Back in the great Gas Crisis of the late 70s, the US imported a lot of mopeds. There were bikes from AMS, Batavus, Benelli, Bridgestone, Condor, Derbi, Lambretta... scores, really, all the way to Zundapp. And yet, if you see a running moped from the 70s on the street today, chances are extremely good that it's a Puch. That's partly because so many Puchs were imported, but it's also because the Puch engine was and is the toughest, best built moped engine there was, with a chromed bore that outlasted every other 49cc two-stroke engine.
Ten years ago you could pick up a Puch Maxi for $100, but since then Moped Culture has taken off. Organizations like Moped Army- especially Moped Army- have created an entirely new demand for classic 70s and 80s mopeds. Sure, there are a few traditional styled mopeds around from Tomos, and some Puch clones from India and China, but none of them have a cachet or the reliability of a real Puch. The classic 2-stroke screamers have been done in by emissions laws, which is probably a good thing, but I do miss the smell of burning Casterol that made a big purple cloud when I fired up my Puch.
Pictured above is my Puch Maxii II as it looked when I bought it. I made a big change right off the bat, changing the stock seat for a factory original Puch long seat, so I coult sit further back, as well as making it much cooler looking. A sticking choke was fixed by a friend who is an actual Puch factory certified mechanic, and new rubber was purchased. The bike was super reliable, and I'd still have it but it was a little small for me, and besides, I had my eye on another bike and needed the cash to balance the toy accounts, so off it went to a friend who rides it more than his 250cc bike.
I paid $650 for the bike, which seemed a bit steep at the time, even though it only had about 2,000 miles or so on it, and put another $150-$200 into it. Now, that looks like a pretty good deal. The other day I saw a similar bike with only a few hundred miles on it- esssentially a brand-new 1980s bike- whose seller was asking $1200. But given the choice between a 30 year old Puch and a brand-new Chinese moped for the same money, I'd grab the Puch without thinking twice.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Posted by michael edelman at 5:10 PM