The History of the SoleX in Germany solex se deplacant sur l'ecran

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Couple allemand Velosolex 45 Deustchland

Velosolex Neuer Fahrztyp in Deustchland Velosolex das Meistgekaufte Fahrrad mit hilfsmotor

France,the birth country of the VéloSoleX, has its "Solex Pope": Franck Ménéret.
He has already written 2 books on the history of the SoleX and has thus provided the history of the Solex in France. His first book was in collaboration with Jean Goyard, who had already written the first Solex book "The VeloSoleX" in 1989 with Bernard Salvat and Dominique Pascal.

The Netherlands has Johan Spiertz, who wrote the Dutch history of the Solex and put it online on the Internet. The Netherlands, by the way, was the largest manufacturer of the Solex after France with a production of approximately 700,000 bikes. The publisher "Bromfiets" published its complete history in the book "Het Grote SoleX Boek" - published first in 2002 and abundantly illustrated.

The history of Switzerland’s "Hispano Suiza" was told by Johan Spiertz (NL) and Rene Sahner (CH) and was put online on the Internet.

And in Germany? Aside from a few small articles by various authors, NOTHING!

It was for this reason that some years ago Wolfgang Reichelt, Dieter Calles (both founders of VeloSoleX IG) and I had decided to change this. Wolfgang learned that the old manager of the German importing company, Mr. Werner Buss, lived in our area (Rhein/Main) and that he was in very good health. Thus we made arrangements to meet with him. But the visible result was not so much. Dieter Calles published in the "Nasenwärmer" only the beginning of the history and, for some reason, nothing more; personal reasons I’m sure. Whatever the reason, I decided to tackle the subject again.
Thus, for a second time, I decided to contact Mr. Buss, with the help of France-Christine Reichelt, and to see whether Mr. Buss was still alive. No sooner said than done! I went to the residence of Mr. Buss in order to meet him. What a great surprise when an aged but lively and vigorous man opened the door for me. For 2 hours we discussed in a lively way the history of the Solex in Germany. That is: Mr. Buss told me his story vividly, full of very personal experiences. I will try to tell it all for enthusiasts and future generations.

Who is this Werner Buss?
In the motorbike scene at the time, Mr. Buss was a well-known participant, an accomplished Trial & Moto Cross . Because of his relations and his knowledge of the German market (his father was a wholesaler of motorbike spare parts), Mr. Francis Goudard asked him if he would like to take care of the importation of the Solex.

Werner Buss Délégué en Allemagne

Werner Buss Délégué en Allemagne

But, before I begin the history of the SoleX in Germany, I must make an opening remark.
Contrary to France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, Germany never had its own production. We always had the French SoleX, even if it had specific modifications for the German market; for example the restricted cylinder inlet, a different type of lighting, and a smaller roller (38mm).

There is also the history of the SoleX in the Saar. As you know, after the 2nd World War, the Saar was no longer a part of Germany. And it was not until January 1, 1957 that the Saar again became a German state. And so, before this date, there were French standards for the importation of the SoleX. According to a document that I have, the Gustav A. GROSSKLOS Company in Saarbrucken had already been selling the SoleX 330 in 1955. This company, a VW dealership, was in charge of all SoleX sales in the Saar. In 1957, Wilhelm HERZ became official importer for whole Germany in Ludwigshafen. Nonetheless, GROSSKLOS still sold SoleXes.

Velosolex 660 Groβklos

Velosolex 660 Champion der MopedVelosolex Das Fahrrad,das von selbst Fãhrt

It all started with the first importer for Germany - Wilhelm HERZ in Ludwigshafen. In the world of motorbikes, HERZ was surely even more known than Mr. Buss. He had indeed established several world speed records with NSU motor cycles. Another reason surely was that he had good contacts with the leaders of the automobile industry (i.e. KBA – Federal Office of Motorized Vehicles). Thus, for example, it would not be too difficult to obtain a homologation for (ABE) first SoleX 660/1400.
And now the experts surely have questions.
Which model was imported into Germany?
Was this the model 660, 1010 or 1400? Unfortunately, this question remains unanswered to this date. It should be supposed that the importation began with the 660.

In this year, the importation passed to Mr. Buss. Also on this date the problems with ABE approval started.
Lighting was the cause of these problems. Germany, or rather the Photometric Institute of Karlsruhe, introduced regulations in Europe regarding the installation of lighting systems. The objection of the institute was that the headlight installed on the engine of SoleX moved up and down with the engine while riding, and that it was not attached securely enough. Until a final solution could be found, Mr. Buss obtained the authorization to sell the bikes in 1958-1960 with HERZ approvals.
A basic agreement made it possible to approve models 660 to 1400.
The 1700 (1960) was sold with RADBAU approvals (ABE´s).


