French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Motocyclettes fabriquées en France (C)

Notes on some of the rarer French marques

This page lists brands for which only brief historical information has been posted. There is also a page on really obscure French brands.
For a more complete listing see the French Index.



Established in 1900 at 58, rue de Longvic, in Dijon. Described at the time as a "specialist in finished frames and cycles". A 1929 catalogue advertised parts "Pour le Cycle et la Moto", giving the same address. It is not clear whether they sold complete motorcycles under their own name.

The Capelle poster is by Imp. Moullot, date c1907.

The business possibly still exists at a nearby address.

Bicycle maker G. Carpio of Paris built lightweights using 98c and 124cc engines from Aubier Dunne and Stainless.
There is also a Henri Carpio Sidecars of Romainville, Paris, founded 1920 according to their advertising, they are believed to have been sidecar manufacturers from 1932 to 1953. Some of their sidecars are said to be very similar to the Bernardet. Models include the Carpio GT of 1933.
Sources:, Tragatsch p101, contemporary literature.

J. Carreau 1902

Ets Casnat, 53, Rue Montesquieu, Lyon (Rhone)
A cycle manufacturer which built lightweight motorcycles in the 1950s, including a 70cc model in 1955.
Sources:, La Moto Francaise.

Cassardo logo

Based at 6 Rue Ceccaldi in St Etienne, Cesar Cassardo built sidecars in the 30s until at least 1935.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

Motocyclette which took part in the concours de l'Automobile Club de France, 1904. See also Tungnaud-Cavelier
Bourdache p432



Built lightweight motorcycles and mopeds using 49cc and 124cc engines. Their Superlux 55 velomoteur was powered by a 49cc Myster.

Sources:, Tragatsch p101


205 rue de Flandre, Paris
Bicycle with the engine above the rear wheel, built by M. Flinois in 1900
Bourdache p109

N.B. Several other firms used variations of the Centaur brand.

Cerreti Motocar 1929~1930

Certain Tricars 1907

C.F.C. - Compagnie Française des Cycles 1901-02


On December 5, 1902, Bellan and Maréchal, dit de Chalmares, patented a motorcycle (N°327.023).

Source: Bourdache p432

The name was formed from the brands CLEment-GlaDIAtor and HumBER. Bicycles of this name were built and, it is believed, motorcycles. Manufacture took place in Pre-Saint-Gervais.

21 rue Gaudot de Mauroy, Paris (1907)
Presented a motorised bicycle of 1½ hp or 2¼ hp at the 1902 Salon.
Bourdache writes, "De mystérieux Chaffal et Gillet cachent peut-être..." - another source refers to Chaffal and Gillet (the latter could be René Gillet).
Bourdache pp 146, 432

Chaffin Motocyclettes
30 bis rue Ledru-Rollin, Beaucaire
Motocyclette, 1907
Bourdache p432

Manufacturer of Velocipedes. Acessoires, Pieces Detachees. Automobiles et Motocycles. 17 Place du Lycee, Alais, 1903.
A 1901 De Dion-Bouton automobile associated with the name D. Champeyrache was sold by Bonhams July 2009. There is however no evidence to suggest that they built motor bicycles or tricycles.
La Moto Francaise

Chanon 1905

Motocyclette, 1903
47 avenue de la République, Paris
Name changed to C.D.M. in 1906.
Bourdache p187

Charles Pélissier
A famed cyclist of the 1920s and 1930s, his name is mentioned in connection with motorcycles.
Motos dans la Loire says that a company of the same name was formed in 1909. Charles was born in 1903.
There was another Pélissier, Francis, also a famous cyclist in the 1920s and whose name was used by Mercier on a moped in the early 1950s. Francis was born in 1894 and in his racing years had looks which would no doubt have made women swoon.

