APB developments

The information given here is provided in good faith. By the nature of things, however, it is somewhat speculative, and products described here may not go into production, or may be subject to changes of specification.

Two new APB models were on show at the Moulton Bicycle Club Weekend at Bradford on Avon, 4-5 September 1999.

Two existing APB owners try out the new Pashley models at the Bradford on Avon Weekend – Paul Evans on the left has the fx8, while Ian Hodgson on the right tries the automatic 4-speed hub fx4 version.

The fx4 is apparently still under development, the main feature being that it uses a Shimano electronic automatic gear change. The automatic system has a number of settings to suit different riding styles, and there is also a setting for manual gear selection (which is achieved by pressing a button to change up, or another button to change down). The experienced riders who tested it, none of whom has any fear of normal gear change systems, were not entirely convinced, particularly as a number of people reported that the system changed up while climbing the steep drive at The Hall.

Since then we have carried out our own brief test of the fx4, and you can read the results at the end of our test report on the fx8.

The fx8 model is already being mentioned on the Pashley web site, and it should go into production in October 1999. The main design target is said to have been to reduce the weight of the APB, which most people consider rather high in its normal form. The main things which have been done to reduce weight are to dispense with the separability, and to use a Reynolds 531 seat tube and Reynolds front forks. Some people, myself included, are doubtful about the desirability of removing one of the features which distinguishes the APB from other bikes, namely the separability. What will be interesting is to see if the 531 seat tube and Reynolds forks are also available later on separable APBs. The new bike reputedly weighs about 26 pounds – this seems to exclude mudguards, and the bike only has a single chainwheel 8-speed derailleur, so a fuller specification would push the weight back up. Nevertheless, this does represent a useful saving in weight compared with existing APBs. An interesting aspect of the design is that in recognition of the fact that owners modify/customise their bikes, braze-ons are fitted as standard to allow the later fitting of multiple chainwheels or a Sachs 3 x 7 – an excellent idea, as adding braze-ons later is troublesome and expensive, and would necessitate a respray.