Wilh. Marewski
Mainzer Landstraße 241

Velosolex 1700Velosolex 1700 DeustschlandVelosolex 1700Velosolex 1700 Deustschland

Velosolex 1 Jaar Garantie VéloSoleX
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With a dense network of authorized VéloSolex Service Centers, over 2 million riders around the world are proof or the reliability of the cycle and its after-sales service.
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Velosolex 1700Velosolex 1700 Deutschland

Guide Velosolex 1700

The Model 2200 (1961) was obviously sold with the same homologation. It is interesting to note that Mr. Buss corresponded with Mr. Goudard in German and that Goudard answered him in French.
Mr. Mennesson was the engineer and held approximately 20% of the shares while Mr. Goudard had 80% of them.
The technical solution for the lighting installation problem came in the form of headlights from UNION. UNION headlights and taillights would be installed on the SoleXes. UNION already existed on the German market – known under the name ULO.
which was and is wrong. ULO is another German manufacturer for bike lighting equipment.
Another difficulty was the plastic tank. The TÜV (Technical Association of Monitoring) of Berlin (responsible for fire safety) made problems for the approval of the plastic tank. Mr. Buss objected and indicated that a plastic tank had been authorized for PORSCHE after testing by the TÜV, leading to a special permit to deliver the vehicle with a crash-bar.
Of course this was not the only difficulty. A network of tradesmen needed to be developed, and it was necessary to provide the special tools necessary, including the test bench. At the end of 1959, a network of 15 tradesmen had developed. The objective was to find 20 tradesmen. A sale of 100 bikes per year per tradesman was expected. Mr. Neumann/Schwarzwaldstr. was in Freiburg. He succeeded in selling 1100 bikes per year. This of course raised the mark to 150 bikes per year.
In MÜNSTER (Westphalia), the largest wholesaler was KNEUERTZ und STUTZ.
At the same time in France, the number of the tradesmen was limited to 500. On average, they sold 300 machines per year.
In Germany at this time, the law prescribed that the imported vehicles had to have sequential frame numbers. They were delivered unpacked in small trucks (165 VeloSoleXes per truck) or in larger trucks (260 VeloSoleXes per truck). Another interesting detail was that the prices were fixed by the authorities.
At the end of 1959, the Radbau-Vertriebs-GMBH was founded.

Velosolex Radfahren ohne zu treten

Frankenallee 34a

Ihr wendiger Begleiter Velosolex Führecheinnfrei ! Das weltberühmte VeloSoleX

In the beginning, the leaders wanted to use the name VeloSoleX in the corporate name of the company. Unfortunately, that was not possible because of German laws. It was obligatory to have the market product in the corporate name of the company. To find a solution quickly for this dilemma, the French company proposed a corporate name of "Radbau-Vertriebs-GMBH", which means "Construction and Distribution of Bicycles Ltd."

Relocation of the company to Köln-Dellbrück (Cologne) for economic reasons. It merged with a local company, SICLI Löschgeräte GMBH in Cologne-Dellbrück. The name Radbau-Vertriebs-GMBH was kept.

New location in Sürth.

Radbau-Vertriebs Gesellshaft
5039 Sürth/Rh.
Godorfer Straße 24-28.

Unterwegs'69 Velosolex Freunde, steigt um auf Velosolex

March 1, 1966 Godorfer Straße was renamed Wesselinger Straße !
Merger of SoleX-Airmesstechnik Sürth (a SoleX pneumatic measuring tools company) with Radbau Vertriebs GMBH because of negative business results in the sector of Airmesstechnik. The progressing development of electronic tools caused losses in this conventional engineering sector and pushed both companies to amalgamate


Solex 3800 Solex 3800

Unterwegs mit Velosolex
Das 6-millionenfach bewährte Velosolex


Solex 3800

Solex 3800

Sales of the Solex in Europe (France/Switzerland) decreased by approximately 80%. As a last attempt, the Flash was put on the market to no avail. The reasons for the fall of the figures were on account of the restricted maximum speed of 15 mph (in Germany) as well as the requirement of a driving license.

Sales of the Solex in Europe (France/Switzerland) decreased by approximately 80%. As a last attempt, the Flash was put on the market to no avail. The reasons for the fall of the figures were on account of the restricted maximum speed of 15 mph (in Germany) as well as the requirement of a driving license.
Up until this date, the board of directors of Radbau-Vertriebs-GMBH was made up of Messrs. Bernard Mennesson, F. Goudard and Werner Buss.
With Mennesson leaving the board in 1971, his successor was Mister de Ponat. He was, at the time, an export director of the European sector (50 countries). Very new, very beautiful, Mister de Ponat tried by all means to restart the sales. That caused problems with the German partner and finally, in March 1972, Mr. Buss left the "Radbau". Fourteen years of SoleX for Mr. Buss was finished.

To end ’73, the "Radbau-Vertriebs-GMBH" fell into bankruptcy.

Deutsche Motobécane GmbH
Aachener Str. 23
4800 Bielefeld 14

Solex 3800

Aller guten Dinge sind drei:solex 3800 in Scwartz,Weiß und Rot Velosolex-das originelle Rad mit Frontarieb

Solex-das Fahrrad mit molor,jetzt in Color... Erstlaunlich Velosolex

The importation and sales were taken up again by Deutsche Motobécane
Renault held 51% of the company, the remaining 49% belonged to Motobécane. In May 1975, the supply of spare parts was moved from Sürth to Bielefeld.

