Puch History

Though the moped popularity explosion took place in 1977 in the US,  the pedal start little motorbikes with simple two-stroke engines had been a staple of cheap transportation throughout Europe for many years already. Moped manufactures like Motobecane and Peugeot of France, Garelli and Piaggio of Italy, Kreidler of Germany and Puch of Austria had long been producing the fuel-efficient transportation alternatives since after WWII .

Puch (rhymes with book), like other manufacturers, developed mopeds for the US market which required different specifications to meet new regulations regarding their use and performance. Puch’s most popular moped line in the US at the time was the Maxi which was a standard lightweight step-thru design. The Maxi could be purchased either in the standard single speed (E50) engine or the more deluxe 2 speed model which was available on the Sport MKII and Maxi-Luxe models. The Sport which came with a longer seat and more chrome trim usually had cast mag wheels in lieu of standard spoke wheels. Maxi-Luxe was another version of the Maxi that was sold in both 1 and 2 speed models but with high-torque cast iron cylinders and heads. This allowed for a somewhat improved performance.  The Maxi could also be purchased as a Newport model which had different paint and decals, usually a tan seat cover and some other minor cosmetic features. Puch also sold top-tanked moped models that resembled motorcycles but utilized for the most part the same engines as the Maxi line used with the exception of the cylinders and pistons. These bike models were single speed Magnum XK’s and 2 speed Magnum MKII’s.


Puch mopeds were also sold re-branded through dept stores like Sears and JC Penney under the names like Freespirt and Pinto. Though the bikes were specifically built under contract for those stores and each one was somewhat different, the engines, wheels, controls, etc were the same parts that were found on the Puch Maxi or Magnum mopeds. The Murray bicycle company also produced and sold a version of the Puch moped as well but lacked the quality of some of the others. Puch mopeds today are very much sought after by collectors and riders alike. Their simple but reliable design has allowed them to endure for over 35 years now in the US. All parts are still readily available through aftermarket manufactures and parts suppliers. There is an almost endless possibility of performance enhancements available to improve ride experience for everyone’s needs. With a little care and some basic maintenance, there is no reason that your moped won’t last another 35 years.

The manufacturing of Puch mopeds ceased in 1987 when that division of Steyr-Daimler-Puch was sold to Italian company Piaggio.