Motosacoche Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Motosacoche Logo
Motosacoche New Map Factory
Motosacoche New Map Factory


1929 Staub-J.A.P. Special
A suggested history - by Kim Vernon

Motosacoche Factory 1928
Motosacoche Factory 1928

This all started with my interest in unusual machines-"Not as Manufactured" or just "Something different".

I had retired early (at 48) and wished to return, after a grueling 18 years in business, to my passion which is enjoying, breaking (not intentionally), building and repairing historic cars and motorbikes.

As with many Enthusiasts things got a bit out of control : My passion, prior to finding this motorbike, had grown to 11 cars (back to 1925) and 22 motorbikes (back to 1916) a full engineering machine workshop and a carpentry workshop. I also had many other interests and commitments.

My "Collection" has now been reduced down to no historic cars and just 6 motorbikes. Much more manageable!

Motosacoche-France 1929 Special
Motosacoche-France 1929 Special

History of research

Motosacoche-France 1929 Special
Motosacoche-France 1929 Special

I purchased my motorbike in England. Nobody knew what it was. I knew that it was French, circa 1928 1929, but knew no more. It was an interesting motorbike-to me.

Many hundreds of hours searching. 2 visits to "Coupes Moto Legende" (Montlhery). Many manufacturers suggested - and even advised as definite - had sent me (quite naturally) down many wrong research roads.

One manufacturer that was possible was Rhony'x and I had viewed a 1929 Rhonx'y at Montlhery that had the same engine as mine-the owner told me that my machine was a Marc.

Much research and then, during 2008 : I found a website in France ( that is a small private site and it included an invitation to view the website owners other machine : a 1929 Motosacoche-France R14H. This is the bike that shouted to me that my machine was from this manufacturer.

Fellow enthusiasts of motorbikes ancient (Vintage) have helped me (LVA Forum 2008) with a photo of the main frame and this confirmed my thoughts that my motor- bike is a "Motosacoche-France Special 1929" is correct.

Minor differences troubled me. My machine looked like an R14H (completely ignoring the Staub-J.A.P. Bloc-Moteur) but there were minor parts of the main frame construction that were not the same.

With 11 years searching, a keen eye and manufacturing experience the following conclusion has developed : my machine generally as purchased and substantially original.

Motosacoche-France / New-Map. Lyon 1928-1929

(A suggested history - I welcome other thoughts)

During the period 1926-1930 there were a number of Bloc-Moteur manufacturers who offered their products to constructors (I think that the new market was mainly influenced by Peugeot with their superb P105 of 1927). Constructors (Manufacturers) generally, would have needed to fabricate special frames to mount these bloc-moteurs. For constructors this would have been completely normal practice. This allowed assessment of the power unit and then decisions about whether or not they would offer the option to customers.

At this time Motosacoche-France had financial troubles (I think-who else knows more?), had a good range of motorbikes, a good factory at Lyon but most importantly they had the supply of M.A.G. engines-under license.

New-Map (Paul Martin) was in the early days of manufacturing larger motorbikes (most likely was also looking for a larger manufacturing facility) and wanted to use M.A.G. engines but either Motosacoche-SA would not supply or, maybe (also), there were pressures (Government) during this time in France to use "French Product" (who knows more of this and who has history/knowledge of J.A.P. manufacture in France at this time?)

Levies on Imports would be big; just as in England. NM purchased MF (and the Lyon factory) together with the "Permissions" to use M.A.G. engines.
Whilst the M.A.G. engine is not important to me (it is not my subject here)I offer a thought that NM, it has been suggested, craved the kudos of the "MAG" brand despite a high unit cost.
There would have been much interest in "Bloc-Moteurs" (in the marketplace-both Riders and Manufacturers). NM considered this type of engine/gearbox but none of their existing motorbike frames were suitable. MF (in the same factory) already had the R9k/R14H frame (and another that is at Musee-Chapy. I think that this is a mid 1929 "Phase 2" R14H*) which only required minor construction modifications (down-tube construction) to accommodate the range of "Bloc-Moteurs" for assessment. All of the parts to make an assessment/ testing motorbike were "In Stock"/ On the shelf.

