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1979 Motobecane
Mobylette 50 VLC

  • Built 06/1979
  • Metallic Red Fox
  • 49cc 2-Cycle Engine
  • Variable Speed Drive
  • 2.25x17" tires on 17" wheels
  • 30+ MPH top speed

Motobecane Technical Data

(Traded 08/30/2023)

I am looking for any manuals, advertisements, schematics, and other literature for the  Motobecane Technical Data library (link above).  If you have Motobecane Mobylette literature and are willing to share, please send a scan to me at posti@aol.com.
August 30, 2023 - After neary two years of gathering dust, I have given the Motobecane to Chip, who built the original back in the 1990s.  It was a silly purchase for me, as I spent money on it to fix up then never touched it afterwards. I did try to sell it unsuccessfully through the antique car clubs, and had no inquiries.  It's a pretty snazzy moped, pretty much the best you could get, and looks great.  Hopefully Chip wil get some use out of it.  We traded for some MGB minilight wheels which may or may not be useful, but I can play with them a bit.
September 4, 2021 - The Motobecane is finally back together with the new tire and tube on back and all of the covers back in place.  One item I got in was a complete handlebar set with the right controls that included a Decompression knob, missing on my Moby and no longer available. The kickstand was bead blasted and repainted, and the chain rings have been cleaned. I cleaned up the garage now that the Moby is mostly done so I can move ahead on some of the other projects.
August 29, 2021 - I got busy on the Mobelette this weekend and got the front end put back together with new tire, tube and spoke strip, new fork boots, and the old handlebars.  Turns out that less than two inches taller rise made a big difference with the cables and wiring.  As in, I would have to redo all of them to use the taller new bars.  So I cleaned up the old bars, painted the bad area flat black, and put it all back together. Then I installed the new pedal arms, which stand out from the bike quite a bit better than the old ones, which were hitting the sides of the engine. I also installed the replacement black plastic tread just over the engine, which had been gouged pretty badly in the past.  The main job left now is replacing the tire and tube on the back wheel.  After that, I can clean the bike and garage up and maybe move on to another of my too-many projects!
August 27, 2021 - The Moby ended up ignored for a while, first while I waited on parts, then while I waited on matching the paint, and finally waiting because I was lazy!  I finally got busy tonight. A visit to the DuPont auto paint store revealed that the Motobecane has a powder coat finish instead of paint, and they could not match the look.  So I decided to use the pretty close match I found in DupliColor paint.  The small area of the head I needed to paint is mostly covered by handlebars and chrome caps anyway, and it matches perfectly in some angles.  I sanded the header plate smooth, primed it, and then did a basecoat/clearcoat finish that is not far off the original.  With that done, I pulled the front wheel and disassembled he forks to install new rubber boots.  You can see peices of the old ones to the right of the forks.  I'll clean the wheels and install the new tires and tubes.  I also plan to repaint the kickstand, and then start putting the whole moped back together.  I have new crank arms, some new trim, and the new handlebars, so she should be pretty spiffy when I am done.  Certainly not restored, just cleaned up and fully operational.
July 25, 2021 - Repairs are getting into high gear now.  I pulled the handlebars and brackets and drilled out the old lock assembly.  The paint on the header panel is marked up and I plan to sand and repaint it before installing the new bars.  The petcock was stuck open, so I ordered a new one that looks a bit different (new one is obviously on the left), but installed easily and works fine.  The old one was stuck open with a stripped plastic lever.  I saved it and may be able to clean and restore it later.  Lastly, the left pedal arm was bent and had been scraping against the variator cover plate long enough that it had worn a groove through the back of the pedal shaft.  I have new arms to install, and got both of the old ones off with help from a punch and hammer.  The right side pedal pin didn't even have a nut on it!
July 18, 2021 - All the parts are finally in.  Last to arrive was a new chrome bar.  The actual Moby part is no longer available, but I was able to get an nearly identical bar for a Puch that was about an inch too wide on each end.  Best Bud Chip had the appropriate tool to cut the ends down, and now they are just about perfect. As you can see by the left photo, the original bars were badly rusted.  I plan to start at the front and work my way back, cleaning up the moped and installing the new parts as I go.
July 4, 2021 - Parts are starting to arrive for the Moby - I have new tires, tubes, rim strips, and tools to remove the flywheel cover, with new handlebars and other items on the way. Although the original spark plug looked good, I went ahead and replaced it today.  It could be coincidence, but the moped is idling properly now, and revs great.  (See the video here).  Once everything arrives, I will go through from front to back cleaning and installing the new items where I have them.  I did pull the muffler apart and clean the inside. The Motobecane is in phenomenal shape to be 42 years old!
June 26, 2021 - I pulled the carb off the Motobecane today and cleaned it out before installing a new float.  The bowls were surprisingly clean, with just a little corrosion from moisture in the bottoms.  After that, I put the back together enough to get her started.  She ran well, and I even took the moped around the block!  So far she is topping out about 20 MPH, but I wasn't pushing her hard.
June 21, 2021 - The Motobecane started up Saturday and ran well for maybe ten seconds before it flooded out.  The carburetor float is bad. When I tried to check the baffle on the muffler, I found that I could not put the kickstand down - the result of a new, but incorrect drive belt!  It was pulling the spring-loaded engine back way too far. During my review of the factory parts book, I also found that the Moby was missing a cover after all - a chrome plastic flywheel cover held on by rubber tabs.  I ordered the parts Saturday morning and they arrived tonight!  The new belt has the engine back where it should be, and the chrome cover certainly adds some bling.  After a full day of work and high temps, I think that will be it for now.  The carb float is also here, but will be a day or two off.
June 17, 2021 - Although the Moby is in phenomenal condition for its age, several items needed to be obtained before I can try to start it.  I also ordered some 'necessary' appearance items.  The first to arrive were the NOS Motobecane handlebar grips.  As you can see, the original grips had suffered from age just a bit.  Most of the other parts showed up today, so i expect to have a busy weekend.  They include a new drive belt (The old one was so petrified it ha cracked allt he way through to the outer fabric.) new points and condensor, tools to remove the outer covers and set the timing, and an owner's manual and showroom catalog.
June 10, 2021 - Back in 1981 I was working for Kee Business College as a teacher and finishing up my degree at Old Dominion University. Parking at ODU was horrible - you could easily spend an hour trying to find a space within half a mile of your class. Enter Best Bud Chip, who sold me a red Motobecane Moby he had actually built as a mechanic for Freewheeling Bicycles. I was able to ride to ODU and park in front of the building using the bike stand! Fast forward to this morning, when a 1979 Motobecane popped up on Facebook Marketplace. It is pretty much a twin to the one I had 40 years ago (gasp) and is the first I have seen in decades that still has all of its covers and panels. It even has the original tools in the tool compartment!  Displayed for more than 2 decades in a business office, it has been protected from ravages of time most suffer from being shoved in garages and storage sheds. My issue was it had been listed this morning, I had a work commitment that started at 10 AM, and the moped was several cities away. The seller turned out to be up and willing to meet early, so after a quick stop at the Credit Union, I drove over for a look, paid for it, loaded it up and was on my way home by 9:05. Back at the house with the moped unloaded and on my computer by 9:30! This is an early birthday present to myself.