Gnome-Rhone Motorcycles

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Gnome & Rhone Motorcycles


400cc 1919-1922
500cc 1921-1922

Horizontally-opposed twin designed by Sopwith. See also ABC

B & C Models

B 1921 - 1924 500cc SV
C 1924 - 1928 500cc SV

4 h.p. 499cc 85x88mm, 3 speed, hand shift, magneto ignition. Tyres 650x65. Brakes one on pulley-rim and another on the flywheel. Weight: 95kg.

1922 Models

1924 - 1928 500cc
Introduced at the Paris Salon of 1923, the sidevalve 499cc (85x88mm) Grand Sport produced 10hp at 2800rpm. Primary and final drive were by chain, three speed gearbox, drum brakes, top speed 100km/h. Weight 110kg.

1924 - 1926 250cc Two-stroke
70x64mm, magneto ignition, 650x65 tyres, 75 kg. Top speed 70 km/h.

H: 1925 - 1927 175cc Two-stroke
H2: 1927 - 1929

175 cc 62x57mm, 2 speed gearbox, Magneto France ignition, tyres 26x2 1/4 or 25x3, brakes on pulley-rim, weight: 70kg. Top speed: 65 kh/h.

1926 - 1927 500cc OHV

 Single cylinder OHV 500 cc 84x88mm, 3-speed gearbox, magneto ignition, tyres 28x3, drum brakes, weight 125kg. Top speed 120 km/h.

1927 - 1929 250cc Two-stroke

250cc 70x64 mm, 2 and 3 speed gearbox, tyres 26x3 1/2, drum brakes, 85kg. Max speed 75 km/h.

Gnome Rhone Model D4 500cc OHV 1926
Photo by Hans Denzel

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1928 - 1932 499cc Sidevalve 85x88 mm, Amac carburettor, magneto ignition, 12hp @ 2,800rpm, 3 speed gearbox, drum brakes front and rear, 27x4 tyres. Top speed 110 km/h. Weight 140kg.

1928 - 1932 488cc OHV 84x88mm, 3 speed, 19" wheels, top speed up to 127 km/h depending on fuel. Weight 142kg.
The D4 was campaigned in numerous events by the factory team and won many laurels.


1929 250cc SV


Produced from 1929 to 1933

1st serial number: 60001

Colour: red and black

This model is derived from the 250ccc E3 type, using the same double cradle frame, front fork with suspension spring, shock absorber and steering brake. The machine is powered by a 4 hp side-valve 306 cc (69x82 mm) engine with automatic forced lubrication, wet sump, multi-disc clutch, variable advance magneto and double lever Amac carburetor. It has a 3 speed gearbox with hand shift and has a top speed of 85 km/h. Weight 120kg.Notes:

1) Some sources give production dates of 1929-1934


1930 - 1938
500 cc HO Twin, 68x68mm, 3 speed gearbox, Solex carburettor, 26x3.5 or 27x4 tyres, drum brakes.
Weight: 150kg
Top speed 110 km/h.


Produced from 1932 to 1939

1st serial number: 105001

Colour: black (cream or turquoise blue available as an optional extra)

This model uses the same chassis as the V2 introduced two years earlier. It was modified over the years, the frame and the forks being reinforced and the three-speed gearbox used was be replaced by a four-speed gearbox on later versions.

Various options were available: Jaeger 8-day clock, speedometer, luggage rack, saddlebags, foot gear change and chrome mudguards.

CM1 1931-1932 350cc OHV

1932 - 1935
350 cc SV (73x82 mm), 3 speed gearbox with hand change, Amac carburettor, 26x3.5 tyres, drum brakes 180 mm. Weight 130 kg, top speed: 95 kh/h.


1932 - 1936

Engine: 350cc OHV (Bore 73 x Stroke 82)

3 speed gearbox

Weight: 130 kg

26 x 3.5 tyres

Speed 115 km/h


Produced from 1934 to 1939 (or 1933-1938)

250cc (62 x 80 mm) 8 hp 3-speed gearbox - stamped sheet metal chassis - parallelogram sheet metal forks, drum brakes 150 mm, weight 110 kg, top speed around 80 km/h.
1st serial number: 501

Colour: black

The chassis of the Junior takes up the main outlines of the V2 and the CV2. The model saw several modifications over the years.

The motor, which was attached at three points on the first versions, was affixed at four points from Nr 2238 on. The cylindrical tool box was replaced by two metal toolboxes fitted to either side of the rear mudguard, below the luggage rack. The later versions had an illuminated number plate, and the diamond-shaped fuel tank logos were be replaced by a round enameled badge.

