True innovators/innovations in cycling? Alex Moulton

9 07 2008

Being a closet historian of bicycles there is true in the adage that what is old is new again.    I am wary of many new innovations.  Not that I am a certified techno geek, I am!   But I want to see quantum leaps, not the rehashing of old ideas or regretfully new ideas that don’t work as well as old ones.    One of these is the basic double diamond bicycle frame.   So good is it that real improvements in it’s form and function have not really occurred for 75 years or so.   Certainly composites have lightened the structure to some degree but short of the pound difference everything wouldn’t be unfamiliar to a framebuilder of the 1970’s.

This brings me to one of my favorite innovators in this industry.   Alex Moulton.   A British engineer and designer  who had part in such notable vehicles as the Spitfire aircraft and Mini Cooper.   Mr. Moulton definitely designs out of the box and brings concepts and ideas to the table that I believe one day will become incorporated into the standard “racing” bicycle.  Ideas such as small, light, strong, aerodynamic wheels.   Small compact frames and most notably suspension.   Suspension is the big one.   Think of any sport with wheels short of skating that does not utilize suspension?  Cars, motorcycles, heck even MTB is full suspension.  But our lowly road bike is still suspensionless less it’s pneumatic tires.   Moulton began changing this as far back as mid 50’s.  Think if as much effort that has gone into some modern road bikes went into really changing the bicycle as we know it.  Amazing things could happen.

Here is a wonderful video, about 20 minutes long with a true gentleman scholar.   You won’t hear “watts” or high modulus mentioned in it but it is enlightening none the less.




One response

4 11 2008

That is really interresting.

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