Socovel Electric Bike Review from 1936
From 'The Motor Cycle' April 18th 1936:
Belgian Machine Tried on the Road: It's Appeal and It's Limitations.
Has the electric motor cycle a future? What are it's advantages and disadvantages? On the Continent the electric motor cycle has made considerable headway. Was that solely owing to lack of petrol during the war or has the machine an appeal of it's own? In Britain electric motor cycles have been made - not many, and nearly all of a home made variety, with car batteries and car starter motors fitting in lightweight motor cycle or even bicycle frames. What of true production-model electric motor cycles?
A Belgian manufacturer, Socovel, has made over 1,000 electric motor cycles. The Motor Cycle decided to import one to examine it, test it, use it and learn all it could about such a machine. Last month the latest Socovel arrived. It is an interesting machine with appealing characteristics. In no way, however, is such a machine a rival to the motor cycle. It's speed and it's range per charge are too limited. On the other hand, thean electric motor cycle might attract many whose needs or desires are not met by motor cycles and autocycles. There are no gears, no clutch, no starting difficulties - merely a twist of the grip on the right handlebar and the brakes. To start the machine the grip is turned and the machine gently and silently glides away, picking up speed in the manner of a trolley-bus. To stop the machine the grip is moved backwards, whereupon the machine free-wheels and is halted by applying the brakes. Could anything be more simple? The Socovel is a machine built on motor cycle lines, and usually has a pillion seat, there is a heavy type of duplex cradle frame of welded construction, central-spring front forks, and generally, a heavyweight motor cycle specification that includes large-section tyres on small diameter rims 3.25 x 14 Englebert tyres - a spring top saddle with a single, adjustable tension spring as the suspension and a normal rear carrier of tubular construction. The machine is longer than a normal motor cycle and unusually wide at the footrests. The wheelbase is approximately 60in, while the total width over the footrests is some 29in; the width of the battery box is 15in. The motor is of 8in diameter and approximately 10-1/2in overall. A tapping off the front battery provides current for the 6v lighting and horn. The brakes are of 6in diameter.
The more things change, the more they stay the same! No doubt the manufacturer claimed a range of 50 miles and a top speed of 30MPH...
any photos with that article?
any photos with that article?
No but here's one I found on the web that matched the small line drawing that was in the article.
That's just a Vectrix with the fairing removed :)
Indeed, this looks just about the same as my scoot sans bodywork! 1936, eh? Back to the Future it is :-)
I was just amused at how the reviewer described the "growing amps" process of letting the cells rest so you can go again for awhile. It's not a recommended practice of course ..
Yeah, nor is draining a 36 lead acid battery pack down to just 14 volts under load. But how could the reviewer know this?
IIRC, those old flooded-cell batteries were heavy and had relatively low capacity, but were extremely tough.