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Pedal Pusher: 1957 Motobécane Mobylette AV-79

Are there any French vehicle fans out there? I’ve only owned one French vehicle, my fun and trouble-free 1987 Renault GTA and I have never owned a moped. This 1957 Motobécane Mobylette Type AV-79 combines the best of those two worlds: a French moped. The seller has it listed here as a Barn Finds Classified, it’s located in Berkeley, California, and they’re asking $3,500.

This is one of many highly-styled mopeds from the 1950s and 1960s that were popular at the time. The covered parts shield a rider from most of the oil splatters, although this one doesn’t have a chain cover. Motobécane made the Mobylette moped from 1949 through 1997 which is quite a run, almost five decades. The company made over fourteen million of them in that time, with the peak of production being the 1970s.

No, this isn’t a hairy-knuckle, manly-man, loud-pipes-save-lives Harley, it’s a stylized, light-blue French moped. If you’re worried about losing some percentage of your manhood by buying or enjoying the ownership experience of a vehicle like this, I can’t help you. Thankfully, I could care less about having my vehicles be an extension of my manhood, otherwise I wouldn’t have as much fun as I do riding my little oddball two-wheelers around. To each his or her own.

The seller says that this Motobécane was restored in France a decade ago and it was imported from Germany five years ago and they have all of the necessary DOT paperwork. I don’t ride my small motorcycles/bikes/scooters/two-wheelers on the street but in some cities, a 49 cc moped like this Mobylette would be all they need to zip through traffic. Ok, zipping through traffic might be a wishful thought, maybe traversing through traffic. For a college campus, this would be great.

This thing really looks nice, you can see the painted inner-fenders and it still looks basically like new. The engine is a Motobécane 49 cc two-stroke single so you have to mix the gas and oil or before too long you’ll be using the pedals only when the engine seizes up. It runs like a charm, has new tires, and it just looks fantastic overall. I would love to have this one for the permanent collection but shipping would add 30% to the asking price and that would be a lot for a bike like this. And no, even I wouldn’t ride this home from California, although it would most likely make it. Have any of you owned a moped?


  1. Howard A Member

    There’s 2 things you should only do late at night, ride a moped and,,,um,,I do like French vehicles, although, France isn’t exactly known for their motorcycles. I wonder why that is? When I was a kid, everyone tried to out do each other with exotic 10 speed bikes. A Schwinn or Raleigh just wasn’t good enough, and Motobecane was one of them. Peugeot made bikes, but we never saw them. I think the covered wheels are for riding in the rain, like an Indian. Not sure how much oil splatter one would encounter, it’s not a LImey. That’s the thing about mopeds, they are poor motorcycles and lousy bicycles. I couldn’t imagine pedaling that thing very far when, not if, the plug fouls. I love motorcycles, but even I have my limits, you wouldn’t catch me on one of these, just like you wouldn’t catch me with the other thing at night.

    Like 5
    • Bob C.

      Growing up, I had a Schwinn 10 speed and my brother had a Peugeot. His was paper light compared to mine. Those Schwinns were like early 60s Ford Galaxies, HEAVY!

      Like 4
    • Terrry

      In the late 70s, there were a lot of Motobecane bikes imported here. They were on a par with the Peugeot bikes as I recall, except they had French-standard hardware, meaning they were a pain to find nuts and bolts for due to their unique thread sizes.

      Like 2
    • Srt8

      Yep, I believe the rest of the line went; it may be fun but you don’t want your friends to catch you doing either.

      Like 2
    • JMB#7

      I had a Peugeot 10-speed I bought used in the late ’70s. Super lightweight, loved it and it was very unique. Never had a moped but had a lot of fun out running most of them in sprints on the Peugeot. Around 1989 I upgraded to an Panasonic AL-9000 which made me realize just how flexible that Peugeot was. Puch and Motobecane were probably the most common mopeds around Springfield Ohio.

      Like 3
    • Rick

      To minimize the fouling problem install an NGK iridium spark plug. Carry a spare and a plug socket with you.

      Like 1
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Another great find! Not worried about my manly-man card much anymore and would not be ashamed of riding this to the Village for a cold one. It seems like a fair price, you really can’t buy much fun anymore for this price. And Howard, I always agree on your overpriced vehicles comments. It’s just a new dawn. Oh, riding on college campus? I worked at the campus in Madison, Wis. on and off. Scooters all over, They don’t call it the Madcity for nothing, LOL!

    Like 8
  3. Kurt Seidler Member

    Pretty cool but not at that price.

    Like 2
    • Steve Clinton

      If I had known these were this valuable, I would have bought a dozen when they were new.

  4. Jonathan A Green

    Beautiful machine! I’d love to have that; it’s almost too nice. You get something that nice, and now it’s a responsibility.

    And as the great Elvin Bishop once said to a crowd at a concert, “The squares are the ones that stayed at home!” That thing is cool, and anyone who rides it is cool in my book.

    Like 12
  5. Derek

    The thing about France and Italy (and others, probably), is that you can ride mopeds at 14; many families have a moped that everyone uses, whether it’s for nipping out for bread in the morning or hanging out with your mates in the evening.
    I had a folding Velosolex for a while; when folded, it fitted through the door gap in the 2CV’s rollcage so I could take it to tracks as paddock transport. Top speed about 25 on a good day. Loads of fun!

