Postcard from Woergl

You can’t call Woergl the prettiest town in Austria. Here I noticed some motorcycles.

Puch motorbikes, Woergl, Austria

These motorbikes showcase Puch’s contribution to transport. I think there is some art to to the cooling vanes.

Not a Puch: a DKW Auto Union

I regret not photogtaphing these bikes better.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

4 thoughts on “Postcard from Woergl”

  1. The big interest in the front yellowy green bike – probably a 175 – is that the engine is a split-single.

    It’s a form of two stroke with two pistons and a single shared combustion chamber. In the Puch version one piston controls both intake and exhaust ports, while the other piston controls the transfer port from the crankshaft to the cylinder.

    1. Thanks much for pointing out that detail Robertas, as a young boy I was fascinated upon seeing a cut-away illustration of this engine and over the years had completely forgotten it.
      Could you expand on the pros and cons?
      Interesting colour as well, certainly defines the era.

  2. D – There’s quite a lot of discussion on the internet about the virtues of split-singles: the principal virtue seems to be better scavenging of exhaust gases (a big deal with two-strokes) allowing greater efficiency and low speed driveability. The counter argument is whether the benefits outweigh the additional cost, weight and complexity. By 1970 when Puch ended split single production, two-stroke advancement had turned to areas such as reed valves and expansion chambers.

    I can’t claim much knowledge of two-strokes beyond the basic principles. Advanced two-stroke design as practised at Zschopau and Hamamatsu appears as a dark art compared with straightforward Otto cycle machinery.

    I suppose Puch’s persistence with a technological dead-end is in some way to be applauded. Is it an Austrian thing?

  3. When we came to Canada from the UK in 1959, we discovered catalogue shopping. Rather than having large department stores outside of cities, mail-order catalogues were produced for us rural hayseeds by both Sears and Eatons, four a year (500 pages or more) and a Christmas special. They had depots in small towns for pickup of items like fridges and washing machines sent from big warehouses, anything bigger than the Post Office would deliver. Just like Amazon and just as quick – a phone call would bring next day delivery, two at most. Nothing new under the sun except a computer to do what paper did very adequately. For Sears the Puch motorcycle was featured. Yes, you could order that whacko two-piston-engined brute with a five-cent stamp or a free local phone call to a depot. Or a remanufactured engine for your car, for that matter. Or war surplus Lee Enfield rifles for $20. Underwear, overwear, furniture, carpet, anything including records. Got my Diana air rifle that way, $17.98, and still have it.

    The US and Canadian outboard motor manufacturers had quite advanced two-strokes in that era. OMC Corp also made Lawn Boy mowers that made ’50s English mowers look like relics from the museums featuring early industrial bent iron fabrications. Dad bought a 21 inch Lawn boy with a magnesium deck (yes in 1960), all in champagne gold paint. The Iron Horse 2 and a half horsepower engine was a two stroke. Me being me, I took the engine apart, and at the back (bottom) of the crankcase were two flat pieces of blue spring steel (like a clockwork motor spring steel), but flat. These were reed valves, held at one end, and opened by suction. Behind them was the carburetor. Very well made that OMC gear.

    Years later, I was amazed when reed valves made it big in Japanese motorcycles. There they were in 1950s lawnmowers hiding in plain sight, waiting to be discovered.

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