Charon Motorcycle
Sidevalve engine in a wooden frame with wooden forks, wire spoked wheels. Most unusual machine, and really quite beautiful.
La Moto Francaise has an image of one registered at the prefecture of Angoulême on 13/07/1929

30 rue de Mondéreau, Sens (Yonne)
Built a motorcycle with a De Dion 2¾hp engine in 1902
Bourdache p433

Chauffourier 1902

Beginning in 1978, Alain Chevallier built Yamaha TZ-based racers ridden by his talented brother Olivier, who died on the track in 1980. After almost throwing in the towel, Alain recovered and changed to Honda. Using engines supplied by HRC, the three-cylinder 500cc GP machines were a force to be reckoned with.
Source: François-Marie Dumas

Cicca Vélo-Réve

In 1904 Edouard Cheilus founded the company "Éd. Cheilus et Cie" and displayed his first tricar at the 1904 Salon. The following year he formed Austral., Bourdache p315, 399

Chemineau 1952-1957

Chenard-Walcker 1897-1930s

Founded in 1902 in Saint Etienne, the firm built components for cycles and automobiles.
Source: Motos dans la Loire


Albert Choin and his wife Marie have been building sidecars for decades. Some 300 machines have the Choda name which appears in numerous race results, often with Albert as the rider.

The machines are created on an ancient farm in Courtavant, some 100km east of Paris.


Established in 1899 at Lieu Montpassé grandes molières in Saint Etienne
They built components for bicycles and automobiles, and probably for motorcycles.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

Choubersky 1899

Chouzet Motocyclette
Motorcycle patented on February 29, 1904
Bourdache p433

Claude Delage 1923~1927

Established in 1951 at Rue des Armuriers in St Etienne, the firm built frames for Rhonson and bodywork for the Mercier Vacances.
Source: Motos dans la Loire



49cc and 65cc mopeds built by bicycle manufacturer Robert Codridex of Angoulême, 1952-56. Bicycles were also built under the brand Royal-Codrix.
Moto Revue 16th Feb 1957 lists the company as building 6,100 cyclomoteurs from 1954 to 1956.
Sources: Tragatsch p106, Moto Revue

Marcel Violet was associated with this firm which produced cyclecars powered by two-stroke engines from 1908 to 1913, and also post WWI.

Société Colomb of Bagnolet, Paris, built lightweight motorcycles and scooters. At the Salon de Paris, 1950, they presented a 2-speed 50cc two-stroke with a cradle frame and suspension front and rear. The engine was of their own manufacture.
Sources: Wikipedia NL, VELO Moteurs No 9 Octobre 1950 (Belgium).

Colombe 1923-1925

Constantin & Cabannes

A small workshop in Béziers established in the late 1890s began building motorcycles in 1902, an example of which exists with a 330cc four-stroke engine mounted horizontal and high in the frame. It has chain drive, and a "tampone" brake on the front wheel which acts directly on the tyre. The company name is clearly visible, cast into the crankcase.

On page 110 Bourdache writes that the 1901 Constantin horizontal motor is attached to the upper tube of the frame, and he also mentions M. Constantin as the inventor of "du patin automobile", powered roller skates, in 1905. Each has a 1 h.p. Herdtlé-Bruneau engine, with the batteries and carburettor attached to the riders belt. These were marketed by Herdtlé & Bruneau

Sources:; Bourdache pp 110, 255, 287.


Coq de France
Manufactured by Mazoyer-Besset which was founded in 1928 and based in Rochereaux (Loire).
During the 30s or 40s the firm acquired the Racer brand, and in 1952 the two brands were advertised together. Mistral-powered motorcycles were produced in the 1950s. The firm joined Cocymo, probably in the mid-1950s.
Source: Motos dans la Loire

Built 2-stroke engines for motorcycles. Patent of May 15, 1899 by Henry Cormery
Bourdache p433

Corre 1894

Cote d'Azur
Another of the many brands built by Mercier, these lightweight two-stroke machines were produced from the early 1950s until 1962. The first models had primitive telescopic front forks and rigid rear. Dam models were available. Engines included the 100cc 2-speed Comet and 100cc Villiers.
The Cote d'Azur model was also sold as the Lapébie Sb98, Salmson, Louison Bobet and André Leducq.
Sources: Motos dans la Loire, La Moto Francaise


