- Gepubliceerd: zondag 20 maart 2016 13:50
- Geschreven door René
While the chapter 'The Road Not Taken' plays with the "what if?" situations, i would like to start the 'Future' part with "Future's End".
Our starting point is 1987, in Graz -Austria. The entire two-wheeler division of Steyr-Daimler-Puch is sold in parts: starting with the bicycles, that part went completely to Bianchi Italy. All they did was rebadge their own models with racingbikes and mountainbikes. In 1997 the brandname went to the Pan-European operating, Swedish based company of Cycleurope. Once again, models are just rebadged generic bikes, but for Austria specific bicycles are produced.
As for the Maxi and motorized two-wheelers concerned, this happened:
The Turkish two-wheel company Maxwell, bought and produced the latest development of Steyr-Daimler-Puch and would-be successor of the Puch Maxi in years to come: The Puch Super Maxi. The Super Maxi was a continuation of the famous Maxi model, but further developed. With a 2-way catalyst exhaust pipe (another world premiere of Puch Austria since they were the first moped company in the world to develop and produce catalyst exhausts for mopeds!), the new Super Maxi cilinder with larger cooling ribbons and the all-new Micronics air filter, now placed on the right side of the frame.
But it failed: the Turkish quality was very poor, especially the front fork was not good. Also the bearings used and the quality of the paint was a disaster, compared to the original Maxi's from Austria. You have to remember that each Austrian Puch Maxi was of the best quality steel, coated twice with foundation, 3 layers of paint, then heated and hardened in a special heating chamber and finally some hand-painted lines on frontfenders of some models.
We all know the Italian part: no comment! Only this, now they have stopped with the Maxi:We all know the Italian part: no comment! Only this, now they have stopped with the Maxi: they have murdered our lovely little moped and thank God for stopping with it!! No spilling tears over this one. Piaggio killed the competition when they bought Puch, it's thát simple.
Models were cheaper assembled, were cheaper coated with one layer of paint, and money was saved on cheaper engine parts. Sure, a redesign was produced in the early 90's, and later it was called the P1, but it was just added cheap plastic, replacing the quality steel parts. And in the mean time, the prices went up. In the end, they sold Puch models, which were just poor quality produced Manet/Jawa mopeds, or rebadged Piaggio mopeds. 1997, the Puch brandname was gone from the moped industry, or was it?
Another factory in the picture here is Hero from India. Hero bought the entire production line of the Puch Maxi Plus (in some countries also known as Austro Daimler Plus). The Puch Maxi Plus was developed in the early '80's to be the successor of the Puch Maxi. But despite the revolutionary design by no one less than Ferdinand Porsche (who did more desgin work for Puch mopeds by the way), nobody liked it! It did not sell: and the Maxi was still in production, so everybody was still buying the Maxi... In an interview with the product manager of Hero India, i asked him why they bought the Maxi Plus?
He replied that Puch had an outstanding name in the moped industry, they were market leader on many developement terrains and build real quality for affordable prices. And India is a country with poor quality roads, lots of sand and dust and therefor they chose the Maxi Plus as the best reliable quality moped for India and export. Below you see the original Puch Maxi Plus from Austria and beneath that is the Hero Puch version, which still used the original mouldings, and so you see Puch on the Hero frontfork and mudguard!
Hero made some excellent models based on the Maxi Plus, like the Sheriff and the Shakti. They also developed new models, which you can find elsewhere on this site. Hero really put effort in for the continuation of development. In 2005, Hero stopped the production of the models, replacing them.
During the production of the last Italian Maxi's, Piaggio decided to sell off the Maxi Motor (engine) as a licenced product to Motor Manet in Slovakia, in 1998. Manet bought the entire engine production line from Piaggio and moved it to Slovakia, where they also merged with the Jawa/Babetta moped production.
Meanwhile, Piaggio stopped the entire production of all Puch models, including the Maxi in 1998. The mouldings were destroyed and the Maxi died.... after almost 30 years of production!! In 2000, Manet got all the rights for the Maxi Motor and they also got the Super Maxi cilinder back into production (which failed with Maxwell, remember?) More power, more models and better quality was being produced and so the Maxi Motor survived with Manet until 2008. Then the factory seazed all production of mopeds and here lies Future's End: a Maxi Motor which was nearly 40 years into production and powered more than 6 million vehicles worldwide.
That is the legacy of Puch Maxi. The production has stopped, the mouldings are destroyed. But the name lives on, the legend that is Maxi still rides many streets in the world and we still receive many pictures or Puch Maxi owners. The Maxi adventure continues...