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Old 02-26-09, 06:05 AM   #1
greenbicycle
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Alex Moulton Bicycles

I'm Colin Martin and I live at Trinity Beach in tropical north Queensland. Since the day I first explored the country lanes of England 40 years ago on my bike I've always been an avid cyclist. I've ridden around the world on a Moulton bicycle - from England across Europe to Istanbul then across Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan to India, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaya and Singapore. I rode across Australia from Perth to Sydney and from Vancouver to New York City. I've toured in Japan, New Zealand and Indonesia. I try to ride most days although at the moment it is the monsoon season and the torrential rain has brought floods - we've experienced up to 440 mm in 24 hours. I own conventional bicycles but I enjoy the Alex Moulton New Series most of all. The ride is very responsive and suspension adds comfort to long days in the saddle.
I hope to meet other cycle tourists on this forum and share our experiences.
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Old 02-26-09, 06:16 AM   #2
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Hi.

I think you may be the guy that the Greenbicycle thread was about.

greenbicycle.com Not Working -- Need Colin's Story

People were wanting to read about your exploits, but the website wasn't working properly.

Welcome to the forum.

Lucky to be able to afford the NewSeries. I had a TSR30 which was a very nice bike. I sold it to another forum member when I was injured and couldn't ride it much.
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Old 02-26-09, 06:22 AM   #3
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Be sure to check out the Touring forum as well.
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Old 02-26-09, 07:24 AM   #4
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Colin!

I read "Half Way Round" years ago and then followed your RTW completion on Green Bicycle. I was impressed with how buff and fit you were thirty years on! You are the man.

Despite the fact that Alex Moulton has never turned out a folder, nearly all today's folding bicycles have some Moulton DNA. I suppose it all started from Dr. Moulton asking the simple but paradigm busting question back in the 1950s: why are bicycles the way they are?

Anyway, did your original Marathon ever turn up? The Marathon in Japan is the 2nd, replacement one, isn't it?

Very best,
Tom Shaddox
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Old 02-28-09, 02:52 AM   #5
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My Greenbicycle.com website is not functional at the moment. I am in the process of redesigning the site but work commitments have put it on the back-burner. Hopefully I'll get time in the next few weeks to upload my latest ride - across Australia.
Did the original Moulton Marathon ever turn up after it was stolen In Kalgoorlie, Western Australia in 1971? The bike I saw in Nagoya in 2002 had all the original accessories including an old Unica saddle I used during my racing days. It looks exactly like the bike I rode from England to Australia - I think it is the bike and somehow it made it's way from an outback mining town to Japan. Mr Aoki, who owns the bike, is a very amiable man who owns a large collection Moulton bicycles.

wishing you tailwinds, Colin
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Old 02-28-09, 04:20 AM   #6
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Well since we now have a Moulton thread, and me having a green bicycle, there is no reason why I shouldn't show it.



That's how I bought it. I am making some modernising and lightening mods.

Actually it's not green it is a deep turquoise.

Sorry Colin.

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Old 02-28-09, 07:46 AM   #7
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Looks great Jur. I remember you were writing about trying to get it a while back.

As for Colin's bike being stolen in 1971. I can't imagine how bad that would be after you'd ridden the thing so far. Long usage creates a kind of special pride in a machine. It's the sort of thing that even if it was worn out, you'd want to hang on the wall with a sign saying, 'This is the bike that rolled from England to Australia.'
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Old 02-28-09, 08:00 AM   #8
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Congratulations Jur! Hope you have lots of fun with it!


Welcome to this Forum, Colin. It's a privilege to have you here. Nice bunch of folks here. Your riding experiences are truly amazing. I look forward to reading about them on your website.

I have two Moultons: a restored 1970 MK3 (mostly original, but outfitted with an SA8 internal hub) and the TSR30 that EvilV mentioned earlier.

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Old 02-28-09, 08:59 AM   #9
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Yeah, welcome to the forum, Colin!

Jur - The construction on your bike looks a bit delicate, and the seat tube is long. What's the weight limit on it?
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Old 02-28-09, 10:15 AM   #10
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OMG pretty Moultons!!!!
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Old 02-28-09, 03:32 PM   #11
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Jur - The construction on your bike looks a bit delicate, and the seat tube is long. What's the weight limit on it?
Heh heh, delicate, the frame alone is around 5kg! Porky is more appropriate. It may look delicate due to the thin tube construction, but it's like the Eiffel tower - mostly air but enormously strong. Very stiff frame - I can't feel even the slightest amount of flex.

The Seat tube is a plain 27.2 x 350mm one, with over 100mm inside... so it's got no problems there, much shorter than on typical folding bikes. But I have already put another seatpost in - more pics later.

Moultons are very strong indeed, but I admit I don't know what the weight limit might be. I imagine the suspension will be the limiting factor rather than anything else.
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Old 02-28-09, 03:58 PM   #12
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Moultons are very strong indeed, but I admit I don't know what the weight limit might be. I imagine the suspension will be the limiting factor rather than anything else.
+1 on the strength. I smiled at that remark this morning, but they do look delicate. In reality they are built like a bridge.

