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Les Amis du VéloSoleX logo © 1999, A Pattle

February 1998 - April 1998 - June 1998 - August 1998 - October 1998 - December 1998 - February 1999 - April 1999 - June 1999

The Les Amis... articles listed above were written by David Beare.  In July 2009, Mr Beare decided that he no longer wanted these articles to appear in the archive.  In accordance with his wishes they have been withdrawn.

The articles continued from October 1999 under the authorship of Bryan Hollinshead

Below is a list of Solex engine numbers with their corresponding dates.  This list was drawn up by Franck Meneret and published in Le VéloSoleX Illustré no 42, August 1997.  Franck reworked an earlier listing, adding in the engine number range produced in each year.  This gives more accurate dating than the previous lists, which just gave the numbers and dates at the start and finish of each model's production run.

Model Date Engine Number
45cc engine, 650B wheels May 1946 1000
Jan 1947 4200
Jan 1948 12975
Jan 1949 38980
Jan 1950 76670
Jan 1951 117020
45cc engine, 24" wheels Jun 1951 140096
Jan 1952 179400
Jan 1953 254685
Model 330, 49cc engine Oct 1953 325206
Jan 1954 352320
Jan 1955 513720
Model 660, frame with footrest Sep 1955 653389
Jan 1956 709950
Jan 1957 935850
Model 1010, double transfer port engine Apr 1957 1016251
Jan 1958 1222310
Model 1400, 19" diameter wheels Sep 1958 1394501
Jan 1959 1509600
Model 1700, automatic clutch Oct 1959 1702029
Jan 1960 1770840
Jan 1961 2083850
Model 2200, with interference suppressor Jun 1961 2202001
Jan 1962 2386650
Jan 1963 2705990
Jan 1964 3041150
Model 3300, square frame,
2200 engine
Oct 1964 3283293
Jan 1965 3384500
Jan 1966 3686125
Model 3800, modified engine May 1966 3800001
Jan 1967 4003600
Jan 1968 4252840
Jan 1969 4533060

Other VéloSoleX models had their own numbering sequences as follows:

Micron Dec 1967 5200001
Flash & 6000 1969 6000001
Model 4600/ 5000 & PliSolex 1971 7000001

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Les Amis du VéloSoleX logo © 1999, A Pattle

by Bryan Hollinshead

October 1999

Chers Amis,

This is my first attempt at writing a regular column for a journal and I view it with some apprehension.  Having read Dave's writings for a number of years I realise that I don't have anything like his extensive knowledge of the VéloSoleX but I do have a fascination for these simple and often temperamental machines and have grappled with their problems after obtaining my first Solex some four years ago.  I now have six different examples of the marque, all in working order, and a seventh, which is awaiting restoration.  Most days I take one or other out for an airing whether it be for a visit to the Post Office or just an evening run through the lanes of Brittany where I am fortunate to live.

It is relatively easy to find the basis for a working Solex and the fact that you do not have to bother with such tiresome tasks as obtaining a registration number or a test certificate makes the task of getting one on the road so much easier.  All that is necessary is to contact your insurance company to obtain the little green Certificate of Insurance to attach to your machine and you are away.  It has been argued that there is a case for a system of licensing and registration of similar vehicles in the UK whereby anyone over the age of fourteen can ride a machine of up to 50cc without having to obtain a licence or pass a driving test.  On the face of it, this seems a sensible idea but it has a downside.  A fourteen year old with no experience other than riding a bicycle may be reasonably safe on a cyclemotor with a maximum top speed of twenty miles per hour but it is an entirely different story if the same person is let loose on a 50cc scooter with a top speed which may be in excess of fifty mph!  The road sense, or lack of it, of some of these youngsters has to be experienced to be believed.  Added to this there is the noise problem.  A large number of these machines are fitted with Gianelli or Ninja after market exhaust systems which are extremely noisy and accentuate the inherent noise level of all small high revving two strokes.  Also there is a tendency for youngsters to pass the evenings by performing wheelies in the village high street, much to the annoyance of local residents.

Looking at the prices charged by an importer of the VéloSoleX it seems to me that they are somewhat excessive.  £3.85p is a lot for a single piston ring.  I pay 10FrF (1.52€, a little over £l) for each ring.  The fuel pump membrane is also l0FrF, and a set of gaskets 18.80FrF (2.87€).  A comprehensive range of VéloSoleX spares for the 3800 is available from:

SIMILI les rouardes
42320 la grand croix
Tel: 04 77 73 75 41.  Fax: 04 77 73 37 06.

They also produce a useful little booklet on A4 paper containing prices and other information on the VéloSoleX, which is free on receipt of an A4 sae.

Speaking of envelopes, I would appreciate an IRC for a reply if you write to me in France.  One member who wrote enclosed a sae with a 30p stamp, which is not acceptable to La Poste.  Nevertheless, he received a prompt reply.  Unless I happen to be away from home, I will try to answer all letters promptly.

In case you didn't know already, tyres for some models are virtually unobtainable unless you are fortunate to come across a dealer who has some old stock for sale.  The 19" tyres for the later models are readily available new but the 28", 26", 24" and now the 16" sizes no longer are.  I was fortunate to find a pair of 24" for my 1010 model in fairly good condition at an autojumble which means that I have a few more miles of usage before having to search again.

My favourite Solex, a 1700 that has been fitted with a rear wheel from a 3300 to improve braking, has suffered from chronic four-stroking for some time.  Experimenting with various jet sizes, changing the exhaust, carburettor and setting everything up according to the book achieved no improvement.  However, running with the air valve in the mid-position affected an immediate cure.  Why?  I've no idea but it works!

