Daily demonstrations at 11am, free with admission!

Solex VeloSolex 45-1951


In 1940, Marcel Mennesson had a prototype built for a bicycle equipped with a motor on the front wheel. The 38cc engine was outfitted with a roller transmission, carburetor and tank, and mounted on the front 700-millimetre wheel. Due to the events of World War II, however, the Model 45 didn’t debut until 1946. Unlike later Solexes, the 45 does not have a clutch. The rider has to take their hand off the handlebar to disengage the engine at stops; otherwise the engine stalls out. The rider then needs to pedal off again and restart the engine every time.

The frames of later VéloSoleX were angular and boxy. Only the Solex 45 featured the flowing ‘swan-neck’ styling of the frame’s backbone, making them aesthetically more valuable than later models.

As early as 1947, VéloSoleX asked the British Petroleum company to develop a special mixture for the 45 for optimization of the motor. Solexine, as it was known, was a two-stroke pre-mix (94% gasoline + 6% Energol Oil) and was sold in sealed 2-liter yellow cans (the yellow color remained until 1957), and also at the pump at BP service stations. By 1962, some 1000 French service stations were selling Solexine.


Manufacturer: Solex
Country of Origin: France
Engine: Single cylinder, 2 stroke, air-cooled, 2HP
Transmission: Roller to the front wheel, manually engaged
Top Speed: How fast can you pedal?
Years of Production: 1946-1953
Number Produced: About 185,000
Original Cost: 32,500 Old French Francs, or $123 US (about 1,100 US today)