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French Motorcycles

Helyett Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Established by the frères Picard.

Manufactured 1926 to 1956
Motos Helyett, Sully sur Loire.

Les Ateliers Helyett began producing bicycles in 1919 and entered the motorcycle trade in the late 20s, by which time they had a second branch in Orléans and employed around 50 people.

The origin of the marque is believed to be the name of the heroine in the operetta "Miss Helyette" by Edmond Audran. Another of his works is "La Mascotte".

In 1928 they offered lightweight 175cc and 225cc two-strokes, and later added touring machines powered by Chaise OHV singles along with 750cc & 998cc JAP twins.

There was an interesting shaft-drive V-twin of similar configuration to the post-war Moto-Guzzi twins. Built in the early 30s, the MH136 was powered by a transverse JAP sidevalve engine driving via cardan shaft to the rear wheel, with saddle tank, electric headlight and klaxon. They also offered a cardan single at this time, the MH125 with a 350cc JAP mounted sideways in the frame.

Subsequent to World War II Helyett built mopeds and lightweights up to 175cc.

The firm continued to build bicycles until 1962, their bikes being very successful in racing, winning Le Tour de France in 1957, 61 and 62.

Helyett was acquired by Griffon in 1962.

Sources: JLB Creations, helyett.com, encycloduvelo.fr, contemporary advertising.


July 13, 2019
kbcmcd at gmail.com
1929 Helyett
Need information on a French motorcycle called Helyett. Rebuilding a 1929 Helyett.
Kevin McDougle
Indiana, United States
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