Scootomoto & Babymoto: A Brief History
Roger Breton established Breton Ets in 1941 as a cycle firm at 9-11 Rue de la Tréfilerie, Saint-Étienne. There he produced bicycles under the brand L.R.B. - Louise Roger Breton.
The firm entered the market in 1951 with a moped powered by the Cucciolo engine, and built a variety of lightweights powered by Aquila, Comet, Mistral, Lavalette and other engines of up to 125cc.
They presented the L.R.B. Babymoto moped at the 1952 Paris Salon, and again at the 53 Salon. These machines were typical of mopeds of the day but for the front forks, which were most unusual. Breton took out a patent for them, and the VAP 4-powered machine was quite elegant. The mopeds were also fitted with Cucciolo and Mistral engines. A tandem machine made a very brief appearance, the Babymoto Duo, and there was also a Babymoto scooter with a 48cc Cucciolo engine. This too was fitted with the Breton forks.
In 1954 they marketed the Scootomoto powered by a 3 speed 70cc Lavalette engine - there were two models, one a scooter and the other a light motorcycle.
Other models quickly followed, but some had reverted to conventional forks and others developed styling which would have caused some curious expressions.
These were superceded by standard motos which lacked the flair of the the earlier products and looked like a hundred others - there is every chance that these new offerings were no longer manufactured in-house, but were rebadged machines marketed at a much lower price in an effort to compete in the increasingly difficult market.
Motobecane has been accused of using unfair tactics and forcing their dealers to sell only Motobecane, with the result that small producers like Breton were forced out of the market. The firm of the highly creative and inventive Breton was bankrupted in 1954 , with the workers losing their jobs.
M. Breton, not one to be easily beaten, then went into the furniture business named Furiana using the newly available Formica, and did brilliantly. Many kind words have been written about this man.
1. Some give later dates of closure.
2. There are reports that the company used an engine from Ultima. Breton himself says that is not so.