1935-1940 Velo Singer ‘Grand Sport’
(Manufactured by Singer, St Etienne)
26″ x 1 1/2″ Wheels
SINGER ST ETIENNE aka MOTAREX
18 Rue Désiré Claude, St Etienne, France
This company was apparently founded by Andrew Weinberg in 1902. I’m not sure at what stage it was named ‘Singer.’
As the Singer name is displayed prominently on the down tube, it’s easy to confuse bicycles made by this company with those built by Alex Singer. The difference is that Alex Singer bicycles will display their name as ‘Alex Singer’ or ‘A. Singer’ whereas Singer St Etienne shows the name as ‘Singer’ without a first name or initial.
This St Etienne company appears to have traded off the Alex Singer name – illustrated by its downtube transfer stating ‘Fabrication Singer Garantie.’ However, Alex Singer started his own bicycle company, at rue Victor Hugo, Paris, in 1938. The St Etienne Singer company was already established by then.
After WW2, Singer St Etienne made mopeds and, in 1957 or 1958, the company name was changed to Motarex. Again, there was already a moped with a similar name – Monet Goyon made the Motorox in 1948. Although the latter was not a successful model, and was obsolete before 1957, every moped manufacturer would have known about it. Can it be a coincidence that this company used a name similar to another, better known brand?
According to the journal L’industrie du cycle a Saint-Etienne, the area’s top three manufacturers were Ravat, Automoto and Manufrance, who each made around 25,000- 40,000 bicycles a year. By comparison, Singer made around 4,000-5,000 pa.
SINGER, SRI LANKA
Of course, the most famous Singer company was George Singer’s company, the Singer Cycle Company, founded in Coventry in 1875. The British Singer company stopped making bicycles in 1928. But there’s another Singer company that still makes Singer Roadsters …in Sri Lanka. You can see their product range here –