A Brief History of the Marque
Follis 1951-1960 (1903-2006)
14 rue Danton
FOLLIS: Established at the beginning of the 20th century in Lyon, the firm still exists as a bicycle manufacturer.
The Follis was founded in 1903 by Joseph Follis, a former Italian locksmith. After opening his first workshop and creating his first bicycle on the outskirts of Turin, in 1922 he and his family emigrated to Lyon after Mussolini took power in Italy.
In 1938 Joseph's son François opened a bicycle shop on the Rue du Dauphiné in Lyon. The product was very well received, and by 1946 the Follis company employed 50 people and began limited manufacture of motorised bicycles and motorcycles.
Joseph Follis died in 1947 as the result of an accident whilst riding a Follis bicycle.
The company was having great success with their bicycles, and in 1950 François Follis bought land in Craponne to build a factory for the manufacture of motorcycles.
By 1951 the company employed 200 people, producing 600 bicycles and 1000 motorcycles per month, with 200 distributors and 2,000 sales outlets.
A Follis 175 won the Lyon-Charbonnières race, a major boost to the marque's image. However, with the war in Algeria and the erosion of both the bicycle and motorcycle markets by the arrival of cheap cars (the 2cv in France and the Fiat 600 in Italy) by 1959 the company was on the ropes and motorcycle production ended. The factory was sold to Teppaz.
In 1973, François's daughter Myriam Follis, with her husband Jean-Claude Chollet, took over the company. They began building high-end cycles and tandems which found a lucrative export market in the United States.
The Gnome & Rhone R4d was marketed by Follis under the type G26, and the R4s under the type G32
Engines employed in Follis machines included the JLO 250cc twin, 98cc Sachs, Ydral 125cc, Nevor and AMC.
Over the years, the Follis range included:
C 10 Avalette Standard
C 12 Avalette Luxe
C 14 Grand Sport
C 101 (Lavalette & VAP)
C 103 (Lavalette & VAP)
C 108 Luxe
C 109 (Lavalette & VAP)
Sport 98 (Nervor)
V 23 Grand Sport 98
V 32 Super Sport 98
FYD 125 (Ydral & A.M.C.)
V 28 Tourisme 125
V 29 Luxe 125
V 30 Rallye 125
V 58 Paris-St-Etienne 125
G 26 Sport 125 (Gnome et Rhone)
G 32 (Gnome et Rhone)
Safo 175 (Sachs, Ydral & A.M.C. engines)
M52 Luxe 175
M54 Rallye 175 (Follis & Ydral engines)
Quotidien 48cc VAP 55 engine
M60 Lys 250
Sources: lva-moto.fr, club-ydral.net, retro-actifs.com
Je viens de remettre en route une jolie petite Follis moteur 125 Ydral de 1956 : un grand bonheur!
Un seul Hic : je viens de perdre en route un des ecrous de la roue avant (? l'extremite de l'axe de roue).
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