Gillet-Herstal’s overhead-valve unitary construction Sports, SuperSports and Competition models were at the peak of high performance motorcycle design in their day. In 1928 the Sports model changed from flat tank to saddle tank.It has been produced only for lasted 2 years from 1926 until 1928. Equipment of this flat tank Gillet is a Bosch J130 headlight and JN3 rear light, Bosch magneto, Amal carburetor, food and hand controlled clutch and alloy silencer. This overhead-valve bike is fitted with a 7 inch brake and runs very lovely.
Alongside FN and Saroléa, Gillet was one of Belgium’s three main motorcycle manufacturers, all of which were situated in the region around the town of Herstal. The latter had become established as a thriving centre for the manufacturing of munitions, and this high-precision technology proved readily adaptable to the production of internal combustion engines towards the end of the 19th Century.
FN and Saroléa had already been around for 20-or-so years before Desire Gillet and his son Leon founded S A des Ateliers Gillet in 1919, adding ‘Herstal’ to the company name to differentiate it from the French René Gillet concern. The fledgling firm soon established a reputation for original design and sound engineering, which was further enhanced when Robert Sexé rode a 346cc rotary-valve two-stroke Gillet-Herstal around the world, an achievement that led to the introduction of the famous ‘Tour du Monde’ (Wereldtour) model of the late 1920s.
Gillet-Herstal’s four-stroke models likewise were of very high quality, the firm being amongst the pioneers of unitary construction of engine and gearbox, as on this example. The Belgian company also pursued a vigorous competitions programme, its machines being favoured by many of Europe’s foremost riders including the great René Milhoux, who set many speed records on his works overhead-camshaft racer. Indeed, at one time Gillet-Herstal’s advertising was able to proclaim that its machines held no fewer than 33 world records.