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Old 09-20-12, 12:37 PM   #1
Alec E
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Bridgestone Moulton vs Moulton TSR?

Considering ride quality and speed.

I've found two or three opinions online favoring the Bridgestone over the TSR--and none expressing the reverse preference.

I've ridden a separable TSR 8 that was simply too bouncy, and an AM Speed that was horrendously perfect. I'd like to find a less expensive alternative to the non-TSR Moultons, but it's unlikely I'll be able to test ride either a Bridgestone or a non-separable TSR. (This is off-topic, but: I'm unsure why the TSR and the AM Speed rode so differently--because one was separable? This was what the dealer emphasized as the most likely culprit. Or because one had "racing suspension"? Or because one had smaller wheels? Or because one had drop bars? Or because one was $7K? In any event, they couldn't have felt more different.)

Anyone ridden both, and come away with a clear preference?

I'm also curious if anything was ever done about the Bridgestone's cracking issue. I'd probably be interested in a nonseparable version, though.
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Old 09-20-12, 12:57 PM   #2
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I've owned both. Currently still have the TSR, but sold the Bridgestone, so that tells you what my clear preference is. The Bridgestone is drop dead gorgeous. I had flat bars and drop bars on mine. To wit:





Mine was separable, and I experienced the frame crack. It was repaired nicely, but cost $300. To wit:





If you don't like bouncy, you certainly do not want the Bridgestone. I experience no bounce on my separable TSR, except on the front when I'm standing up and stomping. But at my 190 lbs, the Bridgestone was definitely bouncy. I think it was designed for smaller riders. I am 6'0" and 190lbs.

It hurt to sell the Bridgestone; it was so beautiful. But after the frame crack and the bobbing suspension, I had to come to terms that I was too big for it.

OTOH, the TSR is a joy to ride. Comfortable, stable, fast. It's a great long distance, touring bike. Oh, and it's beautiful too. To wit:



Just for equal opportunity exposure, here's all three of my Moultons together -



Oh what the heck, here's one more Moulton picture:

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Old 09-20-12, 01:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for that thorough reply. I want to believe that my disappointing TSR test ride was a fluke.
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Old 09-20-12, 02:47 PM   #4
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Is that blue & gold Moulton for sale hahaha?
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Old 09-20-12, 02:48 PM   #5
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I love the TSR 27 & 30 series
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Old 09-20-12, 03:36 PM   #6
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The front suspension is adjustable. You may tighten it for a less bouncy ride.
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Old 09-20-12, 04:00 PM   #7
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I've test-ridden 2 TSR 30's and not had this experience. The suspension was set at mid-range not even at its stiffest. An absolutely fantastic ride!
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Old 09-20-12, 05:15 PM   #8
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I'm aware that the front suspension is adjustable, but I didn't meddle with it on either Moulton I rode. My issue was definitely with the TSR 8's rear suspension. I felt I was being kicked in the behind, softly but insistently.

As I wrote above, the dealer told me that I seemed to be having "separability issues." This may have meant that he simply wanted me to buy the more expensive bike, of course. (Like the one other Moulton dealer I've talked with, he had no interest in placing orders for bikes--only in selling his current stock.) He claimed that separability absolutely affects ride quality, "no matter what the Moulton Company says" (approximate quote).

He also said--and this is something you find almost nothing online about--that the AM Speed had a "racing spring" that the TSR 8 did not have. I asked if he meant the rear cone, and he seemed (not being the clearest communicator) to answer in the affirmative. I asked Pashley's American distributor via email if the "racing suspension" option, as I found it briefly referred to online, was available for the TSR line. I was told that it is, that the person I was speaking with had it on his TSR and liked it, but that his wife disliked it and didn't have it on hers. I then asked if "racing suspension" referred to a change in only the rear suspension, or the front suspension too. He never answered. I sent the same question to another U.S. Moulton dealer about ten days ago. No answer. I've sent the question to Moulton themselves, too, I think, a long time ago. No answer.

One or two reviews online refer to this option and make it sound as if it means modification of the front suspension as well. I don't quite see why it would, since the front suspension is always adjustable.

