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    Moulton Ride Quality? (Noise Related)

    I have just about convinced myself (or perhaps you have all convinced me) that a Moulton is probably in my future. Before I commit to a purchase of this size I need to ride one that has been set up for me. At some point I am going to arrange a visit to either ride one by flying out to see either Bruce Metras of this forum or Gilbert Anderson. I am trying to combine such a trip with something else I need to do in one of their two areas to keep my costs down so the when is completely up in the air at this point.

    Before I take this step maybe a few of you could give me an opinion. I currently have a Birdy (old red version), which I really like. The one thing that annoys me is the front end rattling that goes on when I am on any road that is not perfectly smooth. How does the Moulton compare in this area? You have all convinced me the ride and handling are superior (to an already great bike) but what about noise?

    Jim

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    Senior Member JulianEdgar's Avatar
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    My old shape Birdy doesn't have a rattle in the front suspension.
    I know, it's a trike...

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    Thanks for the information. Mine doesn't either or perfect paving but it certainly does when the paving is even a little bit textured. Maybe an issue with my suspension? Of course the closest Birdy dealer is many states away.

    Jim

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    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    My Moulton TSR does not have front suspension rattling noise.

    It is a very solid feeling, confidence inspiring, comfortable ride. The space frame is incredibly rigid. The front and rear suspension takes some of the "road buzz" out while not being intrusive in the pedal motion. The strength of its design is highlighted on downhills at high speeds. I have such a secure feeling descending on the TSR. Between the length of the wheelbase, the rigid space frame and the suspension, I feel better on these 20" wheels than on my carbon lightweight 700C roadie. A couple of months ago, I hit 52mph on a descent and was feeling very very stable and comfy. And I consistently feel like I'm going slower than what my bike computer says because of the comfort and stability of the bike. It's pretty remarkable.

    The only thing I wish was different about the TSR is its weight. It's porky at 27lbs. Of course, I could spring for the Double Pylon. That would lighten the bike and the wallet at the same time...
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 08-15-10 at 02:50 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    My Birdy red always squeaked on the front end
    Moultons, in my experience, are silent.
    Which Moulton are you thinking about getting?
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    jur
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    Birdys may have a rattle coming from the V-brakes. It may be worth exploring that a bit. Also, unhook the front and check the front hinges for play.

    My Moulton has developed a very serious rattle on the back. By a process of elimination I found it must be the rear suspension pivot which has a small amount of play from wear. When I ride fast over a small dip in the road, the rear wheel drops into the dip, which causes the whole rear trianle to rotate WRT the frame, resulting in the pivot axle striking the forward bush surface, because while weighted, the pivot axle is forced against the rear surface continuously. I think the only cure will be a replacement.

    The front does not rattle.
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    Chop - I am thinking about a TSR-27

    Jur - I'll take a look at the brakes and the hinges - thanks.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    My Moulton TSR does not have front suspension rattling noise.

    It is a very solid feeling, confidence inspiring, comfortable ride. The space frame is incredibly rigid. The front and rear suspension takes some of the "road buzz" out while not being intrusive in the pedal motion. The strength of its design is highlighted on downhills at high speeds. I have such a secure feeling descending on the TSR. Between the length of the wheelbase, the rigid space frame and the suspension, I feel better on these 20" wheels than on my carbon lightweight 700C roadie. A couple of months ago, I hit 52mph on a descent and was feeling very very stable and comfy. And I consistently feel like I'm going slower than what my bike computer says because of the comfort and stability of the bike. It's pretty remarkable.

    The only thing I wish was different about the TSR is its weight. It's porky at 27lbs. Of course, I could spring for the Double Pylon. That would lighten the bike and the wallet at the same time...
    Fantastically rigid bike. I stole SC's Moulton Lava once in London and it passed the Frankencalves test rather easily!

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    The Birdy should be pretty quiet over roads... there isn't much to rattle in the front suspension.. as Jur mentioned, V-brake pivots would be a first look.. also the front brake cabling/routing .. I'd start a process of elimination.. remove the f/brake arms entirely and head for the nasty road.. then the cable .. could be a combination of both..

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    My ol' Red used to squeak & rattle around the steering stem (I had Hope Hydraulics on it, so not a brake issue)

    If it's an old style Birdy, keep an eye on the hinge weld on the steering stem, mine broke off.
    R & M quickly modified later models to solve this.
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    Thanks for all the replies. As per the suggestions I looked at cable routing (turned out to be part of the problem) and brakes (most of the problem). Still a litte noise but much improved if I just tape up or take off the brakes (grin). However no front brake is probably not a good long term answer. I am going to try and tighten things but it seems like they are still going to rattle. Is there a secret to this or should I put on better brakes than the stock Shimano that came with the bike?

    Jim

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    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmaher View Post
    Chop - I am thinking about a TSR-27

    Jur - I'll take a look at the brakes and the hinges - thanks.

    Jim
    I have a TSR-27 (from Bruce Metras). As SesameCrunch said, it is very rigid and has excellent ride quality. It is not light but since it splits, I need to lift only 2/3 of the weight at a time (the rear 'half') when lifting to my car.

    Once in a while the dampers of the front suspension start to squeak because of dirt the enters between the dampers and the fork but this goes away so I need to clean it every 2-3 months (not too bad).

    I use it on both roads and unpaved and sometimes graveled trails and am very appreciative of its ride quality in a wide range of conditions.

  13. #13
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    My Moulton TSR does not have front suspension rattling noise.

