Motorworld’s newspaper №50

Prior to the start of World War II the plant of the Societe des Moteurs Gnome et Rhône manufactured a military motorcycle, model AX II. That was in 1936. It was the first serial production military motorcycle model having a “lead” sidecar.

AX II was outfitted with the horizontally-opposed, L-head, 804 cc, 18.5 h.p. engine and it had a permanent sidecar-wheel drive. This model featured a stamped frame, a parallelogram front fork and a 4-speed gearbox with additional reverse gear (although the first samples were rigged with a 5-speed gearbox with reverse gear). Bearing capacity of the sidecar was 420 kg. Apart from a standard version, the French army used a large number of special-purpose battle sidecars: e.g., as ambulance, chemical defense and other types of units.

The Gnome-Rhône AX II model was produced in large quantities almost until the end of WWII, not only by Societe des Moteurs Gnome, but by Terrot in Dijon. Gnome-Rhône AX II motorcycles could be seen in almost all armies, on both sides of the frontline.

Manufacturer Societe des Moteurs, Gnome et Rhone, Paris (France)
Years of manufacture 1936 – 1945
Quantity produced, units 2 700
Today’s value
Type Horizontally-opposed, L-head
Engine capacity, cc 804
Bore and stroke, mm 80 х 80
Engine rating 18.5 h.p. at 4000 rpm
Sparking Left-side kickstarter arrangement
Carburetor Solex 30 FHOS
Battery 6 V
Clutch Single dry plate
Transmission 4-speed + reverse gear
Frame type Stamped steel frame
Front suspension Parallelogram, with frictional damper
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 3,50 х 19 (3 wheels)
Length, mm
2 700
Width, mm
1 650
Height, mm
1 000
Wheelbase, mm
1 485
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km

* – Data from the results of the measurement of the “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov” exhibit.