French Motorcycles

Motocyclettes fabriquées en France (B)

Notes on some of the rarer French marques

This page lists brands for which little historical information is currently available.
For a more complete listing visit the French Index.
There is also a page on really obscure French brands.


Manufactured by Louis Bac, an aviation engineer with experience at Peugeot.
These were 2400cc V-twin bicycle pacers built from 1925 to 1939. Arthur Pasquier had a hand in the construction and design, and later they were sold under the Meier brand as Meier-Bac in the years 1932-1938.
Source: wikipedia.nl

Motorcycle exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries in 1899
Bourdache p430

Bayon and Gyss, 3, cité Magenta, Paris.
Motorcycle with a 1 ½ HP Bahon engine, built 1903

Motorcycle exhibited at the Salon in 1902; supplied engines to Bagys.
Bourdache p146

Motorcycle exhibited at the Salon in 1902
Bourdache p146

Manufacture des Cycles Ballis, 3 Rue Palissy, Saint-Etienne
Established as a bicycle firm in 1932, production of BMA lightweights began in 1952 using Le Poulain engines. The firm was acquired the following year by Aquila.
Source: OTTW

Manufactured by Patrick Barigault, Thouars, France 1973-1997
The first production machines appeared in 1980 with Rotax engines, and many were built for competitions such as the Paris-Dakar, later using Yamaha engines. The history of this marque is long and colourful, beginning with frames for Bultaco and Honda competition machines, a partnership with Siccardi, La Magie Noire, involvement with Société Perrotin Automotion, and production of machines for both the military and the police.
Sources: Wikipedia FR, et al.

Built by G.Barré, 79 Deux-Sèvres Niort
The firm dates from 1888 and produced automobiles, motorcycles and cycles. It was acquired by Guiller Freres in 1927.
OTTW states that they built tricycles 1898-1908, and that the firm merged with Lamberton in 1923, building automobiles thenceforward.
Sources: Bourdache, forum.tontonvelo.com, OTTW


The Barrellier, a three-wheeler fitted with a flat twin two-stroke engine.


A quaint little three-wheeler with a single small front wheel is displayed on this stand. The tout ensemble is reminiscent of an invalid chair (for which type of vehicle the manufacturers are famous). Both single and two-seaters are made, and both are engined by horizontally-opposed two-stroke air-cooled engines combined with two-speed gears and fully enclosed magnetos. The final drive is by shaft and worm gear to a neat live rear axle.

The Motor Cycle, October 1919

See Barrière

Établissements Baud in Doubs, Franche-Comté 1950-1960
The company built mopeds which were also marketed under the brand names Betty, Elfil, Luxia and Jurasport.
Source: The Moped Archive (globalnet.co.uk)

Baudoin et Cie
Established in 1899 at 19 rue Fontainebleau, Saint Etienne, the company made spokes for wheels fitted to motorcycles, cycles and automobiles.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

Motorcycle exhibited at the Salon in 1902
Bourdache p430

Baudier Tricycle presented at the Salon des Tuileries, 1899
Bourdache p430

Bayle and Michon formed a partnership in 1925 and produced motorcycles fitted with Givaudan and Moser engines. The firm was based in the Loire district.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

Located in Montbrison, Loire, during the 1950s the firm sold mopeds sourced from Automoto, VBF and possibly others under their own name. In 1958 Bazile was an agent for Manurhin and Peugeot.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

28 rue des tanneries, Roanne, and 85 rue Emile Zola, Reims
Sold motorcycles under the brands Parfait, BCA and Mylor in the 1930s and 1940s. Their BCA 100 c.1930 is believed to be rebadged Ravat.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

Motocyclette presented at the salon in 1902, clutch and chain transmission
Bourdache p146

These were mopeds marketed by Mathon of Grenoble in 1958 and were probably rebadged Mercier machines, to which they bore a very strong resemblance.
Source: OTTW

This was a 50cc racing machine which appeared low in the results for two GP events in 1982, ridden by Pascal Kambourian. It is likely that very few were built.
Source: OTTW

Benoît Faure
A well-known cyclist active in the 20s and 30s, Faure established a factory at 45 Rue Paillons in Saint-Etienne and produced mopeds and velomoteurs from 1954 to 1956. Despite the firm's short lifespan it produced around a dozen different models powered by engines from Comet, Myster, Mistral, Himo, Villiers and Le Poulain of up to 100cc.

Source: OTTW

Gilbert and Véronique Beringer formed the Beringer Company in 1985. The firm manufactured motorcycle wheels, forks and sidecars. Post-2000, they produced products for to sport aviation, Formula One racers and sailplanes (gliders) among others.
Source: beringer-aero.com

Place de la Re´publique Toucy - Yonne
V-twins and single-cylinder motocyclettes built by Maximilien Bernasse, c1906-1907, using engines from Deckert of Paris, among others. An example dated c.1906 has a single cylinder engine mounted low in the frame in front of the pedal crank, and is fitted with a Hygina central spring fork. It was part of the Guélon Collection. The Bernasse factory still exists and is in use for the restoration and display of Citroen DS motor cars.
Bourdache p430

Built at 4 Rue Thiers, Choisy-Le-Roi near Paris, 1952-1954, these were lightweights powered by 48cc Cucciolo and other engines.

