It’s been no secret that Alex Moulton signed a consultancy/collaboration agreement with Bridgestone in Japan a while back. Perhaps the fact that the new 17 inch tyre for the AM Series comes from Bridgestone relates to this too. What everyone has been waiting for is to find out what the inevitable bicycle which this relationship would produce would be like. Moulton security has always been very effective, and information on the new machine has been difficult to come by. But now there is a Bridgestone catalog page on the web containing pictures and some details – in Japanese.
Basically the design looks at a quick glance like a 1960’s F-frame model, but a closer look shows many differences. We don’t have access to a specification in English, but it has derailleur gears (rather a narrow range it seems, with 12-23 sprockets), the frame separates, and the rear suspension is distinctly different from the original Mk I and Mk II, although more like these (superficially) than a Mk 3, AM or NS. Looking at the numbers which are visible in the Japanese web page, it appears (if my guesses at what the numbers relate to are right!) that it has 17 inch wheels, sprockets range from 12 – 23 and the gear change mech is Shimano 105 9-spped and the brakes are deep drop Shimano RX 100. Presumably the 17 inch wheels fit in with the new Bridgestone tyre in this size, and we can confidently expect more tyres to appear in this size now that it has been adopted for what promises to be a high volume model. When we photographed the bike, it had no mudguards, but the catalogue pictures show it with what look to be very slim mudguards. We did not see the bike separated, but the catalogue pictures suggest that the separation is very similar to the original Moulton Stowaway, but of course with separating cables (barrel connectors?) required for the rear brakes and derailleur. The price seems to be listed as 190,000 Yen (about £1150 ??).
I had the opportunity to photograph the new machine during the MBC Weekend – under strict instructions not to publish any details until the machine was public knowledge. Now it’s appeared in the Bridgestone catalogue, and been mentioned on the MBC mailing list, I feel free to put a couple of pictures here. More details will be here as and when they are available, so you may want to mark this page and come back to it again.
We understand the new model will be formally launched at a show in Japan in November, but is unlikely to be available in the UK until the second quarter of 2001.