...What this is? (Motobecane)

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Vetus Ossa
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...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby Vetus Ossa » 7 Dec 2018, 1:05pm

I took this snap in Cologne a couple of days ago but unfortunately didn’t have time to stop and look at it.
It looks new to me or very well renovated.
I can’t see what the motor drives, unless its directly on the tyre tread.
I would love to know a little more about it and am pretty confident someone here will know all about them, hope so anyway.
I appreciate owning one here would involve far to much admin to make it viable to own but it certainly looks like a fun bike to ride.
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20181205_135728.jpg

Tiberius
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby Tiberius » 7 Dec 2018, 1:11pm

Looks similar (ish) to a VéloSolex....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A9loSoleX

The engine does run directly onto the front wheel.

Here you go....treat yourself....https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VELOSOLEX-38 ... :rk:5:pf:0

Brucey
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby Brucey » 7 Dec 2018, 1:23pm

it is a VéloSoleX (there is a wikipedia article and plenty of stuff on the web about them).

The engine does indeed drive the tyre directly. French engineers are capable of subtle, brilliant designs, but this isn't one of them.

Having popularised (not invented) the derailleur gear, their next great contribution to the two-wheeled world was something that scrubbed tyres out in no time, left the rider breathing in the fumes from his own engine, and of course burnt a lot more fuel than was necessary, being so inefficient. Fun indeed, if that is your idea of fun.... :wink:

It must have some appeal though; they made these things for decades and even today they seem to have a loyal following, well beyond the paysans that bought them in the first place. For years in any part of France seeing a helmetless old boy put-putting around on these was commonplace. They obviously didn't mind the fumes from the engine, being obscured by the smoke from the Gauloise they were chuffing on (ash cast away in the wind, of course) which probably polluted the atmosphere more than the VéloSoleX did anyway.... :roll:

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brucey
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby Brucey » 7 Dec 2018, 1:39pm

Image
il est une pipe

Image
le moteur

Image
twice as much trouble...?

Image
possibly this is some kind of safety warning....?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

simonhill
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby simonhill » 7 Dec 2018, 2:14pm

To me that looks like a very modern Solex.

I used to have one when I was 15 and working the summer in France, 50 or so years ago. The legal age there for a moped was 14, compared to our 16.

Mine had a much heavier frame, more in the style of an old Raleigh or Flying Pidgeon roadster, but chunkier.

I think Bruce is being a bit disparaging about them, they were horrible, but he misses the point that they were very cheap. If mere and pere couldn't afford a proper moped (usually a Mobylette) then junior got a Solex.

They had very fundamental throttle, which was on or off. It had a big handle for lifting the engine off the wheel. The drive was indeed direct, by means of a roughened wheel that sat on the front tyre and dragged it round.

They were lethal in the wet.

Ah, happy days.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 7 Dec 2018, 2:25pm

Hi,
1970's I used to race one every day :)
Passed it up hill only to be overtaken on the flat :(
Priority Is Still 500K In 24..Just Dreaming...Stay Focused Guys And Keep Sharp...
You'll Find Me At The Top Of a Hill...............Somewhere

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al_yrpal
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby al_yrpal » 7 Dec 2018, 2:34pm

Whilst touring in France I was relaxing in a Brittany lakeside cafe on a Sunday afternoon when about a hundred of these things turned up. Some were being ridden by guys with berrets, striped jumpers with strings of onions on the handlebars. One had an accordian with which he serenaded the group. Others were dressed in various vintage get ups although loon pants flourescent shirts and kipper ties werent much in evidence. The clouds of smoke that accompanied them wasnt pleasant.

Al :lol:
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

9494arnold
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby 9494arnold » 7 Dec 2018, 7:59pm

I do believe the british equivalent (a bolt in motor to put on your bike that drove the tyre) was affectionately known as a stink wheel due to the smell of the tyre being a braided by the motor. Can't call the name to mind at present. BSA?
(Or am I thinking of a Winged Wheel here where the motor was in the hub? )

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martin biggs
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby martin biggs » 7 Dec 2018, 8:21pm

There is a chap locally who use to restore these machines , not seen him for a few years

thirdcrank
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby thirdcrank » 7 Dec 2018, 8:37pm

All our yesterdays. These were everywhere when I worked in France (1963-64) and the only disadvantage I remember was getting started. IIRC, the only way to do it was to get the Solex moving by pedalling "normally" as in rather furiously then dropping the motor onto the front wheel. I don't remember any problems with noise, smoke, or glamorous women's skirts being ripped off. That was also the era of the Citroen 2CV and the H van (imagine the sag wagon in Belleville Rendezvous.) Function over style, and none of your planned obsolescence. Strange that Citroen should also have made the DS which was so far ahead of its time.

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Vetus Ossa
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby Vetus Ossa » 7 Dec 2018, 8:43pm

Thanks everyone for your comments.
I can’t see me ever owning one or having a chance to try one out but I definitely do think they look interesting and dare I say “cool.”

francovendee
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby francovendee » 8 Dec 2018, 7:47am

They have a big following here and fetch reasonable money. It's not unusual to see large groups out for a ride, the air is thick with blue exhaust smoke. Participants often dress up in costumes. We've seen 'German' soldiers, baby's , complete with nappies, devils etc,
Rural France didn't have and still doesn't have a public transport system outside of large towns. The appeal of these mopeds was that they offered a way of getting to work, school or nearest village for the poor that didn't involve walking or cycling.
Transport is still not brilliant in the countryside and nowadays the kids ride 50 cc scooters and motorcycles, often very dangerously.

mercalia
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby mercalia » 9 Dec 2018, 1:12pm

Brucey wrote:Image
il est une pipe

Image
le moteur

Image
twice as much trouble...?

Image
possibly this is some kind of safety warning....?

cheers


the mans pipe is a snorkel? to avoid the fumes :wink:

simonhill
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby simonhill » 9 Dec 2018, 2:20pm

francovendee wrote:Transport is still not brilliant in the countryside and nowadays the kids ride 50 cc scooters and motorcycles, often very dangerously.


The sound of the Mobylette used to be one of the sounds of France. Heard far more often than the accordion.

I was in France a few months ago add have been trying to remember if there were still any mopeds . From what you say, probably not.

brynpoeth
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Re: ...What this is? (Motobecane)

Postby brynpoeth » 9 Dec 2018, 2:25pm

Vetus Ossa wrote:Thanks everyone for your comments.
I can’t see me ever owning one or having a chance to try one out but I definitely do think they look interesting and dare I say “cool.”

Maybe you could fit an empty motor housing to make your bike look like one :wink:

I remember seeing an onion-johnnys bicycle in South Wales c 1988, ideal job for a cyclist?
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras & STOP signs