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Moulton bikes. Great bike or over engineered?

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Moulton bikes. Great bike or over engineered?

Old 12-24-17, 07:28 AM
  #26  
berlinonaut
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Originally Posted by Pahana View Post
I demoed a Moulton last week and felt it was somewhat over engineered. My friend swears by it and he also has a Brompton. It's a really nice bike but is it worth twice the price of a Brompton. It was bouncy and not as fast as I hoped. (...) as for me the ride of the Moulton is just good not worth the price asking. I ask forgiveness from all Moulton owners but I just don't get why all the love from Moulton owners. After owning a Brompton for a few years I get all the love Brompton owners feel towards their bikes so maybe I would need to own a Moulton first but with Brompton it was love at first ride.
I have a Moulton TSR and I love it, the more after having adapted it for my needs. I am running a Rohloff and a SP-hub-dynamo and it is a really solid, tremendously fast and comfy bike. Too expensive? Maybe. But not if you look at the amount of manual work that has gone into it (plus the design and luxury factor for the upper range moultons). These things are handbuilt in small numbers (which takes really long) in the uk which has a little bit of a price tag. The TSR-series as the basic model is basically about the frame - most of the factory-fitted standard-components are very cheap and do not fit the price. But the frame is the best ride I ever had - as soon as the suspension is properly adjusted. If not you'll end up with a bouncy ride.

Other than that the TSR is as many British products: Full of style, gorgeous to look at but with some downsides from a practical point of view. The frame is too small and too short for an average sized European, the luggage carriers need special bags (rear) or are not too practical (front). The paintwork gets easily chipped (at least with the TSR). The frame is relatively heavy. But it is a great piece of engineering as well as design.

When they were developed they were radically different and ahead of anything else. The spaceframe of the 80ies as well as the original Moulton in the sixties. Today the world has moved on and in most aspects other bikes have grown to the same level (or even beyond). So there is no NEED to buy a Moulton. But it is a piece of art and is still going strong. Possibly no one would buy a Moulton solely because he or she needs a bike, may it be for commute or for travel. It clearly is a luxury item, even the "cheap" TSR.

It (mine) could not compete with a decent racer, but on a day to day basis it is very universal, blazingly fast and at the same time very comfy. I really love riding it. Possibly because I am not in the Lycra section but cycling for transport.

Is it overengeneered? I would not say so. With today's possibilities the construction would possibly be different but it is still going strong. And when they were designed they were clearly not overengineered but really clever, brilliant and innovative. I am glad that they exist.

The whole bike ist build around the idea of small-high-pressure-tires plus suspension. And this is still a good idea. Tires have evolved and especially the wider ones have become better. Consequence: I am running 40/406 tires on mine but at a pressure of 6.5 bars. Clearly not what Alex Moulton had intended and clearly more than is comfortable on a unsuspended bike. But with the Moulton I get the lower rolling resistance of the wider tire plus the comfy ride through the suspension.
Would I pay 20k for a top notch Doube-Pylon even I could afford it? Possibly not.

BTW: I own a couple of Bromptons and they are my daily drivers, but after buying my first one I needed some time to get used to it. The Moulton spaceframe was something I wanted and had hoped for years to be able to ride one one day. After I bought a used one it was a bit of a disappointment at first (as the components were a little bit on the cheap side and, like very many Moultons out there, the suspension was totally out of adjustment). Now, having understood how it works, done proper adjustment and having customized it to my needs it it totally brilliant.

One last question: I which sense do you think the Moulton would be overengineered? Just because other bikes ride, too? Would then a Mercedes be overengineered as well or a Porsche (in comparison to a cheap Dacia)? Or would a Morgan Roadster be overengineered (as it is an old construction, built by hand and expensive)? The other question would be: Is a designer jeans overengieered as it costs a fortune and is still not better (if not worse) than a ordinary levis?

Last edited by berlinonaut; 12-24-17 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 12-24-17, 03:29 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
The "Esprit" is not made by Pashley but by Moulton in Bradford-on-Avon.

"Production of the bicycles will initially remain unchanged, so the TSR will continue to be made in Stratford-upon-Avon, while the Esprit, New Series and Double Pylon models will continue to be made at Bradford-on-Avon."

esprit ? Moulton Bicycle Club
The now discontinued Esprit is similar to the SST: a frame built like the TSR but the bike assembled in Bradford-on-Avon.

It is not the "shot-in" tube construction used for the real Bradford-on-Avon made frames.
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Old 12-24-17, 05:04 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The now discontinued Esprit is similar to the SST: a frame built like the TSR but the bike assembled in Bradford-on-Avon.

