The “Saroléa motorcycles, a Belgian story” exhibition opened on Friday evening at the Autoworld Museum in Brussels. It will remain there until 18 September.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an international gathering on Sunday 11 September on the Esplanade du Cinquantenaire, in front of the museum. Highlights will also include a demonstration of the new electric trial engines.
Nearly 75 motorcycles installed on the ground floor of the museum retrace the history of the brand, which is also reflected in a book published to accompany the exhibition.
The Saroléa brand first saw the light of day in a small gunsmith's workshop created in Herstal by Joseph Saroléa in 1850. The manufacture of Saroléa bicycles began in 1892 under the name of "Royale Saroléa" and it was not until 1901 that the first motorcycles were manufactured, fitted at the time with a small 4-stroke single-cylinder engine attached to the front of the frame.
Technical progress was dazzling in the early years and sales of 500-cc models peaked in 1928 at 2,250 units. Saroléa then embarked on the construction of motorcycles intended for racing and international competitions.
After the Second World War, when the urgent needs of the Belgian army no longer had to be met, construction and motocross racing resumed in Herstal, but without regaining the enthusiasm of the early days, and the factory stopped all sporting activity in 1954.
The production of small cars did not prevent the sale of the premises on Rue Saint Lambert in 1962, just after Saroléa was taken over by the Gillet company.