Moto Rêve type I

The motorcycle as we bought it

The Moto Rêve in the picture is one built in 1914. The restoring of this motorcycle took some years, because the the motorcycle seemed complete when bought. In a later stage it turned out that some parts were present, but didn’t fit this motorcycle. And this turned out to be a huge problem, because who could tell you anything about Moto Rêve? Certainly not in our neighborhood. So I sought my luck on the Internet. After posting a request for help on the Swiss motorcycle club FAM website, I got a response very quickly from a German who was also an owner of a Moto Rêve. He could copy the needed parts, like the kick starter gear and the shift-rod. In exchange he wanted to borrow the gearbox to copy it. But yeah, to make a drive of 600 km, or reverse… The solution was found in meeting each other at the annual event in Ibbenbüren. So you get to know each other. And this acquaintance has paid off.

The same German also copied the multi-functional handle for gas, shifting and braking at the handlebar, but it wasn’t very practical. So it was replaced by separate handles. An other nice detail is the band brake. The pulley of the brake in the rear wheel is adjusted and the pistons are replaced by Honda pistons. So are the piston pens.

Restoring several parts wasn’t the issue. Ofcourse it took a lot of time, but looking for the missing parts and solving bottlenecks took a lot more time. The Moto Rêve has shortly run, but it stopped running inexplicably. It threw generously with oil, so there were still some problems to be solved. My father hoped to provide the vehicle for inspection to ride in Ibbenbüren 2005 (25-year anniversary of the event). Unfortunately this didn’t work out and the Moto Rêve was sold.


The factory in Geneva was founded by one mister David who had built his first motorcycle in 1906. Because of the success of the distribution, the Model A, a 50 mm x 70mm V-twin which was placed high into the frame, became a great success. Moto-Rêve was his time far ahead in 1909 by the production of the in-line vertical twin. This can be seen by the quality of their work as the beautiful round finish of the covers from the motor housing. Moto-Rêve, which can be translated as Dream Machine, soon set up an efficient network of dealers who sold motorcycles and parts througout Europe, Australia and New-Zealand. In England the motorcycles were sold under MR or Alp motorcycles. The Alp Engineering Works in Alperton in Wembley, west-London distributed those motorcycles.

In 1912 Moto Rêve still used a belt driven directly by the engine, and a tensioner which was pushed against the belt. In 1913 the first two gearbox, wherein the accelerations were facing each other, was used. These motorcycles were still belt-driven. The first models with full chain drive were produced a year later.

In 1913 an attractive, with a recess in the gas tank, and build-in oil tank at the front was used for the first time. Before a tank with flat sides was used. The shift lever with the throttle and brake lever is operated with the right thumb, and the decompression lever is located on the left side of the handlebar. The rear cylinder of a V-twin can get hot so that enriching the lubrication seems insurmountable.


To be continued.