It is not the "shot-in" tube construction used for the real Bradford-on-Avon made frames.

True....it does not have "shot-in" tube construction but given it is actually made in the BOA factory then I fail to see how it's not a "real" BOA frame.

I have both a TSR27 and an Esprit....the Esprit being lighter as the tubes used are quite different and smaller diameter. It's a truly elegant bike and a joy to ride but I'm now too old to push it so am having to sell it on. Pity...as I haven't had the chance to do more than a few miles but now must use my TSR which I've had converted to E-assist.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y4KLkEysI2p0KRAE2
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Old 12-24-17, 05:41 PM
  #29  
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The Esprit like the 20" wheeled SST that replace it (and is also lighter than the TSR) was not made in the same factory as the frames with a "shot-in" tube construction.

But this is not the real difference.

The "shot-in" tube construction provides a different feeling when riding the bike, you can feel this when comparing the Jubilee and the SST that otherwise seem very similar.

I also agree with berlinonaut sating that the Moulton is not over engineered.

The Moulton Speed I have is still a unique design offering something that no other road bike can offer: the reactivity of the small wheels (same as with a Brompton), the speed of a very good road bike and a level of comfort+efficiency on bad roads that no other road bike has.
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Old 12-24-17, 08:05 PM
  #30  
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Narrow high pressure tires with a highly engineered suspension, or plump tires at lower pressure?
I test rode a spaceframe Moulton once. A beautiful bike with a squishy ride. Pedaling out of the saddle was not so great. I still wanted it though.

My non-suspended folder presently has a set of Box 20x1.95 (super light 120 tpi) tires. I have them at 30 psi for most riding. Very comfortable ride and rolls really fast. It's an all-road bike. Chunky gravel is quite rideable for me. Suspension isn't needed.

I am really impressed with the ride of the Box tires. They bounce out of potholes, instead of thudding into them. At this point, I can't see going back to big apples or anything else for that matter.
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Old 12-24-17, 10:57 PM
  #31  
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Woke up and found out that I was riding a "Fake" Moulton on Christmas day.......
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Old 12-25-17, 03:30 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The Esprit like the 20" wheeled SST that replace it (and is also lighter than the TSR) was not made in the same factory as the frames with a "shot-in" tube construction.


Errrrrrr.....OK.

"Specification

The table below gives an overview of the typical specification of the AM Esprit. This model can be built to your custom specification by your dealer or direct from the Moulton factory. Please enquire with your nearest dealer or with the Moulton factory to ascertain whether they can meet your individual requirements [dealer list]."

MOULTON Bicycle Company
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Old 12-25-17, 03:39 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post

The "shot-in" tube construction provides a different feeling when riding the bike, you can feel this when comparing the Jubilee and the SST that otherwise seem very similar.
Could you please elaborate further? I appreciate that it's difficult to describe subjective impressions.

Given that the point of a space frame is to provide vertical/lateral/torsional rigidity with zero concessions toward compliance (that's what suspension is for on a Moulton), how might varying tube alloy / dimensions / joining technique affect ride feel? At least in a first order view, the rider's body 'sees' a totally rigid space frame + suspension parts + wheels. viz space frame components are inside a black box.

Of course, I realise that this back of envelope engineering diagram isn't 100% correct. I imagine that (say) a Jubilee space frame is made out of somewhat better alloy tubes and the SST's is made out of somewhat more gas pipe / pot metalish tubes. So Esprit might weigh less. Also higher order harmonics which get through the suspension might be better damped by Esprit for some combination of construction material/method factors.

I'm not a mechanical engineer, and just thinking out loud here trying to understand the why of it.

I *do* happen to own an SST, but have no axe to grind cf BoA Moultons with brazed shot in construction. I've never had the opportunity to ride one of these and am genuinely interested in trying to understand why their ride quality might be better.

NB: for the purposes of this discussion let's ignore New Series Flexitor type suspensions.

Last edited by MovingViolation; 12-25-17 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Changed from Esprit to Jubilee as an example of BoA Moulton. More valid counterexample as Jubilee has shot in tubes.
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Old 12-25-17, 05:35 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by MovingViolation View Post
Could you please elaborate further? I appreciate that it's difficult to describe subjective impressions..
The bike feels more responsive, more reactive.

Honestly, I do not know why, it could be due to the construction, or the suspension tuning or frame geometry.

I could never find out the difference in frame geometry between the several models that look very similar.