* This seems to date NM's activity with "Bloc-Moteurs" to mid 1929 onwards. NM would have wished to test most/all available "Bloc-Moteurs", I am sure, including the Staub-J.A.P. M3.

The MF brand never offered a "Bloc-Moteur" option. I think that it would not be allowed (by either Paul Martin or Motosacoche S.A.)! NM was the owner of the whole company and their machines had to be seen to be the better. This is normal practice (but not always the best decision) in business. NM eventually decided on "Chaise". Maybe this was cheaper than the Staub-J.A.P.. Was it the better engine though? At this point (circa 1930-1931) a new NM model was designed and offered to customers.

Confusing (how Paul Martin was thinking) is that around 1930 NM were developing their own brand engine (not a "Bloc-Moteur"). Although a nice feature of the engine was that the design provided individual mounting of both magneto and dynamo this made little sense as a number of electrical manufacturers were already offering combined magneto dynamos (Mag-Dynos ). This project appears to have been both a complete failure and an expensive exercise.

Any reader who has any information relating to any part of this article is invited to contact the author at : kimv at Hopefully, my article will be a platform for expanding the knowledge of enthusiasts of "Motosacoche-France", "New-Map", Staub-J.A.P. and "Bloc-Moteurs" of the period?

And so back to my Motosacoche (New-Map)

I realised (April 2012) that I had all information needed to obtain a Dating-Certificate (I had been in receipt of this information for 3 years but had been focused on obtaining confirmation from France !) and that I had no reason to continue attempting to obtain further confirmations of either manufacturer or date. Mike Worthington-Williams (Mike is involved with "Old-Bike-Mart", extremely active in the subject of Historic-Vehicles and is Chairman Emeritus of The Society of Automotive-Historians –In Britain ) kindly agreed to take a look at my paperwork and agreed that all was good. Mike kindly produced a Dating-Certificate so now I could progress with making the bike live. I then spent 6 weeks fabricating parts and fixings (not restoring at this stage) to ready it for MOT and then have an inspection with the DVLA. I now have full documentation for the motorbike to be used on the public highway.

I was and am confident that my frame is unique (but maybe more than one frame was fabricated at the time and others may exist?).
No production motorbike frame matches my machine. My bike frame is absolutely original. The finish to the main frame is "in the rough" and this makes much sense to me : NM would have viewed this motorbike (with no engine/gearbox) as a "functional engine evaluation test-bed", fabricated only for factory use. The paintwork was onto bare metal and none of the lugs/joints had been "Smoothed" prior to painting. As this motorbike would have been seen on the local roads with various "Bloc-Moteurs" installed NM would not have wanted to advertise the machine to the public (just as any other manufacturer) as either a "New-Map" or a Motosacoche. It is reasonably certain that it would have been seen on the roads without any manufacturer markings and in plain black. When NM had finished their assessment of available "Bloc-Moteurs" this bike would have had no further use. At this point most manufacturers would have destroyed the frame but this did not happen to my machine (thankfully).

When I purchased the machine it was loosely assembled with a mixture of fixings and most replacements needed to be fabricated. It's history from 1930 to 1998 is lost in time. A previous owner (many years ago) had attempted a restoration but this was of a very poor engineering standard. Most fixings were made from screwed rod which had been chromed (??) and some existing main fixings damaged. I have records that my machine was placed to auction with Bonham-Brooks at Stafford in October 1998. The vendor appears to live in Switzerland and this I am researching via Bonham-Brooks. It had at least 2 other owners after 1998 who all appear to have lost interest because of a complete lack of information.

As my machine was never offered as a production machine there is no real basis for finishing apart from "Of the period". My intention is to re-finish it-post V5-in the style of a 1930 Competition model. Some purists will not agree that this is the way my motorbike should be restored but there are many modified motorbikes in the world and modified motorbikes are a fundamental part of the passion. I consider that my machine lends itself to be finished in the style of a 1930 Competition model.

The engine had run 2 times in 12 years. Once when I was purchasing it and also about 10 years ago. A new stainless steel exhaust system was fabricated 10 years ago (to closely match the original that I still have). I also had straight-through pipes made so I can run the motorbike with either pipes or silencers.

