French Motorcycles

Motocyclettes fabriquées en France

Notes on some of the rarer French marques

This page lists brands for which we currently have only an historical precis. There is also a page on really obscure French brands.
For a more complete listing visit the French Index.

A

A.B.C. (c1905~)
Manufactured by Ateliers Balestibeau of rue Michel-de-Montaigne, Castillon-sur-Dordogne, Gascony, built an A.B.C. motocyclette prior to the first war and these were advertised around 1904-1905, along with Mototri-Contral. ABC was probably an acronym for Ateliers Balestibeau Castillon. (M. Fernand Balestibeau sold Peugeot in the same town in 1935.)
Sources: zhumoriste, motocollection


Abeille
Established in Saint-Quentin, Aisne, in 1900, Veuve A. de Mesmay built mostly automobiles. There is mention of a tricycle in the literature.
Source: OTTW


ABF
The Association Bidalot Fourès manufactured 50cc racing motorcycles in the 1970s and 80s. Only a handful were built each year. Later machines were modeled on the Seeley design.
See also Bidalot
Source: OTTW


ABG
The firm was originally named Arìes and built automobiles at Asnières-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine in Paris from 1903 to 1938. After the war they joined with spark plug manufacturer BG to form ABG, and began building 48cc auxilliary bicycle engines which became better known as VAP, often ABG-VAP.
Sources: fp.fifou.free.fr et al


Acoma
Manufactured in Angers from 1973 until around 1980
The Acoma Minicomtesse was fitted with a 47cc Saxonette or 50cc Motobecane engine mounted above the front wheel, Velosolex-fashion. It came with two doors, a conventional door on one side and a gullwing door on the other. To help overcome the inherent instability a pair of outrigger wheels was added.
In order to qualify for the sans permis category, it had a pedal which when pushed would propel the vehicle forwards - about 300mm. Not entirely practical, but it satisfied the legal requirements.
Several different models were built over the lifetime of the marque, most with four wheels.
Sources: 3-wheelers.com, lanemotormuseum.org, et al


ACS Siccardi

Albatros
Manufactured by Jean Lacroix, rue de la Jomayère St Etienne. Cyclomoteurs were built (or, more likely, rebadged) 1950-51.
Sources: httpcyclomotosloire.e-monsite.com, forum.tontonvelo.com
There is very little information on this make, and the tontonvelo comment appears to be in relation to bicycles.
There was a much earlier marque with this name - see Disambiguation


Albert-Jean 1900-1902


Alfred Faure
Faure was well-known cyclist who rode for Automoto. He established his own brand in 1922, building lightweights including BMA 100cc machines which he himself raced. Manufacture probably ceased in 1925 when he left St Etienne for Reims.
The address of the firm in 1923 was 11 rue du 11 Novembre, St Etienne, and in 1929 he had premises at 65 rue Chauzy, Reims.
Alfred Faure was born in Gerzat Puy de Dome on April 25, 1883 and died in Reims on February 21, 1935.
Source: Motos dans la Loire


Alleluia

Re-branded version of the German N.S.U., ca 1914, the same year a cycle of this brand won Le Tour. Mopeds of this name were produced in the 1950s.

Bourdache (pp400, 429), encycloduvelo.fr


Alpha
1983-1990
Jacques Coll, originally from Perpignan, built trials machines using modified Honda engines and later 250cc two-strokes of his own design. The Micra Trial 252 was presented at the 1987 Paris Salon. The 72 x 58.8 mm six-speed two-stroke was destined for water-cooling, but the venture failed in 1990 or 91.
Sources: wikipedia.nl, François-Marie Dumas


Alter
1955-56
Built 49cc mopeds using a variety of engines.
Sources: Tragatsch p73


Alpa Picquenot
Ateliers A. Picquenot et Fils
40-44 rue Leledia
Cherbourg (Manche)
Built lightweights of 50cc and 80cc in 1956 only. They also built two-stroke engines:
Type T49 49.7cc, two-speed
Type W80 80.7cc, two-speed
Sources: wikipedia.nl, Cycle Memory


Amstoutz

Established in 1900, Emile Amstoutz was an engineer and motorcycle engine manufacturer in Besançon who built Mirus and A.Z. (see below under AZ)

Motorcycles may also have been produced under the Amstoutz brand.

Mirus bicycle auxiliary engines mounted on the front wheel were built from 1902, and conventional engines were supplied to Andru in 1904, Pannetton in 1906, and also to Aiglon.

A Mirus is in the collection of Maurice Chapleur

Sources: Bourdache (pp 224, 280, 302.), OTTW


André
7, rue Lafouge, Gentilly, Seine
La Moto Biplace - two-seater two-stroke motocyclette with gearbox. 1925 advert.

