www.VeloCruz.com Published Quarterly by VeloCruz Vol. 4 No. 2
Riding in The
brave the New
York City trafﬁc
during the 5th
By Jeff Matthews, VeloCruz president annual Greater
Greetings to all our customers, dealers, and Citroen and
vendors. We are in the midst of our busiest Velosolex Club’s
season ever, but I wanted to take a minute to Bastille Day
update you on a few fronts: rendezvous.
• Demand for Solex bikes and parts has
never been greater. Do you know that for
the ﬁrst time ever we are completely out of
stock on new bikes, and are taking orders
(in advance) for the ﬁrst shipment of 2004
model bikes coming from Hungary in a few
weeks? Here are some interesting statistics
to give you a feel for how popular this prod-
uct has become:
- VeloCruz.com website visits have in-
creased from 1200/day in 2003 to 4500/
day in 2004.
- Bike and parts orders have increased by
20 percent over last summer. We have
shipped more than 1,000 parts across
Solex Rally in New York
the country and around the world.
- The term “solex motorbike” is found on
652 websites today as compared to 115
websites in 2003. By Brian Colter
On July 11, 2004 the 5th annual Greater can get in New York City in the summer
- The Yahoo Solex Club has grown from New York Citroen and Velosolex Club’s time. A little cooler would have been nice,
108 members in 2003 to 364 members Bastille Day Rendezvous was held in New but at least it wasn’t raining.
today, with an average of two new post- York City. This event was created and My day started early, as I didn’t really
ings per day by the members. If you’re organized by Ed Merryman and Howie know how long it would take to get to the
not using this tool to interact with other Seligman to celebrate Bastille Day, New starting point on my 1949 Velosolex. I had
Solex owners, you are really missing out. York, and Citroen and Velosolex vehicles. gotten the bike running a few months ear-
The weather was great—85 degrees,
VELOCRUZ continued on page 8 >>> sunny and not as oppressively humid as it RALLY continued on page 2 >>>
ted earlier heading toward the rally and that
was thought to carry Sean and his late 70s
model 3800 Solex (black of course) as was
the case last year. His model is a popular
one for restoration, especially in the United
States. Many of the parts available for the
newer models fit this older model, the
major difference being the lighting system
and the handlebar controls. There were
quite a few sold in Michigan and are often
found on e-Bay (I’ve bought three myself!).
Before too long, the plan was changed
to meet the HY fire truck at the next stop.
The signal to depart was given and we made
one quick warm-up lap of Grant’s Tomb.
After some quick, fine-tuning of one of the
2CVs, we were off. Olivier led the club to
the next rendezvous point, one of the many
worldwide children’s clothing stores that
he manages, Le Petite Bateau on Madison
Avenue. At the store, he provided cold
refreshments and gifts for the club members.
Ed had brought along some spare Solex fuel
and kindly filled up Olivier’s tank. The HY
lier and it runs great, but I had never given When I arrived, Ed was waiting with truck arrived and Sean unloaded his Solex.
it this much of a workout and I had never his beautiful Citroen 2CV. Other vehicles The three of us had a great time dodging
taken it across any major bridges. I packed began to line up, but no other Velosolexes. taxis and tourist buses as we headed for the
some supplies, tools, and spare parts in the It was fun learning about the Citroens and next rendezvous point. All three Solexes ran
tool box and on the rack, filled the tank and answering questions about the Velosolex. well. Mine only stalled once when a taxi cut
original optional spare tank with fuel and One member had some old magazine adver- me off and I had to lock up the brakes; no
got under way. It took about an hour and a tisements that he shared with the group. clutch on the older models. I had to cheat
half to do the 10 miles, shutting down the Finally, just before the start, Olivier arrived occasionally, shutting down the motor and
motor and pedaling across the pedestrian on a new, black Velosolex, complete with pedaling through a red light or two to keep
walkway of the bridge, and starting it back saddle bags. It was decided to wait awhile up with the others. The top speed of the
up on the other side. for a Citroen fire truck that had been spot- older bikes is only 18 mph. I hit 25-30
kph (metric speedometer on my bike) on
a couple of downhills; yes, there are hills in
Manhattan. Sean’s bike was running strong
thanks to some hard-to-find throttle parts
obtained from Tommie Matthews last year.
