Like BSA, La Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre ('FN' for short) began as a munitions manufacturer, turning to the production of motorcycles around 1900. Best known for its sensational four-cylinder models, the first of which appeared in 1905, the Belgian company demonstrated the same innovative spirit in the design of its singles, being among the first to adopt unitary construction of engine and gearbox, permitting the use of geared primary drive. FN produced both chain- and shaft-driven bicycles and soon applied the latter transmission system to its motorcycles. In 1900 the firm's first powered two-wheeler was produced by mounting a clip-on engine in a bicycle frame, and in December the following year the first production model arrived, powered by a 133cc single-cylinder engine. FN's single-cylinder lightweight models evolved gradually, growing in size firstly to 188cc and then 225cc, before arriving at 285cc in 1913. Variable-pulley transmission had been introduced on the belt-driven singles in 1907 but would be superseded by shaft drive in 1909, its introduction coinciding with that of the two-speed gearbox.
This shaft-driven FN dates from circa 1909 and would be an ideal 'Brighton' bike, subject to acceptance by the Pioneer Register. The current vendor acquired this machine in 1970 from the collection belonging to Laurie Weinert. An older restoration, it features a Brevet carburettor, Bosch magneto, Phares Bernard headlamp, and a bulb horn.