There is also indeed a weight difference.

But between the SST and Jubilee (I mean the production Jubilee, not the special edition Jubilee that has a different rear suspension), this weight difference isn't very big and the main difference seem to only be the frame construction.

I must also say that there is also a big feeling difference between the Jubilee and the Speed, but the Speed is more different, the material is very different, there is a big weight difference, the Speed frame is not separable and the rear suspension is different. Another difference between the Jubilee and Speed is that pedaling out of the saddle with the Speed is much better, much closer to a "normal" road bike.

So, I think that it is not really possible to speak of the "Moulton bikes" in general, even not of the spaceframe Moulton in general, the several models behave differently.

Note that Moulton is continuously and silently modifying their bikes, the components are changing, but also the way the frames are build and the material used for the frame.

The SST may seem to be a 20" evolution of the Esprit, but the frame material is different, the separation is different, the rear triangle is different and the geometry seems different too.

Even models with the same name have silently changed: the Speed was originally in Reynolds 934 and is now partly in Columbus Hcr. The rear pivot of the Speed and New Series was also recently changed because the previous design wasn't compatible with the current four arms cranks of Shimano and Campagnolo.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:22 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
So, I think that it is not really possible to speak of the "Moulton bikes" in general, even not of the spaceframe Moulton in general, the several models behave differently.
I think this is a very important point: there is no such thing as "the" Moulton.

Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The SST may seem to be a 20" evolution of the Esprit, but the frame material is different, the separation is different, the rear triangle is different and the geometry seems different too.
The SST (at least to my knowledge) is kind of an upgraded variant of the TSR with various enhancements on the frame like stailnes steel dropouts, a different rear triangle and to a degree different tube materials, but still based on the TSR frame, rather using "wire" instead of real tubes for the tiny stiffening cross-intersections of the frame.

The TSR again is the enhanced and lighter follow-up of the older ABP, both being the entry-level models with some major differences to the more expensive models. I did never see or ride an Esprit but had assumed until now that it would not be a derivate of either ABP or TSR but is closer to the AM model-range in terms of the frame construction.

Coming back to the original question wether Moulton Bikes are over engineered (and I suspect the OP possibly rather meaning something like "overrated"): The interesting thing about Moultons is that they are made by an engineer, trying to build a better bike than common by using a completely different approach. And the starting point was what technology and materials were available at the time of construction (which obviously have changed massively until today).

This is basically pretty similar to Citroen, inventing the hydropneumatic suspension back in the fifties, a completely different approach to what any other car-manufacturer was doing. Something that many people would consider to be very complex and totally over engineered, but on the other hand it has proved to be pretty reliable (after some time of maturing) and very very good - in fact probably the best suspension you could get in a car. And not that complex in the end - just unusual. But while the hydropneumatic suspension is unbeaten until today in terms of comfort it is i.e. clearly not the best suspension when it comes to racing (not that this would have been it's purpose anyway).

Both systems are children of it's time: There were no computer simulations and no CAD; there was no carbon and no automated welding, no computers in cars and such things. It was all manual construction work, done by ingenious engineers and by hand and brain only. Both systems kept being solitaires with their concepts being used almost exclusively by the companies that invented them (which led to the image of being excentric or over engineered just because they were different). Both got enhanced over time but became more and more an outsider's or extravagant choice. Citroen got rid of the hydropneumatic suspension just a couple of years ago (and many people are more than sad about that decision) and Moulton today is a brand that is possibly held alive in it's luxury niche mostly by a crowd of Asian fans that are willing to pay extra for British made craftsmanship-excentricness. Still I would not call any of the two approaches over engineered. Both are valid and still have some advantages today (while at the same time having some disadvantages and possibly over time alternative approaches have katched up to a degree and maybe in some aspects overtaken).
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Old 12-25-17, 07:55 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Woke up and found out that I was riding a "Fake" Moulton on Christmas day.......
Ignore that. Its merely elitism talking.
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Old 12-25-17, 09:59 AM
  #37  
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What is "shot in " tube construction?
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Old 12-25-17, 04:06 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The bike feels more responsive, more reactive.