Source: OTTW

Berthenod et Guigard
Founded in 1904, the firm had addresses at 35 rue Balay and 42 rue Prefecture in Saint Etienne
They built components for cycles and automobiles
Source: Motos dans la Loire

The firm offered two 50cc two-stroke mopeds in 1963, the Centurion and the Jupiter.
Source: OTTW

In 1899 he built an petrol-engined bicyclette with large rear wheel, a small front wheel and a strongly triangulated frame.
Bourdache p430

Betty see Baud

Founded in 1900 as a manufacturer of firearms and bicycles, some five decades later the firm entered the motorcycle trade with mopeds using Junior and Solano engines, built at 64 Rue Antoine Durafour, Saint-Etienne in 1953 and '54.
Source: OTTW

Henri Lepappe of Paris built motorcycles with their own twin-cylinder two-stroke engines which were supplied to manufacturers. The firm was one of the first to use two-stroke engines.
Sources: Tragatsch p87, wikipedia.nl

A famous name in the history of French motorcycling, Jean Bidalot of Urrugne began building motorcycles in 1967. These early efforts were very fast 50cc racing machines. He went on to become head designer at Pernod which ran his creations in the 125 and 250 GPs, winning six titles. In 1983 he moved to MBK and is probably best known for the Magnum XR engines. Having contracted a debilitating disease he returned to his origins where he developed a line in go-faster gear for competition motorcycles, a business continued by his sons.
Source: OTTW

Lightweights built in Lyon 1949 to 1959 using 98cc Aubier & Dunne engines.
Source: OTTW

Two-wheel engine for tricycles - ran to the coast of Chanteloup in 1898
Bourdache p430

Motorcycles manufactured by M. Bogey believed to have been based in Grenelle, Paris, from 1930 to 1935. B.J.S. are thought to have used frames built by Gam of St Etienne.
Source: OTTW, et al.

Bourgeois Marechal France was a motorcycle component manufacturer which also built complete motorcycles in the 1920s. Dates are unknown, and the factory was apparently destroyed during the second war.
Source: La Moto Francaise

A Paris-based automobile company established in 1911 which built motorcycles in the early 1930s using JAP and Rudge Python engines.
Source: OTTW

Louis Boccardo, with Dominique Favario and Thierry Grange, was one of the designers of the BFG. He left that company to build the MF, and later built the Boccardo, of which 5 copies were produced.
Sources: bfg.asso.fr

"Same transmission on the Boillod, but the engine, a two-cylinder, is placed behind the saddle of the pilot. "
Bourdache p112

303 rue du faubourg Saint Antoine, Paris

Motocyclettes, 1906
Bourdache p431

35 Citée des fleurs, Paris
Established 1896, built a motorcycle, and then in 1902 a driving wheel adaptable on all bicycles. Patented.
Bourdache pp 56, 146.

87 Avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris

1899-1910. Established by Leon Lefebvre, the company had factories in Pantin which built automobiles and motorcycle engines. One source says they built motorcycles of 1 ½ hp but others are not sure this is so. A motorcycle of inderminate brand with a Bolide engine dated c.1900 was auctioned with the Guélon Collection
Bourdache p320

Bon Avion
Established in 1840 as an arms manufacturer at 8 Place Villeboeuf à St Etienne by M. Bonnavion, construction of motorcycles began in 1927 with flat-tank chain-drive singles using engines from Broulier, LMP, Zurcher and others in capacities ranging from 175cc to 500cc. It seems likely that motorcycle production ceased in 1929.
Motos dans la Loire

Motorcycle ridden by Ricard in 1903
Bourdache p146

17 avenue de la Motte Piquet, Paris
Motorcycles built 1905 with full suspension from L'Idéal

Audax 4 ½hp engine, 1905 version of the Lamaudière.
Bourdache p431

Founded in 1912 at 32 Rue de Champagne, Saint-Etienne, construction of mopeds began in 1949. Some of these were supplied, it appears, to Benoit Faure. During the 1950s the firm produced several thousand mopeds. It ceased manufacture in 1958, but continued with bicycles until 1976.
Moto Revue 16th Feb 1957 lists the company as building 4,000 cyclomoteurs from 1954 to 1956.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

53 rue du Bois, Levallois Perret
1906, motocyclettes
Bourdache p431

Bonnet & Guyonnet
Bonnet & Guyonnet built motocyclettes at 54, Rue d'Hautpoul, Paris, 1907~1910.
M. Canonne had also been involved with the firm, it appears, and left on Christmas Day in 1910. The firm at that time were still building motorcycles and used the Phebus brand. An advertisement appeared in September 1918 "Automobilia" for Phebus motorcycles.
The firm still existed in 1926 but did not appear to be building motorcycles.
babethhistoires.centerblog.net, Bourdache p435

