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Where to get a Moulton Bicycle


I walked into the Household Waste Recycling Centre in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire and saw a Moulton Mk3 leaning against the worker's hut. It had just been brought in. "Wow!" I thought, and enquired "Is this bike for sale?" "Yeah." came the reply. "£5." To him, it looked like a horrible rusty shopper. True, the wheels were very rusty, the handlebars and brake levers too and broken cables hung off it. But under the green slime on the paintwork, I knew that there was shiny steel brazed together in the fiery heart of Raleigh's Nottingham factory, springs and rubber within the steering and a frame design already the product of ten years of research and development. So, I feigned resignation as I handed over my fiver, and amusement as the site manager quipped "We'll see you riding back on it next time you come- ho ho!"

There is a theory put forward by Michael Woolf of Moulton Preservation, supported by much anecdotal evidence, that if you have an interest in restoring a classic Moulton the bike will find you. In my case, the person getting rid of the Mk3 at Shipston dropped it off five minutes prior to me entering the gates. It's good fortune. Click back to the homepage to see the restored Moulton Mk3.

Jeffs three rough Considering that only 5,000 Moulton Mk3's were supposed to have been made, compared to 150,000 of the earlier design, they seem to have survived in disproportionately greater numbers. They are stronger, and newer, but also produced after the initial craze of the Moulton had died away. Kids had moved on to the Raleigh Chopper. Recreational cyclists to the cheaper RSW. Perhaps the Moulton became the preserve of a more serious, caring cyclist? One cannot tell. Looking at ebaY, it seems that old Mk3's have usually been stored in the dry, at the back of garden sheds and emerge frequently into the viewfinder of a digital camera.
Here's a three that is actually the same bike as the one above, bought from ebaY and located in a district of Portsmouth. That might explain the rust on the mudguards. Elsewhere, the paintwork was in reasonable condition, although a little speckled with rust. After painting at a local powdercoating firm, (Redditch Shotblasters) the bike was reassembled with some new parts and when it was nearly done it looked like this. The original Mk3 rear wheel had a drum brake design shared with the Raleigh RSW Mk2. It didn't work. I widened the rear forks to fit in an ex-Post Office SRAM P5 hub gear with drum brake. Jeffs three done

What I am getting at is that you, the enthusiastic bike restorer, will not have to spend a lot of money to acquire a decent project. You are around at precisely the right time to collect the goodies that are being discarded with monotonous regularity. It is true that some areas of the country are probably better than others for bicycle collecting. Nottingham was an absolute goldmine during the 1990's, according to my brother. Anywhere in the south of England seems to be fertile ground. Nevertheless, if we are talking about Moulton collecting in particular, ebaY is the place for you. Good Moultons are getting more expensive. Ratty ones are still going for a song.


Blue Deluxe This looks well worth buying. Chrome mudguards that aren't rusty, meaning that it has been kept in the dry, and a "pigeon's wing" chainguard. What's more, this latter rare item is on the other side of the bike in the photo and will easily be missed by most people. Even though it isn't a close up photo, you can see that the side of the rims are not worn, meaning it hasn't had lots of use. The saddle is laughable but that can be swapped. Saddles have come a long way since the sixties. And being a series 2, trouble free reliable rear forks with an integral prop stand.
The seller sounds pleasant and clearly doesn't know much about it. You wonder whether they bought a house and found it in the shed! The red one shown below at first seems just as good, but closer inspection reveals that the "rare" (it's not) Dynohub has broken connectors, so in fact this feature would be useless. In fairness, the seller probably didn't appreciate this as he has taken a close up photo. The red colour isn't original on the Deluxe, which makes you wonder what paint was used and how carefully it was done. Blue Deluxe description
Dynohub Deluxe bike Dynohub Deluxe

Stanley Archer- ho ho!

It's okay, but it doesn't leap out at me. The chrome guards are too rusty to polish up so they'd need to be re-chromed (expensive) or painted. Now by contrast, the red one below is twice as good! This looks rough at first, but it is a Raleigh-built Major Deluxe. The frame is totally brazed and waterproof, with solid, rattle-free rear carrier struts also brazed in. It has series 2 rear forks, the "sideways squashed" lower seat tube and removeable rear carrier.

