In the first of a regular series of posts about past Pashley and Moulton models, Dan Farrell from Moulton talks about the evolution of the Moulton AM-ATB.
The AM-ATB started life as a simplified AM series bike – i.e. cheaper to manufacture, with higher volumes in mind. Alex asked Raleigh if they wished to produce it. They said no, but Japanese manufacturer Kuwahara were interested and some work was done with them before the decision (influenced by Angle Lake Cyclery in Seattle, at the time one of the most prolific sellers of Moultons) was taken to keep it in-house, alter the design and make it into a mountain bike. As such it became the first production full-suspension mountain bike – what is the norm now certainly wasn’t then.
One of the key differences between the AM and the AM-ATB frame designs was the patented ‘hairpin’ construction method of wrapping the thin space-frame tubes around the head and seat tubes. This eliminated the costly and time-consuming precision mitreing of the ends of the tubes. Whilst the suspension systems were uprated versions of those found on the AM series, a unique feature of the AM-ATB was an adjustable cam under the rear spring. This allowed for a little adjustment to the bottom bracket height and also to the frame angles – a fine-tuning of ride characteristics.
The AM-ATB rode on the wave of the first mountain bike boom, with particularly high demand in the USA. However, with Alex Moulton perhaps being aware that he had not fulfilled the original purpose of the design, the wheel soon turned full-circle and the AM-ATB returned to its roots to be ‘re-invented’ as a rationalised, less expensive ‘all-purpose’ Moulton – the APB. Again, volume manufacturers were offered the option to produce it under licence and this time it was Pashley who took up the opportunity. Tooling was commissioned in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1991 and the first Moulton APBs hit the streets in 1992.
Kuwahara did, some time later, design the ‘Goblin’ – clearly not a Moulton, but probably influenced by its makers brief dalliance with Alex Moulton and the AM-ATB.
We've created a special Moulton TSR 27 at The Traditional Cycle Shop to recapture some of the spirit of the AM-ATB and the Land Rover APB.