Why don’t Moultons fold?

There has been some debate as to whether a future Moulton design would provide for folding, and if not, why not? Here are some thoughts on the subject from a Moulton enthusiast who also needs and wants a folder.

Folding bikes involve design compromises on ease of folding, ride quality, weight and cost. Dr Moulton is a perfectionist, which may suggest that he does not like compromises. The separability incorporated in his designs does not compromise the performance of the bike, but is simply an added bonus. So he has been quoted (rightly or wrongly) as saying he would never design a folding bicycle.

If the only reason for folding or separating is to put the bike in the boot of a car occasionally to transport it to somewhere for a ride, then the Moulton solution to portability is as good as, or sometimes even better than, that of bicycles specifically designed to fold. It is only necessary to separate the cables and split the frame, which can be done easily in under a minute. The two parts can then be easily lifted, and can even be stored in different places if this is more convenient.

But there are at least two special situations in which the ‘no compromise’ separable Moulton is at a disadvantage compared with the best designs of folder: carrying it on public transport and storing it safely when away from home. For many people these situations don’t arise, and in that case the advantages of the Moulton design should be sufficiently familiar to Moultoneers not to need repeating here. But if these factors are important, and if the time and amount of riding on an otherwise inferior machine is less important, then you may well need to have a folder AS WELL AS your Moulton, at least unless Dr Moulton changes his views.