Le Journal du Ratier Cemec Club de France

Histoires et aventures de nos membres



Dale Monson a restauré sa C6S export au Michigan, il raconte son aventure...



While restoring my 1955 Ratier L-7 a few years ago, Craig Vechorik gave my name to an individual that was planning to purchase a block of motorcycles that included a 1962 Ratier C6S.  I was aware of the model and explained that the company had only produced slightly over 1000 bikes before ceasing production, while rare, almost no parts were available to repair it.  The guy did buy the motorcycles and I ended up buying the Ratier.  I discovered that the example that he had was an Export version of the C6S called USA.  It was quite rare as only 3 were produced prior to the company shifting focus to production of Radar and fire control systems for a Mirage jet.

I became interested in Ratiers after reading an article in the Jan. 1980 issue of Rider magazine.  It was titled “The BMW that France Built”.  It showed a C6S that was owned and ridden in California.  It was the bike that I now owned.  Some past owner had the tank panels chromed, an early toaster.


I drove to Nashville area of Tennessee and picked it up.  The motorcycle had not run for many years and had been brought to TN from California in the 1980’s.  It appeared to have a compression problem, so I had the bad head reworked and repaired the bad intake valve.  At that point, it ran quite well and I began to drive it as a touring bike.   After driving it well over 3000 miles, the oil slinger rotated and destroyed one rod.   At the time I was on the freeway at 70mph.  Boy, do motors ever make noise without oil.



I began to research what was going to be necessary to make it run again.  I hoped that because the motorcycle had its beginning based on BMW parts I could find replacement parts from old BMW reproduction pieces.  After a year of looking, it appeared that the crankshaft was similar to the BMW R75 military of WWII.  I had a friend in MN tear down the crankshaft and my wife and I took a trip to Europe in hopes of finding the pieces at Veterama in Mannheim, Germany. (a large swap meet in October of each year.)   I was unable to find the parts I needed, so we then went to France.  There is a large Ratier/CEMEC club in France and as I belonged to the club I hoped they could help me.  Judy and I toured a bit then met with an English speaking friend, who referred me to the club president.  We traveled west of Paris and met with him for 3 hours.  He couldn’t speak English and I could not speak French, but we spent 3 hours working with a common language of “Technical”.  With paper and spec sheets, we were able to communicate.  I needed a new connecting rod, two new bearing cages a set of new bearings and a rod pin.  He went to his attic and came back with all new parts.  Then I started on my wish list of never-never find stuff.  The motorcycle was produced with ABS fenders on the front and back.  The front fender was gone and replaced with a sportster fender.  He once again went to his attic and came down with a new old stock fender that had never been drilled and also the front and rear fender mounting braces.  WOW!!  Now I really tried to test him.  The motorcycle originally came with crash bars that had been lost through the several prior owners.  Once again he went to his attic and came down with a set of NOS bars that had not been chromed.  WHAT A GUY!!  The club in France has purchased any parts that they can find for Ratiers and CEMEC’s.  They then sell the parts to members at cost.

I returned to the states and had the crank re-assembled with the new parts.  Luckily, I had an exploded view of the entire motor so I was able to assemble it from the picture.  All gaskets had to be made and I had new head gaskets made from copper.  The heads needed new valves and guides, which were made from modified stainless steel valves from a Harley, as were the guides.  I was able to get a new set of rings from France and after cleaning the motor parts, I then put everything back together.  The fender and newly chromed crash bars were also put on the bike after getting the motor running.

The bike now runs better than ever and I plan to use it later this year.  I did take it to the Fall VMCA rally 2008 in Steubenville, OH.  Because of other projects, I haven’t been able to drive it much, but it is a fun bike to drive.



Thank you to the CEMEC/Ratier Club of France for your support in making my motorcycle drivable once again. 


 Dale Monson,  Michigan, USA


Voici maintenant une version "française" de l'article en traduction auto, amusant...

et une traduction un peu plus réaliste.