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 De Dion Bouton - 400 Tricycle
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De Dion Bouton Tricycle motocyclette motorrad motorcycle vintage classic classique scooter roller moto scooter
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 400
Model : Tricycle
Production : 1898 - 1900
Category : (R) 3-Wheeler


1 3/4 HP Tricycle - 1899

Father of them all

"What an embryo the automobile would still be if the De Dion-Bouton Tricycle had never been born!" claimed a turn-of-the-century ad. "At this date – June 15, 1899 – sales total 21,800 units." And certainly the high-speed engine invented in 1894 was a major factor in the development of the French car and motorcycle industry. Many of the pioneer makers in Europe and America bought (or copied) De Dion-Bouton engines rather than developing their own power units.

Both Sides of the Atlantic

In the US, the first Peerless and Pierce-Arrow cars used single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton engines; in France, Aster, Automoto, Comiot, Clément, Gladiator and Peugeot built two-, three- and four-wheeled cycles powered by genuine or copy De Dion-Bouton engines.

Choice of the Famous

The De Dion-Bouton tricycle was the car of its day, which lasted scarcely ten years: by 1905 the tricycle had been eclipsed by the reliable and rapid motorcycle. Many famous motorists were riders of De Dion-Bouton tricycles, among them the Hon. C.S. Rolls (later of Rolls-Royce). The De Dion-Bouton company was an odd partnership between a sturdy aristocrat, politician, lover and duelist, Count Albert De Dion, and a tiny engineering genius named Georges Bouton. In the 1880s they had built steam carriages and sold them to a few adventurous souls – but it was their petrol-engined cycles and cars that brought them lasting fame.


Engine: 240cc C66x70mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke; trembler coil ignition

Power Rating: 1.75 hp@ 1500 rpm

Valves: automatic overhead intake, side exhaust

Fuel System: De Dion-Bouton carburetor

Transmission: direct gear drive to rear axle; choice of "sport," "average" or "touring" ratios

Suspension: none (except the air in the tires!)

Brakes: friction shoe on tire (front); drum (rear axle only)

Wheels: wire clincher (front & rear)

Weight: 220 lb

Maximum Speed: 35 mph

"To go fast, it 's better to be light than powerful," said an 1899 treatise on the De Dion-Bouton tricycle – and in its day, the De Dion was the fastest vehicle on the road!

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.