David Simpson 16th Apr 2018 2 Min Read
I was fortunate enough to have an unplanned visit to a company founded by the English Engineering legend Sir Alex Moulton. Following my wife’s chance meeting with the current owner of Moulton Bicycles John at the lovely Wooley Grange hotel in Bradford. Our family (including my two kids!) were invited to visit the Moulton Bicycles factory.
The factory is located in the centre of the town. Tucked within the grounds of the late Sir Alex Moulton’s impressive Jacobean historic home. We walked along their purpose-built cycle track that wound down around the studios. Treated to a view of the nearby stream and saw his very cool 60’s riverside studio house. This is where he also worked on his inventions. Of course, this was the guy that worked on the suspension for the original Mini, but he’s most famous for his Moulton bike. John introduced us to his team. They now produce the brands iconic, exquisitely handcrafted bicycles which sell for £10,000 +. Each bicycle made here takes over a hundred man-hours to build.
For me personally being a life-long cycle fan and lover of things made beautifully I now want to join the Moulton owners club. Along with the likes of Norman Foster and James Dyson. But with the custom models costing over £10,000 I will need to sell a few more charge points before joining up! Nested within the manufacturing rooms, there were some fantastic memorabilia. Including an incredible real scale hand-drawn sketch of a bike that was dated May 1975. (why didn’t I get a photo of that???). And prototypes and custom made bikes that are currently on the line.
What I found interesting was that the biggest market for these wonderful bicycles in Japan, China, and Thailand. Apparently, the Japanese massively appreciate small beautifully engineered items that are built to last. Sending a huge thank you to John and his team of dedicated craftsmen for letting us into your behind the scenes world. I found it a refreshing example of how craftsmanship in this tiny UK village (when led by someone as effective as John) is the starting point to their very alive and dedicated global following.
A hands-on design engineer, David is responsible for driving the latest design, engineering and software developments. His experience ranges from hi-fi product design to the programme management of complex financial service software. When he’s not talking about firmware updates, tooling or road maps you’ll see him running in Hampstead Heath or ferrying his kids to school on his electric bicycle.