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
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 -
Radio in Moscow
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
which has been posted
in the Photo
Gallery, the S
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.
Club Spirales have hosted a Video Clip (http://solexclubspirales.free.fr/videos/bbc.wmv)
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
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
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.
good news my friends! Jean-Claude from Solex
Millenium has kindly forwarded me details on how we
the BBC NEWS REPORT:
- Click on the BBC website http://news.bbc.co.uk
- Click the WATCH BBC NEWS IN VIDEO button
- Type JOHN LAURENSON in the Search box
- Click French motorised bicycle makes comeback
For those of you without Broadband connection, here
is an English transcription of the clip:
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
(View of French countryside)
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)
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
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.
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
(View and sound of Solex revving)
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)
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.
Laurenson, BBC News, in Courrieres, Northern France.
My friend Jean-Claude has also sent the link http://cyclo60.myouebe.net/album/Rheingau2005/
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
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
John Ingram in Canada has sent
me a photo of his 1974 ORANGE
Pli-Solex (5000) which
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
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
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
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
On request, I have also added a link to VeloSoleX
America on the Links
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."
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
Wednesday 8 June 2005
Gallery section is now complete. In time it will
contain all models of VeloSoleX
from around the world including clones, tandems and
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:
slight rust on wheels
to prevent spamming.
You may enter one photo for each VeloSoleX you
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
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
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
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
I have to make the arrangements for some friends
arriving from Milan tomorrow so, my friends, that is
all the news for the moment.