Title: The Moulton Bicycle goes one step further
Pages: 24 - 25
Text: The Moulton bicycle goes one step further
If the days of the conventional bicycles like the penny farthing before it, are now numbered, it looks as if the small wheel bicycle, invented by Alex Moulton, may yet keep the bicycle industry on its feet. In 1951, for example, over four million bicycles were produced, of which more than a million were sold on the home market. Ten years later, the total figure had dropped by half, and home sales to below 600,000. Since 1962, however, the number of bicycles sold in Britain has risen steadily to its present figure - around 700,000 - and this increase corresponds almost exactly with the number of small wheel bicycles produced.
If Mr Moulton can be given credit for reviving interest in an extremely good form of personal transport - and the industry's figures suggest that the additional bicycles are being bought by aduIts, perhaps because they find their cars less of a boon than they originally thought - then he should also be commended for taking his bicycle a stage further. This he has done by making a number of improvements on his original design; and by introducing this month a scaled down version which is particularly suitable for smaller members of the family.
The original bicycle, which won a Design Centre Award in 1964, was known as the Series One in the Senior range, and has now been replaced by the Series Two. Its improvements include replacing the lap jointed frame by a sith bronze welded frame, straightening the rear forks, introducing a lever instead of a nut adjustment for the handlebars, fitting pedals with reflectors and a carrier with pressed steel instead of tubular ribs, and tidying up the design of the prop stand.
Mr Moulton's new design, the Moulton Mini Automatic takes the process of rethinking a stage further. Among its features are a new rear suspension, using rubber in compression only instead of in compression and sheer (as on the Senior range), and parallel instead of tapered tubes for the frame. The bicycle gets its name, however, from the fact that it is 7/8th smaller than the Senior range, a reduction in size which is based on 14 inch instead of 16 inch wheels and a shorter frame. In addition, the Mini Automatic is equipped with a Fichel Sachs two speed coaster hub: one changes gear simply by back pedalling slightly; back pedalling more applies the brake. There is direct drive in the lower gear so that the rider's power is used most efficiently when it is most needed.
The decision to introduce a smaller version of the Moulton bicycle was taken because the Senior range is too big for small people: the Mini Automatic should be used by people less than 5ft 10 inches tall, and the Senior range by people from 5ft 10 inches upwards. The Mini Automatic is also being produced in a children's version using the same frame but with different
The recognition that the ergonomics of the small wheel bicycle are important enough to justify two sizes suggest that Moulton's competitors are making bicycles which are too small for the taller end of the population
Raleigh's RSW, for example, has the same frame dimensions as the Mini Automatic. Under these circumstances,tall people should only consider buying a Moulton from the Senior range, and shorter people, if they buy a Moulton, should make sure they buy the smaller model.
Far left, the Moulton Mini Automatic which costs £30 9s, and above, its new rear suspension The illustrations, left show the rear dynamo on the rear wheel and, right. the bullt in lock on the front fork