Customer Review - ARCC Moulton® Electric
Re-cycling to an electric future
I have been a fan of Moulton bikes ever since my Dad bought an F-frame type Standard model in the 60s at the local bike shop which was selling off old stock. It had a back pedal brake which was quickly upgraded by teenager me to a 4 speed Sturmey. I fancied the airframe (AM) Moulton but with a family this could not be justified until 1992 when Pashley were allowed to produce their steel frame version at much reduced cost. Called the APB it weighed a ton but could be split in two. This made it easier to carry kid’s bikes too, particularly for holidays using the family saloon. The stamped serial number suggests it must have been one of the very first built. The only change made in those early years was to upgrade the 4 speed to 7 which it still has.
Fast forward to 2017 when I saw ARCC at one of the national bike shows; the Moulton had effectively been retired by then as we had first moved to mountain bikes and then road bikes. It became clear that the Moulton could have second life as ARCC were prepared to retrofit their recently introduced e2-pod intelligent drive system. This was agreed and work completed in May that year.
To be truthful little riding was done on it as there was another option which I describe later. But it proved useful later that year when I returned from holiday with a strained knee. I used the Moulton for several weeks as it lessened the strain as my knee recovered.
Earlier this year the now e-Moulton came into own once again. The previous December I had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was fortunate enough to get a prostatectomy despite COVID. Anyone who has been on that pathway will know it is important to maintain your fitness and once cleared by the consultant I resumed cycling but on the e-Moulton. My main fear was having attempted a ride I would then find it too painful or tired to return home…but the electric assist then provided the necessary reassurance. As it was I was able complete several trips of 15 – 20miles over the next 2 months covering some 250 miles. Despite what some think - where is the fitness element? Simple, I was soon on pace and often rode the bike to the limit and above where the motor assistance kicks out at around 15mph!!
One of the benefits of the conversion is it uses proprietary Bosch batteries. On the rides described I usually had to swap my 6Ah battery at 18 miles and complete the journey on a 4Ah which I carried as spare in my back pack. The ARCC conversion had another advantage; I was able share these batteries with a number of Bosch garden and power tools I had.
I found ARCC staff most helpful and followed recommendations they made. For instance a change to Avid V brakes in place of the originals substantially improved the braking. This is a heavy bike and is now moving much faster. ARCC head control is also important as the pod and batteries are well out sight if you want to change performance settings, but annoyingly it does not replicate the battery condition as it should. I also found the pod USB connection useful to fit a dual LED headlight which I use as a running light. One is available without battery pack from Amazon for around £10.
The story would not be complete if I did not record that I had my Brompton also retro fitted by ARCC at the same time. This predates Brompton’s own e-bike and having ridden one of these, it is my view the conversion is better. But this is a conversation for another day.