RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Puch bike

Anyone know anything about Puch bikes? My dad will be riding with me this year and his neighbor offered up a Puch bike that has been collecting dust in the garage the last 15 years. My recommendation is no, I would hate for us to be half-way through the first day and bike break break down. Thoughts/recommendations??


16 Replies

Niles, March 11, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Pamper the old man a little more to make his (and yours) ride enjoyable unless he has test-ridden the 15-year old bike and feels it is as comfy as his Lincoln Towncar and reliable as his F-150.


Aaron Norgrant, March 11, 2018 at 12:44 pm

I agree 110%. He’s getting ready to retire and $$ is not a problem. He just likes to be very “thrifty”, if you know what I mean.



andytetmeyer, March 11, 2018 at 2:33 pm

If it’s been gathering dust for 15 years, then it was probably at minimum 20 years old when it was parked. If something does break, finding parts on the ride for a 35 year old drivetrain or brakes might be a challenge.


jelly0317, March 11, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Google the model name: it could be a very nice bike. My questions would be (1) does it fit? and (2) is the drivetrain sufficiently wide-range for your father’s purposes? If so, take it to a good local bike shop for an inspection/possible overhaul. Don’t let its age scare you away: my Raleigh turns 45 this year, and still has plenty of RAGBRAIs left in it.


Kevin Sheldon, March 11, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Puch was an Austrian bike company that made very decent bikes. I used to work at a bike shop in the 70’s that sold them.

In your case, I’d be more concerned about the condition rather than the age. As someone else mentioned, take it to a shop for a complete check and you should be good to go. There are plenty of older bikes on the ride.


bugs11, March 13, 2018 at 8:47 am

+1 on taking the bike to a qualified bike shop for a tune.


“Bicycle Bill”, March 14, 2018 at 5:26 pm

From sheldonbrown.com:
Austro-Daimler (Puch)
An attempt by a large diversified European company to create a prestige marque in the bicycle world. They did a pretty darn good job of it too! There were some glitches, such as a full size range of bikes all sporting the same length top tube. That, apparently, was eventually taken care of.

The top end bike was the Ultima. A dark purple or lavender color. Early models had full Campy Titanium Super Record including Ti pedals and bottom bracket. Use of Fiamme Ergal rims and Unicanitor saddles made these bikes stand- outs in the world of production bike mayhem. Such early examples with the goodies in place are worth about $1,100. Since the early S.R. is what makes these so special, later models are worth much less, perhaps $ 800.

The next model down was the Superleicht – These were typically a cream color. Red examples were framesets sold separately . These N.R. bikes which were slightly less finished than the Ultima are worth about $650. There were many other Austro-Daimler models – many featured Reynolds tubing and assorted European components. These non-Campy models are much less valuable, perhaps only a few hundred dollars to the right buyer. They often make great riders and are wonderful for the economy enthusiast.

So I would assume that what you’ve got is an older bike from the late ’70s-early ’80s, as noted above, and was comparable to most lower-end/mid-range imported European bikes (Peugeot/Motobecane/Gitane) of that era. More than likely had Stronglight cranks, Lyotard pedals, and Huret derailleurs, and probably a Maillard or Atom freewheel on the rear hub — although it wouldn’t surprise me any if it hadn’t gotten a Shimano makeover during the intervening years. As long as the frame is sound and straight there’s no reason why, with a good overhaul/tune-up and a set of new tires and tubes, he shouldn’t be able to make it.



Kevin Sheldon, March 14, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Spot on Bicycle Bill. I would also recommend a seat replacement especially if the one on the bike is original.


bugs11, March 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

FWIW – I’m in the process of resurrecting a late 70’s Motobecane. The work involved isn’t too difficult if you’re handy, kind of fun actually.

If the women don’t find you handsome they should at least find you handy.


“Bicycle Bill”, March 15, 2018 at 10:12 am

Be careful what you may be getting into. Older French bicycles were made to different dimensional standards than most modern bicycles. Areas of difference include:
headset (25 x 1 mm)
bottom-bracket (35 x 1mm, right-hand thread on both sides)
pedal (14 x 1.25 mm)
rear hub/freewheel (34.7 x 1 mm threading)
handlebar (25 mm)
stem (22mm) diameter
frame tubing diameters:
Top tube (26 mm)
Down tube (28 mm)
Seat tube (28 mm)
Head tube (32mm)
cotter diameter (9 mm)

Attempting to thread together French and non-French parts can result in damage. The letter “D” means “right” (Droite); “G” means “left” (Gauche). French-threaded pedals often can be identified because they carry the markings “D” and “G”.

Newer French bicycles are built to Italian or I.S.O. standards.

For more info go here (thanks again to the late Sheldon Brown)



John Richardson, March 15, 2018 at 10:37 am

I find this all very interesting. I learned to ride on a Puch 3 speed sold by Sears as an “English Racer” back in the 60’s. I really loved that bike! My first motorcycle was also a Puch and ordered out of the Sears catalog as well. It would be a big highlight for me to see a Puch bike on RAGBRAI.


bugs11, March 15, 2018 at 11:20 am

So far this late 70′ Motobecane hasn’t surprised me. I’ve already serviced the Atom 440 pedals on the Motobecane. They are standard 9/16×20 threaded and have L/R stamped on the end of the spindle. The bottom bracket is Swiss threaded and came apart fairly easily.


Dizzy, March 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm

I had never heard of a Puch.
While scanning my local Craig’s List today, there was one there!
I also saw a Motobecane Mirage.
Looks like the boomers are clearing out their collections/garages!


montestaples, March 19, 2018 at 10:59 pm

My first RAGBRAI was on a 28 year old Gitane. Every time my bike was loaded or unloaded on the truck someone said “heavy blue bike”. I had ridden it hard getting ready for RAGBRAI and had broken and replaced everything that was going to break. I trashed the crank bearing and broke two consecutive teeth and bent the next on the original rear sprocket. When I went looking for parts, they had to rummage around in some old boxes in the basement but found what I needed. I had no problem on RAGBRAI, not even a flat. So ride it hard. Fix what breaks before RAGBRAI, and you probably will do fine.


Csprint, March 25, 2018 at 5:32 pm

[quote quote=1283115]Be careful what you may be getting into. Older French bicycles were made to different dimensional standards than most modern bicycles. Areas of difference include:
For more info go here (thanks again to the late Sheldon Brown)

True. fortunately Puch was Austrian, so the English
standards apply.



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