Motocyclette presented at the Paris Salon of 1905 fitted with horizontally-opposed twin engine and shaft-drive.
Bourdache p434

Only one known to exist, currently in a French museum. It raced in the Coupes de France and also in Paris and Bordeaux. It is powered by the very rare 1903 375cc Zedel engine with a rotating disc for opening the valves.
Source: Anibal Martinez, Motorcycles 1867-1930 (FB)

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Images published on La Moto Francaise indicate a mid- to late 30s machine fitted with a bevel-driven OHC engine. It appears to be of unit construction, with a hand shift mounted to the rear RHS of the engine with kickstarter adjacent.
A second machine is a BMA on which has several images, one of which shows a Cycles Cousturo metal badge on the steering head. Engine is Stainless type BMA.

Based in Paris, C.P.C. built BMA lightweights powered by engines of less than 100cc.

CS Concept

"CS Concept spécialiste du side car néo-classique : grandes roues, panier spacieux, peintures et sellerie sur mesure. Les modèles sont préparés sur commande, personnalisés, et homologués."

The CS Concept firm was a specialist in classic-styled sidecars with large wheels, spacious passenger accomodation, custom paint and upholstery. The models were built to order.

Source: (offline)


Marcel Violet built a C.S.V. (Compagnie des Scooters Violet?) scooter with a twin-cylinder two-stroke engine which had a single combustion chamber and a single spark plug, commissioned by the Bucciali brothers. By 1923 this had developed into a 125cc scooter which raced at the Bol d'Or achieving an average of 59 km/h.


Cugnot 1769



At least two of these remarkable machines were built by Gérard Curey and his team, the second having a frame based on both the Ducati and Tonti Moto-Guzzi designs. It ran a 1000cc HO twin with belt-driven OHC and four-valve heads, and completed the 47th Bol d'Or.

Although the two companies were in direct communication given the similarity of their projects, Curey and BFG did not collaborate.


Cycleauto, 1919

A three-wheeler with a single steering wheel in front is by no means a new proposition, but the lay-out of the Cycleauto is unusual in many respects. A heavy motor cycle type spring fork is employed for the front suspension, and long semi-eliptic springs attached to the tubular frame are responsible for absorbing the road shocks at the rear. The engine is a two-cylinder water-cooled two-stroke, having side-by-side Vertical cylinders. Transmission is by chain to an epicyclic gear on the countershaft, and two long belts running over large front pulleys provide the final drive. Driver and passenger are accommodated side by side in a comfortable body, provided with hood and screen. Steering is direct through a wheel and link motion. A radiator is placed in front of the engine.

Paris Salon, reported in The Motor Cycle, October 1919

Moteurs Cyclex, 17 rue Ybry, Neuilly-sur-Seine (Seine)
Hispano Gadoux of Paris revealed an auxiliary bicycle engine at the 1946 Salon. Available in both single and twin-cylinder two-stroke versions, both the 48cc single (Types B and C) and the 98cc twin were mounted upside-down adjacent to the rear wheel, the twin mounted on both sides. They weighed 10 kg and 16 kg respectively.

Cyclorette 1950s


Manufacture Orléanaise de Cyclomoteurs (MOC) (c.1949)
1, route Olivet. Orléans

Models include: C.M.A. 1 48cc VAP; C.M.A. 1 Tour de France; C.M.A. 10; Cycloporteur M.V.2; Mototandem M.V.4; Mototandem M.S.50. Sachs 98cc.

They also built William bicycles, which had an eagle with outstretched wings represented on the logo.

Sources:,, Cycle Memory et al

N.B. Not to be confused with Cyclorette by Terrot

Bicycle engines manufactured 1950-1952, Ets Darris, 8 Rue de Richelieu, Paris 1°. 49cc Types H51, H52. It can be mounted below the saddle to drive the rear wheel by roller, or can be fitted to the fork yoke to drive the front wheel. It appeared at the 1950 Paris Salon.

Cyclone 1899

French Resources

Rarer French Marques