Anyway... I thought about starting a thread titled "A Dozen Moulton Questions" but opted for this instead. Now my dozen questions leak out. The test ride I've been referring to, by the way, was on a peculiarly lumpy (rather than bumpy--it was as if dinosaur eggs were embedded beneath the asphalt) paved bike trail; was more than a year ago; and was pretty brief, as I was nervous to be riding such pricey bikes at all. My impressions aren't super-reliable then, but the TSR 8 was definitely thumping my posterior, and the AM Speed was a radically different experience. Very depressing. I came away thinking that the TSR was priced twice as high as it should be, and the AM Speed was worth every penny. Not that I have that many pennies, hence the depression.

So the separability may have been the issue, though I can't find a single instance of anyone else having ever felt this way about separability in Moultons (except for that dealer); the "racing suspension," whatever it exactly is, may have been the issue; the better distribution of my weight on the bike with drop bars may have been a factor; and perhaps, in some way I certainly can't pinpoint, the smaller wheels meant a smoother ride.

No idea. Hence I've yet to buy one. Getting information has proven difficult, and test rides involve crossing multiple states. Not that I haven't done that before; before buying a Brompton, I had to visit dealers in three states before I'd ridden bikes with all the options that interested me, not that I ever rode a bike that had all of them.
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Old 09-20-12, 05:29 PM   #9
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I don't know why your test TSR was bouncy, but it's not because it's a separable. Mine is separable, I've had it since 2008. I take in on long rides, fast rides. Its a gem. Maybe it was peculiar to your bike. I've never heard people mention pogo on a Moulton.

You can go to the Yahoo Moulton group to get more opinions there.
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Old 09-20-12, 05:36 PM   #10
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I don't know why your test TSR was bouncy, but it's not because it's a separable. Mine is separable, I've had it since 2008. I take in on long rides, fast rides. Its a gem. Maybe it was peculiar to your bike. I've never heard people mention pogo on a Moulton.

You can go to the Yahoo Moulton group to get more opinions there.
+1 Teh dealer must have no clue about Moultons to claim a separable bike contains less rigidity. It is simply not true and there must have been some issue with the test bike's suspension that you rode. I'm not doubting your experience, I just have not found the TSR to be a bouncy ride at all.
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Old 09-21-12, 02:10 AM   #11
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Just to say that you can buy the front springs for the TSR in hard through to soft specifications:
etc:
here is a link to show you

http://www.fudgescyclestore.com/index.php?c=5707

If the front suspension is not set up properly, then the rear rubber ballcone will have twice the work to do, it may bottom out giving that kick in the rear

You adjust the front damping, the silver metal plates on both sides of the front wheel are adjustable friction dampers.
Ride height is set by the adjuster in the steering tube, a knurled wheel in the fork crown. Ride height is correct when the friction dampers are horizontal under the riders weight when cycle is static, (Dr Moultons very words).

A simple explanation for unsatisfactory TSR experience may be the suspension needs a couple of minutes of attention to set up correctly.

The separability issue, I cannot write for Bridgestone, and i doubt it for the AM and TSR machines, . the joint is a precision piece and the frame is very strong, I have ridden my AM14 with the through bolt loose (forgot to tighten it) and not noticed any issues.

I have clocked more than 60 mph downhill on far from smooth roads on the AM14, my friend following me on a conventional diamond could not get anywhere near that velocity.

In the UK a Moulton AM rider made a story for the national newspapers, facing prosecution having been clocked downhill at over 80 mph by the Police,

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Old 09-21-12, 07:08 AM   #12
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Rear hub was laced off center as a practial joke. You and your ride are all over youtube with a million hits
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Old 09-21-12, 07:11 AM   #13
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I replaced the stock bouncy spring with the race spring in my TSR (actually, the awesome Mr. Metras did). Now the ride is fantastic. Aesthetically, I prefer the TSR to the Bridgestone. One obviously can't go wrong with either.
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Old 09-21-12, 09:08 AM   #14
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Done with my AM7. Riding a BionX Opus, Swiss army style bike now(in my mid 50's). Anyone interested?
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Old 09-21-12, 12:26 PM   #15
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magic carpet (MIke), I am interested. Tried to send you a PM, but I don't have 50 posts so am unable to. Since you only have 12 posts, you will also not be able to PM me either. So, I have set up a temporary email address if you would like to contact me and possible work something out. Write me at:
3z8feyfr3a@snkmail.com

Thanks

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Old 09-22-12, 09:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Just to say that you can buy the front springs for the TSR in hard through to soft specifications:
etc:
here is a link to show you

http://www.fudgescyclestore.com/index.php?c=5707
Thanks for the link, that's exactly what I wanted. I'd bookmarked the FudgeCycles site before as having an unusual amount of Moulton info, but I'd somehow missed that.

