Puch article w/photo essay

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Puch article w/photo essay

Postby Micronaut » Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:17 pm

http://motoring.co.za/index.php?fArticl ... fSetId=381

ULTIMATE SIMPLICITY: The Hero Puch AG has a piston-port engine with three moving parts, an automatic clutch and no gearbox – there's nothing to go wrong. Pictures: DAVE ABRAHAMS
For a screen-filling version of this picture, e-mail freepix@iol.co.za with "Hero Puch" in the subject field. 

Hero Puch moped – period piece. Period.


December 12, 2005

  By Dave Abrahams

When I was a children, to borrow from the old Redro fishpaste ad, most teenagers had bicycles – except for the lucky few who rode motorised bikes called Poegies.

I thought the name was derived from the rather rude flatulent noises they made – it was only years later I discovered they were made by an Austrian company called Puch.

Puch made its first moped in 1952 and achieved enormous success in the 1970's with the Maxi, a 64cc single-speeder mostly made out of sheet-steel pressings.

By 1987, however, the European students who made up most of its market were riding scooters and Puch became part of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch group that made military and commercial vehicles

I thought the name was derived from the rather rude flatulent noises they made
.

But old motorcycles don't die – they just go to India. In 1988 Indian motorcycle company Hero introduced a clone of the Maxi called the Hero Puch AG and it's still in production.

motoring.co.za was offered the range-topping, rather grandiosely titled, Turbosport version for review by the South African importer, resplendent in metallic silver with white saddle and cast wheels.

The chassis is still pretty basic and it shows up in some rather rough spot-welding below the seat. The backbone section is neat enough, however, and the suspension is surprisingly up to date with Hero's own cast-alloy telescopic front forks and dual hydraulic rear shock-absorbers adjustable for preload.

The steering head is low, despite the positioning of the plastic headlight pod and (obvious afterthought) instrument cowl around the front of the instrument panel (analogue speedometer, three-position ignition switch and indicator repeater)

The chassis is still pretty basic and it shows up in some rather rough spot-welding
.

The switchgear is almost absurdly simple; indicator switch left and dipswitch, hooter and thumb-operated choke right – but it has everything it needs to make it street-legal.

The handlebars have a lot of rise, accentuating the point that this is a motorised bicycle rather than a scooter or motorcycle, and the steering is very quick – not surprising given its 1100mm wheelbase.

I thought it would be twitchy to the point of instability but as long as I kept my hands still it held its line.

The suspension was adequate (barely) for my 106kg; the Hero Puch has pillion footpegs but I would recommend keeping the total payload under 110kg – and then only on flat roads; the bike struggled to take me up some not very steep slopes.

The brakes (single leading-shoe drums both ends) were sharper than I expected.

Still on pre-mix

Under the well-padded saddle (just lift, no lock) you'll find the fuel cap and a little oddments tray containing the owner's manual and a little plastic bottle for measuring out two-stroke oil – yes Cyril, it runs on pre-mix, at a surprisingly lean 50:1.

I inadvertently ran the AG dry during the test period and had to push it to the nearest garage; there I put in three litres of petrol (all it would take) and 60ml of Super 2T as per the markings on the little bottle.

I had to dump the remainder of the 200ml can of two-stroke oil I'd bought; that's always been the downside of pre-mixing.

The engine is an unexpectedly willing 64cc two-stroke, producing a claimed 3kW at 5500rpm; it starts easily hot or cold even though the kick-start lever, cramped between front and rear footpegs, is difficult to get to and has a very limited swing.

Once warmed up it runs clean, with just a trace of the Dreaded Blue Cloud on acceleration – but that's the problem: acceleration, or rather the lack of it.

No gearbox

The Hero Puch has no gearbox or transmission; the automatic centrifugal clutch is connected directly to the chain and sprockets. No matter how hard you crack the throttle the clutch goes home at very low revs and the bike struggles to get away.

Once up to about 30km/h the engine gets into its stride and the bike pulls adequately up to its maximum of 62km/h but its pull-away is so slow that trucks and buses will overtake it across an intersection, which can be very dangerous.

It's well understood that the ability of even the laziest scooters to pull away from four-wheeled (or more!) traffic off a standing start is a critical survival mechanism; the AG can't do that, which makes every red light something of an adventure.

I rode it 11km home and back on freeways and main roads, and everything in sight - including a very fit cyclist! - passed me; the next day I took it to Cape Town's Waterfront for the pictures and it was more at home buzzing from quay to quay on a fine spring afternoon.

Johann Puch intended his little motorised bicycles as student transport and the same is still true; around the leafy streets of suburbia from home to school and back the AG is fine but it's not up to the hurly-burly of real-life commuting.

At this stage of its life the Hero Puch is more of a period piece, a rolling curiosity, than a working motorcycle.

I was too young to ride a Poegie in its heyday so I enjoyed my time on this one but I was glad to get back on something that can show a clean pair of wheels to a bus – or a bicycle!

Test bike from Cape Mowers.

Price: R5 821 (includes riding lessons, helmet, rain suit, chain and lock and six-month warranty).

Hero Puch AG specifications.
Motor: Air-cooled two-stroke single.
Capacity: 64cc.
Bore x stroke: 43.5 x 43mm.
Power: 3.0kW at 5500rpm.
Ignition: Flywheel Magneto ignition system (CDI).
Starting: Kick
Clutch: Automatic centrifugal clutch.
Transmission: Single speed with fully-enclosed chain final drive.
Suspension: Conventional cartridge forks at front, dual hydraulic shock absorbers adjustable for preload at rear.
Brakes: 80mm single leading-shoe drum brake at front, 110mm single leading-shoe drum brake at rear.
Tyres: Front: 2.25 - 16 4PR. Rear: 2.5 – 16 6PR.
Wheelbase: 1100mm.
Dry weight: 67kg.
Fuel capacity: Three litres (premixed 50:1).
Price: R5821 (includes riding lessons, helmet, rainsuit, chain and lock, six-month warranty).
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Micronaut
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re: Puch article w/photo essay

Postby Micronaut » Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:18 pm

More pics
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re: Puch article w/photo essay

Postby Micronaut » Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:20 pm

more
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re: Puch article w/photo essay

Postby Micronaut » Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:22 pm

still more, this guy loves Puch
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re: Puch article w/photo essay

Postby Micronaut » Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:24 pm

still more
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