's an advantage.

The suspension is, actually, very effective on-road. It's not intended for use off-road, so comparisons with a typical, modern, full-suspension bike are not relevant.

hercule
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby hercule » 22 Oct 2018, 10:35pm

Being passionate about both, I count the Moulton's advantages over a standard diamond frame being separability (for most modern space frame versions at least), speed, and comfort. Despite the suspension being intended for road use, it actually performs pretty well on forest tracks (packed hardcore type) - more so than my equivalent big wheelers - although it bogs down pretty quickly if the surface gets soft. Downsides are chiefly that the rear mech is close to the ground and can get pretty mucky on dirty days, but I reserve my AM mostly for good days. It’s the last machine that I’d part with and by far my favourite. But I have had it for nearly 30 years and am allowed to be sentimental!

My recumbent experience is only over the last 12-13 years and nowadays with a dodgy neck I find laid back far more comfortable. I’m not quite as quick on either laidback trike or bike as on the Moulton but can ride them all day long with no aches or pains. I upgraded my Trice QNT to full suspension (it has 20” wheels all round) on the basis of my Moulton experiences and as expected overall I’m a bit faster especially over rougher roads.

My max speed record is in the mid 40mph range on the bents, 56 mph on the AM. That is not a reflection necessarily of aerodynamics, however, rather that I have become a bit more cautious and more risk averse than I was 30 years ago!

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pjclinch
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby pjclinch » 23 Oct 2018, 9:21am

I have a Moulton TSR and a Streetmachine. I think both are very, very good for what I use them for, which is, respectively, general purpose hack-bike and touring machine.

The wee wheels on the Moulton make it more manoeuvrable in traffic (shorter wheelbase and less trail) and easier to manhandle than a "normal" 700c hack and make the particular suspension design work very effectively for road use. I've not ridden a better general purpose machine, but the things in particular I like about it aren't that relevant to my touring needs, where a comfy chair and no weight on my arms while getting good aero trumps everything else. If I'm riding 100 miles I don't generally need to turn on a sixpence in traffic, jump up kerbs, carry the bike up flights of stairs etc.

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Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Brucey
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby Brucey » 24 Oct 2018, 12:07am

belgiangoth wrote:On another forum someone asked about Moultons - which got me thinking ...
If there is really an advantage to small wheels, why are laidbacks moving to bigger wheels - even with suspension? It seems that the better rolling of the larger tyres is an advantage, with or without suspension.
Is the advantage of a Moulton that you use the standard walking/cycling muscles so don't have to retrain (or learn to ride a new type of bike I guess?)?
It seems to me that Moulton's spend too much time claiming advantages that are not an issue for many riders (no crossbar). Is their suspension really that much better than a full suspension bike? (I have to ask as I have an aversion to suspension).


theoretically smaller wheels accelerate faster but if you do the sums comparing 20" wheels with 700C it may mean about 2% difference or something like that, i.e. not much.
Moulton's original concept was a compact unisex bicycle that rode at least as well/fast as a standard roadster (probably something like a bike with 26 x 1-3/8" tyres), but was easier to handle and more practical, with better luggage carrying provisions. The higher rolling resistance and poorer ride quality of the smaller wheels was offset by the suspension and the (for then) high pressure tyres.
Cost aside the downsides were -and are- that the steering was a little odd (riding no hands is not as easy as with a large-wheeled bike) and the suspension tends to interfere with the pedal stroke when you need it to least, i.e. when climbing.

Suspension on recumbents is a good idea because you can't lift your weight out of the saddle as with an upright bike; big bumps are potential bike-killers. Bigger wheels roll easier, there is more choice of wheels/ tyres and they can also put you higher up; this is often perceived as an advantage for use on the road.

With standard suspension, moultons are not usually faster than DF bikes, but they are often more comfortable. To get the best out of them you need to be a good DF rider and to relearn your pedal stroke so you don't upset the suspension.

I would say that as suspension systems go, the Moulton ones are well designed in that there is very little maintenance required and the parts are long-lasting and/or easily replaced.

