De Dion-Bouton Tricycle from 1900, direct transmission, one cylinder, 60 km/h

De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile manufacturer and railcar manufacturer operating from 1883 to 1953. The company was founded by the Marquis Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton, and Bouton’s brother-in-law Charles Trépardoux.

The De Dion-Bouton tricycle was the most successful motor vehicle in Europe from 1897 until 1901. With about 15,000 copies sold, the de-Dion-Bouton motor tricycle scored the first breakthrough for the distribution of motor vehicles. In particular the fast-running de Dion-Bouton engine set new standards for vehicular motors, and is regarded as the precursor of all motorcycle engines.

In 1895, the first four-stroke engine was ready for production. The 138 cc (bore 50 mm, stroke 70 mm) single-cylinder engine with a surface carburettor produced 0.5 HP at an engine speed of 1500 RPM, a remarkably high speed for the time. For comparison, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller reached 240 RPM, and the Daimler Reitwagen motor ran at a maximum of 750 RPM.

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