Moulton Deluxe

The Moulton Deluxe, my all-time favourite ride. The only machine on which I can do 90+ miles without walking like John Wayne the following day. This particular example, from 1965, cost me 50 pounds and change. The previous owners had left it in a right old state. Apart from the midnight blue respray--done at some time in the 70s--I'm pleased to say that nothing of their input remains.

The original Moulton concept described a fully-suspended utility bike with integral racks, capable of fast commuting and loaded touring, but cheap enough to compete head-to-head with standard roadsters. Unfortunately, low price meant steel componentry and, by contemporary standards, unacceptable weight. I decided to build up a 60s Moulton with modern alloys--the kind of cheap, functional set that might be fitted if the bike were still produced today.

The cranks are a five-bolt Sugino 165mm, nondescript but stiff, on a basic Tange sealed BB. The Atak front hub is a CNC model--maybe a bit high end, but it turned up on eBay for $20. The brakes are pretty downmarket--early-60s GB Hiduminium, salvaged from a junked Norman 'Invader'. Much of the classic Moulton community seems to ride Alhonga dual-pivots--cheap standard reach brakes with serious leverage--and I will get a set in a few months.

The attempted conversion of the original Sturmey FW to an S/5-2 was a disaster. The converted hub never worked right in its bottom ratio. After much head-scratching, I've opted to replace it with a Sachs five-speed. The Sachs has a good reputation, and it uses a twistgrip rather than the twin triggers of the Sturmey design, so I should get a few more hand positions. The rims are Alesa--the only ones we can get hold of in Europe. (US readers can buy a much better 16" rim from Sun.) The chrome mudguards are original. Don't look too close!

I did allow myself a couple of luxuries. The handlebars are alloy north road pattern, not something you'd find in many modern bike shops. This set were kindly sourced for me by Paul Lancaster. After the rear forks had been rebrazed by Michael Woolf of the Moulton Preservation Society. I had them chromed. It was a slow and very expensive process. Next time, I'm getting a metallic powdercoat. The saddle is a well-breathed-on B-15 that I stockpiled in 1982. The bag is from Cycles Gilles Berthoud. It is quite beautiful and cost nearly as much as the frame!

On the whole, the exercise was a success. I can easily keep up with most hybrids, but the Moulton is smaller, more manoeuvrable, and has better carrying capacity, besides the advantage of comfort. All-up weight is about 29lbs--not bad for a fully-suspended bike with strong racks. The only downsides are the wimpy rims, and the way that the handling starts to feel skittish at the end of a long day.

London potholes make me wince. Hence, the Hopper project.

This page originally formed part of a personal website, since deactivated. It is retained for the benefit of Classic Rendezvous readers, who might also be interested in my 'proper' site,