Friday, November 30, 2007

The worlds best stinkwheel, Or the short story of the bicycle that rolled on its own.

"In 1940 Marcel Mennesson would a prototype of a 38cm-engine assited bycycle. Its characteristics are the of the actual Solex, including, among other things, a transmission with a running wheel, a cylinder out of the line of the wheel, and a gas pump that brings the gas back to the tank. By december 1940, this engine is installed on a men's bike - the "Alcyon" with is black with a gold trim, This was indeed the first production model of Velosolex.

In 1953 over 100,000 of the "bicycles with emergency engines."are sold. Its success is phenomenal, Solexes are sold to dealers 50 at a time and the dealers having to pay pay cash in advance due to the high demand. At the same time Solexes have even become a hot commodity on the black market.

On January 29 th 1974, Félix Goudard dies at the age of 86-in charge of the worldwide commercialisation of the Solex the company soon wained. A few months after Renault (the french car producer) took control of the Vélosolex. In 1988 the production line of Saint-Quentin stopped on november 7 and the last 100 units were be sold at an charity auction for "Les resto du coeur".
If your lucky you can still see the early Solexes chugging around the E.U. irritating both traffic and noses alike.

Thanks to the French Velosex site.

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