Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The worlds best stinkwheel, Or the 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 ones 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" which is black with a gold trim, and which wheels are 700mm. This is indeed the first model of Velosolex.
In 1953 100,000 bikes are manufactured, and this model is the last of the "bicycles with emergency engines." Its success is phenomenal, Solex are sold to dealers 50 at a time and the dealers pay cash. All that was possible because orders were placed three months in advance. Furthermore, it is now said that at the time, bikes could be available sooner through black market.
On january 29 th 1974, Félix Goudard dies at the age of 86 in charge of the worldwide commercialisation of the Solex company the company wained. This same year Renault (the frensh car producer) takes 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 Solexs chugging around the E.U. irritating both traffic and noses alike.

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