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Velosolex Solex 4600

Velosolex Solex 4600Velosolex 4600

Since the official beginning of Solex production in 1946, there have been many different models produced. New models appeared not only in France, but also in other countries. Surprisingly, many of the new models appearing in other countries were not available in France. For example, a version of the model 5000 was created for sale exclusively in Holland that had 12” wheels instead of the standard 5000 wheels that were 16”.

One model not available in France was the 4600. It was created as an export model, finding its way to new homes in countries such as England, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Austria and the United States. This first version, the V1, was basically a 1974 model 3800 Solex equipped with the handlebars, headlight and motor lift assembly of the model 5000. Also, it was available in not only the standard black color, but also blue, orange and yellow.

Most V1s use the taillight of the 3800, which was not intended for use as a brake light. However, some V1s have a crude brake light setup which operates off of the rear brake assembly and, therefore, only works when the rear brake is activated. One of these setups uses a resistor block attached to the inside of the left frame rail, along with a switch. Power to the taillight passes through the resistor resulting in a dimmer bulb. When the rear brake is applied, the switch is activated allowing full power to get to the taillight, and the result is a brighter bulb, giving the appearance of a brake light. The taillight is a SEIMA item and the headlight is from CIBIE. Another setup uses a MALY two-lens taillight assembly. Power is sent to the lower lens whenever the headlight is on. This lens also has a clear panel in the bottom to illuminate the license plate. Whenever the rear brake is activated, power is sent to the upper (brake-light) lens through a switch mounted on the inside of the left frame rail. The switch is connected to the rear brake cable with a chain, rod and clamp.

Standard pedals on this version are from LYOTARD, white with orange reflectors. In Canada and the USA, motor serial numbers of this version are in the 7,1xx,xxx range and frame numbers are in the 8,06x,xxx - 8,07x,xxx range. In England, motor numbers extend into the 7,2xx,xxx range and frame numbers get into the 8,08x,xxx range. In Canada and the USA, this version was sold in 1974 and 1975.

Renault, and then Motobecane, took over VeloSoleX in 1974.

To conform to the USDOT and Canadian regulations of the time, requiring such things as a true brake light, non-inverted brake levers, electric horn, ignition kill switch and sealed beam headlight, a new 4600 version was created for sale in the US and Canada. The 4600 V2 was sold in 1975-76 and has motor serial numbers in the 7,2xx,xxx spectrum. Frame numbers fall into the range of 8,08x,xxx and up. Electrical parts on this version, such as the headlight, taillight and switches, were supplied by CEV, an Italian company. Like the V1, the V2 was available in black, blue, orange, and yellow. The standard pedals are white with orange reflectors, from either UNION or LYOTARD. A new name came with the new version…it was to be known as “The Horse”.

For 1977, changes were made to the 4600, the result being the V3. The taillight is a Motobecane item from ULO. The headlight and switches are from CEV, and the pedals are from UNION, black and tapered in shape. In 1978, UNION black block pedals with a Motobecane “M”are used. A GE headlight is mounted in a LUXOR body and bezel, and switches are from APRILIA. Motor numbers are in the 9,0xx,xxx range and frame numbers start at 4,600,000. The V3 was only produced in black, blue and yellow, and was only sold in the USA.

Both the V2 and V3 have a metal ID tag on the frame neck. To power the brake-light, horn and large headlight, they have a third coil, a larger lighting coil, and more powerful rotor magnets. On the V1 and V2, the small front fender is painted white on the orange, yellow and blue bikes, and black on the black bikes. The center-stand is black on the V1 and V2. On the V3, the center-stand and the small front fender are painted the same color as the frame. On the V2 and V3, an engine crash-guard was standard equipment. The V2 and early V3s used rectangular reflectors on the sides of the crash-bar, while round ones are found on the later V3s.

The carburetor throttle-lever return-spring on the V2 and V3 is hooked up differently from other Solexes. Instead of the throttle barrel being held totally open by the spring, it is held in an idling position. Twisting the handgrip towards you opens the throttle, and when the grip is released, the throttle springs back to the idling position. The V1, on the other hand, has the same twist-grip and throttle-lever return-spring setup as the S 3800 and 5000.

All 4600s have motors with “CYCLO MOTEUR 3800” cast into them, and, as mentioned earlier, some 4600 V1s (as well as some S 3300s, 3800s and 5000s) are equipped with a taillight assembly from MALY that includes a conical light on top, a license plate holder, and a typically-styled red taillight lens with a clear panel in the bottom for illuminating the plate.

One very common mistake that many Solex owners make when trying to determine the date of manufacture of their Solex is thinking that the 14-3-1966 date that is cast into the motor is the date of manufacture. It should be noted that this date is cast into the motor, not stamped, and that this same date is cast into every 3800-type motor. It is actually the date of homologation or approval of the 3800-type motor.