Sunday, January 17, 2010

FAQ: Fold or S&S?

Do Moultons fold or have S&S couplings?

Answer: No, and No.

Moulton frames do come apart quickly, cleanly and easily. Even the simple models can be separated in seconds with practice. Moultoneers understand what Kahlil Gibran meant when he wrote that "love knows not its own depth until the hour of Separation."

I was reminded of old Gibran's assertion at a small wheel folding rally in Philadelphia a few years back. There was a riding-folding-running-reassembling-riding test (take it apart, if it did not fold) performed on current model bikes and a select batch of older models going back to the 1960s. Every name you could name was there. The winner was a 1960s-1970s Ross folder, second went to an elegantly dressed Brompton rider, third place was a Moulton New Series Stainless (I was the pilot). There were over twenty entries, as I recall, and it drew an enthusiastic crowd in downtown Philly; maybe a couple of hundred people (It was a long and busy sidewalk in the Old Town). The point I am trying to make is that an S&S coupled bike would have placed dead last times three in this competition. I hear the S&S comparison a lot -- it is misleading. I sell S&S coupled bikes and like them, by the way.

The separation feature of the Moultons is fantastic, but it is the least significant feature of the bike, because the ride, handling and easy & stable carrying of luggage is superb. As for folding, to paraphrase a US congresswoman, a bike that folds may capture our attention but will not achieve its mission.