French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

The Perreaux Motorcycle

The First Motorcycle

Louis Guillaume Perreaux produced "La Perreaux" motorcycle in 1871. A steam engine was installed under the saddle, and it has a large spoked front wheel and a smaller spoked rear wheel which was driven by belts from the remarkably compact steam engine.

Swiss watchmaker Auguste Hainard patented both steam and electric versions on 20th May 1870, and these were preceded by a patent application filed on 5 June 1869 by Emile Delaurier and Jules Morin in Paris for an electric vélocipède.

However, Perreaux was the first to actually build one.


Bourdache (pp 9 to 12, et al.)
Didier Mahistre
Perreaux : la première moto de l'histoire : la vie et l'oeuvre de Louis-Guillaume Perreaux, de l'Orne, ingénieur-mécanicien 1816-1889 / Rolland, Guy. 2015.- 1 vol. (125 p.)
(Perreaux: the first motorcycle in history: the life and work of Louis-Guillaume Perreaux, Orne, engineer-mechanic 1816-1889)

Video explaining the operation of the Perreaux steamer: Perreaux steamer

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