The Story of the Mobylette – It Will Have You Singing the Blues
Maybe the musicians in the French Quarter of New Orleans could foresee the future of the little scooter that appeared on French roads beginning in 1948. Perhaps they had that vehicle in mind as they went about playing the blues.
Named “La Bleue,” the moped that originated in France used to be extremely popular among French youth. Some boys as young as ten would start to save for the day when they would attain to the age of fourteen. They knew that upon reaching that age they could ride around on the vehicle then favored by a majority of the teenagers in France.
Then in the earliest years of the 21st Century, the European Union passed legislation that sounded a “death knell” for France’s loved two-wheeled vehicle. That legislation declared that a two stroke 49.9 cc engine was “too dirty.” The members of the EU’s legislative body decided that the engine in La Bleue could not pass the strict European standards.
Once the little blue, motorized bike known as the Mobylette had been declared “dirty,” few people wanted to buy it. The last one came out of a once busy Motobecane factory in November of 2002. By then teenagers had their eyes on the more fashionable, more colorful scooters.
By late 2002, it had become clear that the world would never again hear about a new, updated “Bleue” series. At that time the men and women who wrote about motored vehicles realized that they would never get to pen a word about an engine that was about to replace the engine that had been equipped with a “variator.” That was the device that allowed the drive system in the French moped to perform in amazing ways.
The variator allowed the Bleue’s drive system to reach a lower gear ratio while the engine sat in idle. It also gave the system the ability to attain a higher gear ration when the engine ran at a very high RPM.