On the suspension comment - if it is anything like mine, it is much better with the front suspension adjusted up so the spring is hard. On mine (and it looked like yours) you could also stiffen the damping by gently tightening up the small nuts on the front swinging arms. These are friction dampers of a sort.
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Old 02-28-09, 04:26 PM   #13
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Jur, you continue to amaze....

How is it that you continually seem to come up with the most desirable bikes on the planet?

Seems like a cyclist's dream vacation might be to spend time with you, getting to ride (in your dust), some of the great machines from your stable.

Keep it up bud, you are insipration !!!!!

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Old 02-28-09, 04:39 PM   #14
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Jur,

My message above was to you.

But Sesame, that's a BEAUTIFUL looking AM stable you've got yourself.

Congrats all.

Big welcomes for Colin.

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Old 02-28-09, 06:22 PM   #15
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My 1984 AM7:



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Old 02-28-09, 07:02 PM   #16
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A quick Moulton FAQ to get everyone up to speed:

What makes Moultons different? Moultons have small (16, 17 or 20 inch) diameter wheels, front and rear suspension and a stiff, low frame. These three elements form the core of the Moulton concept. They have been present on every Moulton ever made. Because of the appearance of the low frame and small wheels, cyclists often think they are folding bikes,but Moulton has never made a true folder. Some Moulton models have incorporated take apart joints (like S&S couplers on diamond frame bikes).

Does this Moulton concept work? Moulton bikes have been used in winning time trials, road races, criteriums, triathlons, and track events. They've been ridden to official finishes in the RAAM, tackled the Paris-Roubaix route, used for setting an as yet unbroken HPV record, been along for point to point time records and used for PBs in the P-B-P. (Use of Moulton bikes is no longer allowed in competitions controlled by the UCI.) Moulton tours began in Iceland in 1962, and since then, tourists have taken laden Moultons over the Himalayan mountains, down to the Dead Sea, along the great wall of China, across the Nulibor Plain, into equatorial Africa, the length of America's Great Divide off-road trail, end-to-end, transcontinental and around the world; Moulton riders have transversed the Gobi and been everywhere from Patagonia to north of the Arctic Circle. Some of the enthusiastic owners, who have formed what is believed to be the largest single-make bike club in the world, gather yearly from around the world at the birth place of Moultons for a weekend of fellowship.

Why doesn't Moulton have more of a market presence? Dr. Moulton began pondering bicycle design in 1956, and started experiments in ernest in 1957. He prototypes showed great promise, and he tried to sell his concept to the existing British cycle industry in 1959-1960. No one was interested. He believed in his ideas and formed his own company, which built models covering the market from single speed shopper to high end derailer geared touring and racing bikes. They went from a start up (1962) to commanding 20 per cent of the GB market and became the country's second largest frame builder in four years - this in a mature industry. The established bike companies, locked out of this new market direction due to Moulton's extensive patents, fought back with a combination of inferior knock-offs, massive advertising campaigns, and accepted short term losses, all of which combined to force the small Moulton company into an unprofitable position. They sold out to Raleigh in 1967. Inexplicably, Raleigh cut the Moulton line to a single, three speed model. The U.S. market for adult lightweight bikes expanded by a factor of 40 (200,000/yr to 8 million/yr) from 1970 to 1972, and continued at this sales rate into 1975, but Raleigh never marketed the Moulton in the United States during this time. When domestic (British) sales of the remaining three speed model eventually ground down in the mid-1970s in the face of the ten speed boom, Raleigh ended production, but refused to sell back the key patent rights so Moulton could return to producing the bike. Dr. Moulton took the next several years to work around his own patents and make advances in the design, and then began building small numbers of up-market bikes, the AM series, in 1983. Moulton cautiously re-entered the mid priced market in 1992 with the debut of the APBs, which use common ISO 406mm (20 inch) wheels. The connoiseur NS series was introduced in 1998.

Why are Moultons so expensive? The AM and NS series bikes are hand built in a small shop. This is an expensive construction technique (remember Henry Ford and the production line?) and the bikes have a large number of braze joints and specially fabricated parts. The factory (Pashley) built TRS bikes aren't particularly expensive. My LBS is filled with road racing and mountain bikes that cost more.

