French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Cugnot Steam Tricycle

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, an engineer in the French Army, built a steam-powered three-wheeled vehicle in 1769. It was the first self-propelled vehicle.

The story goes that the machine ran into a wall in Paris, and as a result Cugnot was arrested and convicted of dangerous driving.

A replica of the Cugnot Steamer is on display at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.

Another French steamer of interest is the Perreaux of 1871.

Sources:, Wikipedia, et al

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