Re-Mo – a recumbent based on F-frame Moultons

The idea of building a recumbent bicycle based on an original F-frame Moulton has appealed to a number of people. John Bradshaw started his version many years ago, but it has taken until quite recently for it to reach its final form. John mentioned the project to me at Cyclefeast in August 2005, and subsequently he kindly sent some pictures and some more information, which is reproduced below. Ed.]

To start at the end, the final result of the Re-Mo project looks like this …

For comparison, here is another picture of the Re-Mo with my brother Ian’s earlier underseat-steered version, taken on the Stone Jetty at Morecambe.

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Ian’s has been on the road for years now, and has often been seen at CycleFests and MBC events. It has clearly proved itself, so making mine work as well was likely to be quite straightforward!

kSo, late last year he and I had a week of (very enjoyable) communal bike building in my workshop, during which he built a Pino-like upright+recumbent tandem from scratch, while I finally finished the Re-Mo I’d started a decade earlier.

Unlike Ian’s, I used parts of two damaged F-frames, attempting to achieve what looks like a coherent whole. In fact I had the intention to try to create a bike that looked ‘original’ – what could possibly have been in production in the early ’70s, if only Dr Moulton had been that way inclined …

Consequently, unlike most Moulton Specials, hub gears, steel mudguards and a contemporary colour scheme were the order of the day. To that end, a Mk III donor would have been better of course, but there is no way I’d butcher a good one of those, even if I had one!

Re-Mo 4I employed a tandem eccentric bracket-axle housing to adjust the primary chain, in which I fitted a Schlumpf Mountain-Drive. This, together with an alloy-shelled Sturmey-Archer 3-speed rear hub, gives a good wide range , with no spring tensioners needed. In between, like Ian, I used the old Moulton bracket-axle location for a counter-shaft with a machined Stronglight double chainring to increase the overall gear ratio midway.

mThe axle’s unused left side was decorated with an alloy-finned cyclinder barrel from an old model aero engine. And why not?

kHaving had good times with my old Kingcycle, I opted for simple over-seat steering, and even used a (modified) Kingcycle seat and head-rest. Ian’s experience indicated that reduced trail helped the handling, so I straightened the Series 1 forks as he had done. After I’d repaired the early rear fork, Pat then came up with a far superior Series 2 item – with the late integral stand, and all in good condition! Great: much less twist, no repair needed, and a stand is particularly useful on a recumbent. The old Moulton rear carrier was retained, but I extended it forward to fill the space behind the seat, whereupon Pat’s AM rear bag fitted perfectly!

Admittedly, the Mountain-Drive and Vee-brakes are anachronistic, but after all, I also wanted to use the bike!

Next, a dirty-build allowed me to confirm that it rode fine, so after that all the rest was just  usual restoration activity: brazing on cable-stops, lamp brackets and bottle bosses; filling holes and dents; building 16″ wheels with alloy rims and stainless steel spokes; etc. A friend powder-coated the frame in what seemed to me to be an essential ’70s metallic orange-mustard colour(?!), and I had both forks, the mudguards, seat and carrier done in black.

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yAnd then I couldn’t find the ‘Re-Mo’ transfers that Ken Butterfield had made for us years ago! (Unsurprisingly, Dr Moulton doens’t like ‘Moulton’ badges on other people’s hacksaw specials). Fortunately I found Ken’s stickers when we moved house last month – I’ll fit them soon …

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Anyway, it all went together satisfactorily, and I enjoyed using it in March ’05 at the Small-Wheel Ride we organized in Lancaster.

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Above: Bob Martin on a standard Series 1 Moulton, riding between John and Ian Bradshaw on Morecambe Promenade, March 2005. [To confuse people, Ian is on the left, riding John’s Re-Mo, and John is on the right on Ian’s machine!