Yamaha takes control of Motobécane. The company becomes MBK.

End of production by MBK/Yamaha. The reason was the continuing problem of the modifications of the law. For example, from Oct.1, 1988 it was prohibited to use the bicycle lanes with a SoleX.
An important remark:
Only the importer was authorized to distribute copies of the ABE (= Allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis = official copies of allowed general approvals). Since the importer did not exist any more, the TÜV (= Technischer Überwachungsverein = Association of the Vehicle Inspections) was authorized to draw up copies. There were surely here and there tradesmen who drew up copies. Technically, this was not legal, but no harm, no foul.


Solex 500 Deutschland Solex 5000 Die Sympathischen sind unterwegs


5038 RodenKirchen-Sürth
Wesseliner Straße 24-28

solex 8000 solex 8000

SoleX - Hungary

Presentation of the Cyclon S 3800 from Cyclon-Hungaria K.F.T. at the Paris Expo.
First contact of the Black ‘n Roll importers with D. Chaumont.
Seat of company in Hungary.

Cyclon S 3800 Solex Roland Garros

August 6, 1996 IMPEX Products fall

Cyclon-Hungaria K.F.T. oder Cyclon
Berstal H 4101 Berettyóújfalu
Széchengi ut 65

In March 1995, the production was taken over again by the French importer

5, Avenue du Marechal Juin
92100 Boulogne - Billancourt

This company still had an affiliate in Hungary.

IMPEX Products Hungaria K.F.T.
Batthyany u. 62
H-1015 Budapest

The seat of production remained in Hungary. The vehicle was sold now under the name VeloSoleX Cyclon S 3800. The German importer became:

AT Zweirad GmbH
Boschstraße 18
48341 Altenberge

The bikes were sold first of all under the name Cyclon S 3800. With the approval of Magneti Marelli (owner at the time of the rights of the name) it was possible to use the name SoleX.
AT Zweirad GMBH created a network of tradesmen, to which it offered a tool kit for the price of 198 DM (today approximately 100 €)

The special model "Roland Garros" was put on the market by IMPEX. Approximately 150 vehicles of the first "Limited Edition" version were sold under the name "Cyclon". Then 350 bikes of the second version were sold, recognizable by the green engine lever, the large taillight, the identification plate under the saddle, number on the cap of the fork and marked with "IMPEX" on the cylinder.

Solex 3800

August 6, 1996 IMPEX Products fall into liquidation.
However, the French company VSF again takes over the distribution as well as the sale of the bikes and the spare parts.


Valbrie Mofa Solex


Siemens Solex


Velosolex Coca Cola 1979

ZI de la Madeleine
33 Rue Jacquard
27000 Evreux

The production starts again in Hungary. The bike is sold now under the name: SoleX S 3800 with the name "SoleX" on the frame.
The manager of the time was Mr. Sándor GATHY-KISS. He is still today the owner of the majority of the shares.
Because of many problems, the production is again stopped in September 2004. Impex Hungaria was liquidated and does not exist any more since December 2004.

Januar 2005 CYCLOPRESS K.F.T. again starts manufacture on the site in Hungary with an unknown number of bikes and spare parts produced.

Ende 2005/Anfang 2006

The German importer (AT Zweirad GMBH in Altenberge) decided not to sell any more "Solex" bikes because of a bad provisioning of the spare parts, and problems with quality.
Approximately 17,000 bikes were manufactured in Hungary, of which 500 went to Germany.

SoleX "China"

Resumption of the French SoleX? Not really, because most of the parts as well as the engine are manufactured in China. Nowadays that is nothing unusual. Many objects of our everyday life come today from China.
The model Black' N Roll S 4800 obtained a European homologation and can consequently be sold in all Europe.

Black'n Roll S 3800

N. Uhrbach
Große Barlinge 63/65
30171 Hannover

The model Black' N Roll S 4800 obtained a European homologation and can consequently be sold in all Europe.
This homologation could be obtained only by various measurements :
· Metal tank
. Drum brake also on the front wheel
· electric horn
The mopeds are assembled in France under the direction of Dominique Chaumont.
The reason for the new name of the model was the 200,000.00 € cost to the Magneti Marelli company for the use of the name "SoleX" that the Mopex company could not afford.

Introduction of catalytic converter on the S 4800, aiming at the EURO 2 standards.


Mopex Courrière Pas-de-Calais

Along with black, the S 4800 is available in red, green and metallic silver.

The Deluxe model is available in metallic blue.

The history of the Solex is filled with ups and downs. The research was somewhat difficult because the events occurred a long time ago and some of the witnesses are not alive any more. I obtained a lot of help from Mr. Werner Buss for which I am very thankful.
The end of the history does not seem to be finished, to the joy of all Solexists.

Dieter Müller July 14, 2007

Sources Werner Buss, Nils und Uli Uhrbach, Dieter Mäder (Vertriebsmann Radbau), AT Zweirad GmbH, , etc.

Translation by Brian Colter


Mon Oncle Jacques Tati


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