The Motor Cycle sent a reporter over the Channel to explore the French show. French readers are warned that he was just a tad smug about the respective merits of British and French machines.
AS A SPECTACLE [the Paris Salon] is magnificent, though, perhaps, shorn of its former glory… it is decorated with the supreme amount of taste which the Frenchman possesses to his very finger tips, and even now is far more splendid than anything ever done on similar lines in this country. That the motor cycle section is treated as a means of amusement for the enthusiast, and not as a very enjoyable and practical means of locomotion as in England.
In France the aim of the designer is to make the machine as light as possible, and no attempt is made to study the rider’s comfort in any way. For the most part the spring forks are crude, and even the best of those fitted are not in a single instance provided with front wheel brakes…The frames are too light to suit the English taste, the mudguards are narrow, the silencers are diminutive and handle-bar control is the exception rather than the rule…The engine, however, is distinctly good in almost every case…as may be examined in a country where the motor bicycle is not regarded seriously as a touring vehicle, the 3½hp single-cylinder machine is practically non-existent, the tendency being to use a lightweight twin or single cylinder of 2¾hp.
“France is well behind England as far as motor cycles are concerned, but she has by no means lost the art of making a good engine…On ascending the magnificent staircase up to the Galerie du Bacon among the pedal cycles one sees a motor bicycle, and immediately on our right is the Magnat-Debon. The name is an old one in the history of the motor cycle, and the firm turns out a good machine. Two types are shown, one a 2½hp aoiv and the other a 2¾hp with moiv. Another lightweight is to be found in the same room. This is the 2hp [247cc] MOIV [mechanically operated inlet valve] Esperanza with a cylindrical plated tank common to all French machines. The spring fork is of a type unknown in this country.
Among the Griffon bicycles, the 5hp, 354cc racing twin is conspicuous. The ignition is by accumulator and two separate coils, while the front forks are of the triple girder type. Quite a new model is the 2hp twin lightweight Griffon, which, if built to conform to English ideas, should command a ready sale over here. The magneto on this machine is gear driven, and does not follow the usual Griffon practice, while the carburetter is handle-bar controlled. The carburetter is the Claudel, which is very popular among French manufacturers. Yet another interesting machine on this stand is the 1½hp with reducing gear inside the crank case. This allows nearly equisized pulleys to be used, and should prolong the life of the belt.
The Peugeot is almost opposite this stand. These machines are all fitted with the Truffault spring fork, one of the best ever constructed. All twin Peugeot engines have aoiv, but the 3½hp single has the more modern valve system. Another hopeful twin lightweight is the new 2½hp Peugeot, lately adopted by the aero section of the French army. The engine has a gear-driven magneto, and is fed with gas by the ever-popular Claudel carburetter.
A new model Terot is shown in Paris, which has the back portion sprung in an ingenious and effective manner. The lower horizontal members contain coil springs in compression, and a clever jockey arrangement keeps the pedal chain in tension. Yet
another clever device is the means of adjusting the Bowden wire controlling the rear brake. Still another ingenious device on the Terrot is the change-speed arrangement, consisting of an expanding pulley. The lever which controls this winds or unwinds (as the case may be) a cable which slackens or tightens the belt by raising or lowering the jockey pulley. One of the models shown has a protected magneto and a belt guard. As it stands the Terrot is fit for the English market after very little alteration.
One of the most interesting machines on the French market is the Rochet. Unfortunately only one model, a lightweight, is shown. This is of 1½hp and one of a type which climbed Mont Ventoux is 42min without pedalling! It looks as if the state of the French motor cycle industry had caused the ingenuity of the Rochet firm to be wasted. The machine has an al most entirely weather-proof transmission. The reduction is in the crank case, and the final drive is by chain entirely enclosed. Magneto ignition is fitted. In the Rochet catalogue is an interesting water-cooled machine, of which, if the power plant, radiator, and
transmission were built into an English frame and made to conform to British ideas, a really serviceable mount capable of still further improvement would be the result. It is practically certain that such a machine would be most acceptable to the British public.
We now come to a very interesting mount in our tour of the Gallery and its adjacent rooms: This is the Rene-Gillet. In the first place, flexible tubing is used for the inlet pipes; secondly, the magneto drive is by a flexible shaft at the upper end of which is a worm driving a worm wheel on the magneto-shaft. This worm is capable of being moved up and down its shaft by twisting the right handle grip on the handle-bar. The effect of this is to advance and retard the ignition by moving the relative positions of the worm and armature, consequently producing as good a spark when fully retarded as when fully advanced. The third point of interest is the carburetter, which is almost entirely enclosed in the tank. No float is used, and the supply of petrol is controlled by a special valve. The air is taken through a passage at the rear of the petrol tank. Fourthly, on all Gillet machines automatic inlet valves are used; and, lastly, a flat belt running on leather covered pulleys is employed.”
The Brits were as impressed by American bike magazines as they were by French bikes.
Journalistic Methods in USA
OUR ORIGINAL article and illustrations of motor cycles at the Paris Salon has provided useful data for an article in The Bicyling World of New York. No acknowledgment is made to the source from which the information was obtained, yet the illustrations have been copied so faithfully that our artist’s initials are plainly to be seen.