1903, Motocyclettes et tricars.
58, rue Claude-Villefaux, Paris, and 183 bis, rue du Faubourg Poissonniere, Paris
Bourdache p431

Motorcycle exhibited in December 1901
Bourdache p431

In 1904 the rider Victor Boudiot rode a machine of this name with an engine of his own construction in the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris event.
Bourdache p431

Motorised bicycle built in Chartres, 1899. The company closed the same year.
Bourdache pp 68, 69

Built in 1903 by J.J. Bourcard in Colmar, Alsace on the German Border
The machine consisted of two motorcycles side by side - one bike has the rider, and the other the engine in order to isolate the rider from vibration.
Bourdache p431


Vertical in-line twin with common combustion chamber, one valve each for inlet and exhaust, built for racing 1900-1901. Used by Demeester.
Bourdache p136

A Motor-bicycle with petrol engine located behind the pedals constructed in Nogentle-Rotrou by M. Bourgery from 1986 until at least 1900. He had concieved the idea for the machine in 1893, at the tender age of 19.
Two of these, both dated c.1898, were part of the Guélon Collection. They are very similar, differing only with the lack of crankcase markings on one presumed to be the earlier model.
Bourdache p431

Tricycle with De Dion-Bouton Engine of 1899.
Bourdache p431

The company produced motorcycles powered by Givaudan engines from 1904 at 3 rue Bourgneuf in Saint Etienne.
Torpille motorcycles were built until 1907 when the company closed.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

In 1924 built a motorcycle powered by a Massardier 1¼ h.p. engine.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

35 avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris
Motocyclettes, 1902, powered by Astral engines.
Bourdache pp 431, 146, 320.


239 Boulevard Pereire, Paris
Established in 1898, E.J. Brierre, Perrenoud and Gansewinkel built trimoteurs, quatris and automobiles with petrol engines. The company closed in 1901
Bourdache p432

109 rue de Rennes, Nantes
The Briest brothers ran a motor bicycle in the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux-Paris.
Bourdache p44

Brissard Fils
11 rue du Colonel Oudot, Paris
Engine used in the contest of the Locomotion Automobile in 1899. It is not clear whether the engines were used in motorcycles.
Bourdache p432

Moto Revue N°523 of 18th March 1933 has an article on the Brooklyn 250 cc SV JAP
La Moto Francaise

Light motorcycle engine presented at the 1902 Salon
Bourdache p432

The firm was founded in 1836 and built weapons and bicycles at 7 Cours Fauriel, Saint-Etienne. Their first motorcycles appeared in 1909 fitted with a Keller Dorian 1 ¾hp and looking like a Pernod.

Source: Motos dans la Loire, encycloduvelo.fr

1899. Motocyclettes & Tricars
12 rue Victor Hugo, Tours
Their Type MH of c1905 had a liquid-cooled cylinder head, two radiators, and a fully enclosed, sealed chaincase which eliminated the need for pedal crank chain.

A machine with an enormous Buchet Rigal engine was capable of 125 km/h, and was exceedingly dangerous.
1. moto-collection.org
2. Bourdache mentions this marque often - pp111, 117, 123, 133, 143, 146, 151, 157, 159, 160, 172, 174, 178, 205, 209, 229, 299, 320, 322, 325.

27 to 31 rue des Archives, Paris
Cycles and motorcycles exhibited at the 1908 Paris Salon
Bourdache p432

Brunner Tricycle
Louis Brunner, 94, rue Gabriel Peri, Columbes (Seine) - constructed ca.1948~1950
Type D had a 125cc twostroke engine. Type B had a twin-cylinder 99cc engine.
A Brunner tricar was photographed by Robert Doisneau. Ce-dessus et a droite: Porte d'Orleans, 1953
Sources: La Moto Francaise, contemporary literature.

Buard 1907
Moto à vapeur (steam-powered) motorcycle photographed by FM Dumas at Musées de Châtellerault.
Designed by Paul Buard in the workshop of Leon Serpollet, Paris 1905. It did not enter commercial production and was one of the last steam motorcycles built.

Etore Bugatti, famed for his sports and racing cars, built bicycles as early as 1913. He also built a limited number of T.72 bicycle attachment engines, the likes of which had never been seen before. They were tiny OHV engines, the smallest being 12.66 cc. This one was produced in 1944 in France, probably the last of around seven he built.
Bugatti began his career with the La Stucchi & C. motorcycle firm.
Source: bugattirevue.com

Built in the 1950s using AMC 4T engines. Primitive telescopic forks, plunger rear.
ID plate reads Burton, Type BGL, Serie 54.
La Moto Francaise

Butler Trimoteurs
In 1899 Portéous Butler established a workshop France to build tricycles of English manufacture with Automoto engines. Because of their colours, his version was named (or nicknamed?) Rouge et Noir
Bourdache p9, p13.
There are several Butler marques so confusion is possible.


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