And Olivier’s new Solex was very quick.
We reached Washington Square Park
and all the vehicles lined up in front of
the Washington Square Arch, which was
RALLY continued on page 3 >>>
modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in
Paris. There were about 15 cars and trucks,
including two CXs, 1 XM, at least 3 DSs, 2
truckettes, lots of 2CV types, the HY van,
and a Traction-Avant Lite 15. There was
also a Peugeot, a French-designed Mercedes,
and the 3 Velosolexes. (Sorry if I forgot any-
body). Many people stopped to look and
ask questions. Sean used his French-speak-
ing skills to chat with several tourists from
Europe. I used the break
time to fill up my fuel tank,
make adjustments, and take
some photos. Ed and com-
pany set up a table and had
some food and drinks.
The last leg of the
run involved crossing the
Brooklyn Bridge from Above: The Citroen truck that carried Sean’s
Manhattan to Brooklyn Solex. Left: A group playing Petanque.
where a French/American
street fair was happening. for display and set off to enjoy the festivities.
Sean took the safe, sane A “boulodrome” had been set up for teams
route and packed his bike to compete playing Petanque, a French
into the HY. Olivier and game that seemed to be a cross between
I were a bit more daring and flirting with disaster. Luckily I’m a New bocce ball, horseshoes, and shuffleboard.
(crazy?) and drove across with the cars. Yorker and was not fazed by the yelling, A band was playing and tents were set up
Anyone who has ridden one of these old honking, and hand and finger gestures. selling drinks and food. Bar Tabac was hop-
bikes and is reading this is probably either We pulled up to the last rendezvous ping and the corner store had cold beer.
shaking their head or laughing hysteri- point, Bar Tabac, and were greeted by the Several club members were seen sampling
cally as they picture me trying to get up the enthusiastic fair crowd taking pictures and French drinks and others were drinking
uphill side of the bridge, pedaling furiously asking questions. We lined up the vehicles cans of Beck’s from paper bags.
As the party wound down, I said my
goodbyes to the few remaining club mem-
3800 vs. 4600—What’s the Dif? bers and headed off on my 9-mile ride
home with the setting sun at my back. I had
covered about 34 miles on the day. The fact
By Jim Clift that my 1949 Velosolex started right up on
the first try after rebuilding the motor and
Here’s what I’ve found different between like the bracket on bicycles with front
it completed this long, stop and go run in
my 3800 and 4600. reflectors
New York summer heat with no problems is
• Headlight on engine is integral with
a testament to the quality engineering and
engine cover. Switch is on the cover.
production skills of the manufacturers.
• No horn.
I’d like to thank Ed and Howie and the
• “Backwards” hand levers on handle bars
Greater New York Citroen and Velosolex
for brakes. Front brake can be set up to
Club for running a smooth event and the
operate throttle as on earlier models.
sponsors of the event, including Le Petite
• Compression release is a gray plastic lever
Bateau, Bar Tabac, Velosolex-America and
on the right handle bar that operates the
Budget Rent-a-Car of Hudson County,
compression release thru a rod about the
New Jersey. I’d also like to thank all the
diameter of a bicycle spoke. The com-
people that helped me get this bike run-
pression release is used both to start and
ning, including Velocruz, Velosolex-
3800: stop the engine.
America, Fred and Marc from LeSolex,
• Engine “drop” lever is a pressed steel unit • Throttle on mine is a large pressed steel
Bixente Moto, Harris Cyclery and The
attached to the cylinder head that holds squeeze lever on the right handle bar.
Solex Owners of America Yahoo Group.
the motor in the up position by being Never seen another one with this arrange-
placed in a “hook” that is sandwiched ment.
