Alex Moulton spent the years 1958 until 1962, researching and developing the Moulton Bicycle Concept. His aim was to improve on the classic “diamond frame” bicycle, and to produce a bicycle that was “more pleasing to have and to use”.
This led to the launch in late 1962 of the original Moulton Bicycle. This bicycle has become know as the Classic Moulton or the F-Frame Moulton.
The original F frame, or Series 1 was improved on with the Series 2. A wide variety of models were available with varying specifications, ranging from the Standard, the sporty Speedsix, a touring version called the Safari, and a separable model called the Stowaway. An expensive premium range known as the S range was also available.
The Moulton Bicycle was a huge commercial success, and became a cultural icon. Production had to be outsourced to keep up with demand, and many other manufacturers, including Raleigh, began to make cheap imitations of the Moulton. Eventually in 1967, Raleigh took over the production of the Moulton Bicycle, retaining Alex Moulton as a consultant.
In 1970, the Mouton Mk III, made some further improvements to the design. However, in 1974, Raleigh ceased production of Moulton bicycles altogether.
Alex Moulton continued to refine and improve the Moulton concept, eventually launching the spaceframe AM Series in 1983. Whereas the classic Moulton had been a quality mass market bicycle, the AM was much more upmarket. It was aimed at those who wanted the very best, and were willing to pay for it. It was produced on a modest scale, and Alex Mouton retained full control over its design and manufacture. He did not want to repeat his previous experience with Raleigh. The AM is still in production today.
In 1988 the AM-ATB was launched. This was based on the AM design, but was designed for off-road use, and employed a hairpin version of the spaceframe design, which was easier and cheaper to manufacture. It was probably the first full suspension mountain bike. The AM-ATB was produced in small numbers until around 1992.
The Moulton APB, or All Purpose Bicycle was launched in 1992. The APB was the realisation of Alex’s ambition to bring a lower cost spaceframe to a more mainstream market. This was achieved through the use of lower cost materials, more basic specification, and the hairpin version of the space-frame pioneered in the ATB. Manufacture was licensed to Pashley in Stratford-upon-Avon. The APB went through several revisions, increasing in specification and reducing in weight. It remained in production until 2005, when it was replaced by the TSR.
In 1998, introduced a new model at the top of the range, named the New Series. This model contained some radical new design features, including the flexitor front suspension, anti dive geometry, and hydrolastic rear suspension. The New Series range was refined further, with the Pylon model, where the seat tube was replaced by a geodesic pylon structure, and again with the Double Pylon, which also employed a pylon structure replacing the head tube.
In 2000, the Bridgestone bicycle company in Japan, commissioned Alex to design a bicycle, for the Japanese market. The Bridgestone Moulton is a modern interpretation of the original F-Frame. It is superficially similar to the classic F-frame, but vastly improved throughout. A large range of models, and specifications are available in Japan.
The Bridgestone frames were imported into the UK by Alex Moulton Bicycles in Bradford-on-Avon for several years, and built to their own specifications. However, this has been temporarily suspended, due to the high Yen-Sterling exchange rate.
In 2005, the Pashley Moulton TSR was launched, as a direct replacement for the APB. The TSR featured an improved frame design, unified rear triangle and a choice of frame models – either a V-braked model allowing large tyres, or a caliper braked model allowing a more restricted choice of tyres. A variety of specifications were available, including hub geared commuting models, and a 3×10 speed Campagnolo equipped touring model.
In 2007, the AM Esprit was launched, based largely on the original AM, and still manufactured in Bradford-on-Avon. Costing considerably less than the AM, but more than the TSR, the lower cost hairpin construction was employed.