Honestly, I do not know why, it could be due to the construction, or the suspension tuning or frame geometry.
Thanks. I guess there's nothing for it but to visit BoA one day and do some test rides on the various models!
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Old 12-25-17, 04:13 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Both systems are children of it's time: There were no computer simulations and no CAD; there was no carbon and no automated welding, no computers in cars and such things. It was all manual construction work, done by ingenious engineers and by hand and brain only. Both systems kept being solitaires with their concepts being used almost exclusively by the companies that invented them (which led to the image of being excentric or over engineered just because they were different). Both got enhanced over time but became more and more an outsider's or extravagant choice. Citroen got rid of the hydropneumatic suspension just a couple of years ago (and many people are more than sad about that decision) and Moulton today is a brand that is possibly held alive in it's luxury niche mostly by a crowd of Asian fans that are willing to pay extra for British made craftsmanship-excentricness. Still I would not call any of the two approaches over engineered. Both are valid and still have some advantages today (while at the same time having some disadvantages and possibly over time alternative approaches have katched up to a degree and maybe in some aspects overtaken).
Bingo.

Massively generalising here:

-- The Japanese love BoA Space Frame Moultons because of the artisanal nature of their manufacture and their status as a piece of frozen-in-time engineering materials and methods historical artefact. More of them have some understanding of or connection to engineering, precision manufacturing, attention to detail, and they really get this kind of thing.

-- China / South East Asia --> Looks distinctively Cool and is Expensive FTW. I'll take three please! . Mainland China --> mostly just conspicuous consumption/face. In SE Asia, there's a big element of joining a club or Facebook group and hanging out with people of similar socioeconomic background (or one or two otherwise outside the context of a shared hobby absolutely inaccessible rungs further up the status ladder) The high cost of entry to this game being a socioeconomic filter is a huge plus for them here.

Add in a sprinkling of Union Jacks, the crisp slap of Brooks Leather upon skin (oops scratch that part) and photos of Old Duffer/Gaffer in Tweeds with Bentley + crusty gnarled faithful retainers brazing tubes in Heath Robinson Jigs and Bob's Your Marketing Uncle.

(^-- all of the historically available engineering materials/methods fidelity/nostalgia in the brand identity is why there will never be a production MDev 90. Just doesn't fit the narrative. The small matter of building a wire-tensioned carbon tubes space frame and thereby not taking advantage of the anisotropic properties of carbon and thereby totally not respecting the nature and capabilities of the carbon composite engineering material is another thing, too. It's what the Chinese would call 'Drawing a Snake and then Painting on Legs' -- Gilding the Lily.)

Last edited by MovingViolation; 12-25-17 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-25-17, 05:21 PM
  #40  
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Indeed, Asia is a very important market for Moulton.

The reasons you mentioned are fully correct.

But for Japan and also South East Asia, there is one more reason: road race bikes with small wheels have always been very popular in Japan and now also in South East Asia.

There are several local brands making such bikes. Tyrell is one of them.

Several high end Moulton models like the AM Speed, Speed (often called Super Speed in Asia) and NS Speed (there is a separable version also called Single Pylon still available in Asia) are road race bikes with small wheels.

So these Moulton models, I would say by accident (because they were not developed originally for that market) perfectly fit that market demand.

For the Esprit, if you look at the picture below extracted from the Esprit webpage (MOULTON Bicycle Company) you can see that it is build like the TSR and SST and is not a "shot-in"tube construction.
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Old 12-25-17, 06:25 PM
  #41  
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Also curious what shot-in tubing is...
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Old 12-25-17, 07:17 PM
  #42  
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Yes, Moultons (BF & Bromptons) tend to be social class totems.


Japan has a fine and long domestic tradition of craftmanship. E.B.S based in Kyoto is just one example

Originally Posted by MovingViolation View Post
Bingo.

Massively generalising here:

-- The Japanese love BoA Space Frame Moultons because of the artisanal nature of their manufacture and their status as a piece of frozen-in-time engineering materials and methods historical artefact. More of them have some understanding of or connection to engineering, precision manufacturing, attention to detail, and they really get this kind of thing.

-- China / South East Asia --> Looks distinctively Cool and is Expensive FTW. I'll take three please! . Mainland China --> mostly just conspicuous consumption/face. In SE Asia, there's a big element of joining a club or Facebook group and hanging out with people of similar socioeconomic background (or one or two otherwise outside the context of a shared hobby absolutely inaccessible rungs further up the status ladder) The high cost of entry to this game being a socioeconomic filter is a huge plus for them here.

Add in a sprinkling of Union Jacks, the crisp slap of Brooks Leather upon skin (oops scratch that part) and photos of Old Duffer/Gaffer in Tweeds with Bentley + crusty gnarled faithful retainers brazing tubes in Heath Robinson Jigs and Bob's Your Marketing Uncle.