Brian Colter is a master Solex mechanic liv-
between the steering head bearing nut
SOLEX INFO cont’d on page 4 >>> ing in New York City.
The Solex Lifestyle
SOLEX INFO cont’d from page 3 >>>
• Tail light is a very nice looking plastic
lens that follows the fender’s curva-
By Solex Fans from Around the World
• No stop light.
Have You Heard This One? Ferrari all the way up to 320 mph. Not
A hip young man goes out and buys ten seconds later, he sees the Solex bear-
the best car on the market, a brand new ing down on him again! The Ferrari is flat
GTO. It is also the most expensive car in out, and there’s nothing he can do!
the world, and it costs him $500,000. Suddenly, the Solex plows into the
He takes it out for a spin and stops at back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear
a red light. An old man on a Solex, look- end. The young man stops and jumps
ing about 100 years old, pulls up next to out and unbelievably the old man is still
him. The old man looks over at the sleek, alive.
shiny car and asks, “What kind of car ya’ He runs up to the mangled old man
got there sonny?” and says, “Oh My Gosh! Is there anything
• The engine “drop” lever, on the right
side of fuel tank, is a rod with a knob
The young man replies, “A Ferrari I can do for you?”
that lowers motor thru a plate mount- GTO. It cost half a million dollars!” The old man whispers:
ed on engine. “That’s a lot of money,” says the old “Unhook… my… suspenders…
• Headlight is a sealed beam unit mount- man. “Why does it cost so much?” from… your… side-view… mirror.”
ed on the handlebar stem nut. Switch “Because this car can do up to 320 —David Burton
is a separate conventional type on the miles an hour!” states the young dude Plain City, Utah
left handlebar. Horn switch is also proudly.
located here. The Solex driver asks, “Mind if I take Smitten by the Solex
• Electric horn. a look inside?” One typical early evening in the
• Standard “Magura” brand hand levers “No problem,” replies the owner. So beginning of August 1974, a girl rode by
as found on other mopeds. Equipped the old man pokes his head in the win- our home on a Solex. I was fascinated by
with stop light switches. dow and looks around. Then, sitting back it, found out where she had purchased it,
• Compression release on left handle- on his Solex, the old man says, “That’s a and drove over to the bike shop the next
bar resembles a small brake lever and pretty nice car, all right... but I’ll stick
day to find out more. Needless to say,
operates thru cable. Engine ignition with my Solex!”
ground switch is on right handle bar. I bought one on August 6, 1974 at the
Just then the light changes, so the guy
A separate switch. age of 42 and went back the next day to
decides to show the old man just what his
• Throttle is twist type. purchase one for my wife, age 36.
car can do. He floors it, and within 30
• Tail light is a standard design unit with We enjoyed riding our Solexes
seconds the speedometer reads 160 mph.
dual filament bulb for stoplight. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear throughout our subdivision, stopping to
• Magneto has a third coil (or “roll” as view mirror. It seems to be getting closer! He visit with friends and neighbors. Our
they’re called in the literature) for stop- French poodle, Charlie, accompanied us
slows down to see what it could be and sud-
light and horn. and would actually sit by the blue bike
• The engines are essentially the same (had a carrier basket) and whimper in his
Something whips by him going much
3800 motor, except for the modified special way, telling us, let’s go for our ride.
faster! “What on earth could be going
magneto and the fact that the front
faster than my Ferrari?” the young man This went on for about two years. Then
engine cover does not have provision
asks himself. He floors the accelerator and other interests captured our time. But I
for the headlight. A 4600 emblem
replaces that. takes the Ferrari up to 250 mph. Then, never wanted to sell the bikes, thinking
• The 4600 has a tag on the neck that up ahead of him, he sees that it’s the old someday we would be entertained riding
lists the frame number and states that man on the Solex! Amazed that the Solex them again. I was right. Almost 25 years
the vehicle conforms to laws at date of could pass his Ferrari, he gives it more later, here we are again riding our 1974
manufacture, along with the manufac- gas and passes the Solex at 275 mph. Solex bikes and probably enjoying them
turing date. This tag is part of that law. WHOOOOOOOSHHHHH! He’s feel- more now in our retirement than we did
• The 4600 described is the USA/DOT ing pretty good until he looks in his mir- in our younger years. A beautiful Metro
version sold here in the states in the ror and sees the old man gaining on him park has opened within two miles of our
70s. A Canadian version 4600 is also AGAIN!
