European Motorcycles

BMA Motorcycles

BMA (Bicyclette Moteur Auxiliaire)

The BMA was exempt from registration and taxes, thus enabling many of the French to progress from bicycles to petro-engine vehicles. Introduced in 1926, these are the rules for a BMA:

1. Engine must be 100cc or less (most often 98cc)
2. Total weight under 30kg
3. Top speed 30kph
4. Pedals required

In 1958 French legislation changed, so that the permitted engine size to drive "sans permis" was changed to 50cc. As a result, many small firms ceased production.

Mopeds in France, Late 1970s

Towards the end of the 1970s mopeds had achieved great popularity. Motobecane and Peugeot were the largest manufacturers and they benefitted greatly when the French government banned sales of geared mopeds with the issue of decree N°80-14 of January 1980. Many smaller marques vanished within a year or two unless they could produce models with automatic transmission.

1st June 1980...

A ban on gearbox mopeds was decided by the government of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing which targeted the imports which represented 90% of this category of moped.

Zundapp, which marketed 8,000 mopeds per year via its importer Gottfried, heavily affected... These gearbox mopeds were again authorized for sale in 1996... 12 years after the bankruptcy of Zundapp...

More under Mopeds

Mopeds in Germany, Late 1920s

In 1928 Allright of Germany built a 98cc motorcycle popularly referred to as the "Hermännchen" (The Little Hermann), named for the ponderous WWI fighter ace Hermann Goering who attended a press conference announcing the "people's motorcycle". The term persisted into the 1950s as a reference to the German 98cc BMA-style motorcycles.

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