(^-- all of the historically available engineering materials/methods fidelity/nostalgia in the brand identity is why there will never be a production MDev 90. Just doesn't fit the narrative. The small matter of building a wire-tensioned carbon tubes space frame and thereby not taking advantage of the anisotropic properties of carbon and thereby totally not respecting the nature and capabilities of the carbon composite engineering material is another thing, too. It's what the Chinese would call 'Drawing a Snake and then Painting on Legs' -- Gilding the Lily.)
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Old 12-25-17, 08:22 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
Also curious what shot-in tubing is...
It's what you see on a BoA brazed tubes construction non 'hairpin' (SST/TSR/Esprit) space frame Moulton. Hairpin construction models would seem to be TIG welded as opposed to brazed. How it's done, someone more knowledgeable than myself could please explain here. I mean, I don't know if the big tube is drilled to accept the connecting smaller tubes, or are the smaller tubes just mitred to mate with the big tube.

Kind of silly of me to say what shot in tubing construction *is not*... In short it's something other than 'hairpin' style construction... but I'm not enough of an expert to say precisely what it *is*. However, look at the way that tubes are joined on any of the 'real' BoA Moultons and you will at least see what it looks like 'from the outside'.

Last edited by MovingViolation; 12-25-17 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 12-26-17, 04:12 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
For the Esprit, if you look at the picture below extracted from the Esprit webpage (MOULTON Bicycle Company) you can see that it is build like the TSR and SST and is not a "shot-in"tube construction.
Ah, now I see what you mean! Still the Esprit is not a derivate of the TSR but rather a mixture of the AM with some elements of the TSR (like the tubes going around the seat tube). The cross sections are not wire but real tube which makes it more difficult and expensive to make. The fork is like the one of an AM, 17" wheels, classic (no Ahead) head set, etc. etc.

A test when it was new constates:

Frame: new to its class

As it sits in the current Moulton range, the Esprit might look like a revamped AM series frame, but it’s too different in too many ways to be a simple brushing over with a magic redesign wand.

For starters the frame is wider – and thus a little stiffer – in places than previous AM series frames, but the Kasei tubing is smaller diameter (though still not as small as a stainless Moulton).

The top-tubes wrap around the head-tube and the seat-tube (as seen on the APB and Pashley TSR). The rear suspension is a traditional single pivot design and not a unified rear triangle – the bottom bracket is part of the sprung chassis, not part of the swingarm. There’s a new fork geometry and tapered tubing, with a straight down-tube on the non-separable version.

The rear suspension spring and damper medium is a less complex rubber unit than the Hydrolastic fluid-damped unit used on other Moultons. It has a non-Flexitor swingarm pivot, and there’s a list of other smaller changes to keep keen Moultoneers interested.

The Esprit then is a full rubber suspension Moulton with a single pivot rear end and classic Moulton style forks. It’s available in separable and non-separable formats for less money than an AM18, but costing more than a Pashley TSR of similar spec. It’s also lighter than the AM18 and the TSR at 10.75kg, and comes in two versions with either drop bars and a double chainring set-up, or Mosquito bars as seen here with a single ring set-up.
Source: Alex Moulton Esprit review - BikeRadar

In this test by velovision you can see pictures of the frame, the fork and the tubes - the steerer tube i.e. is far longer than on the TSR, clearly like the AM: https://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/ima...eview_2007.pdf

So the Esprit seems to be a hybrid between AM and TSR but with only very little amounts of TSR in it whereas the SST is an upgraded TSR with barely no AM in it aside from the dropouts. The Esprit is even officially called "AM Esprit" by Moulton whereas the SST is just the SST.

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Old 12-26-17, 01:59 PM
  #45  
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You are right, I was too much focusing on the frame building method !

Indeed, the Esprit (excepted for its frame building method that Moulton reused for the SST) is very close to the AM series for its other characteristics: wheel size, rear triangle suspension...

it is in fact a less expensive (to manufacture and to buy) AM.

And Moulton took the same approach when wanting to add to its existing range of models a more efficient and lighter 20" model than the TSR but still cheaper than the Jubilee and starless steel models.
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Old 02-24-22, 12:59 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by MovingViolation View Post
I mean, I don't know if the big tube is drilled to accept the connecting smaller tubes, or are the smaller tubes just mitred to mate with the big tube.
Smaller tubes are mitred and then "bronze welded" (brazed) to the larger tubes. This is the way it is done on my modern Jubilee , at the HT,ST and kingpin. The pivot for the rear suspension runs through the ST.

