Gnome et Rhone - Junior
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Gnome et Rhone D2-492-07-11
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 250
Model : Junior
Production : 1933 - 1938
Category : (R) Street Bike

Gnome & Rhône

250 Junior -1936

Convincing arguments


Famed makers of rotary airplane engines during the Great War, Gnome & Rhône turned to motorcycle manufacture in 1919, building the 398cc Bradshaw motorcycle and subsequently the ABC flat-twin under license. Both bikes were designed by the British engineer Granville Bradshaw.


Pressed Steel Frames

Motorcycle production in Gnome & Rhône's Paris factory was supervised by an Englishman, Captain Bartlett, who also rode the firm's motorcycles in competition. As early as 1930, Gnome & Rhône followed the lead of BMW by using a pressed-steel frame, becoming the leading French supporter of this technology. Their first steel-framed machine was the 500 V2, and by 1935 the entire Gnome & Rhône range - from the luxurious X 750 to the popular 250 Junior was following the V2's lead.


Off to a Flying Start

The 250 Junior was launched in 1933. In 1934, it covered the distance from Paris to Bordeaux and back in just 20 hours, 22 minutes. According to the manufacturers, the Gnome & Rhône pressed steel frame "put an end to the anachronistic tubular steel frame ... a motorcycle must be designed according to the same formula and in the same spirit as its big sister, the automobile ... the pressed steel chassis is easier to make yet more robust since it needs neither welding nor tricky assembly." However, they conveniently overlooked the fact that pressed steel frames also called for extra funds to pay for the heavy investment in new machine tools.



Engine: 250cc (62x80mm) single cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 8 hp

Valves: pushrod overhead

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 3-speecl hand-change

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

Brakes: 5in drums

Wheels: wire

Weight: 243 lb

Maximum Speed: 50 mph


Two juniors, two badges: the traditional Gnome & Rhône badge was diamond-shaped but the quartered red and white circle, used at the end of 1936, is a symbolic airscrew recalling the company's links with the aircraft industry.


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)
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