Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
3 1/2 hp ( 415cc) -1905
A Belgian pioneer
The discovery in the 1980s of a four-cylinder Antoine motorcycle designed by Paul Kelecom has tended to overshadow the other products of Victor Antoine, Fils & Cie, of Liege. But the company's reputation was established by its single-cylinder machines.
In their day, the Antoine machines were regarded as being of advanced design, and the deep-cooling fins on the cylinder were described in the press as a "radical departure from accepted motorcycle practice." The interconnection of the throttle valve and the exhaust valve lifter was more markedly unorthodox, and that made the engine very flexible for the period.
The Antoine was also among the first motorcycles to use the flat face of the rear belt pulley as a braking surface, a useful feature on a marque that took part in speed contests. Perhaps the high point of the Antoine's racing career was Kinet's first place in a heat of the 1903 French 100-kilometer trials for 250cc machines, though the same rider also put up a good showing in the 185-mile Belgian "Circuit des Ardennes" race the same year, finishing a miraculous second (out of 39 entrants). On the first lap Antoine was behind the winning Peugeot of the top works rider Demester, but he ran out of gas on the second - and final - lap and ended up pushing the machine across the finish line.
Engine: 415cc (80x82.5mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Power Rating: 3.5 hp
Valves: mechanically-operated side
Fuel System: Antoine carburettor
Transmission: V-belt direct drive
Suspension: rigid (front & rear)
Brakes: contracting belt (front); belt rin1 (rear)
Wheels: 655x55mm clincher (front & rear)
Apart from the singles - which in 1903 were offered with either automatic or mechanical intake valves at the same price - Antoine also built V-twins along similar lines.