French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

GL Motorcycles (G.L.)

A Brief History of the Marque

Manufactured from 1919 to 1920 in Argenteuil by Georges Levy and Maurice Le Pen, the machines were fitted with JAP engines.

After the death of Le Pen, in 1920 the company was sold to Orial in Lyon which changed to MAG engines and branded the machines as their own.

1919 Circuit de l'Eure à Vernon - Sidecars 750cc 1st Huret (G.L.), 2nd Le Pen (G.L.),
1920 Grand Prix de Lyon at Circuit de Saint-André-de-Corcy - Sidecars 500cc 1st place, Jean Borgotti (G.L.)
1920 Grands Prix de France du M.C.F. at Fontainebleau - Sidecars 500cc 1st place, Catella (G.L.)

GL 1919 8 h.p. V-Twin

Threequarter view of the G.L. The-wheel spindles, can be removed without tools.

GL 1919 8hp Brake Band

The band brake on the engine-shaft.

GL 1919 8 h.p. Engine

Peculiarly shaped silencer and spacious footboards are noticeable features of this French production.

GL 1919 8hp, Saddle

Details of the spring seat pillar.

GL 1919 8 h.p. V-Twin Wheels

The detachable wheels are easily manipulated.

A French Machine for the British Market.

The 8 h.p. G. L. Sidecar, embodying English Engine and Gears.

IT is not often one sees a French motor cycle in England, but recently we had an opportunity of examining the G.L., which was brought round to our offices by M. Charles Sweerts, who is well known in the Midlands, and was formerly with the Singer Co., Ltd.

The G.L. is, manufactured by M. Georges Levy, Rue Michel Carré, Argenteuil, France, who, during the war, was a manufacturer of seaplanes. The G.L. is distinctive, in that it employs numerous British parts, such as a J.A.P. engine, Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear, and Amac carburetter. There are, however. several interesting features concerning the frame and its fittings.

The front forks deserve special mention, being intensely strong and yet reasonably light, and being a combination of the Triumph pattern fork and the ordinary pattern. Not only are the forks pivoted at a point above the wheel, but an up and down movement is imparted to them through the vertical enclosed springs contained in tubes running from links at the top of the forks to a spindle running across the fork crown at the bottom of the steering post.

In the G.L. all wheels are detachable and interchangeable, and no tools are required to remove them, as each spindle bolt is provided with long arms so that it can be undone easily by hand and yet be sufficiently tightened by the same method so as not to become loose.

So far as the rear suspension is concerned, this is effected by mounting the saddle pin on a spring, the saddle peak running and sliding on a long rod attached to a lug on the frame top tube. The G.L. is particularly well equipped as regards brakes, and of these one is a distinct novelty, as it is of the external band variety applied to a drum on the engine-shaft and controlled by a pedal within easy reach of the rider's heel. It is most effective in action, and though the braking stresses are taken through the transmission, in the event of the failure of the transmission the rider still has a very powerful means of stopping in the internal expanding band brake in the rear hub. Noteworthy features of the G.L. are the wide and comfortable handle-bars and the spacious aluminium footboards.

The sidecar chassis is light but of great strength, while the body, which it most comfortable, bears some resemblance to the boat body of a seaplane. The hood folds neatly away, and when out of action is protected by a cover. When erected it forms ample protection for the passenger, as it fastens neatly over the top of the V shaped celluloid screen The G.L. is handled in this country b Messrs. Vivian Hardie and Lane, Ltd. 24, Woodstock Street, Bond Street London, W.1.

The Motor Cycle, August 21st 1919.


A French motor cycle built largely of British components and conforming to British ideas of conventionalities, is the G.L., which was awarded a silver medal in the recent Six Days Trials. This machine will be imported by Messrs. Vivian Hardie and Lane, of Woodstock Street, W.l, and is manufactured by M. Georges Levy, of Argenteuil.

The G.L. is distinctive in appearance, and will make a strong appeal to riders on account of the neatness and refinement of its design. The engine fitted is a 6 h.p. J.A.P., which drives through a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box by means of chains. All wheels are detachable and interchangeable, and no tools are required to remove them. A spring saddle-pillar is one of the several features in its design, while a band brake on the engine-shaft is distinctly novel. The side-car fitted is also designed by M. Georges Levy, and is extremely light and pleasing to the eye.

The Motor Cycle 1919

Sources:,, The Motor Cycle

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