French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Bédélia Cyclecars of Paris

Designed by Robert Bourbeau and Henri Devaux in 1907 when they were both 18 years old, the cyclecars were manufactured by the Bourbeau et Devaux Co. of Paris from 1910 to 1925. This low and light car carried its two passengers in tandem with the passenger seated at the front, with the driver steering and manipulating the engine controls from the rear seat.

Single-cylinder or 10 h.p. V-twin engines were used, some of which were from J.Quentin. Drive was to the rear wheels through a belt which could be moved between pulleys to give a two speed transmission. The front axle was centre pivotted with suspension by a single mid mounted coil spring and the steering was by a cable and bobbin. Elliptic leaf springs were used at the rear. The method of changing gear was unusual. The rear driver had to operate a lever which slackened the belt by moving the rear axle forwards and then the passenger had to move the belt between pulleys by means of a separate lever. Before World War I, Bedelia cyclecars sold very well in France and Britain.

Manufacturing rights were obtained by a dealer, a Monsieur Binet in 1920 and he had an updated version of the cars made for him by Mathieux of Levallois-Perret, Seine. The body design was modified to let the driver and passengers sit and a conventional three speed gearbox was fitted. Engines of up to 990 cc were offered.

Bedelia also built a tilting three-wheeler, which had two front wheels which tilted, along with the body and driver. At least one example survives.

When the cyclecar boom was over the company collapsed in 1925.

Sources: Graces Guide, Wikipedia.

If you have a query or information about these French machines please contact us