Motorcycle: Gnome et Rhone Super Major
Société des Moteurs Gnome et Rhône was a French company that produced aeronautical engines and then motorcycles until the 1950s.
Gnome was founded in 1905 by the brothers Louis and Laurent Seguin, who had nothing to do with aviation, and in 1915 it merged with its main competitor Le Rhône.
In the interwar period, the company was developed by its majority shareholder Paul-Louis Weiller into the largest European engine manufacturer.
After the Second World War, Gnome et Rhône was nationalised and renamed Snecma (Société Nationale d'Étude et de Construction de Moteurs d'Aviation).
Gnome et Rhône manufactured motorcycles equipped with a flat twin engine, overhead valves, a four-speed gearbox and a suspended frame.
Gnome et Rhône already presented a star of the show at the 1929 Paris Salon: the V2, a 500cc flat twin-twin unit with sheet steel frame.
This was followed in 1934 by the Gnome & Rhone Junior, a side valve 250 with a uniform engine and frame and forks made of sheet steel.
In 1936 the series was extended by the 350ccm side valve Major and Super Major. The 500cc D5, a civilian version of the military bicycle D5A with side valves, was launched in 1938.
All these bicycles were single, but there were differences in the frame depending on their displacement. The 98cc R of 1941 was developed according to the same principle.
As for our Super Major, it looked really good with its chromed spherical headlight, rounded front fender, streamlined exhaust and rear sling bar that replaced the luggage net and underlined the sporty nature of the bike.
With a weight of just over 190 kg, the Super Major reached a maximum speed of just under 95 kmh.