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News - Jun 2005
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Thursday 30 June 2005

WELL, it is the end of the month again. Which means tomorrow is July. Which means it is time again for the "Vacances d'Ete"!

The suitcase is dragged onto the bed, the T-shirts, shorts and sandals are thrown in, the beachball is squeezed in, the VeloSoleX is loaded up, a beret on the head and we are off! Yes, the summer holidays start this weekend and I shall be travelling via the long and straight "N" roads of Northern France to Haute-Savoie in the South to the mountains, lakes, pine trees and blue skies!

Keep sending in your emails. I shall answer them as soon as I return but in the meantime why not listen to some music? Here are a couple of my favourite Internet Radio Stations -

Russian Radio in Moscow
Radio Nostalgie

Best wishes to all Solexistes and thanks again to all who have contributed to the website so far.


Wednesday 22 June 2005

HELLO again Solexistes! Brian has sent in a photo of another S 3800 which has been posted in the Photo Gallery, the S 3800 Data  has been updated to reflect the Bulbs used over the years as well as the different Generator Coils and How do I replace an old Fuel Pump Diaphragm? has been added to the FAQs page.

Solex Club Spirales have hosted a Video Clip ( of the BBC NEWS REPORT of Sunday 12 June 2005 on the Black'n Roll.

Well, mes amies, another very hot evening here in London. I must go out on the Black Hornet and get some more ice-cream and fresh air!


Sunday 19 June 2005

TODAY the temperature in London has shot up to 34°, up 10° from two days ago! Helmut has sent in photos of his machines which have been posted in the Photo Gallery, VeloSoleX Engine Numbers have been added to the Engine Data page and John Ingram has sent me a sharper picture of the VeloSoleX 4600 V2-V3 Wiring Diagram which has been added to the VeloSoleX 4600 section of the History page. John has also sent in some tips for the Pedal Axle and Seat Hinge Rivets which have been added to the FAQs page. Thanks for that John.

Otherwise for now, I'm off to the freezer in BALLS EMPORIUM to get some more ice-cream!


Saturday 18 June 2005

I mentioned last Sunday that because my Satellite Dish was down, I was likely to miss the BBC NEWS REPORT on the Black'n Roll. Well, good news my friends! Jean-Claude from Solex Millenium has kindly forwarded me details on how we can watch the BBC NEWS REPORT:

  1. Click on the BBC website
  2. Click the WATCH BBC NEWS IN VIDEO button (top right-hand corner)
  3. Type JOHN LAURENSON in the Search box (top right-hand corner)
  4. Click French motorised bicycle makes comeback

For those of you without Broadband connection, here is an English transcription of the clip:

REPORT SUB-TITLE: The humble Solex, the bicycle with a motor, is set to make a comeback, as a version is relaunched in France. A factory in Lille believes the time is right to launch a remake of the bike. John Laurenson reports from northern France...

(View of French countryside)
John LAURENSON: What begins with S, ends with X and got really popular in the 1960s?
Answer. The Solex.

(Views of Solex riders out on country roads, sound-track of Francoise Hardy)
John LAURENSON: France used to be the land of motorised bicycles. It invented them. Made 8 million of them. Today the Solex reminds the French of gentler times when skirts were short and lunchtimes were long and a top speed of 23 miles an hour is quite fast enough.

Jean Christophe THOREZ: People look at this bike and say: "Hang on a minute, that's a Solex like Dad or Grandad used to have. It attracts attention. Not in the same way as a Ferrari because there's nothing luxurious about the Solex but everybody recognizes it.

Peggy FAELENS: The Solex is a bit like the emblem of France like the little Frenchman with his long loaf of bread because the Solex has come into all our lives at one time or another.

(View and sound of Solex revving)
John LAURENSON: The mechanics were simple like the good things in life. A 2 speed engine that turns a roller that turns the front wheel. It was cheap. It was slow. With its motor sat on the front mudguard it was a bit ungainly. There was though always something touching about the Solex. Something of the old man on his way to the allotment to pick carrots. But a company in the North of France is convinced that this is not just a curiosity of industrial history and have opened up a factory to prove it.

(Views of Solex production)
Dominique CHAUMONT (Director MOPEX): Our new product is Black'n Roll. Er.. we changed, we decided to use another name that, of course, we use the er.. drawings of the original old Solex which was quite famous around the world. So we start assembling at a higher level of production from June - July.

John LAURENSON: Most of the parts will be made in China keeping the retail price down to 1100 dollars.. and with a catalytic converter to filter out the fumes it will be clean. The company hopes to sell 20000 over the next 5 years, a modest revival for this most modest of machines.
John Laurenson, BBC News, in Courrieres, Northern France.


My friend Jean-Claude has also sent the link which goes to a gallery of 280 photos of the "Ausfahrt Rheingauer Weinberge -7eme Rencontre au Bord du Rhin et des Vignobles" event which took place on 11 - 12 June 2005. Thank you Jean-Claude.

On Thursday I received an email from Helmut from Massachusetts, US who is a bit concerned about the German translation of the site! I had to explain that the Altavista Translation service (available from the box in the top left-hand corner of my Home Page) will only do an approximate Machine Translation of the site. Often this is done on a word-by-word basis and a simple phrase like "Well, well, well." can be translated to mean three holes in the ground with water in them and not what was originally meant! Until I get Human translations of the website this unfortunately will be the case for some time. Anyway, Helmut has assured me that he will order the person responsible for the poor German translation of the site to do the waxing of his collection! Helmut hopes to add more to his collection soon. As most of us agree the paintwork on the VeloSoleX of the 1960s was very good and often does last up until today. We all wonder if this will continue to be the case with the new ones that are being made!