available, but this is a model with Astounded by the speed of his old
which I’m not familiar. guy, he floors the gas pedal and takes the SOLEX STORIES cont’d on page 8 >>>
AVAILABLE ONLY TO SUBSCRIBERS
Mufﬂer & Tailpipe—$20 (save $16). 84-page repair manual—$13.95 (save
$4). This will be a great resource as
Filter Set—(air ﬁlter, tank fuel ﬁlter, you approach your summer Solex
and carburetor fuel ﬁlter) $5.40 (save projects.
Saddlebags (black with Solex Logo)
$39 (save $20).
Michelin Tire & Tube special—$39
Decarbonize Deal—only $17. Includes
Cylinder gasket set, Decompression
valve set, Spark Plug, Instruction
sheet (save $5).
SUPER-DUPER “FANTABULOUS” SPECIALS AVAILABLE ONLY TO SUBSCRIBERS QUANTITY COST
• Mufﬂer & Tailpipe - $20 (40% off)
• Filter set - (air ﬁlter, tank fuel ﬁlter, and carburetor fuel ﬁlter) $5.40 (save $3)
• Saddlebags (black with Solex Logo) $39 (save $20)
• Michelin Tire & Tube special—$35 (save $13)
• Decarbonize Deal—only $17 (save $3). Includes Cylinder gasket set, Decompression valve
set, Spark Plug, Instruction sheet (save $5).
• 84-page repair manual - $15
TOTAL SHIPPING**__________________ + SUBTOTAL COST OF GOODS _________________ Total $$$
Check or money order enclosed, or charge my VISA MasterCard AmEx
Acct.# Exp. PO Box 902021
Sandy, UT 84090
Signature **Shipping & handling is $6 for orders up ph—(800) 393-7101
to $15 and $12 for orders exceeding $15. fx—(801) 383-6070
Name Engines are $30. Trotilex is $75. These S & e-mail—firstname.lastname@example.org
Address H figures apply to 48 states only. Outside 48 web—www.velocruz.com
states, the shipping is 1/2 again more.
From the Young Solex Riders
By Angie Sumbot and Andrew Pascoe
First Ride Memory so good in fact, that I took it all the way more than me. I am thinking of setting
The first time I rode my Solex was around Gulf Breeze two times already! up a dealership in Gulf Breeze (Pensacola
the day of my eleventh birthday. I was (Gulf Breeze isn’t very big.) The first time Beach).
so happy because I I took it around the block, I was followed
had wanted a Solex home by a police car because I ran the —Defender of the Solex name
motorbike for so stop sign (without the motor). Here it is, in Gulf Breeze, Florida,
long. The moment the story on how I came into ownership: Andrew Pascoe, age 16,
I got it, I named it Six months ago, my neighbor was (when article was written)
Betsy the cow. I real- having a garage sale
ize that the name is and my Dad got a ’77
kind of funny; I don’t Honda Accord for $50
know why I named with brand new tires and
her Betsy the cow. I when they pulled it out
guess it was because when the motor first of the garage, I found
started it sounded like an old cow’s moo. it (the Solex) covered in
Or maybe it was because I was just young dust and cobwebs. I man-
and stupid. When I got home I rode old aged to pull it out and ask
Betsy up the street and all the neighbor- if they were going to sell
hood kids were so jealous and wanted to it. They said yes, so I said
ride on the back but I said no and you not yet, and asked my
know what? They still say it today. I am Dad if I could buy it. He
pretty protective of ol’ Betsy–I don’t even said, “Yes.” And I asked
like to bring her to school for fear old how much and they said
Betsy will get a ding or something. Well, $25. So I said, “I’ll take
that’s the story and it always will be the it!” The Solex came with
story of how I got old Betsy the cow, my saddle bags and every-
motor-powered maroon Solex. thing except the mirror.
