Retro Moped Slow, But Efficient—and Cool

Velosolex has old-fashioned charm ... and engine
By Michael Foreman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 5, 2008 2:32 PM CDT
Brigitte Bardot rides a Velosolex in the 1960's.    (© Velosolex America)
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(Newser) – The Velosolex S4800 motorized bike sports plenty of retro charm—and technology. Its incredible gas mileage (150-200 mpg) makes as much sense today as in postwar Paris, but the two-stroke engine is also a weakness, Jonathan Welsh writes in the Wall Street Journal. The Velosolex generates 0.80 horsepower and tops out at 15-20 mph—not exactly the leader of the pack.

Essentially a motorized bicycle, the Velosolex loses speed on inclines, often forcing the rider to pedal its 68 pounds uphill. But at $1,795, it's a cheap alternative to pricy brand-name scooters and easier to maneuver, too. Oh yeah, and Steve McQueen rode one. "While the Velosolex is old-fashioned," Welsh writes, some riders will find it "irresistibly out of date."