Moulton Stowaway - its made it this far
This Moulton Stowaway was built in Kirkby, just outside Liverpool in 1965.
Don't let appearances deceive you. There is plenty of life left in this 47 year old bicycle.
The Moulton Stowaway is separable bicycle, for easy storage and transportation. The rear rack is on a quick release, and the frame separates into two sections (note the joint where the silver paint is). There are no control cables needed to the rear of the bicycle as a two speed hub with back pedal brake is fitted.
For a flavour of what Moulton were up to in the 1960s, this excellent Pathe newsreel from 1963 makes good viewing and features a Stowaway being placed into the boot of a Morris 1100...
After a good inspection of the Stowaway yesterday afternoon...
Front suspension - small amount of play, but nothing too bad after a rebuild with some new parts that are still available.
Rear suspension - no visible cracks (a problem on early examples). Bearing works.
Bottom bracket - needs replacing, lots of play.
Centre joint - to my amazement it works fine, its solid when tightened and comes apart easily. The safety button is missing (this stops it falling apart when if you forget to tighten the recessed allen head bolt).
Seatpost - removes easily.
Rear carrier - removes easily.
General: Looking down all tubes, either clear or very light surface rust - nothing to worry about.
Chrome on handlebars and stem - all can be saved, not too rusty.
Put the front wheel on from another Moulton.
Put some pedals on it from my 'stock'.
Put some air in the rear tube - and it stayed inflated!
Off we go... Hells teeth!
I'm simply taken aback that the hub works and the ride is excellent - remember this is a fully suspended bicycle tuned for road use designed by Alex Moulton - the man who worked on the Mini suspension and the later Hydrolastic suspension units fitted to many later BMC cars.
The two hub gears are selected by partially pedalling backwards, the brake by pedalling back hard... and its a very effective brake - you can hear the tyre almost locking up. The gearing to surprisingly high and good progress would be made riding this, you wouldn't want to go too slow on it - otherwise your knees would end up creaking.
Underneath all that hand applied green paint is a excellent bicycle just trying to get out.