Viratelle -
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Viratelle D2-492-44-18
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 350
Model :
Production : 1919 - 1924
Category : (R) Street Bike


350cc Single-Cylinder ·1919

French unorthodoxy

The original Viratelle, built in 1907 by the eponymous inventor, was an advanced machine with a water-cooled, 178cc single cylinder four-stroke engine built in unit with an epicyclic three-speed transmission (controlled by cable from a little lever on the handlebar) and chain final drive. The overhead-valve gear was totally unorthodox, with concentric intake and exhaust valves.

Pedaling Gear

The Viratelle's characteristic round radiator incorporated a cooling fan driven by a round rawhide belt from a pulley on the magneto shaft. And if the machine broke down, the foot rests could be unclipped and set at 180 degrees to act as pedaling gear.

Continuous Evolution

The machine evolved continually until production ended in 1924. By 1919, Viratelle modernized his design and offered a choice of two models, a 350 single and a 700cc twin. The engine layout was more conventional, with side-valves and the crankshaft set across the frame rather than fore-and-aft as in 1907. The drum-shaped radiator incorporated a turbine driven by a round leather belt from the crankshaft and was fed by thermosyphon action. The transmission was still epicyclic, though now a lever on the handlebars allowed the rider to preselect a speed, which was not engaged until the clutch pedal was pressed. The final drive chain was fully encased, a detachable starting handle was clipped to the luggage grid and, though the frame was rigid, a complex system of linkages between saddle and foot rests

ensured the comfort of the rider.


Engine: 343cc (73x82mm) water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Speed Range: 280-4000 rpm

Valves: side

Fuel System: 22mm Zenith carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed preselective epicyclic, chain final drive

Suspension: leaf-sprung forks (front); suspended saddle and foot rests (rear)

Brakes: drum (rear)

Wheels: 28x3.00 wire clincher (front & rear)


Advanced in design, but too complex for its day, the Viratelle nevertheless remained in production for around 20 years.


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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