The real cycle you’re working on is the cycle called yourself. (Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
After reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I got caught up in the idealism of owning a two wheeled, motorized vehicle. Somehow, I thought it would be a good idea to take an old gas moped and convert it to electric. As a person who has
some very minimal mechanical knowledge, it shouldn’t be too hard right?
Thanks to Craig and his list, I was able to find a red colored ‘76 Puch Maxi who’s frame was in fairly good condition. The original lead-acid battery for the lights were gone and it hadn’t been run in five years, but either way, it was cheap.
The Puch Maxi was produced throughout the 70s/80s and was mildly popular due to its fuel economy. All models were outfitted with a single cylinder, 50cc, two stroke engine. Some earlier versions used a pedal start mechanism, while the later ones have a kick start lever. Moped is a blend of the words “motor” and “pedaler.” So as the name would suggest, when the engine is disengaged, the Puch Maxi moped can be ridden like a bicycle. I think it’s cool in concept, but imagine having a 110 lb bike; it would be a nightmare to pedal.
The engine and transmission were attached to the frame by three bolts. They were very rusty, but a bit of WD-40 and an impact driver were all that was needed to loosen them. I realized that the kickstand was connected to the engine, so the moped had to be flipped over in order to remove it. Later on, this move proved beneficial because I discovered that I had forgotten to drain the oil. After I narrowly avoided spilling motor oil all over the ground, I was finally able to detach the engine and transmission from the frame.
Since I wanted to use a hub motor for this EV conversion, I had to take off the back wheel and replace it with one that was laced with a hub motor. The process was extremely simple. I just unscrewed everything that was in the way, and then the wheel was easily removed from the frame.