I took it everywhere for
—Angela Sumbot, age 14
the next five days and I
had a blast. So now you
know how I got the Solex
moped. Because it works
It works! Thank you very much,
so well, my Dad rides it
Tommie. The Solex works wonderfully,
Do you have questions?
Send them to:
For inclusion in an upcoming Solex newsletter.
Tragedy Becomes Destiny
By Fred Defoe, Calgary, Alberta
About two years ago I ordered a more ways to get your moped out of the did, to my astonishment. And Tommie
1960s Velosolex 3800 from an outfit in way of danger quickly. You can stop fast, has been working behind the scenes,
Canada. Although bought and paid for, dodge around things fast, and even zip unsung, to make this all happen. What
the bike was never delivered. But through the moped onto the sidewalk or between impresses me about that was there was
a unique set of circumstances, it arrived at two posts if need be. I’d like to see a car no real business interest for Tommie
the door a few days ago. try that one. to be so involved. He has a long-term
I am now the proud owner of not one, Since I live and work right in the city vision which is so refreshing to see and so
but two mopeds: the vintage 3800 and a center, I can’t hon- inspiring to experi-
new Tomos as well. There are people who estly claim a ‘need’ ence.
can’t understand why I’d want a moped for a car. Also, in
Years ago I fell in love with About two
at all, let alone two of them. Car owners Alberta, car insur- riding a bicycle and the years ago I posted a
give you that look like “it’s only a mat- ance is sky-high: it whole cycling experience, note on one of the
ter of time and you’ll be squashed” and would cost around Solex group mes-
motorcycle owners give you that “one- $3,000 a year, or which includes a spiritual sage boards about
day-you’ll-grow-up-and-get-a-real-bike” more, just for insur- way of perceiving your sur- not receiving the
look. ance. Never mind
Years ago I fell in love with riding a gas, oil, maintenance,
roundings—you can take Solex I had ordered.
I commented that
bicycle and the whole cycling experience, parking, etc. I fig- the time to look around, I had perceived
which includes a spiritual way of perceiv- ured out a long time and breathe the fresh air, that there existed a
ing your surroundings—you can take ago I could have a Solex culture, or a
the time to look around, and breathe the brand new moped— and see the trees and feel moped culture, that
fresh air, and see the trees and feel the or two—every year the sunsets. I wanted to be part
sunsets. You’re not making good time for that price. With of. The culture I had
on the expressway heading home yak- a moped you have a greatly extended perceived was a group of people bound
king on your cell phone—you’re floating perimeter and can face those grim hills together not by geography but by the
through a gently unfolding world. Yet I with a sigh of relief. Next summer I am love of the moped experience. I had
found my 51-year-old muscles only let planning several multi-day trips that I perceived that these people look out for
me go a certain distance, so I was lim- could not pull off with just a bicycle, nor one another, that they understand one
ited by a perimeter roughly the size of would I appreciate with a car. another, that they share common values,
the city. Being in the foothills, Calgary, The Tomos, having no pedals, has to and that they are all on the “same side.”
Alberta is also full of unforgiving hills. I be licensed and insured (for a grand total When the Solex never arrived, that vision
wanted to be able to get out of the city of $62 a year). The Velosolex, on the was crushed. But Tommie and Helmut
once in a while. I already liked the pace other hand, does not need to be licensed have restored that faith.
of the bicycling experience. Mopeds offer and insured, at least not in Alberta. Here Though neither of them had any-
the same experience with virtually unlim- it is legally classified as a “power-assisted thing personally to gain, they both set an
ited range. They can go where cars can bicycle” and is above the law, or beyond inspiring example of the best that human-
not go easily and quickly. And if you’re the law, however you look at it. You can ity can offer: compassion, empathy, and
far from home and tired, no problem. ride it anywhere and park it anywhere, understanding. I know one day I’ll be
Just cruise home. If more people under- just like a bicycle. stuck in the middle of nowhere with a
stood just how refreshing, liberating, and So the moped experience is just what flat tire or some other problem. I’ll phone
invigorating the moped experience is, the doctor ordered. The only way that Tommie and you know what—he’ll send
they would be lined up at the shops buy- I ended up with the Velosolex 3800 me whatever I need and save my butt.
ing them. In Europe, people know the is through the kind efforts of Tommie I already know this about him. As a
convenience of the moped. Mopeds are Matthews of Velocruz and a fellow in consumer, it is a rare experience to come
all over the place. Massachusetts by the name of Helmut across someone who goes above and
I should add, too, that mopeds are Asmus. Helmut heard of my plight with beyond the call of duty, if it ever happens
incredibly maneuverable. I actually feel the Velosolex that was ordered but never at all. And as a consumer, I am relieved,
safer on a moped than I did driving a car. delivered, and offered to send me one to grateful, and inspired by the example he
Why? There are more “outs”—there are replace my “missing” Solex. Which he sets for us all.
VELOCRUZ continued from page 1 >>> evangelizing the product in your neighbor- SOLEX STORIES cont’d from page 4 >>
hoods or helping customers in their restora-
tion projects. Don’t hesitate to contact me if
• The Solex 3800 is back in production in home. The
Hungary by the ﬁrm Cyklopres KFT. This nature trails,
is the group that acquired the assets, and bike trails and
This is an exciting time. I am continually
many of the management team from the for- park grounds
impressed with the passion that our deal-
mer producer Impex. They have made a few are delight-
ers, customers, and partners share for this
minor improvements to the bike including
simple but elegant product. Please let us ful. We pack
replacing the traditional points/condenser
know if there’s anything we can do to assist a picnic lunch
system with an electronic ignition system.
you. Never hesitate to e-mail me directly or dinner and
(email@example.com) or to call me (801- enjoy nature
• We are looking to expand our dealer/ser-
733-4578) if I can do something for you. at its finest.
vice network throughout the country. If you
In conclusion, we thank you for making With the lat-
love this bike, then this might be a good
this business so much fun.
opportunity to make a little extra money est gas crunch the 200 miles per gallon
was a real treat. We are constantly stopped
by people who ask us about the bikes. Do
Solex Memories Last we want to sell them? No, but now I do
Forever and are Worldwide
carry a bro-
This picture was submitted by
two brothers (Gary and Mason chure with
Platt) from the United Kingdom. me most of
They write, “This picture was
taken in France the summer of the time so
2002. Not many boys haven’t people can
seen a Solex. These lucky lads
ride them day after day, and have some
they are kept going thanks to information
on how and
Gary Platt, left where to pur-
Mason Platt, right
Re t i re m e n t
P h o t o Co n t e s t W in n e r provides the
C a n Yo u To p T h i s P h o t o ? time to enjoy life and we can honestly
ENTER THE PHOTO CONTEST AND WIN A FABULOUS SOLEX KEYCHAIN say our Solex bikes contribute to that
Winner will be announced in the next issue of the Solex Newsletter. All entries become the property of VeloCruz and enjoyment.
will not be returned (can you imagine the headache?). Submissions, including caption information, can be in digital (via
e-mail or disk) or print format. If submitting digital photos, please make sure the image is more than 200 dpi. Any com- —Bud Noreck
mon format (e.g. GIF, TIF, JPEG, BMP) accepted. Send images and caption information to firstname.lastname@example.org or Attn:
Matt Wright, 360 W. 4800 N., Provo, UT 84604 Shelby Township, Michigan
PO Box 902021
Sandy, UT 84090
ph— (800) 393-7101 (U.S.)
(801) 733-4578 (Inter.)
fx — (801) 383-6070
Over 200 Smiles per Gallon!