Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

20 February 2013

To The Sea On An A-D

 Now I'm going to talk about another "parts bin bike" I built and rode.




I got the Austro-Damiler "Team" frame in the photo in a trade for one of my last sets of tubular (sew-up) wheels.  I don't recall which model it was, but I remember that it was made of Reynolds 531 tubing in the late 1970's.

As I understand, bicycles were sold under the "Austro-Daimler" name only in the United States. The company that made them was called Puch and marketed some bikes under their own name during the 1970's and 1980's.  With a name like that, you know why they felt to come up with another for their higher-end bikes!

My A-D had what many now call "old-school" road geometry--73 degree head and seat angles, and a somewhat longer chainstay and wheelbase than what are found on today's racing bikes.  Any number of racing bikes from the time had similar geometry:  think of the Raleigh "International" or "Competition," Peugeot PX-10E (and its descendants), and other rides from makers like Gitane, Falcon, Frejus and Fuji.  Racing bikes in those days were more versatile than they are now:  It's not uncommon to see them used today as randonneuring or even touring bikes.

As a matter of fact, I took my A-D on a tour:  In August of 1994, I pedaled from Paris to the sea near Bordeaux, and up the coast to Lacanau.  As I stayed in hostels and pensiones throughout my trip, I didn't pack camping equipment except for a sleeping bag.  Everything fit into a small set of panniers and a handlebar bag:  I'd guess that I carried about 15 kilos with me.  Still, the bike gave me a stable and comfortable ride.  The top tube was a bit longer than I have on my custom frames, but I still was able to use a stem with a reasonable amount of horizontal extension.  Thus, the steering was still pretty responsive, but not overly twitchy.

I probably would have that bike now, even after getting my Mercians, save for its unfortunate demise a few months after that tour.  I was running an errand a few blocks from where I was living (in Park Slope) when, in order to dodge an opening taxicab door, I ran into a chuckhole that seemed not much smaller than a manhole cover.  The areas of the top and downtube just behind the head lugs folded like accordions, but the sounds that came out of my mouth weren't as pleasing.

2 comments:

  1. The bike was earlier called the Puch-Steyer and was imported by RVC Cycle in Rockville Center LI

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  2. Anon--You are right. The A-D name was only used in the US.

    Puch/Puch-Steyr/Austro-Daimler seemed to disappear from the US market some time in the early or mid-1980's.

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