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PAGE 21. 1922 Labinal Micromoteur on Griffon cycle

The Labinal company was based in Paris and manufactured auxiliary motors to attach to bicycles. The first Labinal Micromoteurs were introduced in 1922 and the production run ended in 1928.

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The engines were between 38cc and 50cc and were attached over the front wheel, turning it with a roller.

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This wonderful Labinal Micromoteur was found by my good friend Patrick earlier this year. I saw it when we visited him in Paris in June. It was unrestored, but in sound condition and complete. You can see it in these photos in various stages of repair. Pat has restored it sympathetically and it now runs well. Though that does mean a lot of pedalling as these are not the easiest engines to start…

He did not originally intend to sell it, but we agreed that if he changed his mind I could have first refusal. We have now arranged for some more cyclemotor exchanges so I’m heading back to Paris this week to drop off more British machines for him and to collect the Labinal.

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It is mounted on a period Griffon bicycle.

From a historical perspective, this is an interesting choice of cycle. The renowned Griffon Bicycle Company’s first motorcycle, in 1902, was a Griffon bicycle to which was fitted an engine. By 1903 they had introduced 10 different models at the Paris Show, and the following year one of their machines reached an amazing 65mph in a motorcycle race.

This earliest era of motorcycle manufacture was the ‘first phase’ of cyclemotor development; soon after, motorcycles and cycle-attachments developed separately.

Just before the first World War, with the introduction of the Wall Autowheel, cyclemotors enjoyed popularity again.

The early 1920’s, the period during which the Labinal was made, was the third era of cyclemotors, after which they died again until their most popular time, from the late 1940’s until the mid-1950’s.

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UPDATE: 15 October 2007

Back home with the Micromoteur now. Here are some photos taken today.

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