Automoto - R 4 Stayer
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Automoto D2-492-30-07
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 250
Model : R 4 Stayer
Production : 1946 - 1950
Category : (R) Street Bike


250cc Stayer – 1950

Running under false colors

As soon as the bicycle had been invented, cyclists began racing, with a passion that continues to this day in Europe where marathon cycle races like the Tour de France and the British Milk Race attract crowds of spectators. To encourage racing cyclists to attain higher speeds, pacing machines were used. Solo cycles came first - then there were tandems, triples, quads, quints - right up to the famed "Oriten" ten-man record-breaker preserved in the Henry Ford Museum - all moved by pedal power.

Power Succeeds Pedal

Around 1898, automobiles began to be used for pacing purposes, then motor tricycles, electrically-driven tandems and powered quads, but tandem motorcycles became the standard pacing machines. The steersperson, head down, kept the machine on course; the passenger, sitting upright, formed a human shield for the cyclist and tended the engine.

Two-Wheeled Monsters

As machines became more reliable, one person could perform both functions, and "solo" pacing machines were powered by some of the biggest engines ever on a two-wheeler, gigantic V-twins or V4s from makers like Anzani or Buchet. Such monsters continued to be used in France until the 1960s. At the Saint-Etienne cycle track in France (demolished in 1956), the team of eight pacers bore the logo of the local maker "Automoto." On closer examination, they proved to be 250cc R4 Monet-Goyons re-badged for publicity purposes. These pacers were the last of the line. The prominent rearward fairing concealed a roller bar to stop the cyclist from colliding with his pacer.


Engine: 247cc (63.5x78mm) air-cooled inclined single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 9 hp @ 4000 rpm

Valves: overhead

Fuel System: carburettor

Transmission: 4-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: girder forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 19 inch wire (front & rear)

Weight: 242 lb

Maximum Speed: 65 mph

Only the rear roller and the wind-cheating side panels distinguished this "Automoto" pacing machine from its production counterpart.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

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François-Marie Dumas

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