Monday, June 23, 2014

The Bugatti Cyclemotor

If you thought that Ducati's Cucciolo was the last word in glamorous cyclemotors (if that isn't an oxymoron) then read on and discover the magnificent Bugatti T72......

Bugatti T72 attached to a period Peugeot cycle.

Ettore Bugatti moved to Paris in 1936 after handing over the reigns of his factory in Molsheim to his son, Jean, following an industrial dispute which had left him slightly embittered. During this time Ettore designed several new engines, a common theme among which was jewel like precision, miniaturisation and an level of sophistication in utilitarian objects that would have resulted in the products being impossibly expensive.

One of these motors was the T72 cyclemotor which was more than likely designed in the early years of the war with an eye on the post war market. There were two iterations of the design, the T72 and T72B with some significant changes seen on the later development. It is believed that some seven engines were actually produced of which there seem to be three survivors each of which is a T72.

Close up of the Bugatti T72.

The specification of the T72 is rather outrageous for a cyclemotor: twin overhead cams and supercharger. The T72 had a capacity of 10.6cc which may seem miserly but with a calculated maximum rpm of 15,000 a cruising speed of 30mph should be easily attainable slightly further down the rev range. The later T72B had an increased bore giving a capacity of 12.6cc. Just a look at the T72 design suggests that at the revs it was required to produce and in the position it sat on the cycle it would be likely to suffer from overheating problems. The T72B was turned around 90 degrees and the crank sat in line with the cycle suggesting that overheating was a problem recognised by Bugatti in his mark two variant.

Bugatti T72 cyclemotor drivetrain.
There appear to be no existent pictures of a Bugatti cycle attachment in motion and non of the survivors are running. What a pity as seeing and hearing one in motion would be a wonderful thing.

Much of the information above has been garnered from The Bugatti Revue and The Moped Archive and the pictures are taken from The Bugatti Revue.

The T72 wasn't Ettore Bugatti's only dabble with two wheelers. There was also a rather special bicycle of which more to follow...

Bugatti T72 motor crying out for a cycle.....

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