    Like 11
  6. Ken Nesbit

    I grew up in Bermuda and these along with Cyrus were very popular with teenagers, they couldn’t own a car so these were the go to. They used to “chop” them, put ape hangers on them and also added an additional gear that had a quick release in case they got stopped (gears were illegal)… With an island wide 20 mph max speed, they were plenty fast enough …gotta wonder if any of them survived.

    Like 5
    • Andy

      Ken – I too lived in Bermuda 1959-1962. Each family was allowed to own only one car no larger than a VW bug. We owned a Hillman Husky. I returned in 1987 for my honeymoon and saw large cars, addresses on residences (houses were identified by name. We lived in the Baskum house and later Tranquility house). And mopeds were the fun way to get around.

      Like 3
      • Ken Nesbit

        Same time period, I was there from 1955 – 1965, lived in Fairfield Lodge on Cut Road in St. George, and yep…my dad had a Hillman at one point then a Taunus …my aunt had an Isetta which of course we all loved. Looking back it was pretty cool…as a 12 year old kid I couldn’t wait to get off of that rock in the middle of the ocean….

        Like 5
  7. Terrry

    I think I just lost some of my manhood, because after looking at this moped and reading the article, I think it’s cool. Though I wouldn’t have a use for it, if I did I’d contact the seller and negotiate..

    Like 1
  8. TBAU Member

    Keep the bikes coming…

    Like 5
  9. PJP

    I am French, these « Old Blues » were a common sight throughout my childhood. I do like it and if I was in the US I would buy straightaway. The requested price may be the restauration cost alone… Manhood has nothing to do with it, I can drive a moped one day, my Bugatti Type 59 the next day, then the TR6, then, then, then… This moped is a nice little thing but people who are not acquainted with these may not enjoy riding these.

    Like 6
  10. DENNIS NAPIER Member

    I had a Harley Davidson M50 in the mid-1960s. It was great fun negotiating Milwaukee”s residential streets. Does anyone else remember the M50?

    Like 1
  11. Greg Millard

    As a 12 yr old in 1957 I purchased ($112) one in Fontainebleau France where my Dad was posted for 4 yrs with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). It was an identical Mobylette Mobymatic. The transmission is a CVT (sheaves & belt) much like that in a snowmobile – the big difference being the bolt thru the top of the motor (cylinder head) is the pivot point and the motor rotates about 30 degrees counter clock wise to accommodate the ratio change. It was very unusual in its day and to show off I would pull it up on the center kickstand and run it through the shifting routine. The first time I took the head off for a de-carb I pulled the pivot pin and panicked as washers & bushings went everywhere – we overcame and my love of things mechanical persists to this day. I could drag race 2CVs up to 50 KPH and nuns on Solex(s) were easy prey :-)

    Like 7
  12. Mark

    Got one of these when I was about 10. Didn’t run. We got it going, and probably put 30,000 miles on it back in the 70’s between my 4 brothers. Pushed it more than we rode it. Led me into an electrical career figuring out that spark. Ran in the evening when it was cooler in Oklahoma. May go buy this one… too many great memories

    Like 3
  13. Greg

    I had a high school friend that had one of these…back in those days everybody that was anybody ‘dragged’ the main (cruised at night back and forth)….I was a regular there in my jacked up 57 Ford or Suzuki X6, but one day my friend and I decided it would be fun to take his moped…I couldn’t face the ridicule that would ensue so I donned a full body Huckleberry Hound suit and mask. My friend got on the back and then it was a puff of smoke and we were away. Our friends were actually very receptive to the 2 fools on the moped and a photo actually ended up in the school paper….I was left unnamed as the Mystery Dog :)

    Like 1
  14. Rick

    Ken Nesbit, was the Taunus the kind that resembled a scaled down ’55 US Ford with ’56 Mercury side trim? I’d really enjoy owning one of those cars.

    Like 1
    • Ken Nesbit

      That one is much cooler looking, his looked more like the Hillman or kind of like a Cortina … all kind of tight with 5 kids, but pop being the man that he was, when we moved back to the states in 65 he had to get a 64 1/2 Mustang….only car with 5 kids between 12 and 18 …gotta love him !!!!

  15. chrlsful

    now motorbecane needs honor from all pedal bike champs as the revolutionary co it is/was. Super desirable at the time, top’o da chain.

    Today? mehe…but get hip wid da cats in da know’n u 2 can B a cool beat-a-roo !

    Like 1
  16. Pirate

    Cool piece of history with the 50’s style. A collector will scoop this up.

    Like 2
  17. Steve Clinton

    On my first day of high school in 1963, I rode my Schwinn 10 speed and got laughed off the campus. Now if I had arrived on one of these…I would have been laughed off the campus.

    Like 1
    • Jimmy Novak

      These vehicles are for those who don’t need to prove anything.
      If you know what I mean.
      And I believe you do.

      Like 2
  18. Rick Vee

    I had one when I was 16. After repairing it I rode it to my first job in the summer school holidays.
    It broke down half way there. I ran the rest of the way. I’ll never forget that day
    16 August 1977
    The day the King died

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