But do you know if there are multiple options for the rear cone as well; and if so, how many? I took the dealer I spoke with to mean that the AM Speed had a different cone than the TSR 8. Maybe I need to erase everything he said from my mind.

Quote:
If the front suspension is not set up properly, then the rear rubber ballcone will have twice the work to do, it may bottom out giving that kick in the rear
This hadn't occurred to me, but it's a completely convincing argument. A more obvious point that hadn't occurred to me, which you also touch on, and which helps explain the wide disparity beween the models I rode: I should absolutely have expected the bike that literally came from Alex Moulton's backyard to be better calibrated than the one that came from Pashley. I've read more than one account before of Pashley-made models requiring extra tweaking.

As for the dealer placing the blame on separability, I never bought that. The kick I was feeling could not have been due to frame flex unless the frame was utterly falling apart; and I felt, despite my complaints, that I was atop an especially sturdy structure.

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I replaced the stock bouncy spring with the race spring in my TSR (actually, the awesome Mr. Metras did). Now the ride is fantastic. Aesthetically, I prefer the TSR to the Bridgestone. One obviously can't go wrong with either.
I don't think the Bridgestone is very attractive except when it's in exactly the right color. I was interested in it mainly because I assume Alex Moulton likes his, as there are photos and videos online of him riding it with evident glee. I'm also a little skeptical of the space frame's logic. (As someone else has put it: "Lateral rigidity, in a bicycle?!") But perhaps the records speak for themselves--and the space frame models are by far the best-looking bikes I've ever seen.

Last edited by Alec E; 09-22-12 at 10:27 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 09-22-12, 10:52 AM   #17
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I should absolutely have expected the bike that literally came from Alex Moulton's backyard to be better calibrated than the one that came from Pashley. I've read more than one account before of Pashley-made models requiring extra tweaking.
The Moulton bikes are meant to be set up at the dealer level .. and usually set up for the intended customer (height, weight, etc) .. I sold a custom TSR20 to a strong rider over 240lbs with stock suspension components .. so I doubt if you were bottoming out the rear suspension on a normal TSR8.. my guess is that something was incorrect on the TSR8 you rode .. maybe a loose swing arm pivot or something else overlooked ... there really isn't that much ride quality difference between a similarly setup leading link AM or a TSR.. I've sold lots of TSR's without ever receiving a ride quality complaint.. and I have two pristine AM14s to compare to ... if you search back posts on the Moulton Yahoo group, you will find many reports favorably comparing the TSR with the New Series bikes (costing magnitudes more) with some preferring the TSR (especially downhill and set up for touring) .. the Bridgestone Moulton is a redo of the F-frame bikes (licensed to and made in Japan with aluminum frames) from 40+ years ago and are a much more flexible design.. the spaceframe design is a winner and has been successfully produced for over 25 years ..
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Old 09-22-12, 11:23 AM   #18
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I guess there's nothing to do but wait until I can ride another one, then.

Somewhat related... I've heard/read very conflicting things about the extent to which the dealer builds the bike. For example, I had read on Sheldon Brown's site that Moulton has for a long time made their own rear cassettes, and that seems to be what the Moulton website says. I mentioned this to the dealer I met with regarding his very, very low-geared AM Speed (I easily topped-out on it, and I've never raced), and he disagreed with an air of bafflement, saying that the bikes are "all custom." I couldn't tell you exactly what that meant. (In another episode of Somewhat Worrying Comments from American Moulton Dealers: I asked another dealer via email about possibly ordering an AM 20-2, and he replied that this would be impossible; but that he could build for me an "undocumented model" from spare TSR parts.)

I'm familiar with what you say about some preferring the leading link suspension, and hence the TSR line, to the New Series' style of front suspension, but I haven't yet begun trawling the Yahoo! list for information. I will soon. I still have a lot of reading to do about this, it seems.

