Founded in 1899 for the production of firearms and ammunition, FN which stands for Fabrique Nationale de Herstal was a Belgian based company who also manufactured motorcycles for over 20 years starting in 1903. FN was the first manufacturer in the world to produce a four cylinder motorcycle but it was their use of shaft drive systems in all of their models that made them famous. FN was also very successful at long distance and sprint motorcycle racing as well as motocross after 1945.
Fabrique Nationale de Herstal was forced to manufacture motorcycles for their occupiers during the First World War so by the end of the war, FN had only a few parts left and their suppliers had closed down for good or left. To attempt a comeback, Fabrique Nationale de Herstal produced a 285 cc motorcycle which had an improved cylinder head, but had lost the shaft drive and instead lapsed back to the chain driven system
After the Second World War FN built several units utilising the German JLO engines as their means of propulsion and also produced a series of "Tri-Car" or tricycles with a quasi car body instead of the standard frame.
Starting in 1955 Fabrique Nationale de Herstal also produced a line of mopeds, which were actually built by Royal Nord as an outsourced project but all of these different innovations would not be the saviour of FN and by 1962 Fabrique Nationale de Herstal started to slowly shut down their factories.
FN's last motorcycle was featured in a 1965 motorcycle exhibition, but this failed to help with their diminishing profits. Fabrique Nationale de Herstal production stopped in late 1966 with their last moped being sold in May 1967.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 07/06/2008