Models:

1923 Modèle G. 175cc two-stroke.
1925 Model A 175 cc single cyl., two-stroke, belt drive
1925 Model C 250 cc single cyl., two-stroke, belt drive
1925 Model H 250 cc single cyl. (65 x 75 mm), two-stroke, Béchir & Collin, belt drive
1925 Model 350 cc single cyl., two-stroke, Anzani, belt drive

Sources: A. Vassiliadis, et al


Andru

10 Rue de St Quentin, Paris

1903. Built motorcycles with Mirus air-cooled engines. (Bourdache says also water-cooled, but the 1904 catalogue shows only air-cooled.)

Four models were offered in 1904 with 2½ and 2¾ engines.

Bourdache p429


Anzani (FR)


Aquila 1952~1962


Aquilon
Two machines of this brand participated in the Grand Prix of Paris in 1909, ridden by Mouton and Johnson
Bourdache p327


Arcoma
Arcoma during the 70s held around 30% of the market for microcars. The 1975 Mini Comtesse could be driven sans permis, was rather unstable with a single front wheel aided by a pair of training wheels.
The Mini Comtesse Break was introduced in 1978 with four wheels and even more outlandish styling than its predecessor. Arcoma production continued until about 1984.
Source: Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum


Ardex
Manufactured by Marcel Tamine at 54 Rue Saint-Germain, Nanterre, 1934~1939
Built bespoke tricars and cyclecars using engines of up to 500cc. Production resumed post-war using SABB 100cc and 125cc two-strokes, and vinyl-covered plywood bodies.
Sources: OTTW, Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum


Arola
Daniel Manon of Lyon built three-wheeled fiberglass-bodied microcars from 1976 to 1983. The tiny vehicles could be driven sans permis in France and many other European countries.
The Type 11 was a three-wheeler powered by a Sachs engine. The Arola SP (Super Pratique) was a utility version of the Type 12. Later models were introduced in 1979; these included cars with Motobecane 50cc engines and a BCB 125cc was fitted to the Type 18.
The Arola Minoto four-wheeler was derived from an earlier design by Bel-Motors, who used the same name.

Aixam purchased Arola in 1983, and all their models were four-wheelers. The Aixam-Mega firm was purchased by Polaris in 2013.
Sources: Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum, 3-wheelers.com, Wikipedia.


Arzens


AS
ca. 1926. This was a rebadged Ravat 175 B1 sold by Alphonse Sutter of Chatellerault, a Triumph dealer.


Athena
Dérozier participated in the 1905 Tour de France on an Athéna motorcycle.
Bourdache p430


Audax
Established in Rouen, Lenefait et Cie produced motorcycles identical to Lamaudière-Labre from c.1899 to 1904.

1904 models were advertised with 3½ and 4½ cv IOE engines and "Fourche Elastique sur demand, Supplément 50f".

They then built cyclecars from 1912 until 1914.

Bourdache p430, OTTW


Audouard
Founded c.1911 by Jean Antoine Audouard and Antoine Pierre Marie Garcin, the firm manufactured cycles and motorcycles. Address was 26 rue du Grand Gonnet, St Etienne.
Source: Motos dans la Loire


Aureole
L. Bouchez, 7 Boulevard Victor-Hugo, 7 Saint-Oen (Seine)
ca early 1930s, 350cc & 500cc JAP SV and OHV singles, 750cc JAP V-twin
Source: period advertising


Aurore 1901-1906


Autobiroue
Built by Robert Ligier of Puycasquier in the 1950s, the first prototype of 1954 had a roof, later versions being open with a fairing screen, and utilising Lambretta components.
autobiroue.over-blog.com


Autocyclette
Yves Guédon of 15 Rue du Louvre, Paris, built a chain-driven petrol-engined bicyclette in 1899
Bourdache p430


Automotette
Manufactured 1898-1899 by Compagnie Française des Cycles Automobiles in Paris, these were belt-driven tricycles similar to those of Leon Bollee. The machine was also sold in England by a firm based in Holland Park, London.
Source: OTTW


Aviator

Motorcycles built by Friès and Germain, 1906, at 52 bld de Strasbourg, Vincennes

Bourdache p430


Aya Components
Established c.1920 by Mj Paya at 27 Rue Denfer Rochereaux in St Etienne
Built brake hubs, tanks and frames which were supplied to Automoto, Dollar, Favor, Gnome & Rhone, La Française, Magnat debon, New map, Radior, Ravat, Rhony'x, Rochester, Styl'son, Terrot and others.
The company folded in the early 1930s as a result of the financial crisis.
Source: Motos dans la Loire


AZ
Factory at 27 quai de Strasbourg, Besançon.
Engines manufactured by Emile Amstoutz 1900-1908, these were suitable for mounting on the front wheel of a bicycle. A partnership was established with Louis Ravel 1906. They were used by Cottereau and probably others.
See also Amstoutz, above.
Source: OTTW


Rarer French Marques

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

R

S

T

U

V

W


Sources

French Resources

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