The fork spring will be replaced by Neiman rings in 1938.

D5A - D5C
D5A 1936 - 1939 (Military)

Single cylinder SV 500 cc (85x88mm), 4 speed hand change, Amac carburettor: tyres 26x3.5, 180mm brake drums. Weight 150kg, top speed 110 km/h.

D5C 1938 - 1939 (Civilian)

1st serial number: 32001

colours: black, beige or turquoise

The D5C was adapted from the army version (D5A) released in 1936. Unlike the military version, the frame is closed-in over the fuel tank, which makes it necessary to disconnect the tank from beneath for removal

Modifications to the forks were done from Nr 32201 on. The controls and the handlebar were also be modified, and a more robust side stand was fitted.

1935 - 1939

Shaft drive HO twin, 750cc 

Flat Twin 723.9cc (80 x 72 mm) producing @30 hp at 5.500 rpm - wet sump lubrication - single disc dry clutch, 4-speed gearbox with optional foot change, shaft drive. Frame and forks of pressed metal, interchangeable wheels with 3.50 x 19 " tyres. Weight 180 kg, max speed- 120 km/h with sidecar, 135 km/h solo.

In 1937 the Model X captured a swag of world records including one of 24 hours at an average speed of 136 km/h. Two years later one of these machines traveled 50,000 kilometres over 19 days at an averaging 109.4 km/h.

XA 1935 - 1939
Shaft drive HO twin, 750cc, 80x72mm, 4-speed, Solex carburettor. Tyres 400x19 F&R, weight 180kg, max speed 110 km/h.
Some 500 of these machines were built as sidecar machines and were mainly supplied to the army in 1935-36. The military XA had a driven side-car wheel and the drive could be disengaged for normal use. It was replaced by the AX2.

X40 1942
Police/Military escort machines ordered by the Vichy government as a replacement for head of state motorcycle squad's aging Rene Gillet 1000cc machines which could no longer keep pace with the fast cars in which Petain traveled, thereby posing serious risks for the riders. The X40 used cycle parts from the XA2, the 750cc engine of the AX2, and a number of X40 specific parts.

The machines were later used as escorts for General de Gaulle and Vincent Auriol, and after being retired from active duty in 1952 many were stored in Fontainebleau until the late 1960s.

Only 50 machines were built.


Produced 1938 to 1945

1st serial number: 160001

Colour: army green (with various shades depending on the regiments) or gendarmerie blue

This vehicle was strictly reserved for the military authorities. The motorcycle uses the stamped metal frame inspired by the other models of the range (fork with Neiman rings). The sidecar wheel was driven except on the first models.

The engine is a side-valve 800 cc flat twin fitted with a four-speed gear box. Power is transmitted to the rear wheel by drive shaft and conical torque, and the sidecar wheel is directly driven by the final drive unit. One engages the gear by the means of a pedal coupled with a hand lever, and the rotating throttle handle is coupled to a hand throttle for off-road use. The dog clutch is operated by a pedal.

A five-speed gearbox version with reverse gear was also available.

1935 - 1939 350cc SV 73x82mm, 4 speed. 26x3.5 tyres, 130kg, top speed 100 km/h.

1936 - 1939 344cc 73x82mm OHV, 4 speed, chain drive, pressed metal frame and forks, rigid rear.
Tyres 3.50 x 19", weight 130kg, top speed 95 km/h.

R and R1

Produced from 1941 up to 1944

1st serial number: 500001

Colours: black/red or white/red

In 1941 the Gnome & Rhone factories produced a 100cc model name the Type R. As the clutch was not satisfactory it was be modified and the new model was designated R1.

The frame was of pressed metal and the forks were of Neiman type, with some versions they having a small cylindrical spring shock absorber - this model was the R1A.

Air-cooled single cylinder 98cc (49 x 52 mm) two-stroke running on premix fuel. Magneto flywheel ignition, Amac carburettor, 3-speed gearbox with hand change. Sheet metal frame, parallelogram fork and rubber Neiman rings, rigid rear. Tyres 600 x 65, weight 60 kg, top speed 60 km/h.


Produced 1946-1947

1st serial number: 502298

Colours: black/red or black

The R1 capacity was increased to 125 cc in 1946 and renamed the R2. The chassis of both machines is almost identical.


Produced from 1948 up to 1950

1st serial number: 508501

Colour: black

The R3 replaced the R2 in 1948. It was fitted with a new tubular frame and telescopic forks. The two models were advertised concurrently.

Super-Star 500cc

A Remondini design, this rather magnificent 68x68mm vertical twin was included in the catalogues but did not enter production. A handful of these were built and apparently none survive.


