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French Motorcycles

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Herdtle Bruneau 1906
Comparativa del motor con refrigeración por aire y por agua.
Engine comparison with air and water cooling.

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Herdtle & Bruneau 1913
1913 Herdtlé - Bruneau bicilindrico refrigerado por agua
1913 Herdtlé Bruneau bicilindrico - Water-Cooled

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Herdtle & Bruneau 1913
Patente de los sistemas de suspensión delantera y trasera.
Patent for frontal and rear suspension systems.

Herdtle & Bruneau Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Adolphe Herdtlé & Albert Bruneau were based at Rue de la Chine, Paris. In 1905 they introduced motorized roller skates to the public. Each skate contained a 1 hp motor; controls could then be affixed to the skater's belt, and would be linked via flexible cables to the skates. Top speed for the contraption was said to be a brakeless 66 km/h (41 mph). Unsurprisingly, the idea did not catch on, and the line of motorized skates was discontinued by the end of the year.

They are better known for their engines, described as aiv/ohev, typically very tall with a dozen or so small fins towards the top of the barrel on the aircooled engines. There were also water-cooled varieties, both singles of 170cc and 225cc, and 350cc V-twins. These were supplied to other companies including Marchand and the Italian firm Excelsior.

Herdtlé & Bruneau (1903 - 1914)


by Sergio Scalerandi

Adolphe Herdtlé & Albert Bruneau, 38, Rue de la Chine, Paris.(93, Rue Pelleport a partir de 1909) Es conocido que los franceses fueron los pioneros del ciclismo, por eso no debe sorprender que a principios del siglo XX circularan más de un millón de bicicletas por sus caminos y la idea de motorizar a todo este parque se vislumbraba como un buen negocio. Siguiendo los pasos de los hermanos Dufaux de Motosacoche, Adolphe Herdtlé y Albert Bruneau presentan en el Salón de París de 1903 su motor de 1 ¼ HP (120 cm3, 45 x 75mm) y de solo 5 Kg de peso que se podía fijar en cualquier bicicleta ordinaria. En comparación con los motores más rudimentarios de las fábricas rivales, los motores construidos por Herdtlé - Bruneau se destacaban por su excelente calidad y su mecánica de precisión, además de incorporar algunas innovaciones técnicas: refrigeración líquida por termosifón, encendido a magneto de diseño propio, carburador Vaurs y válvula de admisión a la cabeza de accionamiento mecánico en lugar de las válvulas atmosféricas utilizadas por la mayoría de las otras marcas. La horquilla reforzada y dos frenos en la rueda trasera completaban un equipamiento inusual para un vehículo de tan poca cilindrada.

En 1904 se ofrece la opción del motor refrigerado por aire y al año siguiente se incorpora un radiador tipo panal de abejas en el modelo refrigerado por agua.

En el Salón de Paris de 1913 la casa Herdtlé - Bruneau presenta un nuevo modelo bicilíndrico en línea de válvulas laterales, 3 HP, 272 cc (48 x 75 mm), monobloque refrigerado por agua, alimentado por un carburador Claudel y con encendido por magneto Bosch. El embrague era por placa de fricción y relación de velocidades variable, mientras que la transmisión final era a cadena.

Estaba equipado con una suspensión delantera patentada por Herdtlé - Bruneau donde la horquilla tenía una combinación de resorte y amortiguador neumático que actuaba conjuntamente con el guardabarros. Mientras que la suspensión trasera era un paquete de hojas de elásticos en arco fijados a la parte inferior del cuadro y que conformaban parte del guardabarros.

Como en otros tantos casos, el estallido de la Primera Guerra Mundial puso fin a la producción de esta firma, por lo que se supone que se construyeron muy pocos ejemplares.

Article by Sergio Scalerandi


Adolphe Herdtlé & Albert Bruneau, 38 Rue de la Chine, Paris (93, Rue Pelleport from 1909)

It is known that the French were the pioneers of cycling, so it should not be surprising that at the beginning of the twentieth century more than a million bicycles travelled along its roads - the idea of motorised personal transportation was seen as a good business proposition.

Following in the footsteps of the Dufaux brothers of Motosacoche, at the Paris Salon of 1903 Adolphe Herdtlé and Albert Bruneau presented their engine of 1 ¼ HP (120 cm3, 45 x 75mm) which weighed a mere 5 kg and which could be affixed to any ordinary bicycle. Compared with the more rudimentary engines of the rival factories, the engines built by the two Frenchmen were distinguished by their excellent quality and precision mechanics, and incorporated some worthwhile technical innovations: liquid cooling by thermosiphon, a magneto of their own design, a Vaurs carburetor and mechanical driven overhead inlet valve instead of the atmospheric valves used by most other brands. The reinforced fork and dual brakes on the rear wheel completed the unusual equipment fitted to a machine of such small displacement.

In 1904 the option of the air-cooled engine was offered, and the following year a honeycomb radiator was incorporated in the water-cooled model.

At the Paris Motor Show in 1913, the Herdtlé-Bruneau company presented a new water-cooled monoblock inline twin-cylinder side-valve 3 h.p. model of 272 cc (48 x 75 mm), fed by a Claudel carburetor and with Bosch magneto ignition. The clutch was by friction plate with variable speed ratios, while the final transmission was by chain.

It was equipped with a patented front suspension by Herdtlé - Bruneau. The front fork was a combination of spring and pneumatic shock absorber that acted in conjunction with the front guard, while the rear suspension consisted of leaf-spring blades attached to the bottom of the frame.

As in many other cases, the outbreak of World War I ended the production of this firm, so it is assumed that very few examples were created.

Caption for bottom photo:
El embrague era por placa de fricción y relación de velocidades variable, mientras que la transmisión final era a cadena. La placa de accionamiento B fijada en la salida del motor A está hecha de hierro fundido y presiona el "rodillo" C que está recubierto de material tipo ferodo. El desplazamiento (múltiple) se consigue moviendo el rodillo a lo largo del eje E guiado por la chaveta D.
The clutch was by friction plate and variable speed ratio, while the final transmission was chain. The drive plate B fixed at the output of motor A is made of cast iron and presses the "roller" C that is coated with ferodo-like material. The displacement (maximum) is achieved by moving the roller along the axis E guided by the key D.

Sources: Wikipedia, Bonhams, MC Storico Conti, Sergio Scalerandi



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