Truth be told, I wasn’t in the market for a Solex, or even for a two-wheeler of any kind. I stumbled upon the ad while browsing the local classifieds to kill time on a rainy Saturday morning. The description was vague; the seller only stated the 3800 didn’t run, it needed new tires, and more than anything it needed to be out of her garage as quickly as possible.
I’ve never owned a Solex before — hell, I’ve never even ridden one. I’ve always gravitated towards classics with four wheels. But, it piqued my interest because it looked like a fun, affordable, and relatively simple project, and because it was only about 15 minutes away from my house. I couldn’t not check it out.
It was exactly as it had been described to me over the phone. It ran when parked, though it visibly hadn’t been started in a very long time, and it was complete. The seller told me it had been in her family since new, and her various relatives used it on a regular basis until it was parked. It was always stored out of the elements and it was never modified in any way. It was in pretty decent shape all things considered, so I paid the asking price, stuffed it in the trunk of my wife’s Citroën C3, and drove home with a two-wheeler for the first time.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out parts are easy to find online and appreciably cheap — at least coming from the world of aging, capricious four-wheeled machines. So far I’ve changed the tires and the inner tubes, adjusted the brakes, and began cleaning out the fuel system. The Solex uses a 49cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine that’s mounted right over the front wheel. As these things sit for prolonged periods of time (which they often do) the gasoline evaporates and the oil turns into a mud-like sludge that hardens and clogs up the fuel system. The amount of gunk I’m blasting out of the lines with compressed air suggests this one has been off the road for many decades.
If time permits, I’ll have this 3800 back on the road in the coming days. Expect better photos and a full write-up then.