I should mention now that the French Translation of the website is still being done and several more pages have been finished last week. The technical terms always takes the time in translation, there often being one ideal word for the translation of an engine part.

As for the Photo Gallery please send your photos to me as detailed in the 8 June 2005 News and I will have them posted in the gallery in next to no time.

John Ingram in Canada has sent me a photo of his 1974 ORANGE Pli-Solex (5000) which has been added along with his details. Thank you John. John has also been restoring a 1975 VeloSoleX 4600 V2 for the last few years. It's in the final assembly stage at the moment. There must be a good few machines in Canada just waiting to get out into the wild country!

Brian in New York City and Marc Deschamps in Paris as well as a German technical forum have supplied me with some more information and after some engineering calculations I have updated the S 3800 Data page.

Anyway fellow Solexistes, I hope the weather where you are is fine. Remember to leave your screen for a while, go out on your Solex and enjoy the fresh air! Outside - the birds sing, tiny insects rush around busily, the larch tree sways in the breeze, the majestic mountains peer down from their lofty abode, the animals in the hedgerows watch cautiously and all of nature comes to life as the morning sun rises...

Yes, you need to get out to see all this! And that's where the Solex comes to collect you, to take you from the city into the countryside! Oui, le beau pays de la France vous attend! Bring the cheese, bread and wine, Hercules!


Sunday 12 June 2005

I woke up this Sunday morning with the sun playing Peek-A-Boo between the heavy red curtains of my apartement. With my croissants in the oven and my cafe brewing on the stove, I perused the Haute-Savoie section of Le Dauphine Libere and while I was doing so... Hop! ...some mail popped up! It was from Brian, mon ami a New York City, who had sent me some photos of his machines and so without delay I put them into the Photo Gallery.

On request, I have also added a link to VeloSoleX America on the Links page.

The French version of the site is well under way and should be in place before too long. I have one or two technical questions which I am seeking answers to at the present time which will be included in due course.

The Satellite Dish for my apartement is down at present so the BBC World programme on the Black'n Roll factory at Courrieres will be missed today - quel dommage! I would appreciate anyone who manages to see it to contact me with details. For now my friends...


Saturday 11 June 2005

NOTHING much to report this Saturday morning except that a couple of scans from the French magazine L'Express concerning the new VeloSoleX appeared on the 9th June on the Rezoweb forum, but unfortunately doesn't tell us anything new :-). Part of one of these scans is translated into English below:

"Assembled in the Pas-de-Calais with factory parts from China, the Black'n Roll is a copy conforming almost to the VeloSolexes'... without the trademark, that Domenica Chaumont, a 59 year old qualified engineer, chairman and founder of the company Mopex, was able to repurchase at the time production started.  The first examples were marketed from the beginning of this month, for around 800 Euros. With this return, it's the company SINBAR, owner of the trademark, who will, at the World Of Two-Wheels Show, in partnership with Groupe CIBLE and its subsidiary company of Matra engineering, present the model of its relaunch which is to be sold for less than 1000 Euros, declares Herve Lacroix, the person in charge of the project. A VeloSolex deriving from the imagination of the Italian designer Pininfarina. Purists quiver in advance. E.M. 6 June 2005, L'Express Mag, p.43."

Titiscs014 posted on Rezoweb that there will be a report on the BBC World satellite channel this Sunday 12 June 2005 about the Black'n Roll factory at Courrieres and on the trips from the Solex Club Spirales in Calais which may be of interest to those of you who have Digital / Cable / Satellite TV. Anyway I will record it and hopefully post a transcription here or clip link early next week.


Wednesday 8 June 2005

THE Photo Gallery section is now complete. In time it will contain all models of VeloSoleX from around the world including clones, tandems and tricycles.

If you wish your VeloSoleX to be included in the gallery, please email a sharp COLOUR photo in JPG or PNG format (minimum size: 1024 pixels wide x 768 pixels high) and provide extra information as shown below:



Town, Country:

Berne, Switzerland


S 3800


Courbevoie, France






Electronic Ignition


Original condition, slight rust on wheels



Any email addresses displayed will be coded in JavaScript to prevent spamming.

You may enter one photo for each VeloSoleX you own.

With regard to the rest of the website, all sections have been updated and improved in the last few days with extra diagrams, data and pictures. That's it for now!


Friday 3 June 2005

IN the last few days, I have been emailed by several Solexistes about my CDI Ignition System. Well, the news is that I have posted it in the Electronic Ignition section for those who are interested. Please note that it is published for personal use only by VeloSoleX owners, not for commercial interest! Also I have updated the diagrams in the Magneto Ignition section.

The weather here this Friday evening in London is a typical rainy June evening! OK, sometimes we do get some sun to ride out in with old Black Hornet.

My, I miss the old Paris - les croissants, les baguettes, le fromage, le vin rouge, le Cafe Tabac des 2 Moulins a Montmartre.. well, one of these days I will just have to go..


Wednesday 1 June 2005

HELLO again from BALLS EMPORIUM! Peter from Germany has emailed me to ask about the effects of shortening or lengthening the piston. Since I have been asked this question several times before I have pasted the reply into the FAQs section.

I have to make the arrangements for some friends arriving from Milan tomorrow so, my friends, that is all the news for the moment.


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