Finally, in response to some other of the above replies: there are plenty of reviews online in which the reviewer finds the TSR too bouncy, even to the extent that "the male anatomy... take(s) a beating." Maybe it's because the bikes weren't set up correctly. I don't doubt it at all. But those who are saying they've never heard such complaints have apparently never Googled for Moulton reviews, either.

Last edited by Alec E; 09-22-12 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 09-22-12, 03:51 PM   #19
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But those who are saying they've never heard such complaints have apparently never Googled for Moulton reviews, either.
Well, I've been riding a TSR since 2008 and have owned over 40 different bikes in my lifetime. I don't need Google to validate my riding experience.
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Old 09-22-12, 09:16 PM   #20
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Rear suspensions vary between models (hydrolastic vs. basic rubber spring) but aren't interchangeable. They are designed to have similar spring rates and it makes very little difference in ride quality in my opinion. Race springs for the rear have been produced in very small numbers by the factory but aren't a consumer option, effectively 'team issue'. The Speed does not come with race rear springs.

The race spring (fork) option is my preference, together with a decent amount of damping. The Speed comes with the race spring, the TSR otherwise uses the same front suspension. The amount of damping makes a surprising difference in ride quality.

Don't overlook the effect of the tyres on comfort and bouncing, including tyre pressures. The stock Duranos on a TSR aren't ideal for fast riding, I prefer Grand Prix or Ultremos.

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Old 09-22-12, 09:28 PM   #21
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The Bridgestone is shorter, bars to saddle, than the TSR. If you are smaller, perhaps stereotypical Japanese-style (from a Japanese company aimed at the domestic market, who'd have guessed?), you may really like it. I did but I'm too big. Otherwise, definitely look elsewhere.

Lateral stiffness isn't a big deal on a bike but torsional stiffness is. Spaceframes have awesome torsional stiffness.

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Old 09-22-12, 09:37 PM   #22
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Moulton have had a bewildering array of gearing options to avoid huge chainrings on little wheels. Most have involved Moulton-specific 9t or 10t modifications of stock or modified freewheels and cassettes. Currently Moulton offers an 11sp cassette and matching hubset starting at 10t for a significant chunk of change. It is hard to avoid this when using 17" wheels and normal-ish chainrings without being way undergeared. The TSR's 20" wheels allow a stock Campag 10sp cassette (much cheaper) with a 58t big chainring, so a standard front mech works properly shifting a triple.
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Old 09-23-12, 07:00 AM   #23
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Hub gears have been used on Alex Moulton bikes since the beginning.

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It is hard to avoid this when using 17" wheels and normal-ish chainrings without being way undergeared.
Suggest trying a DualDrive or CS-RF3.
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Old 09-23-12, 07:04 AM   #24
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In another episode of Somewhat Worrying Comments from American Moulton Dealers...
There's been an air of "secret knock, say the code word, take you to the back room" to acquiring an Alex Moulton in the USA for the whole of the last 30 years.
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Old 09-23-12, 01:10 PM   #25
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Rear suspensions vary between models (hydrolastic vs. basic rubber spring) but aren't interchangeable. They are designed to have similar spring rates and it makes very little difference in ride quality in my opinion. Race springs for the rear have been produced in very small numbers by the factory but aren't a consumer option, effectively 'team issue'. The Speed does not come with race rear springs.
Thank you. When I asked about rear cone options, I should have made clear I'm aware the wet cone suspension is only available for the stainless steel models. I thought perhaps there were multiple dry cone options, some softer or harder, as you mention.

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Well, I've been riding a TSR since 2008 and have owned over 40 different bikes in my lifetime. I don't need Google to validate my riding experience.
I didn't say anything about your riding experience. I was talking about general reactions, and so were you ("I've never heard people mention pogo on a Moulton"). A web search is a decent means of surveying those.

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There's been an air of "secret knock, say the code word, take you to the back room" to acquiring an Alex Moulton in the USA for the whole of the last 30 years.
I've certainly gathered. I don't understand what's behind it, though.

I would prefer to buy from a UK dealer. If I bought a round trip ticket far in advance, the VAT refund would cancel out the airfare. I would rather have a non-separable model, though (I just don't see myself using this as a travel bike--I like true folders, too), and I assume I'd pay a hell of a premium getting a non-separable model home.

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