First impressions of the Moulton Mini

First impressions of the Moulton Mini, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

My Moulton Mini is like a hipster Brompton. You’ve probably never heard of it and I was into them since before Bromptons were cool*.

I found this Mini a couple of weeks ago, when it was pointed out to me, sitting at the very back of a large selection of bikes awaiting refurbishment. I got it for £20, which is at the low end of what they go for, before delivery or collection costs, on ebay. I’ve been away for a week, and before that it sat around whilst I waited for an adaptor so I could pump up the Woods valved tyres. So today was the first opportunity I’ve had to ride it.

Inflating the tyres was all it needed to be ready to ride. Sure, the brake cables could by tightened to give a faster response and I could pull the back wheel back a little to take up slack in the chain, but it goes and stops acceptably just with air in the tyres. So I hopped on and rode to town to photograph the St Patrick’s Day parade.

There’s only really one problem with the bike, but if I can’t fix it I may have to sell it to someone shorter. I can’t get the saddle high enough for me because the seatpost isn’t long enough. Everything else is minor- the back wheel may be slightly out of true, the freewheel could do with some lubrication and the saddle’s not comfortable.

It’s a fun ride. Those little wheels rarely feel unstable (though I do keep an eagle eye out for potholes, many of which would eat them whole), and I could feel the suspension in action over speed bumps and tram tracks. The best part of the experience has to be catching the expressions of people who have just spotted a grown man riding something that looks like a clown bike.

The single speed is all I need around town, and the rear rack should be good for carting small loads. If I can find a longer seatpost, and maybe a more comfortable saddle, this could become my popping into town bike.

*Don’t get me wrong, Bromptons are cool bikes. But I’ve wanted a Moulton ever since they did a Land Rover branded version. If I were rich I’d have one of the space frame models, but the Mini has a quirky charm all its own.