Dave Moulton

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Museum Piece

1985 was a busy year for me. My San Marcos, California shop had been open for two years, I had attended the Interbike Trade show several years and as a result I was building a network of bicycle dealers throughout California, and across the USA.

My big seller was the Fuso. Introduced a year earlier in 1984, just one model that I now refer to as the 1st. Generation model. I built over 500 Fuso frames that year. I has a team of 5 employees who prepared materials for me, so I could just stand and braze frames all day.

With all this repartition I could braze cleanly enough that the frames needed only a minimum clean up to be ready for sand-blasting and paint. My employees did this clean up, and I also had a full time painter.

1985 was also the year the Recherché was introduced, and I built an unknown number of these too. I also built just a few custom ‘dave moulton’ frames that year, nine to be exact. Built one at a time and doing all the work myself, including the paint, these frames were somewhat disruptive to the work flow of everything else.   

However, these frames commanded a top dollar price tag, and it was satisfying to have the opportunity to build something special, like this one pictured here.

The order came from Daniel Boone Cycles, in Houston, Texas. It was built for an up and coming young attorney.

Most of these custom frames went to attorneys, doctors or others with the discretionary income to be able to afford the cost of all this extra work. Some five or six years later, this same attorney moved west to California, where he later became Los Angeles District Attorney.

Before he left Houston he sold the bike back to Daniel Boone Cycles. In 1993, which incidentally was the year I left the bike business, the bike was bought by Russell Rollins who wrote about the experience here.

Russell recently wrote on the “Dave Moulton Bikes Facebook Page:”

The bike is in The Houston Bicycle Museum where it belongs. I miss riding it but I felt it should be seen by others and Dave's story should be known. It is beautiful to see and even more beautiful to experience the ride. Dave told me he built the bikes to ride, not to be pieces of art. I understand his philosophy but life looks a little different from "our" point of view.

By “our point of view,” Russell means of course, the DM bike enthusiasts. My own POV has also changed slightly. Many of the bikes I built are being ridden, which brings me a great deal of joy and satisfaction. Others sit in garages and basements waiting to be discovered.

For something like this that I put so many hours labor into it, is rare enough that possibly it is where it should be. In the Houston Bicycle Museum.

The two things that determine the way the bike feels when riding it. The design, and the fact that the frame was built straight. All the beautiful paint and chrome is just aesthetics, a modest Fuso or Recherché will feel exactly the same to ride. And for a fraction of the price of this one.


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Reader Comments (2)

Dave, you done good mate. Must be very proud of all the fine work you did. Next time I see her nibs, I will suggest a Knighthood you deserve it

May 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

“Ben, if I teach you anything, it’s this: don’t build an airplane you don’t believe in. Don’t’ prostitute yourself for bucks.”-Kelly Johnson talking to Ben Rich, circa 1972, from the book ‘Skunk Works’ by Ben Rich & Leo Janos.

Same goes for bicycle frames, and those that built them. Well, used to. Like aeronautical legend Kelly Johnson and his successor Ben Rich, that thinking is archaic. Today’s businesses won’t allow it.

That’s why an SR-71 is at the Smithsonian Institution: The fastest, most powerful plane ever built will likely never be surpassed. The age of hand built bike frames might never be equaled.

Without museums, without history, no one can show how great it once was.

May 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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