Although the standard at the time was to use 19" wheels with balloon tyres I have had the wheels rebuilt with 21" rims and am using modern rubber. The bike looks much better for this modification. New sports mudguards in a narrower curved section will be fitted, together with a suitable chain-guard from Chambrier's, when I re-finish the machine.

Motosacoche-France 1929 Special

Motosacoche-France 1929 Special
Motosacoche-France 1929 Special

Motosacoche-France 1929 Special
Motosacoche-France 1929 Special

The engine causes me concern (mainly due to the lack of servicing/repair information). It starts easily and is very lively (I have not enjoyed a reasonable ride yet and not ridden it with verve) but the sump pressurises and blows oil past the piston rings. At the moment I think that there is no crankcase ventilation (there may be a facility and it is blocked but can I find it??). There are references in Staub documents (I was advised, many years ago, that the M3 "Bloc-Moteur" is an early pre-production unit ) that later versions will have improved ventilation/relief. The engine (Upper) has not been stripped for inspection yet.

Does anyone know where I could obtain a copy of the Repair book from?

Footrests, rear brake pedal-shaft, front brake operator lever and fittings, all cables, 3 front main frame spacer tubes, 1 brass fixing bush on the petrol tank, oil filter and sight-glass, mudguard fixings and temporary chain-guard have all been fabricated. Most fixings are stainless-steel socket head (because I have stocks of these-again; purists "would raise an eyebrow" at these fixings but they were available long before this bike was produced). When I refinish the machine I have a complete set of fixings that I can then match for dimensions with Hex heads and nuts– should I wish. A new chain-guard will be obtained from Chambrier's (France). Luckily, all of the transfers that I will need are obtainable from the VMCC.

Most original construction differences with my frame make complete sense and match exactly the mounting requirements for a "Bloc- Moteur" but there was still the puzzle of the tube-joint under the seat (cross-bar to seat-tube and rear-frame-fixing) that has a rear facing side chair fixing and this had been bothering me for a few years. All r9/r14 photographs including catalogue models that I have viewed have the eye to the front. This lug on my machine made no sense.

During one of my many "Searches" in June 2012 I came across an original (in its own juice) 1929 Motosacoche-France that is at Museum Chapy ( Patrick Tournie) in Southern France. This motorbike has the same general construction (like R14H) but with the same tube-fixing as mine. The final part of the jigsaw, for me, is now in place. The general "whole" of this motorbike is just as mine. I have sent a letter to Patrick Tournie asking if he will provide information on his Motosacoche. It is likely that his motorbike is a phase 2-R14H.

Naming the machine

Whilst I have chosen to register my machine as a "Motosacoche-France" I could have chosen "New-Map" as this was the owner of the company and they had the interest in offering a "Bloc-Moteur" machine to the market. My choice of "Motosacoche-France" is because the frame will always normally dictate the make of a motorbike. The machine "Looks" as a "Motosacoche-France" and nothing like a "New-Map". I am both right and wrong with this decision! Some may agree with me that it should be as I have named it but there will be those who will passionately disagree. I can only please myself on this subject! No factory records exist - unless you know otherwise?
When I re-finish the motorbike it is likely that I will place a "New-Map" logo transfer on the machine. The association is then complete.

References to my research

During the many hundreds of hours that I have been researching my machine I have read numerous articles and collected a number of images - along my journey. Nothing that I have included in this article, that I am aware of, should cause concern to whomever is or was the originator of some of this information. I have not intentionally used anything that I consider to be copyright. Indeed, some of the included information appears unprotected and then copyrighted depending on where a person looks.

If anyone should be offended by my inclusion of what they consider to be their own images then please contact me via eMail and advise me of suitable solutions. It may be that the originator of a used image requires a reference and this I will be happy to include.

Kim V
kimv AT
© KV November 2012

References & Credits

Eric Monet (LVA Forum)
Valentin Stoinev (MAG)
Eric Vermeesch (MF-NM)
Jluc Desmottes (Staub)
Patrice Delage (early research)
Philippe Brosse (early research)
Patrick Deli (early research)
Jean Francois Tougnasse (LVA Forum)
SataniKe (LVA Forum)
Domino (LVA Forum

Mike Worthington-Williams (Registration and Old Bike Mart)
Laurel Johnson (Bonham's - Past Owners)
Philippe Reverdy (
Sheldons EMU

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