Friday, August 14, 2009

A Brief History of Motobecane Mopeds: Part 1

Regular French correspondent Frederic (Fred) David has sent me a number of photos of early "Mobylette" mopeds along with his notes and commentary, and asked me to share them with you. With pleasure, Fred!



Above, the very first model- essentially a modified bicycle frame, with the engine and transmission tucked under a curved down tube, and the fuel tank behind the seatpost. Interestingly, it uses a compression motorcycle-type fork, with a hub brake- overkill, perhaps, for a low-power moped.

Below, the AV40, which first appeared in the mid 50s. The tube frame has been replaced by an easier to build pressed steel frame, still the most common design used in mopeds. The motorcycle type front fork and hub brake are gone, replaced by a simpler unsprung fork and caliper brake.


The powerplant has been upgraded to a higher power, schnurle ported engine, and the transmission now has an automatic, centrifugal clutch. Some models also had a variator (CVT) transmission, like most of today's scooters.

Next: The dawn of the racing moped.

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