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Adapting a Moulton SST for Touring?

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Adapting a Moulton SST for Touring?

Old 07-19-19, 01:34 AM
  #1  
MovingViolation
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Adapting a Moulton SST for Touring?

Hope some of you guys can help me out with some questions that I'm mulling over.

To set the stage:

I got into cycling nearly 3 years ago with a Brompton S purchase. Found out I loved pedalling around and decided to get something a bit more zippy with derailleur gearing and drop bars but with step-through capability -- I was a bit of a Nervous Nellie about mastering a bunch of new skills on a 'proper' road bike.

So I bought a Moulton SST frame set and had the Hong Kong Distributor build it up with SRAM Apex. Did a few hundred km on this and decided that I now wasn't afraid of riding clipless on a 'proper' carbon fibre road bike, so went out and bought one. Actually ended up buying three.

Anyway, so ~15,000 blinged out carbon composite cycling kms later, I've got this lovely piece of Moulton Living Room Sculpture. I mainly use it to hang my cycling socks and gloves off to dry

I now find that I have the urge to go do some cycle touring in Taiwan, and later Japan. Good roads, plenty of bike shops, plenty of choices between flat or mountainous terrain. Terrain in both of these places tends to be flatter than flat in coastal plains and lots of very steep stuff inland. I'm looking at fairly light touring as would not need to carry carry camping supplies and would sleep in accommodation every night along the way.

Stage has now been set. Which brings us finally to my questions:

1. Should I just sell the Moulton and buy a Surly Disk Trucker?

2. One supposed advantage of a Moulton is that the frame is separable and one can put the whole bike inside a large Samsonite suitcase and sneak it through check in without declaring it as a bike. In theory this is great. In practice if I'm only going to be taking the bike overseas (say) once per year, should I just suck it up and get a 'real' bike and resign myself to hunting down a cardboard bike box before each flight?

3. Gearing: My Moulton has 20" wheels and 50/39 crankset paired with 11/28T, giving me 25-88 gear inches. This was cool when I was just starting out cycling as Hong Kong is kind of hilly and I had tofu legs back then. Anyway, for semi-loaded touring and steep hills, seems that I'll need something between 15-20" at the low end and wouldn't mind 100" or a bit more up top so that don't spin out on non-precipitous downhills. So, gearing suggestions please! Happy to dump the existing gearing and go for a triple, or try to hunt down a SRAM dual drive, or maybe even bung a Rohloff on the back.. but as I understand it, a Rohloff would interfere with the separability as requires uninterrupted outers all the way from the shifter to the hub? Not to mention the fact that No True Moultoneering Scotsman would allow 1kg of Rohloff *unsprung weight* (the horror!) to sully his supposedly superior suspended ride quality

I could go on, but will leave it at that. I do wonder if I'm over-invested in the whole sunk cost thing and maybe would make sense to put together a touring bike (whether small-wheeled/folding or not) and sell the Moulton to a Moulton aficionado -- of which there are plenty in this Asian neck of the woods (I live in Hong Kong). Any thoughts?
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Old 07-19-19, 10:33 AM
  #2  
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I have a Rohloff on my TSR and love it. You can avoid seperating the cables by going for the version with the external click-box - just take the click-box with the cables off and pack it with the front half of the bike. I did finally not go for it as I have a kickstand on the rear axle and both in combination are bit of a hassle (at least with the kickstand I am using), so i am using the internal version. Did not separate the cables yet as no need to separate the bike in combination with hesitation to buy another set of Moulton cable splitters until now but had no issues in doing so if I would really need it.
I really love the ride of the TSR (which should be close to a SST) - fast and comfortable, thus it is a great tourer. A downside is the special luggage: With the original rear carrier the only really well working option is the original bag. Fine but limited in size. You can add small lowrider front bags together with the front carrier (I am using carradice ones) which offer little room, get in the way a bit and the carriers are heavy. And you can use a Carradice camper longflap saddlebag additionally. So the total volume combined is absolutely enough, just the luggage is fragmented and overall it is pretty expensive. But that's no surprise when talking about Moultons I guess.