    It is a very solid feeling, confidence inspiring, comfortable ride. The space frame is incredibly rigid. The front and rear suspension takes some of the "road buzz" out while not being intrusive in the pedal motion. The strength of its design is highlighted on downhills at high speeds. I have such a secure feeling descending on the TSR. Between the length of the wheelbase, the rigid space frame and the suspension, I feel better on these 20" wheels than on my carbon lightweight 700C roadie. A couple of months ago, I hit 52mph on a descent and was feeling very very stable and comfy. And I consistently feel like I'm going slower than what my bike computer says because of the comfort and stability of the bike. It's pretty remarkable.

    The only thing I wish was different about the TSR is its weight. It's porky at 27lbs. Of course, I could spring for the Double Pylon. That would lighten the bike and the wallet at the same time...
    I don't find the assertion that the TSR is better handling -- my interpretation of your statement -- than a regular road bike surprising at all. Wide tires that give -- I recall you have wide tires on the TSR -- along with the suspension will maintain contact with the road much better than narrow high-pressure tires.

    I also recall that your setup isn't particularly light either. Brooks saddle? What else?

    Curious, how much lighter are the upper end Moultons?

  14. #14
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Invisiblehand:

    I ride full size bikes as well, as you know, and can compare them directly. I have Schwalbe Stelvios on the TSR now. I've had steel, aluminum and carbon frame full size bikes, though not a touring frame like the Rivendell or Surly. There is, in my mind, a noticeable difference in stiffness, especially in lateral stability, from the space frame, and a more comfortable ride from the suspension. It goes beyond the tires.

    I'd love to know what the really high end Moultons are like, but I don't want to wander into that price range

  15. #15
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    There is, in my mind, a noticeable difference in stiffness, especially in lateral stability, from the space frame, and a more comfortable ride from the suspension. It goes beyond the tires.
    I totally agree regarding the suspension. Didn't I write so below? It follows from the Bicycle Quarterly research.

    I'm pretty skeptical about the space frame. I think that regular bike frames are pretty stiff for normal folks like us. Maybe even pros! My wild-ass speculation from the armchair lumps it into the same category at ceramic bearings until I see tests that demonstrate a meaningful improvement for essentially the same reasons. It is a fairly well developed technology and a lot of effort goes into developing frame stiffness in a diamond frame to the point that making a significant improvement would be really hard.

    Anyway, I'm obviously talking about an all-else-equal effect, "stiff" in the presence of a full suspension is likely a different animal.

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    I'll add my $0.02 to the Birdy front suspension rattle - yup, mine did it too. And it my case, like several others above, it was the v-brakes. The pivots are just plain poorly engineered and tend to have some play, which shows up as a rattle on bumpy roads. I asked at my local bike shops, but they weren't aware of shims to fix this. So I used some sewing thread to wrap around the pivot, between the brake arm and the washer. Hey presto - noise gone! It must have lasted about 2 years, but now sounds like I need to replace the thread...
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    jur
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    Tests would be interesting... but bear in mind, diamond while probably being close to perfection, aren't necessarily best of all possibilities - UCI rules forbid anything outside a rigidly-spec'ed definition. So racing developers throw all their ingenuity at the diamond frame. This implies that yes while it is stiff as, the space frame may be even stiffer - bear in mind AM designed it with this specifically in mind. The space frame has lateral bracing while the diamond frame has none.

    The diamond is extremely stiff vertically and quite stiff torsionally, and not very stiff laterally. The space frame is stiff in all of the above.

    Nevertheless, tests would be interesting.
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    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yangmusa View Post
    I'll add my $0.02 to the Birdy front suspension rattle - yup, mine did it too. And it my case, like several others above, it was the v-brakes. The pivots are just plain poorly engineered and tend to have some play, ...
    These V-Brakes may solve the problem

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ate+Brake.aspx

    They use bearings so the movement is not around the pivot.

    I have them on the front wheel of the TSR.

  19. #19
    40 yrs bike touring
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    No front suspension rattle on any of my Moultons: 64 Deluxe, 65 Stowaway, 73 Mark III, 88 ATB, 95 APB.

  20. #20
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    These V-Brakes may solve the problem

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ate+Brake.aspx

    They use bearings so the movement is not around the pivot.

    I have them on the front wheel of the TSR.
    And so do these but without the monster price tag.

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Avid-Single-D...s#ht_774wt_708
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    Ordered the new Avid brakes - thanks for all your suggestions. Will let you know the results once they arrive.

    JIm

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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    And so do these but without the monster price tag.

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Avid-Single-D...s#ht_774wt_708
    I thought that those had pivot sleeves and not bearings as in Kam's link? Do the 7's also have bearings?

  23. #23
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    And so do these but without the monster price tag.

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Avid-Single-D...s#ht_774wt_708
    SD 7 was on my short list but I don't recall seeing any reference to ball bearings.

    They SD Ultimate are available sub $100 shipped but yes, still on the high side

    http://www.amazon.com/Avid-Single-Ul.../dp/B000NNX38U

  24. #24
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    Perhaps I ordered too soon? I have the 7's on order from an Ebay vendor but since it is the weekend they may not have shipped the yet. Should I see if they have the Ultimate instead and see if they will change them out (probably too late but worth a try) if the much less expensive 7's won't fix my issue.

    Jim

  25. #25
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmaher View Post
    Perhaps I ordered too soon? I have the 7's on order from an Ebay vendor but since it is the weekend they may not have shipped the yet. Should I see if they have the Ultimate instead and see if they will change them out (probably too late but worth a try) if the much less expensive 7's won't fix my issue.

    Jim
    Jim,

    Here is more info about the Ultimate, I will leave it to you to determine if this is what you need ;-)

    http://www.sram.com/avid/products/si...mate-rim-brake

    http://www.mtbr.com/cat/brakes/brake...59_108crx.aspx

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