On a recent visit to the déchetterie (Council tip) I came across a folding SoleX cycle complete and in reasonable condition with wheels that are the same diameter as those on the Pli-SoleX and the 5000.  I have a spare pair of 5000 forks, wheels, a complete spare motor and all the necessary odds and ends to build a Solex pliant if not a Pli-SoleX.  My mechanic friend, Jean-Pierre is sceptical.  Perhaps he is right.  We shall see.

Those Amis who travel to France via the port of Roscoff and who take the road to Brest or Morlaix should spare a glance to the left lane of the dual carriageway about five miles from the port where they will see, on the end wall of a house, a large but faded painted advert for Solexine.  A reminder of days past!

There must be many of you who have had cause to seek the help of Solex expert Claude de Decker with whom I am in regular correspondence.  Claude has not been in the best of health recently but I gather that he is now improving.  I'm sure that all Solexistes will join me in wishing him a speedy return to full health.

Unfortunately I was not able to make the Sars Poteries rally in June.  Perhaps next year.  However, it was a pleasant surprise to open the 1st July edition of "La Vie de la Moto" and see a fine photo of "The Chip Shop Tandem".  It certainly looked good.  There was also a photograph of a James autocycle at Sars Poteries owned by Stephen Wright in "Motos d'Hier".

The same issue of "Motos d'Hier" contained some details of the Simson Duo as shown in the previous issue of "Buzzing".  The motor of 50cc drives through a three speed semi-automatic gearbox to the left side rear wheel.  Braking is on all three wheels and is applied by pushing the handlebar forward.  The owner states that it's OK on the flat but not so good on the hills.  Hardly surprising with two up and all that frontal area! lncidentally, who was l'anglais who, along with thirty one other Solexistes, took part in the Randonnée SoleX en Sud-Vendée on the first of May?  A club member perhaps.

The book "Le Temps Des Mobs", which is now out of print, is appearing on market stalls and in cut price book shops at around 100F (15.24€, £10).  It is, I believe, an essential item and, even if your French is only up to fifth form standard, you can still make sense of it.  The other book by the same author, "Le VéloSoleX" is also still available if you are prepared to look for it.

A final thought.  Where have all the SoleX gone?  Recently I spent three days in Rennes, a large city, the capital of Brittany and a university city as well.  Not a single SoleX did I see!

A la prochaine

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December 1999

Chers Amis,

By the time that you will be reading this winter will be well advanced with the long dark evenings and, probably, the dreaded winter weather.  Time to look back on last summer's outings and to plan for next year's events.  If you are fortunate, like I am, in having an indoor workshop that is reasonably warm throughout the year you will be able to spend time with the spanners and other tools to service your machines or perhaps embark upon another restoration.

To return to matters connected with the VéloSoleX, I have a model 330 sitting on the workbench complete and almost original but it will not run.  The problem has been traced to the ignition coil which, in spite of being tested on a Solex test rig and pronounced serviceable, will not supply a spark under working conditions.  A brand new condenser, points and plug lead have made no difference.  Of course one has to realise that the coil is some forty plus years old and has probably spent much of its latter years stored in unfavourable conditions so perhaps its lack of performance should be expected.  The problem for me is that I have been unable to locate a replacement coil and I would dearly like to have the 330 up and running.  Spares for the early models are becoming very difficult to find and, so far, my attempts to find a coil have met with no success.  The moral must be 'things are not always what they seem'.

Carrying on with the subject of spares for the Solex I was interested to read Julian Lakin's account of his re-acquaintance with the Solex and his desire to find a porte-bidon.  Having searched for one or more for myself without success I wrote to Claude de Decker to ask it he could supply me with a sketch so that I might make one.  He kindly sent me a photocopy of a page from a 1957 accessories catalogue that showed several such items.  If you can use simple hand tools it is a fairly easy matter to make a reasonable porte-bidon.  If any Ami would like a copy of the page from the catalogue I'll be pleased to supply one.  During the heyday of the Solex, it was possible to buy a multitude of additional accessories ranging from baby seats to crash bars for the rear light.  Sadly, the only one that seems to be available at present is the engine protection crash bar at a cost of 270FFr (41.16€).

Which fuel mixture for the Solex?  SIMILI les rouardes issue a data sheet for the new 3800 and specify Super petrol and 2-3% oil.  My dealer friend says Sans Plomb 95 with 2-3% oil.  I have tried both with no apparent difference.  Normally I use Castrol TS oil at 3% if I am running in a rebuilt engine dropping to 2.5% when the rings have bedded in.  I have not tried the synthetic oils, which would probably allow a mixture containing less oil but, as the cost of this oil is almost double that of normal two stroke oil, I'll stick to the latter.  In any case Super fuel will not be available in a few months time we will have no option but to use unleaded.

What a splendid idea of Dave Casper to have a presence at Les Coupes Moto Légende.  I shall certainly be there if at all possible.  It is at such times that I wish that I still owned a REAL motorcycle.  I can't see myself circulating this historic track on a Solex.  However, if I can persuade my son to attend he might allow me to have a gentle canter on his Paris/Dakar replica BMW.

I have had several requests from Amis to find Solex spares.  These requests, I'm afraid that I cannot comply with.  Locating spares is very time consuming and the parts so obtained are often in a poor state and may prove a disappointment to the recipient.  Coupled with this there is the problem of despatch and the high cost of postage from France to the UK.

And so to all Amis du VeloSoleX and to cyclemotorists everywhere I send greetings.

Joyeaux Noël et bonne année

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