What's up with those crazy 17 inch wheels? The Moulton models from the 60's mostly use standard ISO 349mm (16 inch) wheels. While this was a standard format, Moulton had manufactured special high quality tires for his bikes. Since that time other manufacturers have folowed Moulton's lead into the small wheel field and there are today a number of great small tires commercially available. The Moulton models from the 90's use standard ISO 406mm (20 inch) wheels. >From the earliest days, however, Moulton made some small number of high performance bikes that used a small and now obsolete tubular tire format. So that the owners would have more rugged, lower cost tires for training and light touring, Dr. Moulton had specially made a clincher with the same brake surface track - the famous/infamous proprietary Moulton ISO 369mm (17 inch) wheel size. When Raleigh bought out and then abandoned the Moulton, manufacutre of the high quality 16 and 17 inch wheels ended. Owners of 16 inch wheel bikes soldiered on with the 16 inch tires they could find. Owners of the high end bikes that used the 17 inch wheels, however, grabbed what they could while watching existing stocks run out. In the late 1970's, Dr. Moulton fabricated new tooling and contracted Wobler to pick up the manufacture of these tires. This simultaneously supported the owners of the old bikes and provided a small, high performance tire for the AM bikes then in development. These 17 inch tires are one of the most cussed/discussed features of the bikes. While not perfect, they are no more expensive than top quality 20 inch tires, and races have been won and world tours have been completed on them.

Don't the small wheels have high rolling resistance? They show the formulas to engineering students about how rolling resistance is a function of wheel size. These formulas work very well with steel railroad wheels on steel rails, but leave something to be desired with pneumatic tires on pavement. Dr. Moulton's tests in the 50's showed that tire construction and inflation pressure are the biggest variables in the rolling resistance equasions that govern bicycle tires, and his and other tests in the 60's, 70's, and 80's have confirmed his original findings. Carefully controlled comparisons have shown the proprietary Moulton 17 inch tire to roll as freely as the best 700C clinchers.

Can Moultons carry luggage/loads/panniers? From the begining, Moultons were design to be practical bikes. All Moultons except a few competition models have mounts for racks, and the factory has always made available day bags, touring bags and even wicker baskets. There are both factory and after market racks that take conventional panniers. One Moulton owner reported moving a chest of drawers on the back rack of his little bike, and the club newsletter, sent to Moultoneers worldwide, has been taken from the printer to the post office by bike.

How do you get high enough gears with those little wheels? Moulton has never been a market toadie, and has refused to follow the trend of equiping touring and utility bikes from the factory with higher gears than are used by professional racers in the Tour de France. With the adopted 20 inch wheel size, gears truly suitable for general use don't require special parts. Also, some of the models use hub gears. While a few of the 16 inch wheel and 17 inch wheel models in the past have used extra large chain wheels, the typical route has been to use special 10 and 9 tooth cogs. A rider with 70,000 miles on his Moulton AM7 reported that these small cogs last him around 10,000 miles before they are worn enough to require replacement.

What is Alex Moulton's official title? While Alex Moulton, Commander of the British Empire, Royal Designer of Industry, Honorary Doctor of Arts (Royal College of Arts), Honorary Doctor of Science (Bath University), and member of the Fellowship of Engineering, is occasionally referred to as Sir Alex Moulton, this is incorrect. However, American cycle journalist John Allen said it best: "If Moulton was never knighted, he should have been."

Where can I get more information on these bikes?
Alex Moulton Bicycles: http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/

Bridgestone Moulton bikes:
http://www.bscycle.co.jp/bs_moulton/bsm_index.html

Moulton Bicycle Club: http://www.moultoneers.info/

Best,
tcs

Last edited by tcs; 02-28-09 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 02-28-09, 08:47 PM   #17
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The Bridgestone Moulton is no longer marketed as of Feb 2009.
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Old 02-28-09, 09:18 PM   #18
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There was also the Moulton Mini with 14" wheels in the 1960s and 70s.
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Old 03-01-09, 05:13 AM   #19
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Hi Colin...Great to hear from a moulton legend !...Did you see the replica marathon cycle article in the last two issues of MOULTONEER ?
Keep riding Ken Butterfield
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Old 03-01-09, 08:18 AM   #20
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The Bridgestone Moulton is no longer marketed as of Feb 2009.

Please could you tell me where this info comes from as nobody in UK is aware of this?
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Old 03-01-09, 09:28 AM   #21
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According to MoultonBuzz, "Iím quite sure theyíre still available, but they just havenít got around to updating the site yet. Probably waiting for pretty pictures like the rest of the range!". I can't find any reference to the Bridgestones being discontinued, still listed at retailers over here...
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Old 03-01-09, 02:32 PM   #22
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Please could you tell me where this info comes from as nobody in UK is aware of this?
OK, I'll have to look through my browsing history, as I saw it was definitely official, just will have to find it. When I saw that, I thought, ah that's why the Bridgestone is no longer on the new website.
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Old 03-01-09, 02:51 PM   #23
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OK, found it again... but it looks suspicious???

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moulton_Bicycle

under "see also" at the bottom of the page, but no reference. I didn't give it any thought, perhaps that was put in there by someone who noted the absence on the new web page and jumped to a conclusion?
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Old 03-01-09, 03:56 PM   #24
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Wikipedia should only ever be a guide, more reliable research often required.
[/typical wikipedia rant]
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Old 03-01-09, 05:18 PM   #25
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That's the trouble with Wikipedia ?
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