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Motobécane, founded in 1923, was a French manufacturer of motorcycles, bicycles, motorized bicycles, and mopeds. The company’s name was derived from two French slang terms: “moto” (for motorcycle) and “bécane” (for bicycle). After World War II, when demand for efficient and inexpensive transportation soared, Motobécane introduced an early moped called the Mobylette. Motobécane also took over production of the the VeloSoleX moped brand 1974.
Moped production increased in the 1970s due to the energy crisis and inflation. The Solex 4600 (known as “The Horse”) was introduced to the United States by Motobécane in 1974 and was noted for its fuel economy of 218 miles/gallon. Motobécane declared bankruptcy in 1981 and was purchased by Yamaha. Renamed MBK, the company produces scooters for the European market. The Motobécane brand name is currently used by a U.S. company that imports bicycles manufactured in Taiwan. Vintage Motobécane mopeds are still popular among moped enthusiasts.
Moped madness. (1977, July 4). Time, 110(1), 72.