1929 Cerrreti Motocar

Made in France, just outside Paris, in 1929, this is yet another ancient FF to emerge from the archives. Bob Horn found this one, amongst many other 'two-wheeled cars', on Douglas Self's website here:
The others were already here in the Historic FFs section of bikeweb in some shape or form, but this Cerreti is new to me. It looks as if this was the only example built. PNB

1929 Cerrreti Motocar

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

An Aero addity

One thing that strikes me about these historic FFs is how very few of them incorporated the rider in their aerodynamic packages. Contempory race cars showed the same oddity at first, but were beginning to use head fairings by this time. One for the phychologists... The original Banana bodywork also had this feature, fixed in it's later incarnation. Regrettably the designer of that FF, Jack Difazio, father of modern PTW front suspension, is no longer available to question on this issue.

I suspect that many didn't go

I suspect that many didn't go fast enough to worry about aerodynamics. Same as many pre 1927 motor bikes didn't have a front brake! BTW, I'm not a psychologist. That's my wife!

100mph race speeds

100 mph was being achieved on the race track routinely - 4 1/2 ltire Bently did just over 100 mph in road trim. It's more probable that these early shapes created so much turbulence that the rider/driver was effectively in the aero 'shodow' of some collossal radiator/engine.

Even at 80 mph holding one's head up in clean air soon becomes impossible when normally seated (althugh OK when crouched forward, motorised bicycle stylee) I recall an early Banana experience,before bodywork was fitted, holding my head up with one hand after my neck muscles gave up on the motorway. However once a small wind deflector was fitted, taped to the instrument console it became quite bearable. Much later we fitted a full tail section and even at urban speed the reduction in drag, noise and head buffet was obvious.

I guess what puzzles me is that including the rider in these historic aero packages wasn't even considered. like designers only looked at the ahape when it was parked. I'm not sure when this all changed. Auto Union and Mercedes race cars in the thirties had some head fairing, and they were ubgiquitous in F.1 post WW2. Dunno who kicked it off first. It's true however that lower classes - Formula Ford etc. didn't get head farings untill quite late. I guess Aerodynamics didn't become a science (As opposed to Art) until the mid-sventies. It's easy to think that current technology has been around for decades but actually it's all very recent.

re 100mph race speeds

Royce says "I guess what puzzles me is that including the rider in these historic aero packages wasn't even considered. like designers only looked at the shape when it was parked."

Looking at most PTW adverts not much has changed. Personally I have tried to make it a rule (which I have not always followed) to only release photos to the general public of FFs with riders on. Then they make more intuitive sense. This might be part of the solution to FFs looking odd to the untrained eye.


Quite right!

Absolutely agree. You can see the problem from the marketing point of view - they're trying to sell a product, not a person - who will inevitably distract attention. It's easy to do this with a motorised bicycle or a car. In the first case it resembles almost all historic two wheelers, an 'expected' shape, in the second the user isn't neccesarily visible. However an empty FF obviouly has something missing.

This can be countered as Peter suggests by always using 'occupied' photos of FFs or adjusting the angle so the cockpit looks less empty - although this only applies to open-cockpit FFs of course. Neither the Monotracers or Monoliner look empty! I see that I've failed to take this into account with many photos, although clearly showing the seatback (e.g. Three-quarter front view) may help.

But ultimately this is a marketing issue, an image problem. You can sell anything, if you can find a marketing team capable of looking outside the motorcycle/petrolhead/macho box. That, in turn, merely requires a vehicle manufacturer that understands what it's doing. Anyone?

Another thing...

This FF, with many others, demonstrate one of the great unsolved design challenges of the type. It's clear that aerodynamics and safety shoud be greatly improved by this type of 'open cockpit with sides' - "Semi-enclosed"? But this requires outrigger wheels as seen here, or possibly opening doors for the riders legs.

Outrigger wheels "Undercarriage", as demonstrated by Monoracer needing a special training session, must be instinctive in use, fail-safe and accomodate sloping surfaces, ideally by operating in 'closed loop' with the rider's brain, the only computational centre capable of keeping the bike upright on such slopes. Some sort of foot operated system where the rider can 'feel' the ground contact as wheels are lowered. No-one has yet demonstrated such a system, although it's technically possible, probably using electrical power and feedback sensing.

Foot openings are equally challenging. They must also open faultlessly, never trapping the riders legs and either be operated automatically (e.g. Air flow pressure) or be instinctively tripped by rider foot movement. When open they must allow full leg movement to support the vehicle and not trap the riders legs if they fall over. Not simple.

Obviously I've thought about both the options at length and have some some design work. I believe that both options are do-able but require a working FF to do the development work with. Also time, some money and the incentive. I've had such an FF for decades although unfortunately aspects of the design rule out much basic experimentation without re-making some elements. With Monoliner I sketched out footflaps, demonstrating their aerodynamic value in reduced drag and increased frontal download but never got to install an operating system. That is also a race bike where stoping and starting would be much more controlled than in ordinary street situations.

Otherwise I've never had the time, money or incentive to go beyond improving and promoting the very usable 'open Cockpit' FFs epitomised by the Voyagers. One might imagine that the need for efficient, safe and comfortable transport might motivate academia or industry to do, or at least finance, this work but I suspect that our current world is more concerned with institutional respectablity and the bottom line than going over the edge of known space. Better FFs are a candidate for the long list of 'forgotten dreams of the late twentieth century' when we can't even get existing versions into production - or even the media!