Friday, 28 October 2011
Here's a rare one for you - a Motobécane 350 2 stroke triple.
I'd only ever seen a few Motobécane mopeds in the UK, and I don't believe they sold anything bigger here. I once saw a heavily laden, French registered 125 twin in Glasgow about 30 years ago, and when looking on the Web for details of that bike I found the 350.
Obviously heavily influenced by the Kawasaki triples of the day, French manufacturer Motobécane build their triple to compete with Japanese bikes, but as only 779 were built, it wasn't a success.
There's a website (French language) about the bike with lots of photos, including some of a race version.
Motobécane also built a bike to compete in an event from Côte d'Ivoire (West Africa) to Côte d'Azur (South of France):
They also experimented with fuel injection (see website), and their design shows just how hard it was in the pre-digital era. They also showed a 500 triple that I didn't make it to production.
The company finally went bust in 1981, was bought by Yamaha, and relaunched as MBK in 1984.
No doubt there's still a few on the road, so with a bit of luck I might see one at next years Coupes Moto Legende