1960 Ratier 600 C6S Radio
Was the Ratier just a French copy of the
BMW? The Ratier C 6S of the 1960s might have had a family relationship with the
German flat-twin, but it was a genuine French production with nothing to envy
about its German cousin - except its future.
originated as the Cemec, a cocktail of surplus spare parts of the BMW R 12 and
R 71 widely used by the occupying German forces in France during World War Two.
Cemec ran out of cash and was taken over by Ratier of Montrouge (a leading
maker of airscrews and various other aeronautical componentry), who was seeking
to diversify. In 1959, Ratier linked up with CSF and, since the stocks of BMW
spares would not last forever, launched the C6S. Still obviously BMW-derived,
the R75 was entirely made in France this time.
A Real Sports
Durable, modern lighter and more easily handled than the BMW, the
Ratier was a genuine sports bike. Quality control consisted of subjecting
machines randomly taken from the production line to a rigorous test schedule;
six hours on high-speed track, three hours on a race circuit, a check on
maximum speed plus 30 minutes at walking speed. The C6S was chosen for the
presidential escort of General de Gaulle. Ratier's future seemed assured, but
the Gendarmerie switched to BMW. Ratier ceased tow-wheeler production at the
end of 1962; just 1057 C6S Ratiers had been built.