Major restoration They are the original grips and would clean up a treat. Handlebars are easily replaceable, but you may well find that the chrome can be rescued and polished back to a Rolls-Royce radiator shine. Alternatively you could upgrade all the peripherals with alloy to modernise the excellent quality frame. The only serious fault is that the front forks have clearly suffered some kind of impact and they are bent back. However, it would only be the moving forks and not the steerer tube or suspension components that would need replacing. The lower fork is available for £25 from Moulton Preservation.
Well, this is what you would buy if you wanted to tinker a little and get riding straight away. It's pretty much top money but looks well cared for. The rear carrier is a little bent, but nice to see that it has been used. Note that a large rear sprocket has been fitted, giving some very low gears. All the chrome looks in excellent order, although I'm suspicious of the rather dull finish on the guards. Perhaps they have Vaseline smeared on for protection? I'd ask the seller a question about that. Expensive Deluxe
Moulton speed It so happened that during the research for this article a Moulton collector was slimming down his stock, and several very tempting models were advertised at once. The danger is that you could win them all and pick them all up at once with a van. 'Course, you'd then have several projects on the go at the same time. Here is a Speed, created to win over young riders. It had a different stem, pedals and saddle to the Deluxe, and was always red, but other than that it's the same. Nevertheless it is now much more collectable, and this example appears to have the important parts in place. Those white tyres though; make you think of white dog poo.
A very clear and informative description that is very open about the bicycle's deficiencies. It's nice to be invited to view the Speed before purchase. Rather a shame that the stem has been hammered as it is a specially produced one that will have "Moulton" stamped into the front. Never mind though eh? You could always put a bell or a light on it. Speed
Pop purple midi This is the kind of Moulton that usually sells for next to nothing, yet with a fresh coat of paint it would be good as new. Unusually it has smooth mudguards instead of the ridged Raleigh ones, yet it was certainly Raleigh built. Note the rear carrier beam is perfectly straight- unlike most sprung Minis. All you would need is to find a single speed Mini with a bent carrier beam and front suspension and make the fork transplant as described on my Mini page. Note that Midis always had a three speed Sturmey hub. This will have very few miles on it. You can of course change the cranks for longer ones and extend the saddle post.
You would go for this if you wanted to soup it up a bit with a few lightweight modern components. It's another Moulton Major, with the frame in rust-free condition by the looks of it. The back forks would soon brush up and in any case, you could have the whole lot powder coated in your favourite colour. Loads of parts are missing and those that are left are not especially beautiful, which is great as it contributes to getting a bargain. Many people will go "Ugh!" and go back to the listings without even noticing that Raleigh built frame. I had a bid myself, but it eventually went for just £89 which was a little over my budget. Can't win 'em all. Major
Moulton Major close-up As you can see, a great description with a dash of humour. Described as a Moulton Standard, incorrectly. The Standard model was deleted in 1965, leaving the Deluxe, the Stowaway and the Speedsix to soldier on. Raleigh introduced the Major, which was the re-emergence of the Standard, so I guess that this is what the seller means. The first thing to do when seeing series 2 rear forks is to look for the squashed seat tube that appears to go thinner at the bottom. Although this first began to appear before Raleigh took over, it's very rare to find those frames. Raleigh headbadges have "Made in Nottingham" on them. It's not obvious on this machine, but I can tell from the rear wheel photo. Another Major giveaway is that the carrier struts are painted the same colour as the frame, not white like the earlier bikes.

Super 4 close-up


The Super 4 is the best Moulton Mini you can get and this is one of the nicest I've seen. Full-size components and proper gears. The wheels of the first Super 4's were aluminium, which are delicate and sometimes crack. You can tell that this bike is an early one because of the single rear mudguard stay. It would have been built under the Doctor's watchful eye at Bradford-on-Avon.

Red Super 4 01
Rusty deluxe 01 I've seen "Rat Look" VW split-screen campers but this is the first time that I've seen the same finish on a bike! However, you may want to ride around London, or some other place where bike theft is likely. Unattractiveness would be a virtue. Other than that, there's very little to complain about. I like the GB stem and the chainset, which means a new bottom bracket. From the description of the GB Sport Mk3 brakes I'd say that this was almost certainly a very early Bradford-built deluxe that would have had the billiard-cue paint. Don't bank on stopping quickly though; those brakes are terrible.
I'd ask the seller if the original alloy handlebars and brake levers were also present. Also you need to know the condition of the rear forks underneath. Even if they are cracked, Moulton Preservation will help you out for the very reasonable non-profit making price of £45 at the time of writing. On any of these old bikes you should expect to have to replace the tyres, tubes and probably the chain and gear cables too. Rusty deluxe 02
Super 4 paperwork 01 This is an interesting Moulton Super 4. Unfortunately the paint has some scabs and isn't show-winning, but other than that, it's well worth buying. For one thing, flamboyant green was a very rare colour for the Super 4, and was added to the range by Raleigh in August 1968. They stopped making them in 1969 when production of the 4 speed hub came to an end. It has smooth domed mudguards and maybe alloy wheels. The rear carrier has not been ridden on by a juvenile passenger and all the chromework looks good.
Check this out. The original bill of sale. I've looked at old Moultons on ebaY for over ten years and I've never seen this sort of paperwork before. The sheets are not even creased. It's a charming piece of provenance and would sway me to have a bid. Super 4 paperwork
Super 4 paperwork 03 This close-up shows the paint condition; not quite poor enough to strip, but probably improveable by touching in. It would be difficult to match the colour, which is made by first spraying the frame in shiny gold. Even with this close up view I am unable to tell whether the wheel is chrome steel or aluminium, and that's what I would ask the seller. Slight mistake on the description in that the bike was made by Raleigh in Nottingham, but it's still nice that it could be collected from the town where it was conceived.

Of course, prices do rise at the end of an auction and it is best not to bid too early as you'll only help to push the price up. Wait until the last minute and sting. That's what everybody else is doing. I appear to have said that all Moultons are worth having, but what this page has done is to cherry-pick the best on a particular day. It's a snapshot of the market in February 2012.

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 March 2012 23:12