Bike Of The Week

1908 Fabrique Nationale Motorcycle

Written by Motorcyclepedia

1908 Fabrique National Four:

Fun Fact: Manufactured in Liége, Belgium from 1905 until 1923, the FN Four was the world’s first production inline-4 motorcycle, and was the world’s fastest production motorcycle from 1911 until 1912, clocking in at 40 mph.

In 1905 the first 362 cc shaft-drive in-line FN inlet-over-exhaust four-cylinder motorcycle appeared, designed by Paul Kelecom. This was the world’s first manufactured four-cylinder motorcycle. By 1907 the Four engine had grown to 412 cc. For 1908, the US Export model began manufacture. The Four had a 493 cc engine, and in 1910 that became 498 cc

The motorcycle was developed in 1904, tested late that year, and debut at the 1905 Paris Motorcycle Show. It was a commercial success upon release, with production increasing over its twenty-year run.

Manufacturer:     Fabrique Nationale
Production: 1905–1923
Engine: 350-750 cc (max) inlet-over-exhaust with compression release
Bore / stroke:     45 mm x 57 mm
Power: 5 hp (3.7 kW) (498 cc version)[3] Ignition type: Magneto
Transmission: Shaft drive
Frame type: Steel duplex cradle
Suspension : Front: Bottom-link fork
Rear: Rigid
Fuel capacity     1.5 US gal (5.7 l; 1.2 imp gal)

FN (Fabrique Nationale de Herstal) was a Belgian company established in 1899 to make arms and ammunition, and from 1901 to 1967 was also a motorcycle manufacturer. FN manufactured the world’s first four-cylinder motorcycle, was famous for the use of shaft drive in all models from 1903 to 1923, achieved success in sprint and long distance motorcycle racing, and after 1945, also in motocross.1914 Isle of Man TTTwo FN fours were entered, by S B White and Rex Mundy, and they finished in 33rd and 36th place, respectively, from 103 starters, an hour slower than the winner, and an hour faster than the last rider to come in. The bikes were of 500 cc, and not the production 748 cc, suggesting that they were specially constructed.

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