Clément 1902 Autocyclette 1 HP 143 cc aiv engine # 464
Adolphe Clément was born in 1855.
He became an orphan at an early age.
He was very interested in things mechanical and, as an apprentice at the village blacksmith’s, managed to build a simple bicycle out of wood for his own use.
At the age of 17 he left his village on this bicycle to seek his fortune in other parts of France. In 1876 he started to take part in cycle races and set up a small cycle manufacture.
He decided to move to Paris and in 1880 he established a cycle business at the Rue Brunel under the brand name of “Clément”.
This business was successful and pretty soon he had 150 labourers working on the manufacture of his bicycles.
In 1889 he visited the cycle exhibition in London and witnessed a demonstration of the Dunlop pneumatic tyre.
One of his companions advised him to secure the manufacturing rights for France of this new invention.
Adolphe was rather hesitant, but finally agreed.
The Dunlop tyre became a huge success and were sold in fantastic numbers in France: Clément soon became a millionaire.
He formed a huge bicycle factory by combining the companies of Clément, Gladiator and Humber-France. From 1895 on he started to focus on motorized vehicles: first tricycles, quadricycles and cars and in December 1901 he entered the field of motorized bicycles with a small engine with bore x stroke of 55x60mm and 143 cc displacement.
This first version was soon followed by a 1¾ HP 60x 75 212 cc version and a 424cc V-twin.
These well-engineered little engines have an automatic inlet valve, an overhead exhaust valve, an external flywheel and a spray carburetor.
The cylindrical petrol tank is fixed behind the saddle and the batteries for the coil ignition are stored in a leather case that is strapped to the horizontal frame tube.
These light and practical machines became very popular and quite a few were sold as complete machines fixed to a Clément or Gladiator cycle.
You could also order an engine with fittings and bolt this to any bicycle.
This attractive early 1902 Clément is complete and unrestored.