Then we think of a light motorcycle with a man with an alpinopet and a baguette. That is not entirely justified. Because between 1900 and 1950, the French motorcycle industry was quite something. French motorcycles even exported to…. Japan.
And then we talk about brands that have often disappeared in the mists of time. Although: some brand names have stuck. Alycon, Austral, Jonghi, Werner, Clément, Griffon, Peugeot, Terrot, Monet & Goyon, Gnôme & Rhône, Dresch and Dollar. And indeed most of the French motorcycle production was aimed at manufacturing motorized transport for the masses: light, simple motorcycles.
But brands like Gnôme & Rhône and René Gillet made heavy and expensive twins. Those were and are the toppers among the French motorcycles, but technically very beautiful 500 cc machines were also made.
A disaster year
1959 Was globally the most difficult year for motorcycle manufacturers because the bourgeoisie had enough money to buy a car. And even the fact that the brand name abbreviation "becane" was the common designation for all motorcycle brands (as all motorcycles in Indonesia are called "Hondas") did not save him. Of the very rich French motorcycle range, only Motobécane and Peugeot remained.
The last revival
An absolute highlight was, in 1973, the three-cylinder 350 cc two-stroke Motobécane (later even reportedly 12 units with fuel injection). 1973 cc machines were made between 1976-779 350. They should have competed with the Kawasaki three-cylinder. A few must also be made of the 500 cc version. Who knows may say.
In the eighties and nineties of the last century, those French motorcycles were worthless on the spot. They were enthusiastically bought up by the Dutch in truckloads and mainly placed here ... In the meantime, their retreat has been going on for years. The French come here to retrieve their heritage.
Some half-hearted attempts were made - for the government - to use heavy-duty engines with car blocks (Citroën GS), but that four-cylinder BFG was not. The MF with his Visablok was not. The machines are seen as exotics rather than real classics. And in the meantime, French gendarmes just drive BMWs again. The phenomenal Voxans also had only a short, but hectic production time, and meanwhile heathen classics are coming.