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 Gnome et Rhone - 800 AX 2
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Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 800
Model : AX 2
Production : 1938 - 1945
Category : (On-Off) Military

Gnome & Rh么ne

800 AX 2 / Powered-Wheel Bernardet Sidecar -1939

From Paris to Dakar - in 1939!

 As World War II loomed, every European nation was developing military motorcycle combinations with powered sidecar wheels. Belgium started the trend with their FN and Sarolea outfits; then came the Germans with their Zundapp and BMW Afrika Korps or "Type Russia," the English with their Norton "Big Four," the Italians with their Gilera Marte - and the French with the Gnome & Rh么ne 800 AX 2, a heavy, crude and virtually indestructible machine that had all the potential of its foreign rivals.

The Test of Paris-Dakar

Launched in 1936, the AX 2 went into production in 1937; there were several versions. The potential of the Gnome & Rh么ne was demonstrated in 1939, when an AX 2 successfully traveled a route that was to become an off-road legend - Paris-Dakar. Though the AX 2 was not really a true off-road machine, it had the advantage over its German rivals of having an ample ground clearance, which enabled it to get through where even a jeep might flnd difficultiesprovided that its rider was an expert, since the sidecar's principal fault was that only an experienced rider could get the best out of it.

Well-Matched Combination

Efficient without being outstanding in any particular respect, the Gnome & Rh么ne AX 2 was one of the best-matched military sidecar outfits. It's a pity it was also the last 路'big banger" from this famous French marque, which is nowadays known as "SNECMA" and has returned to its roots, the manufacture of airplane engines.


Engine: air-cooled 800cc (80x80 mm) flat-twin four-stroke

Valves: side

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 4-speed, shaft drive to rear and sidecar wheels

Suspension: rubber-sprung girder rork (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (from and rear)

Wheels: wire

Weight: 697 lb

Maximum Speed: 56 mph

The wheel of the Bernardet sidecar fitted to this Gnome & Rh么ne military motor-cycle features a declutching mechanism.


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.