Making improvements to the APB

WARNING

Modification, repair and renovation work should only be carried out by qualified people. If you do not have the experience and/or expertise to judge whether any procedures described in in the APB Pages are correct, and/or you do not have the experience, expertise, materials and equipment to carry out the work, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THE JOB YOURSELF. The information given in the APB pages and Masterclass articles is intended to act as a reminder to capable people who are carrying out repair work. The authors, the Moulton Bicycle Club and its Officers accept no responsibility for work carried out by owners or their agents, whether that work is done in accordance with any information contained in these articles or not.


Introduction

It is often said that you never see two Moultons which are identical – every owner seems to modify and customise his or her Moulton to suit his or her own requirements. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with the bikes as supplied, simply that owners take real pleasure in having a Moulton, and in tailoring it to their own personal requirements.

Certainly such customisation can be very rewarding to enthusiasts, though if you just bought the bike to get on and ride, you will find the standard specifications work well.

There are an almost infinite number of ways in which you can customise an APB, and since the objective is to suit your own individual requirements, it’s impossible to detail them all, or suggest the ‘best’ things to do – every user is different, and uses the bike in different ways, for which different modifications are appropriate. Another very important point to bear in mind in reading this section, or any other articles on modifying APBs, is that what you do can depend significantly on which model you start with. Some models do not have mudguards as standard, and fitting mudguards would be a priority for many users in this case, but if your model has mudguards and you like getting dirty when riding off-road, you might want to take the mudguards off! My own APB is a very early model, and was fitted with much wider wheels and cruder components than later models, which influenced some of the changes made to it.

This section of the APB Pages is going to be gradually extended, so we suggest that you come back periodically for more information. We are going to start by discussing briefly one of the underlying principles which can guide customisation, and then move on to the most personal part of all. The next topic which it is planned to address is wheels and tyres.

A note about weight reduction

Some people believe that the weight of the bike is irrelevant unless you are racing, while others, myself included, think that it makes a significant difference to the performance of the bike and the pleasure of riding, so long as you do not become obsessive about it. What is clear from past lengthy discussion of the subject is that the two groups have firmly entrenched positions, and neither is going to change its mind. If you belong to the group which believes that the weight does not matter, there are some parts of this section of the APB Pages that you can ignore, but I hope that even so you will find some of the comments of interest.

Saddles

The choice of saddle is a very personal thing – what suits one rider may create agony for another. Some cycle manufacturers actually sell their machines without saddles, recognising that the owner will want to fit their own favourite, and others deliberately fit quite low specification saddles in anticipation that the owner will replace them. APBs generally come with reasonable quality saddles, but whether or not they suit you is uncertain. A few general points are worth noting:

  • Apart from the T21, most APBs have and are ridden with flat, rather than dropped, bars, and generally very narrow saddles are not comfortable with the more upright riding position that results.
  • Ladies require different saddles, generally rather broader and shorter, such as the Terry Saddles. Some men actually find these more comfortable as well.
  • Although it might seem that a soft, padded saddle would be more comfortable, this is not always the case, particularly on longer rides.
  • A saddle material which breathes is preferable to one that does not – particularly when it is hot.
  • Whatever saddle you fit, it may not give instant comfort. I think it is not just a question of breaking the saddle in (which really only applies to leather saddles anyway), but also acclimatising your posterior to the saddle. If you have a number of different bikes, avoid having different saddles on each one (though different types of riding position might make this appropriate), as changing from one to another can result in discomfort.
  • Some people never get on with leather saddles, but many others find they are the most comfortable overall.
  • Saddle weight can be quite substantial – in my investigation of weight of my APB I found that a very comfortable Brooks B17 saddle was about 12 ounces heavier than the saddle I now use. However, obviously it would be silly to be uncomfortable just to save weight on the saddle.

So what do I use? Most of my bikes (apart from the Bromptons, with their very upright riding position) are fitted with Flite Titaniums, which are very light and which I find quite comfortable. However, it may well be narrower than many people would choose, particularly with the APBs rather upright riding position when using flat bars.

Wheels and Tyres

Coming soon ….

Other topics to be covered:

Gears

Brakes

Carriers and luggage

and more – send us your comments and suggestions.


REMEMBER THE WARNING

Modification, repair and renovation work should only be carried out by qualified people. If you do not have the experience and/or expertise to judge whether any procedures described in in the APB Pages are correct, and/or you do not have the experience, expertise, materials and equipment to carry out the work, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THE JOB YOURSELF. The information given in the APB pages and Masterclass articles is intended to act as a reminder to capable people who are carrying out repair work. The authors, the Moulton Bicycle Club and its Officers accept no responsibility for work carried out by owners or their agents, whether that work is done in accordance with any information contained in these articles or not.