This model was the first bicycle to have ten separate gears that were changed by way of a meshed gear twist grip mechanism. The chain wraps around a serial flange in the rear hub, which alters the gear as the pedal lever is depressed. The lever action makes for a most enjoyable ride, since the secondary chain lifts the weight of the opposing leg. This expensive bike was produced between 1905 and 1924. It is based on the ‘Svea Bicycle’ of 1891, whose manufacturer, despite receiving acclaim from the Prince of Wales, among others, and significant funding from the renowned philanthropist Alfred Nobel, eventually went bust. Terrot perfected the automatic gear change mechanism.
– Bicycling Through Time, by Paul & Charlie Farren, page 200
Acclaimed by authors such as Prior Dodge – who featured the machine on the front of his book ‘La Grande Histoire du Velo’, Paul Farren, Tony Hadland and others as one of the world’s most innovative bicycles that worked in an efficient manner, the Levocyclette was Terrot’s crowning glory, and they produced the bicycle for nearly twenty years to capitalise on its renown, even though by the 1920s motorcycles had become the company’s priority.
Terrot’s Levocyclette was not by any means the first lever-driven bicycle. Lever and crank drives were well-known to 19th century engineers, having been used in steam engines, and there were various experiments in 1869 to use levers to propel velocipedes. But Terrot, using an earlier British patent under license, perfected the mechanism to produce the most efficient example of lever driven bicycle that had been made to date, or has been produced since. Despite its high price – the most expensive French bicycle on the market at the time – it was also the only lever driven bicycle in the world that sold in sufficient numbers to be considered successful.
1909 Lévocyclette Terrot
This is an excellent early example of Terrot’s famous Levocyclett. It’s in first class original unrestored cosmetic condition, with good nickel and the remains of the Terrot transfer (decal) on the down tube. The brakes, levers, chains and other parts are all original Terrot items. This spectacular machine functions well and is ready to ride.