Gitane Motorcycles was founded in 1925 by Marcel Bruneliere who originally sold farming equipment and machinery parts. Marcel Bruneliere also began producing bicycle parts as a side business that would later grow into Gitane by 1930. Original production of his bicycles were limited to about three a day in which he opened his bicycle shop in a horse stable a year after starting his farm equipment business.
By 1930, Gitane had 10 employees and a small workshop. When Marcel Bruneliere began producing complete bicycles in 1940, his company was renamed to Cycles Gitane and by 1952 the first Gitane motorcycles were rolling out of Marcel Bruneliere's manufacturing facility.
Although known for his motorcycles Gitane had managed to maintain his bicycle heritage as well when a Gitane bicycle, ridden by Jacques Anquetil, won the French National Championship.
Despite this fact, Cycles Gitane was renamed again in 1960 to Micmo and while still producing over 500 of their motorcycles a day, they had also expanded into other sporting good products which apparently all lines had failed miserably.
Renault purchased a controlling share of Micmo in 1974 where the name was changed once again to Renault-Gitane but this would not help Gitanes faltering sales as both their bicycle and motorcycle lines were losing sales and money.
Gitane was finally bought out in a group owned franchise known as Cycleurope who in turn was bought by a swedish company in 2000. Although their bicycle lines are still available in France, their motorcycle division has long since died away.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 04/06/2008