The original Vélosolex was put into production in late April 1946 and was manufactured in Paris, France. It is a very basic cyclemotor respected for its simplicity and reliability. More than eight million have been sold throughout the world, and it has developed a large cult following.
The 45 was the first production model released by VeloSolex. It was sold from 1946 until 1953. The 45 had a 45cc two-stroke engine and was capable of around sixteen miles per hour. The fuel consumption was roughly two hundred miles per gallon. Unique feature included the diaphragm fuel pump and float-less carburetor. The 45 experienced a few small changes over the years including slight changes to the carburetor, muffler and cylinder head.
In 1953 the new 330 model made its debut. The motor was new and the cylinder displacement increased to 49cc.
The 660 was introduced at the Automobile and Cycle Exposition in 1955. The most noticeable difference was the new frame. It is sold until March 1957.
The 1010 was very similar to the 660 but had a new cylinder, piston and exhaust design. It was sold until September 1958.
The 1400 was introduced with new 19" rims. It was sold until October 1959.
The 1700 had a new motor, including a new automatic clutch. For the first time, the VeloSolex can idle when it comes to a stop. A new flywheel cover is added with an air inlet. During its production, the number of piston rings increased from 2 to 3. It was produced until May 1961.
The 2200 had a new more powerful motor capable of 3,000 RPM. It could accelerate more rapidly and the speed increased slightly. On the V2 version, after October 1962, the throttle and front brake were now controlled by the same lever. The price and fuel economy remained unchanged. The 2200 was produced until September 1965.
The 3300 had a new stamped frame which was bolted together. The seat was larger, and a drum brake was added for the rear wheel. The price increased slightly. The 3300 was sold until May 1966.
The 3800 was introduced with a new engine with even more power. Over the long production run of the 3800, a few changes were added. The metal fuel tank was replaced by a plastic tank of similar size and shape. A twist grip allowed adjustment of the throttle without braking. In 1976, the larger Motobecane (ULO) tail light was added, as well as Motobecane frame decals. Shortly before the end of production, Solex decals were added and the brake levers were changed from the traditional inverted style to the more conventional type. Production ends November 1988.
Never available for sale in France, the 4600 was an export-only model. There were three versions...V1, V2 and V3. The 4600 had a frame and engine very similar to the basic 3800 series. The V2 and V3 versions featured new, much larger, head and tail lights, a stop (brake) light, and an electric horn. They had German-made Magura hand controls with a conventional twist-type throttle with spring return. The magneto was updated for the increased load of the new electrics by increasing the capacity of the primary lighting coil and by the addition of a new, secondary lighting coil. Much of this new hardware was found on "DOT" models meant to meet US guidelines.
The 5000 has a similar frame as the 3800 but it is modified for the small 16" wheels. The motor is the same as the 3800.
The Pli-solex is a folding version of the 5000 model. The handlebar is removable with a quick release, and the motor is also easily removed. The frame hinges in the middle for compact storage. the seat folds forward.
The micron is a small scooter constructed with sheet metal members bolted together. The engine is 3800 type and it has 12" wheels.
The Vélosolex originally had a 45 cc engine. Later versions had a 49cc single cylinder, two-stroke engine producing about .8 horsepower. On models 1700 and later, power is transferred to the front wheel through a centrifugal clutch and friction drive roller. The vehicle gets about 200 miles per gallon and can travel at about 20 miles per hour. The total weight is about 62 lbs. Stopping power is supplied by front and rear rim brakes. Later versions had a rear drum brake.
The S 4800 was a Chinese copy of the S 3800 and was sold by Steve's Moped & Bicycle World. Updated with the assistance of Mr. Mennesson, son of the original designer of the Velosolex, the 4800 had front (and rear) drum brakes, electronic ignition, an upgraded lighting system and catalytic converter. Production was stopped in 2009 because of extremely poor quality. Mopex, the factory that assembled them in France closed, in debt.
Manuals for several Solex models are available here.