French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Givaudan Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

40 rue Sainte Genevieve, Lyon

Machines date from at least as early as 1900 when they built a water-cooled tricycle. Four known examples of the marque exist at Musée Henri Martre, Rochetaillée-sur-Saône (near Lyon), at Musée château de savigny les beaune, and in the Collection de Maurice Chapleur in NE France. The fourth was part of the Guélon Collection

In addition to complete motorcycles, Claude Givaudan built engines in Lyon and supplied them to Terrot, L’albatros, La Francaise Diamant, New Century of St Albans in the UK and Crownfield, also of the UK, among others. He also built aircraft engines including a V8, and was a pioneer aviator. His aircraft were not successful, and a famous aviator of the day said that he only had one fear: that it would actually take off. To the trained eye, however, images of his flying machines bring to mind ideas used in modern aircraft. It appears Claude Givaudan may have been something of a visionary.

In 1910, Givaudan won the Eiffel prize of the Aero Club of France and the first prize of the Aero Club of Belgium.

In 1912 he founded a military school for aircraft mechanics in Lyon (apparently the first in the world) taking the role of director.

From 1904 to his death on the 30th October 1945, he was secretary and vice president of the Aero Club of the Rhone.

Givaudan is mentioned in "The Motor" of Dec 1903

Tragatsch on page 147 states:

"Givaudan - England 1908-1914
Small assembler whose motorcycles had single and V-twin engines made by Villiers, Precision and other companies."

Graces Guide gives very similar information, quoting Henshaw (p129) who quotes Tragatsch.
Under Terrot, Wikipedia also referred to Givaudan as British but this has since been corrected.
The entry for Givaudan UK expands on this possible error.

Sources include Bill Phelps

info at toongroen dot nl
Can you help me out if this is a french Guivaudan motorcycle? It is from around 1904 I think.
If yes, what type. Do you have a complete image?
It is simular to The Flying Merkel, but also to Sarolea.
Thank you in advance
Toon Groen

Sorry, have no further information on this model at present. Ed.
Givaudan-1904c-V-Twin-TGr.jpg posted to Comments.
Update: It's a 1905 Sarolea - conversation continues: Sarolea

Mon Jan 18 2010
wcsphelps at
new manufacturer
Givaudan not known
A manufacturer from Lyons, France who was more well known for his aero engines than his motorcycles. He supplied engines to other manufacturers such as Terrot.

Thu Oct 06 2005
dirk.praet at
Please notice you did use a photograph of my bike Givaudan: this is not a British bike but a French bike 1904 from Lyon. In France there was also Givaudan, made by F. Givaudan, for testing engines being an aviation pioneer

Dirk Praet
(Dirk is mentioned in the article by Bill Phelps)

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