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 FN - Vélomoteur
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FN D2-492-73-17
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 133
Model : Vélomoteur
Production : 1902 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


133cc light Motorcycle - 1902

From rifles to motorcycles

The Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre (National Weapons of War Factory) of Herstal-lez-Liege was created in 1889 by various armament manufacturers in response to a major order for 150,000 Mauser repeating rifles from the Belgian Government.

First Automobiles

Once the order had been met, FN had to find other work to keep its personnel and machine tools busy. Those were the great days of the bicycle, and FN, proud of its manufacturing skills, successfully began producing two-wheelers. The remarkable "Chainless" shaft-driven bicycle was among its products. The development of powered locomotion didn't escape FN's notice, and, in 1899, their engineer J. de Cosmo built a twin-cylinder automobile, which went into production in 1900. He also developed a small single-cylinder engine that was fitted into a reinforced bicycle frame.

Gold Medal Winner

This motorcycle must have impressed the experts, since it was awarded a gold medal of honor at an exhibition in London the year it was put into production. The idea of building a powered bicycle had been suggested by one of FN's agents. Joseph Houart, a mechanic from Liege who had moved to Ghent, fitted an FN engine in a cycle frame in 1900. Its trials proved so successful that he wrote to the factory for a supply of power units, ordering a hundred engines. Intrigued by this concept, FN took up the idea for itself and began the production of motorcycles, a venture that was to last for 60 years.


Engine: 133cc (50x68 mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 1 hp

Valves: automatic intake, side exhaust

Fuel System: fixed speed F carburettor (speed controlled by ignition advance)

Transmission: direct-drive by flat leather belt to wooden pulley

Suspension: none

Brakes: back-pedal brake and cycle-type rim brake (rear)

Wheels: wire clincher (front & rear)

Weight: 66 lb

Maximum Speed: 22 mph

This machine is a development of the original FN, with a brake on the pulley rim and an air intake in the center of the cylinder.

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.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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