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 Gnome et Rhone - 125 R 4 B
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Gnome et Rhone R 4 B motocyclette motorrad motorcycle vintage classic classique scooter roller moto scooter
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 125
Model : R 4 B
Production : 1951 - 1956
Category : (R) Street Bike

Gnome & Rh么ne

R4B 路1952

Beating the tax man


Europe has always had a soft spot for smallcapacity utility motorcycles, well-suited to the generally high rates of gas taxes. Typical was the little Gnome & Rh么ne R4 range, developed from the 98cc Model R of 1941.


Any Color You Like

In its standard black livery, the R4 was a mournful-looking machine, whose design was as unadventurous as the choice of color. It had a simple cradle frame, and when rear suspension at last became available, on the 1953 R4C, it was a simple plunger layout with a grudging 2 inch travel. Moreover, Gnome & Rh么ne continued to produce the R4B with a rigid rear end.


Italian Influence

The three-speed gearbox had a left-foot selector pedal (contrary to normal French practice, though it was common across the border in Germany) and was so compact that Gnome & Rh么ne had to design an entirely new transmission for its 125, 175 and 200cc four-speeders. An advantage was that the R4 engine developed 6 hp (most of its 125cc French contemporaries produced only 4.5 hp), giving a 53 mph top speed. Later versions of the H4 were rather more attractive: the R4D of 1956 fina lly gained swing arm rear suspension, an upgraded engine and a twist grip gear shift. In 1957 came the R4S, strongly influenced by the small sporting Italian machines, with a racing red paint job, dual seat, lowered handlebars and 16 inch wheels. But it was too late to save the marque: Gnome & Rh么ne production finally staggered to a halt in 1960.



Engine: 125cc (55x52mm) air-cooled singlecylinder

Power Rating: 6 hp @ 5000 rpm

Valves: two-stroke

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 19 inch wire (fron[ & rear)

Weight: 176 lb

Maximum Speed : 53 mph


The standard finish of the Gnome & Rh么ne R4B was black enamel; the olive green color scheme of this restored example makes it tess of a Plain]ane.


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.