The Moulton is a good and stylish touring bike. You probably will end up way cheaper and not worse when selling it and replacing it with a dedicated tourer - a matter of taste, money and style.
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Old 07-19-19, 05:39 PM
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pakeboi
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If you only wanted to carry 24 ltrs. with bike best handling which would you go with ; Moulton rear rack and touring bag or Carradice Camper Longflap saddle bag or other model saddlebag ?
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Old 07-20-19, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
If you only wanted to carry 24 ltrs. with bike best handling which would you go with ; Moulton rear rack and touring bag or Carradice Camper Longflap saddle bag or other model saddlebag ?
It depends. The front panniers are the best looking solution but may conflict with the cables, depending a little bit from you setup (which brakes etc). And it's two bags which means less comfy to mount and carry and to store your stuff plus the carrier is heavy. The bags can obviously be used on other bikes as well.

The Carradice Camper long flap is a great bag, roomy, very useful, very well made and it can be used on other bikes as well - I am using mine a lot when doing longer travels with my Brompton along with the Brompton T-bag. No need for a carrier, no Moulton extra-price-tag thus the lightest, cleanest and cheapest solution. A bit annoyingly to mount and unmount but again there are ways to deal with that more comfortably. No negative impact on handling in my opinion though the weight is relatively high up.

The rear bag is in my eyes the most comfy solution and it is very well made. Mounting and unmounting is very easy with a integrated click-system but the bag is utterly expensive (at least here in Germany) and - while technically roomy - I find it less spacy than the camper and it is less flexible in size than the camper, being a bit bulky when do I not need the full room of the bag (but you can in these cases alternatively put a smaller rack bag on the rack, carradice or different, way cheaper brands). It is worth mentioning that the rack on the TSR leaves a bit to be desired in my eyes: I lacks the lower stay that supports the rack towards the rear hinge on the Moulton AMs and ABP bikes but is bolted to the seat-post-clamp. This way the rack is less robust with heavier loads in combination with rough terrain longterm (no issues with riding stability in practice though) plus it seems to be a more or less common issue that the left bolt on the seatpost clamp goes defect. I've read about that a couple of times and have this on mine, too. No big deal as you can simply replace the two bolts in the clamp for use with the carrier with a single longer one and a nut but still a bit shameful for something that expensive. The bag is limited to use with the TSR only and it plays very well with the rack, using a support frame inside the bag (which probably compensates for the lacking lower stay). However: I fmy TSR did not come equipped with a rack already (I bought the bike used) I probably would not have gone for the bag and rack due to price and limited usability.

So - ignoring the price tag - for daily usage I would probably go for the rear bag for reasons of comfort - way better in that respect than the two other options. For occasional/not daily usage I'd go for the Camper - cheapest, most flexible, lightest, good looking. For traveling in style if optics would be the most important thing or if sometimes I need only little space (as you can use a single bag as well) I'd go for the front panniers. They would in theory he the best in terms of handling/weight distribution as well, in practice I did not notice a difference in between the different solutions when riding. Worth mentioning: In case you are a smaller rider and have your seat post not heavily extended it is probably not possible to combine the rear bag with the Camper due to lack of space. A smaller Carradice saddle bag may however work, depending from the height of you saddle.

Pricewise:

Moulton rear bag 150 + large rear carrier 100 = 250
Moulton front carrier ~100 + Carradice Super C front bags 95 = 195 (other front bags will work as well)
Carradice Camper longflap 94

Market prices may vary a bit and be slightly lower but in different countries may as well be vastly higher. As I had the various Carradice bags already for use with other bikes and got the Moulton front and rear racks together with used bikes the only bag I had to buy was the Moulton rear bag (which I did during a trip to the UK, as in Germany I considered it to to be overly expensive at 340€ - way more than double of what it costs in the UK) - lucky me.

Last edited by berlinonaut; 07-20-19 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 07-24-19, 11:30 PM
  #5  
MovingViolation
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Thanks Berlinonaut!

I think I'll go with the Click-box Rohloff and stick to Moulton for the stylish bit. Definitely some style points for riding one of these in Taiwan and Japan . In fact I now feel compelled to complement it with SON dynahub + Edelux up front just to balance things out.

So new wheel builds are required -->

One big question: Googling around about Rohloff touring bike builds, I saw that some writers recommend a specially-drilled rim; otherwise there is a tendency for spoke tension to damage the Rohloff hub flanges. Do you have any recommendations about a good rim for a 406 rear wheel Rohloff hub build?

Luggage is an interesting one. Might be able to get away with twin panniers + bar bag + day bag for the kind of minimalist credit card touring I envisage.

Looking forward to this project and getting everything sorted for either a late Autumn or Spring jaunt.
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Old 07-25-19, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MovingViolation View Post
One big question: Googling around about Rohloff touring bike builds, I saw that some writers recommend a specially-drilled rim; otherwise there is a tendency for spoke tension to damage the Rohloff hub flanges. Do you have any recommendations about a good rim for a 406 rear wheel Rohloff hub build?
I have the luck to own or have owned more than one Rohloff in 406-rims. I am not sure which rim I have on the Moulton TSR - I let the wheel build by the very reputable shop I bought the Rohloff from and I think it is as Ryde Andra. A relatively wide and heavy rim, but robust and as the Moulton for me acts as a touring bike I considered robusteness more important than gramms (plus I run 40mm tires on it). With the other Rohloffs there were other rims involved, no idea if they have/had specially drilled rims - in general with smaller wheels and bigger hubs I think this is a good idea and somtimes even a necessity, with 20" and a Rohloff it may already be optional. I left this to the shop for the TSR-wheel and bought the other Rohloff wheels used, so I had no choice there anyway.

When choosing the Rohloff variant for your build carefully look what you need. On the TSR I needed the bolted axle due to the shape of the dropout. Bad as I already had a 20" Rohloff with quick release axle. I tried to make it work but id did not succeed (and the rohloff documentation told be sore before but I did not want to hear that ;-)) so I ended up buying a brand new one, this time with a bolted axle. Dropouts may or may not be different on the SST, so have a look. I also went for the long torque arm in the end - ugly, but again the most reliable way for a Rohloff on the TSR-frame without massive tinkering outside of what Rohloff recommends. Was different on my other 20"-wheelers. The torque arm in combination with my kickstand on the rear axle of the TSR kind of forced me to avoid the external click-box due to space issues around the dropout - I did not manage to find a way to arrange all three in a way that I considered to be good. And I wanted to stick with the kickstand. Again, for you this may be totally different. The Rohloff topic is more complex than one would assume on first look, so I recommend planning sorrowfully or using a workshop that has done this on al Moulton already or at least has excessive experience with Rohloffs.

SON + Edellux: Clearly one of my favorites. Spend lots first, never look back, fire and forget. Expensive but worth it.

Last edited by berlinonaut; 07-25-19 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 07-27-19, 03:38 AM
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Good call holding on to your Moulton! I recently converted my APB to a Rohloff with electronic shifting and built a SON XS dynamo wheel up front. Really happy with the setup
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Old 07-29-19, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MoulTommy View Post
Good call holding on to your Moulton! I recently converted my APB to a Rohloff with electronic shifting and built a SON XS dynamo wheel up front. Really happy with the setup
Electronic Shifting FTW!

Did you split the electronics cabling with a connector so as to maintain separability?
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Old 07-29-19, 09:02 AM
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Depends on how much touring and what type you plan on doing. If you want something completely dedicated for FLT then get the right bike. But they will be heavier and take more space to store. I rarely take out my touring bike for those reasons.
A while back, I spent a few years in HK but never on a bike. However, I recently did some time there, Singapore, China and Japan on a Bike Friday and it performed just fine. You may have trouble trying to keep pace with others on regular sized wheels. But if that doesn't bother you, keep the Moulton. I ended up leaving the Bike Friday with my brother who travels between Macau and Japan regularly and ended up getting an Airnamal as a replacement. Currently looking for either a Moulton or Brompton just because...
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Old 07-31-19, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MovingViolation View Post
Electronic Shifting FTW!

Did you split the electronics cabling with a connector so as to maintain separability?
Yep! Check out ShiftEzy if you are interested. I can also post a photo of my setup later if you'd like.
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