Page 175. 1950 Zwang Ducati Cucciolo. Superb Original

1950 Zwang Ducati Cucciolo

This Zwang is powered by a top-of-the-range Cucciolo 48cc engine. In Italian cucciolo means ‘Little Puppy’ and this early 4-stroke bicycle auxiliary engine is one of the earliest Ducati models …from the days before Ducati made complete motorcycles!

Whereas, in Great Britain, bicycles and cyclemotors (or mopeds) were manufactured for the masses and sold on the basis of their competitive prices, in France, since the twenties, there had also been a market for extremely upmarket ‘fashionable’ cyclemotors. Their selling point? – Exclusivity and their high prices.

In its day, this machine would have been one of the most expensive cyclemotors you could buy. It was a bespoke creation and was the equivalent of the ‘Brough Superior’ of the cyclemotor world.



20 Rue Marceau, Ivry sur Seine

Paris, France

Constructeur (Fr) “Different from a framebuilder, a constructeur actually builds the entire bike, including proprietary components and others that are modified for the purpose. Randonneur and camping bikes are the specialty of constructeurs. Few constructeurs exist outside France.”

There’s only a Channel physically separating us, but there’s more than language that differentiates the French and Brits. The national psyche is very different.

The top bicycle builders had a high status in French society. They considered their work to be a branch of French art and, therefore, were an integral part of the national culture.

It’s interesting to note that although Great Britain was a leading manufacturer of bicycles, British marques have never achieved a similar status within our own national consciousness. In France, everyone appreciated the top bike makers; the only comparison that comes to mind is the way that, here, we may revere film, music and football personalities.

The top French fashion houses had a similar perspective; to the Haute Couturiers, their own creations were on a par with the great French artistic tradition.

The top bike builders not only saw themselves in the same way, but they also considered themselves equal to the fashion houses. Indeed, both genres created their products from scratch: a constructeur such as A. Zwang would manufacture any component in-house to guarantee quality control, and each bicycle built was a bespoke service.





The first prototype Cucciolo, the T1, is a wonderful ‘collectors item’ but the design was flawed and it’s not very usable. The T2 – the 1950 model used here by Zwang – was the revised version manufactured by Ducati themselves and is a machine that can be ridden to its full potential. To quote the Ducati Museum:

In the middle of WWII a designer named Aldo Farinelli developed the prototype of an auxiliary motor to be mounted on a bicycle. Farinelli’s design had a number of major advantages over the competition, above all its four-stroke cycle and two-speed gearing, which used the engine’s power to its fullest potential. [This was later known as the T1]. Ducati, which up until that time had produced radios and electrical components, partnered with another Italian firm, SIATA, to produce the Cucciolo, or ‘Puppy.’ By 1946, the rights to Cucciolo production had become exclusively Ducati’s.

In 1948 Ducati came up with its first original design, the T2. It was heavily influenced by the T1 design, but made improvements in the engine’s efficiency, robustness, and, above all, logic of construction. The cylinder, for example, was redesigned and made removable and the drive mechanism made more accessible, the cylinder head was modified, and the rating was raised. []



cucciolo_history – Page 38

At the Online Cyclemaster Museum you can read more of the HISTORY OF CUCCIOLO. And I’ve also reproduced downloadable versions for you of the Cucciolo T2 Engine Illustration & Parts List (in French) and Cucciolo T50 handbook (in English).






In France, Cucciolo engines were supplied by M. Rocher of Paris, who also made their own cucciolo-powered cyclemotors.


These are the approved dealers in France who were licensed to sell their bicycle or cyclemotor frames ready-supplied with Cucciolo engines from Rocher.

In Paris:

M. Bonney – 133, rue de Rome

Cointot – 89 rue des Poissonniers

Construction Parisienne du Cycle – 139 rue Lafayette

M. Daudon – 27 blvd Rochechouart

Emeriau – 63 rue de Lyon

Fletchner C.N.C – 112 blvd de la Chapelle

Judenne – 25 ave Parmentier

Pitard – 38 rue du Temple

Prefer-Lecomte – 3 rue Myrrha

In the Paris Area:

Bernet – 4 rue Thiers, Choisy-le-Roi (Seine)

Constr. Moderne de Cycles – 130 rue de Bagneux, Montrouge (Seine)

Eriac – 7 ave Peronnet, Puteaux (Seine)

Estampe – 22 rue des Laitieres, Vincennes (Seine)

Faizant / Cycles A.G.F – 4 rue Hoche, Colombes

M. Guitton – 8 rue du Pont-d’-Ivry, Alfortville

M. Zwang – 20 rue Marceau, Ivry-s-Seine (Seine)

In the Provinces:

Alliot – 41 bis, rue du Professuer-Pozzi, Bergerac (Dordogne)

Breton [Baby-Moto] – 11 rue de l’Egalerie, St. Etienne (Loire)

Elvish Fontan – 3 rue de Livron, Pau (B. Pyren) *

M. Fontaine – 63 blvd Voltaire, Rennes (I-et-V)

Foucras et Rochas – 229 ave Jean-Rieux, Toulouse

Gottfried – 23 rue de Rouffach, Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin)

Hugonnier et Routeis – 91 rue Nicolas-Chorrier, Grenoble

M. Kerouedan – Cite Commerciale, ave Clemenceau, Brest

Liberia – 44 rue du Mortillet, Grenoble

M. Pichon [La Randonnette] – 65 rue Aristide-Briand, Chateau-du-Loir (Sarthe)

Cycles Sparting – 21 quai de la Prevalaye, Rennes

Vial – 17 cours Berriot, Grenoble

Villemus – rte de Chambery, Albertville




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Please feel free to email or phone with any comments or questions…


VEHICLE CONDITION: Vintage vehicles are wonderful beasts – but each has an individual personality and they sometimes have bad days just like you and me. You will need basic mechanical skills (or a local mechanic) to use one on a regular basis.

Two-strokes invariably need basic servicing before starting them, if they’ve been left to stand for more than 3 weeks or so.

These are rare vehicles whose values are not necessarily based on running order.



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Published on June 7, 2010 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  

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