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Aller à la version française

This bike rings up a lot of "Firsts"


by Marc Cantin ,

First production motorcycle, first multi national manufacturer of motorcycles, possibly the first motorcycle manufacturer to go belly-up (Pull a Buell?).

The picture shows the “Brake” lever connected to the friction block that slows down the front wheel, a frail looking bicycle fork, no apparent pedal assistance for the weak motor, a front oil lantern, water pipe for cooling liquid, gravity feed fuel tank and carburetor partially hidden behind the chassis downtube, and horizontal cylinders block. We cannot see if any form of water radiator was used or if the water was simply run through some of the chassis tubes to cool it down.

The most notable feature is the right hand connecting rod that links the right piston directly to the hub: You can see the horizontal shaft that protudes from the rear of the cylinder and connects to the rear hub with a big ball joint just above the rear axle. We can also see a bit of the left hand conrod at the same position on the other side. This means no crankshaft or gearbox to add weight and complication. The small shaft that goes from the rear of the conrod to a vertical lever near the right footpeg probably operates intake and or exhaust valves, as the engine is classified as a four stroke. It appears that the pistons mved up and down together, so that they could have used a common combustion chamber, valve(s) and sparking device.

Operation must have been pretty easy and basic. When the bike moves, the motor turns, as I do not see any form of clutch. You start pushing from a standstill until the motor comes alive and starts to help out. Using rough estimates for final drive ratio of 4:1 and an effective conrod-hub lever of 150mm, the theoretical top speed at 240 engine strokes per minute (No crankshaft, so no rpm!) must have been around 17 km/h, accompanied by much noise, smoke and commotion.

Photo Credit : Hildebrand Wolfmuller