The first Moulton Bicycle, was launched at Earls Court in late 1962. After several years of research and development, the classic F-Frame Moulton was launched.
This was a radically new bicycle, whose distinguishing features were step through frame, small wheels, high pressure tyres, and rubber suspension. It could carry a load on the the rear and optional front carriers.
The initial line-up consisted of 5 models – Standard, Deluxe, Speed, Stowaway and Safari.
The reaction to this new bicycle was overwhelming. Sales were strong, and press coverage was very positive.
Alex Moulton was keen to demonstrate the superiority of the Moulton bicycle over the classic. In December 1962, John Woodburn broke the Cardiff-London record on a Moulton Speed.
Despite having built a new factory at Bradford-on-Avon, demand was such that much of the production was outsourced to a BMC factory at Kirkby.
There were some quality control issues at the BMC plant, and several design improvements were introduced around 1965, including stronger straight rear forks, pressed front forks, and a traverse seat tube.
While these features generally characterise a Series 2 machine, the features were not all introduced at the same time, so some machines exist with a combination of Series 1 and Series 2 features.
Raleigh initially ignored the Moulton Bicycle, then they tried to compete with it, with the inferior, but cleverly marketed RSW 16. Finally, in 1967, Alex Moulton sold out to Raleigh, in what he described as a “distress sale”.
Raleigh consolidated the Moulton range, reducing the range of models, and continued to sell the RSW.
Meanwhile Alex Moulton, who had been retained as a consultant to Raleigh, continued to improve the Moulton Bicycle, and in 1970, the Mk III was launched.