Let’s say, for a moment, that you’re a French moped manufacturer in the 1960s. At this time, you’re well-known for your mopeds, and the general public likes them because they fill a specific need. They’re inexpensive and convenient, and you don’t need to go through the hassle and expense of getting yourself a motorcycle license to own one. It’s good, right?
That is, it’s good until you come out with your tiniest model yet, and you also take the pedals off. It’s a tiny bike with tiny power, but French authorities now consider it a motorcycle, not a moped. That’s the story of this 1968 Solex Micron, and that’s also why only 4,000 of them are known to have ever been sold.
This striking little 49cc number featured a front-mounted engine that used a roller to apply power to the front wheel. Two versions were produced: a road-legal one, and a non-road-legal one. The road-legal one could manage a top speed of around 18 miles per hour when new. Meanwhile, the non-road-legal one was restricted to just 9 mph. You can already see why these weren’t flying out of showrooms, right?
Gallery: 1968 Solex Micron
According to the Lane Motor Museum, French regulations at the time meant you wouldn’t only need a motorcycle license to operate this thing. You’d also need insurance, a helmet, and a rear license plate. Meanwhile, the bike itself would need a three-position headlight (brights, regular, and dim settings included), a speedometer, and an electric horn. If you’re seeing francs flash before your eyes as the practical costs of ownership mount, it’s with good reason.
The one for sale here on eBay is a street-legal version, complete with headlight, horn, and speedometer. It’s located in Naples, Florida, and the seller says it only has 15 miles on the clock. As you can see from this short video, it runs! The auction ends on June 2, 2020, and it currently has zero bids, possibly because the opening price is a cool US $3,900.