P.S. back to the original question (I know it is a very old post), why can it not be both ?: i.e. a great bike AND over engineered.
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Old 02-24-22, 03:16 PM
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While I personally agree that Moultons are "over-engineered" (Birdies too) I realise it's all very subjective.

In 2009 I was offered a Moulton for little money from a bike shop in Ireland. I don't know which model it was exactly, but it looked like a suspension bridge with small bike wheels. The economy was in freefall at the time with the Irish banks going bust and the owner of the shop decided he wanted rid of it. I was tempted (I think he wanted 450 for it) but I was just as skint as everyone else at the time and couldn't justify the expense even though I knew it was a crazyily low price for such a machine. I can't comment much from personal experience about whether or not I liked the bike. I only rode it very briefly outside the shop.

More recently though I've been riding Swift Folders which I love dearly and are an example (in my subjective opinion) of an excellent bike frame design that's patently NOT "over-engineered". The Swift frame is very simple and in my opinion more elegant than the more complicated bike designs. I bought my first one as a fully assembled bike for far less than a thousand dollars. As soon as I got the bars lower than the seat the thing became a speed machine. I race fast lycra boys on carbon road bikes up big mountains on it. The frame is extremely stiff and it climbs like a dream. So I guess that in a way I'm glad I didn't get the Moulton back in the day as that might've become my small wheeled bike and I doubt that even a Double Pylon could out-class my Swift at what I enjoy doing, which is riding hard and long in the hills. Simplicity is bliss! The Swift is Zen. Form follows function, as it's said.

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Old 02-24-22, 03:48 PM
  #48  
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So, if I understand well your story, you decided that both Moulton and Birdy are over-engineered without even having ever tested those bikes ?

For the Birdy, you forget that its a real folding bike that folds small while the Xootr doesn't fully fold and isn't really small folded.
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Old 02-24-22, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
So, if I understand well your story, you decided that both Moulton and Birdy are over-engineered without even having ever tested those bikes ?

For the Birdy, you forget that its a real folding bike that folds small while the Xootr doesn't fully fold and isn't really small folded.

Well, I did preface my remarks by saying that these are subjective.

A friend used to have a Birdie. He claims he wasn't terribly impressed with it. To me the forks look like something stolen from a shopping trolley. I know that the bike has it's fans, but meh, not for me. Too much extra metal.

I did briefly ride a Moulton. As I said in my comment though not long or far enough for it to make much of an impression on me. Maybe it's an amazing bike, but not only do these look like a suspension bridge, typically they cost about as much as a suspension bridge too. So while these may indeed have their wealthy Japanese aficionados I'm afraid I may have missed my once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire one of these without selling the farm to afford it. The top of the line Double Pylon bike would have to be a superlative ride to justify its pricetag of nearly $20,000. And I assure you that my Swift is much easier to fold/disassemble than a Moulton. It's simply a matter of releasing either two or three quick release skewers (depending on whether you need to remove the bars or not) and sliding out the seat post. It literally takes seconds.

In fact, I like the way the Swift folds. My first folder was an unbranded Dahon Helios knock-off, and the Swift gets comparably small in its folded state to that bike. It sits a little taller than the old Helios-style machine, but it also has a much narrower footprint because the frame doesn't double over on itself, so I find that I can sometimes slot my Swift into narrow spaces my old folder wouldn't fit. And best of all unlike the old bike the brake and derailleur cables don't get stretched in the fold, which is a real win for the design, especially if it has to be folded often. I think that it's fair to say that the Swift can't compete with a Brompton on folding, but it ain't terrible when compared to other available 20" folders. I haven't yet encountered a situation that it just "doesn't fit".

Here's a picture I took of it in the back of a friend's teeny tiny car.


With the bars off (the 3rd quick release) it easily fits in the same micro car with the back seats up. I think that my Helios might not, particularly without folding pedals which due to poor longevity and being a fan of quality platforms I never run on my bikes.

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Old 02-24-22, 11:24 PM
  #50  
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There is not one Moulton, there are several models with different ride experiences. Having ridden once a (probably low end) Moulton doesn't allow to evaluate the performances of the other Moulton.

Yes, the Xootr fits in a car but will it fit in a shopping caddy like a Brompton or Birdy, will it be possible to carry it in a plane, metro, bus ?

The front suspension of the Birdy seems strange but it performs very well, much better for a road bike than a classic MTB suspension fork. And this fork also allow to fold the front wheel without adding an additional hinge and any additional weight while keeping a one piece main frame.

And like for the Moulton, there are several models of Birdy, the current third generation Birdy isn't comparable to the first Birdy.

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