1919 Griffon with 1922 Labinal Micromoteur

1919 Griffon with 1922 Labinal Micromoteur

I sold this machine in March 2008. Both engine and the bicycle are rare, so I’ve added it to this website for reference.

With its location over the front wheel the Micromoteur is heavy on the steering. So it’s a handful to ride …but wonderful because of it, and very similar to the earliest motorcycles of the turn of the century.


The Labinal company was based in Paris and manufactured auxiliary motors to attach to bicycles. The first Labinal Micromoteurs were introduced in 1922 and the production run ended in 1928.


The Micromoteur is an incredible machine. But at the time it was so expensive to produce that only rich people could afford to buy one. They used to parade their ‘moteurs auxiliaires’ along the Champs Elysees to show off at weekends.


There are now very few left anywhere in the world, and this is the only one that I know of that is running and useable. A few others probably reside in ancient museums in France, but I’ve not yet located any.


The engines were between 38cc and 50cc and were attached over the front wheel, turning it with a roller.


This Labinal Micromoteur was found by a good friend of mine in Paris.


He restored it sympathetically and got it running.


To fire it up can take quite a bit of pedalling while you adjust the settings.


The 1919 Griffon cycle is also in excellent condition, and ready to use on the road.


From a historical perspective, this is an interesting choice of cycle. The renowned Griffon Bicycle Company’s first motorcycle, in 1902, was a Griffon bicycle to which was fitted an engine.


By 1903 they had introduced 10 different models at the Paris Show, and the following year one of their machines reached an amazing 65mph in a motorcycle race.


This earliest era of motorcycle manufacture was the ‘first phase’ of cyclemotor development; soon after, motorcycles and cycle-attachments developed separately.

Just before the first World War, with the introduction of the Wall Autowheel, cyclemotors enjoyed popularity again.


The early 1920’s, the period during which the Labinal was made, was the third era of cyclemotors, after which they died again until their most popular time, from the late 1940’s until the mid-1950’s.


More about the Micromoteur can be found on my cyclemotor magazine website




Published on August 15, 2008 at 9:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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