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BFG motorcycle with GSA engine

Text by Julian Marsh

The French department of industry had a construction competition in 1978 which was won by three gentlemen by the names of Louis Boccardo, Dominique Favario and Thierry Grange, hence BFG. The idea was to put a car engine in a motorbike frame and was manageable enough to actually make it into production. According to certain sources it was part of the company that had been working with the manufacture of the Concorde that got the assignment. According to the instruction book the responsibility was in the hands of the moped- and bike manufacturer Motobécane, at least towards the end when the BFG factory had financial trouble.

BFG motorcycle with GSA engine

When exactly the production started and ceased is not known, but it could still be found in a German motor bike review in 1985. A total of about 450 bikes were made, and the French police were said to have bought about a hundred of them. There was also supposed to have been a diesel powered motor bike with the same engine as the Visa Diesel. However, there was a bike called the MF with the 652cm3 motor from the Axel, LN or Visa.

The engine is a 1299cm3 GSA engine where the modifications were kept to a minimum. Among other things the fuel pump has been replaced with an electric one and the distributor has been replaced with an electronic ignition system. The rocker covers are made of light alloy and the exhaust system is of course replaced with chromed pipes and silencer. The clutch is modified to make it manoeuverable by hand. The gear box is specially made, as is the tubular frame. The gearbox has 5 gears with neutral between 1st and 2nd gear, and integrated with the cardan. An odd detail is the use of straight gears in the gearbox. The brakes and wheels are from Brembo, like the Moto Guzzi, and the silencers are also Italian.

BFG motorcycle with GSA engine

On the electrical side there are more car parts. The front headlamp is from a Renault R16 and the instrumentation from an Renault 5 TS. The generator and starter engine are from the GSA. Covers, tank and saddle are specially made. The tank isn't placed in its ordinary place, where the air filter, battery and relays are mounted, instead it's placed under the saddle (in the same way as the Honda Gold wing). In the lower part of the covering there's the air intake, and the fan on the motor has been retained which means there's ample cooling even when driving slowly or standing still. It's very long and wide, like a large BMW, but a few sizes bigger. The wheel base is 20 cms longer on the BFG.

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© W.M.Kemmink

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