Produced from 1949 to 1951
125cc two-strtoke engine, 55x52 mm, 3 speed gearbox, Amac or Gurtner M20 carburettor.

1st serial number: 525001

Colours: black or green

The R4 model was released in 1949 with a chassis very similar to the R3. The engine output was increased with the inlet tract enlarged from 18 mm to 20 mm, and larger exhaust port. Foot gear selector was fitted.

  • Gnome et Rhone R4

  • R4B

    Produced from 1951 up to 1956

    1st serial number: 535001

    The R4 was replaced with the R4B in 1951. The main modifications are the rear wheel fitted with a different hub, and a larger diameter brake drum (130mm, up from 110mm).

    Single-cylinder 125cc two-stroke (55 x 52 mm), 3-speed left foot shift with kick starter, single loop cradle frame, telescopic front fork with rigid rear, 300x19" tyres, 130mm drum brakes. Weight 80 kg, top speed 85 km / h.


    Produced from 1953 up to 1958

    1st serial number: 545001

    Colours: black or reseda green

    The main evolution is the rear shock absorber, and the new cylinder head mounted on the engine.

    A streamlined version was brought out in 1955, but few were sold.


    Produced from 1955 up to 1959

    1st serial number: 600001

    Colours: light gray, red or red/beige

    Although named the R4, this motorcycle has little in common with its predecessors in the R Series other than being a three-speed gear 125 cc.

    The chassis is completely different: new fork and frame with oscillating back suspension. The engine is totally new too, and gear selection is now done by the means of a rotating throttle handle coupled with the clutch lever.

    The R4D was also marketed by Follis under the type G26 and by Motavia under the type 8TV.


    1955 - 1959 125cc 2T

    The R4F was also marketed by Motavia under the type 9TV

    R4S/R4S sport

    Produced from 1956 up to 1960.

    1st serial number: 1601601

    colour: red/white or red/black.

    This motorcycle will exist in three different versions. Initially with a single-seat saddle, it then turns into a two-seaters with a small sport handlebar, and is finally for the 1957 show fitted out with a more profiled fuel tank leaving more room to the pilot’s knees and arms.

    R4S was also marketed by Follis under the type G32


    1956 - 1960, 125cc 2T

    Produced from 1954-1956 1st serial number: 555001
    Colours: black, green or burgundy

    A prototype appeared in 1951, built using an R4C chassis with a four-speed 175cc engine, but the frame was entirely redesigned for the production model.

    A streamlined version was also built named the L531.

    An economy version was released in 1955, with the fork and the fuel tank of the R4, the L5 model.

    Air-cooled unit construction two-stroke 124cc (55 x 52 mm) & 172.5cc (60 x 61 mm), pre-mix lubrication, flywheel magneto, 4 speed gearbox with right side foot shift
    telescopic front suspension and plunger rear, 600 x 65 tyres, top speed 85km/h. Weight 105 kg.

    Other versions included the LC531 and L5, and were produced as late as 1960.


    Produced from 1954 to 1960

    1st serial number: 565001

    Colours: black or reseda green or burgundy

    This motorcycle uses the same chassis as the L53 and the engine is almost identical other than the bore which was increased from 60mm for the 175 to 64mm for the 200.

    This model also exists in streamlined version and trials version.

    The trials machine (colours: cream or vivid red) differs from the other versions by its high muffler, narrow mudguards, the addition of a sump guard and the replacement of the centre stand by a stand on each wheel as well as a sidestand. As regards the engine, the ports and the exhaust have been modified in order to bring more torque at low rpm.


    1st serial number: 566001

    The military version was available from 1957 on, and was derived from the trials LX200. Some modifications were made to meet the army's requirements: 12 liter fuel tank with filtering valve, solo saddle, armoured ignition, duplex primary chain, raised air intake and gearbox breather to be enable fording a 50 cm deep stream, with 18 cm ground clearance.


    Produced from 1955 to 1960

    1st serial number: 583001

    Colours: black or light gray

    This 125 was inspired by 175 and 200 types, it shares the same chassis as the L5, and has a 125 cc engine with a 4-speed gearbox. Many gearbox parts are common to the 125, 175 and 200. It was fitted with and ABG magneto and a Zenith 20MX carburettor.

    R5 carénée is the streamlined version.

    Type P (prototype)
    A military machine of 125cc with raised exhaust, high ground clearance, rigid rear end, racks front and rear, solo saddle and telescopic forks.

    Type WM 350cc two-stroke twin with 4 pistons. Advertised, but apparently did not go into production.