header image
Homepage. This page: A fascinating look at some very unusual vintage and classic 'bikes.

Unusual Motorcycles.


Francois-Marie Dumas.
ISBN 978 0 85733 261 5
Published 2012. (Hardback, 207 pages).
Review date May 2013.
Unusual motorcycles book cover

UK RRP 25.00.

Buy this Book:
There is no shortage of books published that deal with the commonly-encountered motorcycles of byegone years. More obscure models, one-offs, and strangely odd-ball concepts, often dreamt up by ideological dreamers with more of an eye for design, than the bottom line of a balance sheet, understandably get much less coverage in print. For whatever reason(s), most of the outstandingly odd designs of motorcycle that flickered briefly into life throughout the 20th Century, have disappeared into the mists of time, lost along with the dreams of their creator(s). This book seeks to rectify the situation, and as a result features a bewildering array of curious contraptions penned by enthusiastic designers from many lands.
The book's content builds upon articles originally published in French-language magazine La Vie de la Moto, but not before they had been translated for an English-understanding audience, and in some cases added to with extra material. Typically each machine receives three or four pages dedicated to it. A brief write-up paints the picture of each creation, accompanied by either contemporary photographs, and/or others taken in more recent times of preserved examples.
Six broad categories under-pin the features, and within each are several chapters looking at particular types of machine. Concept 'bikes, including oddities fitted with caterpillar-type tracks, three-seaters, and others built from wood, rub shoulders with racing machines, sidecars and electric vehicles. There can be few books, outside of an encyclopaedia, that you'd likely find mention of the 1930s Barbier, the wooden-framed Hoco, an Anzani-powered Escol, and the British Seal Family Four for instance within its pages. Meccano enthusiasts will find cheer on page 168, as here are mentioned plans from 1928 for a motorcycle and sidecar combination, with a photograph of just such a creation, utilising refreshingly-timeworn pieces in its build.
Given its French origins, it comes as no surprise that many of the motorcycles found within this book's pages are of French descent. This though takes nothing away from the sheer variety of machines referred to, and you'd be hard-pushed to notice that this book is indeed a translation.
Although I have an old-ish motorcycle myself, I wouldn't say that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fanatic when it comes to old 'bikes. Despite this, I found this an enjoyable book to dip in and out of, and I can well see this sitting on the shelves of motorcycle and car enthusiasts alike. The unusual subject matter, and attractive presentation, mean that it'll likely appeal to most "olde worlde" transport enthusiasts, regardless of their own vehicular persuasions.
Back to top
Return to the Book Reviews main page

Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers