Puch Cheetah

puchds_60_cheetah_ebayNow for something completely different… a Puch DS 60 Cheetah from, amazingly in my opinion, 1960. Why amazingly? Well, to my untrained eye, it looks so much later, presaging Japanese mopeds like the Honda Cub and monkey bikes from the 70s. There’s also a hint of the Rumi Formicino in the styling. Not as curvy and sinuous as a Lambretta or a Vespa, but a very pleasing design – tidy, solid and compact. It was described, back in the day, as a ‘scooterette’ – or ‘baby scooter’. The 59cc Cheetah was the ‘deluxe’ version, with a more stripped down 50cc bike called the Nomad as it’s entry level stablemate.

The Austrian company Puch are perhaps more remembered these days for their mopeds (such as the Puch Maxi), and small motorcycles, and maybe even push bikes (especially BMX’s), but they made very highly regarded scooters in the 1950’s. The Puch RL from 1953 had more traditional scooter styling, and had a good reputation amongst it’s owners,  the less than sparkling performance being offset by a reputation for exceptional reliability.

The 59cc 4 speed sports engine on this Cheetah produces 4.5 hp. It’s been restored to ‘as new’ condition with a professional respray (love the silver and bright orange combo!), the engine rebuild by leading vintage Puch specialists in Austria. The aluminium casing, brake drums and shock absorbers are polished to mirror finish. It has a refurbed original seat, new brake linings, wiring, exhaust system, rubbers and tyres. Rebuilt by a restorer rather than a rider, the bike has covered only 3 miles since. The V5 is present and it has 12 months MOT.

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The future (and the past) of classic scootering?

Enjoy riding your noisy, dirty, smelly 2stroke while you can ladies and gentlemen. It’s just a matter of time before classic scooters are consigned to “collections” and legislated out of existence… and we’ll all be sitting in our robot driven hydrogen fuel-celled Google cars… maybe. Or maybe the future is electric vehicles… we’ve already seen an Electric Lambretta… and a production scooter from a company with a heritage in classic scoots and electric vehicles is on the way. Albeit a heritage I had absolutely no idea about until yesterday.

First, a bit of history

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Lohner was an Austrian company. G’day! No. Read it again. Austrian. Around 1900 they were producing electric cars… designed by a certain Ferdinand Porsche. Ahead of the curve there! After a rocky history, and  diversifying into many other vehicles such as trams and aircraft… like many companies in the early fifties tried to get in on the booming scooter market. The most well known of these scooters was the Lohner 125 (pictured above). I say it was well known… but it’s a scooter that’s new to me. To my eyes… despite following the germanic “roller” style of having the large enclosed front end incorporating the legshields and mudguard… I’ve seen uglier scooters. After merging with Rotax, who made the engines, they left scooter production behind and became involved in the production of agricultural, military and commercial vehicles. Eventually they were bought by Bombardier.

Now, the future?

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Well, the Lohner name, and scooter is back. From what I can gather from the website, members of the original Lohner family are still very much involved. And in looking to the future they looked to their company heritage for inspiration.  What they have come up with is a “new class vehicle”… the Lohner Stroler… a radical looking  e-biike  – and probably of more interest to readers of this blog, the Lohner LEA. The Roller LEA is a twenty-first century reincarnation of the 1950’s original L125-Roller. IMG_158960635 IMG_159260635 IMG_160317654 IMG_168117654 IMG_168717654

Pretty cool, huh? It’s got that retro thing going with a hint modern hot-rod aesthetic… while giving a big nod to their heritage. A tough trick to pull off, looking funky, modern and old school all at once.

The LEA will go into production in the spring, and is a available for pre-order right now.

Find out more, including full specifications on the website.

Some Alpine riding with The Jetsons

Some great Austrian scenery on the way to EuroLambretta 2014 Davos, in Switzerland. Those roads look fantastic to ride on! Footage by, and of, The Jetsons Lambretta Club.

EuroLambretta 2015 Ebensee Promotional Video

So, with EuroLambretta 2014 in Davos done and dusted, and by all reports, (more to come on this!) a good time had by all, I thought it would be a good chance to repost the EuroLambretta 2015 official video I posted back in April. Here’s the version with English Subtitles.

Keep up to date with latest updates through the Lamabrettaclub Austria website.

Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle – The Review

39375c67f1f0b9b391c7039ea18620cf1f540ff9On the strength of my post about the video publicising his book, Martin “Sticky” Round sent me a copy to review. Which was nice. This is a first for me, as it’s the first “freebie” I’ve got through the blog. To be fair to my loyal readers though, I’m determined to give this a fair review, and be as honest and forthright as I can… and not just do a “puff piece”.

This was a tricky review to write. I could sum the whole post up in four words… but that wouldn’t do justice to the book. And I could ramble on for ages pouring more and more praise onto it, because this is simply a great book, but I suspect that my review would come across as a little dull if I did.

And this book is anything but dull. As readers of his work in Scootering will know, Sticky has a fine command of the English language… and he’s had the opportunity to give it full flight in this book. I read a lot. I’ve often got two or three books on the go at once, and I devour everything from biographies to science fiction, and pretty much everything in between. Once in a while, I enjoy a book so much that I rave on about it to friends and family and pass it on, saying “you must read this!” (The last book I did that with was CJ Sansom’s Dominion, btw. Highly recommended). Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle is up there. Right up there. I honestly haven’t enjoyed reading a book more this year.

Sticky tells his road trip tale in a highly entertaining fashion. The “scootery bits” aren’t so technical that a non-scooterist would be turned off, and just give an overview of what it’s like to own, ride and be part of the classic scooter scene without assuming any prior knowledge. A opening couple of chapters about building the scooters to take them on the journey could be as dull as ditchwater – but handled with Sticky’s light humorous tone (and the liberal use of the word “bollocks”) it’s like a very entertaining bloke down the pub sharing a great story with you.

In fact, the whole book is like that. Only they interesting bloke down the pub usually gets a bit boring after a couple of pints. Sticky’s book never wanes. While sharing his adventure of crossing Europe, from the Adriatic Coast to Turkey (and back), the entertainment factor never lets up. Sticky didn’t do the trip alone, he took his 11 year old son, Sam, and wife along. His wife, Tracy was riding perhaps the most Frankenstein of the Frankesnstein scooters, a Maicoletta with a 400cc Suzuki engine shoehorned into the old scooter bodywork. They met up with another name well known to the Lambretta scene, Dean Orton from the Rimini Lambretta Centre. Dean was riding the least modded bike… (and ultimately the most reliable of the scooters) a moderately upgraded Indian GP. And he brought his daughter, Kimberly along for the ride too.

Undertaking a challenging journey on highly modified vintage scooters is not a thing to do lightly. Let alone when you’ve got the wife and kids along. Sticky’s attitude is prepare well, and hope for the best. Things will generally work out and when they don’t, well, that’s character building. Seems to have worked for him. Still, with the author of the Lambretta repair and maintenance bible The Complete Spanner’s Manual: Lambretta Scooters and the owner of the RLC, an accomplished Lambretta mechanic in his own right, both veterans of many rallies and road trips… they were going to be alright if anything did go wrong with the scoots.

To get back to that bloke down the pub, that you initailly find the life and soul, and who you then discover is just someone who likes the sound of their own voice and has found a whole new audience in you… Well, you often find their worldview is a little blinkered too. They say travel broadens the mind, and to an extent I think that’s true, but I think you’ve got to be pretty broadminded to begin with. I found myself nodding along and agreeing with most of what Sticky said in the book… and, being Sticky he always has an interesting way of saying it. His “Dickhead Theory” I found particularly insigtful.

