I believe in the diamond-shape bicycle frame. I always have. It is the lightest, strongest, cheapest, most rigid, compact and efficient shape the bicycle frame can be. Almost all bicycles – racing, mountain, touring, hybrid, track, utility, cruiser, fixed-wheel, dirt jumper, porteur and BMX – are still built up around a diamond frame. The vast majority of the billion or so bicycles on the planet today have a diamond frame. There have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of attempts to better the diamond-shape in the 130 years since it first set the fashion to the world, in 1885. You could make a good case that only two have provided a viable alternative – Mike Burrows’ moulded ‘monocoque’ racing frame and Alex Moulton’s original 1960s small-wheeled bicycle.
Alex Moulton, a pioneering engineer and the man behind the suspension system in the Mini car, set out to reappraise the bicycle in the 1950s. He believed the large, standard wheels made the bicycle slow to accelerate and difficult to store, which it is. He also understood that commuting patterns were changing, and increasingly incorporating multiple forms of transport. His radical but practical bicycle design, based on the stiff, stainless steel ‘F-frame’, had small wheels with high-pressure tyres, which meant less rolling resistance and lower aerodynamic drag. He also developed front and rear suspension, three decades before it became commonplace on the mountain bike.