Bike build: 1985 Puch Clubman Sport 12 Paceline


This bike is as old as I am! In a time when everything is made to be disposable, and half-obsolete by the time it leaves the factory door, bicycles are truly one of the last bastions of future-proof design that we can still rely on. This particular model also happens to be a small piece of Austrian history; it was one of the very last bikes made by Puch here in Austria. It marked the end of an era, and the end of almost one hundred years of local production. Puch bicycles have been revived in recent years, but alas, they are no longer manufactured locally, and who knows if they ever will.

Whenever I work on an old bike like this, I always find myself wondering about the stories it would tell, were it able to speak. It’s the same feeling I get when I enter an old house. What emotions, struggles, joys and sorrows has it witnessed? What impact did it have on the lives of past owners, and what impact will it have for future ones?

The technical highlight of the build was the 6-speed Shimano Positron rear derailleur, an oddity in that indexing is part of the derailleur itself rather than the shift lever. It’s a real pain in the ass to adjust, and requires a special rigid steel wire to push and pull the derailleur through its preset positions, but it was a fun little journey through the history of rear derailleur design nonetheless.

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