The trip, through Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (and back via Greece and Albania) give Sticky ample opportunity to expound on everything from his theories on parenting to his attitudes to other cultures… with a handful of remincenses about previous scootering adventures, and a soupcon of local history along the way. His summing up of the Gallipoli campaign made interesting reading in light of all the recent celebrations surrounding the 70th anniverary of D-Day.

The book ends with Sticky being a bit down as the trip reaches it’s conclusion… and that’s how I felt as I reached the end of the book. I was enjoying reading it so much I just wanted more… Finally, there is some advice on how to plan your own adventure… and if you don’t feel inspired to at least start planning something, even if it never gets past the plannng stage, I suspect there’s something wrong with you.

Anyway… I’m not going to witter on and spoil the book for you. Suffice it to say it’s a damn good read. One that, in my humble opinion, deserves to break out from the scootering world into a general readership… You don’t have to be a scooter fan to enjoy a book this good. After all “Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (basically a roadtrip book with a bunch of noodly half baked philosphising thrown in) became a classic… and it’s a far less entertaining read.

If I had summed the whole review up in four words they would have been “Excellent read. Buy it”. Actually buy two, give one to a friend. It’s that good.

It’s out on Kindle now, at a unfeasibly reasonable £2.95, a price that almost makes it worthwhile buying a Kindle. The paperback is also available from Scooterproducts, Amazon, and eBay. The perfect last minute gift for Fathers Day!

Bonus points if you can find the other video featuring (a very young) Sticky on this site. If you do post your answer in the comments.

EuroLambretta… 2015. Yep. Twenty FIFTEEN!

So, with the 2014 Scootering season kicking off in style this weekend, many are starting to think about forthcoming events, such as the EuroLambretta in Davos, Switzerland.  But the Lambretta Club Austria want you to be thinking further ahead than that… and have posted this video to get you in the mood for 2015. There’s efficiency for you!

 

Very nice video it is too.

Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle

Video about the road trip written about in new scooter travel book ‘Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle’ Italy to Istanbul on 400cc Suzuki-engined Maicoletta, and a couple of Lambrettas …by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round… watch out for a review of the book soon!

Mystery Scooter ID’d!

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 17.52.53Kudos to Yasin, who Identified the mystery scooter above as a KTM Ponny. A Ponny II to be exact. KTM, or KTM Sportmotorcycle to give them their full name, is a long established (founded in 1934) motorcycle, scooter and bicycle manufacturer from Austria. If you haven’t heard of KTM in relation to scooters, it’s probably because your more familiar with their modern off road bikes and racing sponsorship… you may recognise their livery of orange, black and silver. The Ponny II dates back to 1962, and is, in my humble opinion a good, solid looking scoot. While it may not be as pretty as a Lambretta, (or even aV*spa), it certainly holds it’s own against other scooters of the day.

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The Ponny II, superseded the original 1960 Ponny scooter (funny that), itself a good looker. In fact, it’s a shame they didn’t keep the twin headlights… that’s a good look!

KTM SCOOTER PONY

KTM carried on making retro looking scooters right into the late 70’s, and while they are pretty much unheard of in the UK (to my knowledge anyway), they have built a cult following in mainland Europe. As you’ll see, the 1979 KTM Hercules pictured below is virtually identical to the 1962 Ponny, with the obvious addition of (rather ugly) indicators. Big, solidly built machines, I don’t know what the performance was like, but I can’t imagine it was blistering with a 50cc engine. I’m not sure if they made a bigger capacity, but it would suit the bike. A quick search of eBay yielded no complete Ponnies or Hercules’s… but a few parts. But it’s one I’ll watch out for in future.KTM Hercules Scooter

This is not my first KTM post, by the way… regular readers may remember my post about the radically styled KTM Electric Scooter… straight from the future of scootering. Check it out here.

If this post has piqued your interest of the KTM marque, you can find out more, below.

KTM Ponny Club Facebook page

KTM Sportmotorcycle Website