Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Bike Series #12 - The VéloSoleX

Unlike (most) American readers of this blog, most men of my generation in western Europe grew up with the Solex. Legally, we were allowed to ride one from 16, but of course the temptation was much stronger than the law. 
Races, "motocross", secretly sneaking away on an older brother's Solex... 
Police cars slowly driving behind you, returning you home to modestly shocked parents... Great memories. 
Solex was a French manufacturer of carburetors and the powered bicycle VéloSoleX. The Solex company was founded by Marcel Mennesson and Maurice Goudard to manufacture vehicle radiators. The Vélosolex has a small 49cc motor mounted above the front wheel. Power is delivered via a small ceramic roller that rotates directly on the front wheel by friction to the tire. 

The first prototype of a VeloSolex was created in 1941 and used regular bicycle frame such as those under the "Alcyon" brand and were powered by a 45cc engine developed by Solex. VELOSOLEX were produced commercially and sold starting 1946 with a 45cc engine without clutch, then later with a 49cc engine. The solex, although not varying much from one version to the next was sold in 13 models.

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