Wednesday, November 4, 2015

1965 Moulton Speedsix

I was going to name this post "the good, the bad and the ugly," but decided to just present the facts.. as I currently have them.

So here is the story so far as I know it:  I came across this bike doing a nationwide search of craigslist.  The title of the ad was "Alex Moulton racing bike" and it was posted in the Santa Fe craigslist.  The seller who was very nice to work with, agreed to terms and would ship it to Seattle.  During our conversations back and forth I asked him how he came by this bike.  I swear he said that he traded a cow for it!  Alex, if I'm wrong, please correct me and let me know how you did come by this bike!!

Anyway, it shipped out from New Mexico on November 30 and arrived here in Seattle on November 3.  It was packaged well, but I haven't had a bike shipped to me yet where UPS didn't do something to wreck it... In this case, one of the front fork drop outs was protruding from the box and it was bent... pretty severely as you can see from the pictures.  I don't think its irreparable, but sad to see...

I'm going to just throw a bunch of pictures up here to show the current condition of the bike.  This is a Huffy imported Speedsix from 1965.  Very rare bike.

The above three photos are ones the seller in New Mexico posted to craigslist.  It looks remarkably complete.  On further inspection, there have been plenty of after-market changes...  The decals are in really great shape for a bike of this vintage and it overall condition...

The above three images are from the seller as he packed it for shipping.
The images below are ones I took today to document current condition.

The rear changer.  Not sure if this is a Benelux modified by Moulton or not.  The label that Alex Moulton had applied to his modified Benelux changers is gone if it is one. (Update: according to Ian S from Cincinnati , this is a correct Cyclo P2 derailleur, proper for this bike)

The changer hanger.  It appears slightly bent.  Not an uncommon thing from what I hear.  The late Steve Hed in one of his videos on the Speedsix indicated that it needed to be adjusted frequently.

Now for the REAL ugly... This is the backside of the seat tube.  There is a vertical crack about an inch long.  There is a slight depression in this area as well.  A flashlight pushed against this crack shows light on the inside... not much but it does go through the tube.  The rust at the bottom of the tube does not penetrate the metal.  The black looks like the remnants of electrical tape where they may have tried to mount a front derailleur.

Another ugly... the seat tube has been CRANKED DOWN and the binder bolt bent.  I think someone tried to put too small a seat post in, it kept slipping and, well, frustration set in... too bad.  

Serial number on the drive side: 247208
According to what I've read about Moulton serial numbers, this would indicate it was built in the 24th week of the year (1965 from the serial number on the other side) and it was the 7208th bike built.  THAT just seems wrong to me.  I didn't think Moulton production was that rapid...  I must be missing something....  The other side has a very clear K65 on it.  Kirkby 1965?  Maybe, but I've heard that the convention might not be accurate.

This is the cross bar.  There is a hole drilled here that I do not believe to be original.  Could a cable hanger have been added at one time to accommodate a cable to a now gone front changer??  There are numerous cable hangers missing on this bike.  They are black.  The ones available from Moulton Preservation are white...  hmmmm... (Update: According to John in Eugene, the hole in the top tube is correct!  It was drilled by Huffy to keep the prop stand from rotating around the bar.)

The bent front fork... Thanks UPS.  You know for the price you pay to have stuff shipped.... well, don't get me started...  It will need to be bent back and aligned.

The stem is AVA.  Not sure if that is stock or not.  The bar has no markings visible.  It does retain its original vinyl tape.  Black. (Update: Stem should be a GB Spear Point according to Ian S.  Bars look to be correct GB Maes with Gem bar tape)

OK, I've been around bikes a long time... not Moutons, but... seriously?  These brake levers are the wildest I've ever seen.  You can reach them from the top and when your hands are in the position like you are "on the hoods" with normal levers.  Not sure how you'd engage them when you are down in the drops....  Only the front brake was connected.  Black ribbed housing.  Are these Balilla levers?  Are they aftermarket? (Update: Correct levers should be Balilla 62)

The front label is very worn, but definitely says Moulton Bicycle Bradford on Avon, Made in England.  It is very discolored and slightly off center.

There were a couple labels on the seat tube, the top one totally faded away.  The blue one below it from some cycle shop of the era in Chicago.  Anyone know what these are??

The changer lever is in great shape.  I love the little stars on the friction adjuster.

This bike has a second chainring added, probably after market as well.  The outer ring is the 60t TA.  The inner one just says "Made in   46   France" 

Milremo 555 cranks are original and in decent shape.

The bike has the rear rack.  One support, the right side, is broken...

...and the whole rack is a little bent.

Here is the original Balilla rear brake block.  Pads are history, but the spring is in good shape.  They should clean up nice.

Here is a VERY worn out saddle and no-name seatpost.  What seat post was stock on this??  Saddle?? Brooks?? (Update: Again, according to Ian S. the correct saddle was a Middlemore with a Moulton tag on the back - near impossible to find now... I have a period correct Brooks Professional that will fit the bill nicely)

OK... another UGLY.  This is a SunTour ProCompe 6-speed free wheel.  NOT the original and a real bummer.  Dr. Moulton had a custom 6-speed free wheel, first one produced, made for the Speedsix.  It boasted a 11t gear in the smallest position.  Even worse, this one does not spin.  The wheel hub is Milremo, the original.  My hope is that they didn't misthread this freewheel on and strip out the threading...

Now here is something I've never seen before either!  GB wing nuts with one long arm and the other side a thumb pad.  This are made of aluminum, very light.  I looked them up on eBay, just to see if there were replacements.  There is a guy selling a pair in SF Bay area for nearly $200!!  yes, that is the sound of my jaw hitting the floor!

The flipped of the rear wheel.  It uses a standard nut with integrated washer.  There is one broken spoke on the drive side.  Hub spins but sounds/feels dry.  The rims are in really nice shape.  Alloy and  not dented or scored by brake wear.

Original tires and rubber.  Cracked and worn a bit.

Here is the front wheel.  The second image shows the wing nut, but the tip is broken off this one.
The pedals do not have any name on them, appear to be original and spin freely, although dry.  Christophe D toe clips.  Leather straps are both broken. (Update: These are original Phillips pedals according to Ian S.)

This bike has both aluminum fenders, a little worse for the wear, but they should be able to be gently bent back into shape and polished up.

I have not had a chance to check the suspension systems either front or real.  It is concerning that the rear wheel doesn't drop away like the 4-Speed does.  Is it "glued" to the rubber block?  I can't get the front wheel on to test the front suspension either.

Well, that is it for now.  I'd love to hear what everyone has to say about this bike.  Here is my BIGGEST  question:  Should this bike be left "as-is" as an example of the Huffy Speedsix?  Or should we move ahead with restoration work and bring it back from the poor condition it is in.  And if we go with route number two... will it be worth the money?

For now, it sits.   I have an appointment with Colin at Cyclefab here in Seattle tomorrow to get his take on it.  I've also been in touch with a gentleman from Ohio who has deep experience rebuilding these bikes.  I really value everyone's opinion on this project....

UPDATE: 11/4/15, later...
I've had conversations with two very knowledgable experts on this bike.  They have given me a lot of information about what is "correct" and aftermarket on the bike.  Many of the most hard to find pieces are there.  A couple will be very hard to find (freewheel and saddle), a couple may be easier to find (brake levers and cable guides).  I think it is fair to say both experts feel this bike would be worthy of repair to the damaged frame and full finish restoration.  I agree, but I still need to think about the cost...