However they have one major failing as a practical urban bike; they are very attractive to thieves.

cheers
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pjclinch
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby pjclinch » 25 Oct 2018, 1:05pm

Brucey wrote:Cost aside the downsides were -and are- that the steering was a little odd (riding no hands is not as easy as with a large-wheeled bike)


This comes up with Bromptons too, but as with those, one person's "twitchy" is another's "responsive". How often do I want to rode no-handed? Well, not that often as it turns out. It's the way my TSR steers differently from large-wheel "normal" bikes of my acquaintance that I regard as a good thing about it: mileage varies between individuals, of course, but I prefer the handling with small wheels, at least on roads.

Brucey wrote:However they have one major failing as a practical urban bike; they are very attractive to thieves.


Do you have figures for this?

I'm not in the thievery business myself, but my general impression is that thieves will most typically target bikes that are perceived as not only high value but also pretty generic. One high end road bike is much like the next and there are lots of folk wanting them, so they should be easy to unload and difficult to track, same goes for serious MTBs. But a Moulton is easy to spot and your typical clientele of dodgy blokes met in pubs is, I'd guess, rather less likely to see them as a desirable item. I can picture, say, a Double-Pylon NS being stolen to order, but a well-used TSR, APB or old F-Frame... I have my doubts.
Like recumbents, I'm sure they do get pinched, but I'd say my MTB (an okay Cannondale hardtail, new price would be about half a TSR) would be in far more danger of getting pinched than my Moulton (or my recumbent, which cost more again).

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hercule
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby hercule » 25 Oct 2018, 9:35pm

There was a tale going around a while ago in Moulton circles of someone breaking into a garage and taking the cheap MTB, and leaving the Moulton AM that was worth ten times as much...

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby [XAP]Bob » 25 Oct 2018, 10:06pm

It wouldn't surprise me...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Brucey
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby Brucey » 26 Oct 2018, 6:04pm

a friend of mine's (slightly) modernised 'F' frame was lifted last year, by thieving scumbags, in broad daylight outside a shopping centre. They cut through two locks to get it.

It was a deluxe MkII in metallic green with original chrome mudguards, a leather saddle, basket on the back, Schwalbe marathon tyres, Brompton double-wall rims, stainless spokes, 4s FW hub at the rear and GH6 dynohub at the front.

The same colour as this one;

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MOULTON-DELUXE-MARK-2-GOOD-HONEST-BIKE-4SPEED-ORIGINAL-AS-SHOWN-UK-SALE-ONLY/123417641347?hash=item1cbc43c183:g:TdAAAOSwg65bvhM3:rk:36:pf:0

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pjclinch
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby pjclinch » 27 Oct 2018, 10:11am

Brucey wrote:a friend of mine's (slightly) modernised 'F' frame was lifted last year, by thieving scumbags


Unfortunate and unpleasant, but like the odd disappearing 'bent it's not in itself evidence of a general Moulton theft problem. The Moulton mailing list doesn't seem to spend any great time on thievery worries though as the owner of a TSR I'd be interested to know if there is a deeper problem.

And of course it's also the case that in some urban areas things will get nicked far more often than in others. I would imagine that leaving a bike locked outside in London has a higher chance of it going than in Dundee, if for no other reason than availability of thieves (this isn't Londoner-ist, simply a recognition that Greater London has a higher population than the whole of Scotland).

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belgiangoth
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Re: Moulton vs Laidback

Postby belgiangoth » 27 Oct 2018, 3:57pm

It's true that bike theft in Laaanden is very different from, say, Birmingham. In London you have an extablished cycling culture and market, meaning that it's worth getting organised and stealing proper bikes to sell on (even to order). In Birmingham a bike you nick will be sold on ebay or down the estates. As you won't want paypal and postage issues you basically steal bikes to sell on the estates, ideally MTBs with full suspension or anything with "carrera" written on it. If it doesn't have a front brake so much the better!
Top things to stop bike theft in brum are: leather saddle, mudguards, drop bars.

This will not stop your bike from getting vandalised though.
If I had a baby elephant I would let it sleep in the garage in place of the car. If I had either a garage or a car. (I miss sigs about baby elephants)