The Moulton Bicycle

A History of the Innovative Compact Design


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About the Book

In 1963, British inventor Alex Moulton (1920–2012) introduced an innovative compact bicycle. Architectural Review editor Reyner Banham predicted it would give rise to “a new class of cyclists,” young urbanites riding by choice, not necessity. Forced to sell his firm in 1967, Moulton returned in the 1980s with an even more radical model, the AM—his acclaim among technology and design historians is largely due to Banham’s writings.
The AM’s price tag (some models cost many thousands of dollars) has inspired tech-savvy cyclists to create “hot rod” compact bikes from Moulton-inspired “shopper” cycles of the 1970s—a trend also foreseen by Banham, who considered hot rod culture “folk art of the mechanical era.”
The author traces the intertwined lives of two unusually creative men who had an extraordinary impact on each others’ careers, despite having met only a few times.

About the Author(s)

Bruce D. Epperson is a retired attorney who has written technical works on urban transportation planning (including bicycles) for the Federal Highway Administration, the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Transportation Engineers. He lives in Highland, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Bruce D. Epperson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: 61 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7325-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3240-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. A Bicycle Standard of Living 15
2. But Today We Collect Ads 29
3. Cycling in a New Key 44
4. Who Killed Roger Rabbit’s Moulton? 73
5. Really, What Makes a Bike? 89
6. History Repeats Itself, Once More 102
7. Alternative Wheels 121
8. Vanished into the Clouds 140
9. Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Not Today 158
10. ­Clip-On; ­Plug-In; ­Burn-Out 173
Chapter Notes 189
Bibliography 209
Index 219