No, not the one with the small wheels

About four years ago I received a phone call out of the blue from a fellow V-CC member whom I had had some dealings with some time before. He told me that he had a tall frame, 63cm, which he had built up as a hack bike for his son, and remembering that I ride tall frames, he asked if I didn´t want to buy the bike since his son had stopped using it.

I asked for the maker of the frame and nearly fell over backwards when I heard what it was. When buying collectible frames I´m more often than not confronted with the problem that the bikes I do up are too small for me, and not by a tolerable inch or so, but often it´s in the region of 10 or 12 centimetres, which makes riding impossible. So I was over the moon to have the chance to be able to purchase a real classic, with one of the most desirable names of them all on it, and be able to ride it.

We agreed on a rather fair price, and a few days later a big box with M8256 in it arrived. I soon found out that my frame had been built in 1978 (that´s the “8” in the frame number), and that it was the 256th Dave Moulton had made since starting his business. I also found that the seller had measured the frame incorrectly and that it was half an inch higher than advertised – absolutely wonderful. Just like made for me.

Sadly the frame had been repainted, but then again it hadn´t been done too badly. The BRG with lugs lined white and white transfers looks rather nice, I think, and can easily be enhanced by using white cable housings, mudguards and the like. The Reynolds “repaint” transfer isn´t something I value, though.

dmoultonheadtranf

dmoultonReynstick

The bits the frame had been adorned with really were hack bike quality mostly, the wheels, however, were rare, and I have left them in the frame. All the other parts had to be changed. Luckily I didn´t have to buy many items as some box delving revealed all the major parts necessary, save one, and this is what resulted from a rather surprisingly short time of wrenching:

dmoultontotal

The somewhat misjudged rack is only meant as a saddle bag support, and my other saddle bag works well with it. Looks still odder because of my lacking photography skills; it isn´t all that badly slanted in reality. Also the front fork is straight – this is a strange photo. Have to re-take it.

The frame had obviously not been meant to be the core of a racing bike, so I tried my best to assemble a late seventies parts set in that vein. The choice of chainset was easy: I still had a nice TA double with a relatively small chainwheel, and a set of suitably used Campag pedals. A standard Record front changer works nicely with the small chainwheel, too.

dmoultonTA

But what to do about the rear mech? Just at the time there was a thread on Spence Wolfe on CR. Someone said he had a few sets of copied rear mech Spence Wolfe conversion parts, so I opted to buy a set and built up a mech when it arrived from the US. It works surprisingly well, and is a nice touch, too, also regarding the fact that Dave Moulton emigrated to the States the year after he´d made my frame.

dmoultonWolfeConv

The generous mudguard clearance, even when using 27 x 1 1/4 wheels, posed the problem that not many standard 70s side pull brake calipers would have sufficient reach, but again I was lucky to find a set of Universals which work nicely, and paired them off with a set of Campag levers. The hoods on them came from Robbie Fellows, of course, in the usual perfect quality. I couldn´t use center pulls as there was no way to fit the cable hangers – no sufficient fork column height and no possibility to fit a rear hanger, either.

dmoultonViscqr

dmoultonfhub

The wheels have Lambert Viscount hubs, with the correct q/r levers front and rear. I´ll see how long the bearings last. (Update December 2014: They didn´t last all that long, having been rough from the outset, and a friend has now replaced them for me. The hubs are as good as new now; my friend says they´re actually better than new because the modern annular bearings are of superior quality and have been installed correctly, contrary to the original ones.)

dmoultontiedbrooks

This tied brooks came off a flea market here in Germany held on an International Tandem Club meet. Looks odd, rides nicely.

dmoultonbell

This regulation bell came with the bike. The name says it all – pure onomatopoeia. Made in England, too.

dmoultonLp

The lamp is made in Hong Kong, but not untypical. I couldn´t let the opportunity pass to hang something from the lamp boss on the fork.

But back to the frame.

dmoultonforkcr

This is the fork crown. Strange that the slot on the side wasn´t paint filled during the repaint.

dmoultonbb

The bottom bracket shell is typical seventies with the cable guided over the shell.

dmoultonlwrheadl

The long pointed lugs look very elegant to my mind, and seem to have been somewhat of a Dave Moulton specialty.

dmoultonseatcl

The seatcluster again shows these pointed lugs, but else is of standard construction.

dmoultonbkcablebrazeon

Some smaller details: The top tube cable guides are brazed on, which wasn´t usually the case at the time, and seem to be made from hexagonal tubing.

dmoultonbrakebridge

The brake bridge shows some nice diamond shaped details, slightly disfigured by the too thick paint. On the top tube the paint is too thin, so there´s a certain levelling effect.

dmoultonrearbrazeon

The braze ons for the rack are a nice touch in that they are not open on both sides – unusual.

dmoultonreardo

The rear dropouts were brazed in “seamlessly”, giving a very clean look.

How does the bike ride? Very well, I must say. The frame shimmies only slightly and is rather responsive. The brakes could be better but are not dangerous.

Lastly, here´s the place on the net to go for Dave Moulton info:

WebSiteMoulton

There´s a blog, too.

Good thing that some people, especially V-CC members, have good memories.

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2 Comments

  1. Stephen Woolford
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hello! I have M8275, so 19 frames after yours! It has been living happily in France for about the last 22 years, Dave told me that the frame alone was supplied by him to a cycle shop in Worcester (UK) a few metres from where I was working at the time and I bought it from a mechanic at the garage between my place of work and the cycle shop, and he told me that Dave had just emigrated to the USA. All very local! A magic bike, with the detailing the same as your frame.

    • Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Steven,
      thank you for your comment. You´re lucky that you still know so much about your frame´s history.

      I would greatly appreciate if you could send a photo of your frame for a comparison, and I would love to have it on the blog. I will send an email in a few minutes so that you know my address.

      Also have you heard of the Moulton frame Google Group? Seems to be rather active with lots of photos.

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