My Austro-Daimler / Puch Pathfinder thread


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Blackbomber

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 23, 2018
665
1,413
44
Unionville, CT
#1
Last week, I lucked into an extremely nice (almost unridden) Japanese Bianchi Special. It's 53cm frame is on the tall end of what is optimal for me, but is a good fit. It's been a very nice bike to both ride, and admire. But what I was really looking for was something a bit more average in condition, that I will care about, but not be so precious about, especially through the winter months. So on Saturday, I purchased (sight unseen) a Pathfinder needing tires for $35, in a 50cm frame. I just collected the bike this morning, and was pleasantly surprised at both the condition, and equipment. It obviously spent some time in the elements, but everything I thought was rust in the ad photos, ended up being a layer of dirt. And not the black kind, but brown, so it couldn't have spent much time outside. The chrome bits, spokes, and aluminum back up that theory.

It's an odd mix of Japanese and Euro equipment, so I am not certain if this is an Austrian or Japanese built bike.
Euro parts consist of:
  • Hubs - Mallard
  • Rims - Wienmann
  • Brakes - Weinmann
  • Cable stops - Huret
  • Pedals - Union (I think, marked W. Germany)
  • Bars - Friko
  • Seat - Selle Royal
  • Tires - Semperit
Japanese parts:
  • Reflectors - Cateye
  • Derailleurs - Suntour AR (F&R)
  • Shifters - Suntour
  • Cranks - Sugino
  • Stem - SR (PUCH branded)

USA part:
  • Period looking Greenfield kickstand (dealer added, maybe)


The front tire was completely split, but the rear holds air for a few minutes. So of course I had to mount up the rear, and borrowed the front from another bike, and rode it up and down my street. It's going to be a nice rider with some work, and should meet my objective. I'm short on time today, but I'll try to get it broken down this week, and cleaned up. Then I'll need to find some way to tell my wife that another one followed me home...

Wheels were off bike when I got it. Originally it was advertised as sans-wheels (they were bad) for $25. In talking with seller, turns out wheels were fine, tires were toast, and he'd throw the wheels in for $10 more - done!

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Likes: bikerbluz

non-fixie

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jun 5, 2011
45
61
Yurp
#2
I'd say that bike was built in Europe. Suntour, SR and Sugino were used by quite a few European manufacturers from the mid-seventies onward, often in combination with French and Swiss parts.

The reflectors (uugh!) and kickstand (aargh!) were probably US dealer or importer additions to meet local requirements and/or tastes. ;)

Nice find, BTW. Seems to be a perfect fit for your requirements.
 

Blackbomber

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 23, 2018
665
1,413
44
Unionville, CT
#3
I'd say that bike was built in Europe. Suntour, SR and Sugino were used by quite a few European manufacturers from the mid-seventies onward, often in combination with French and Swiss parts.

The reflectors (uugh!) and kickstand (aargh!) were probably US dealer or importer additions to meet local requirements and/or tastes. ;)

Nice find, BTW. Seems to be a perfect fit for your requirements.
Thanks for your thoughts. For utilitarian reasons, the bike's provenance doesn't really matter. But it would be cool in my mind to have been Austrian built. It's one of the entry level models (from the "recreational" range, per catalog), and I honestly expected less from my research than what I saw in person. This model obviously evolved (or devolved) during it's production. But ultimately, it's a 28lb bike that fits me, has a saddle I find comfortable (if not pretty), and will take a 1 3/8" tire. There's also plenty of room for fenders and braze-ons to accommodate them. So really, I just need to purchase new tires/tubes/strips, bar tape, and cables. I almost don't even count the tires since A) they all need that, and B), I'm going to try the Kenda K161s on this.
 
Last edited:

non-fixie

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jun 5, 2011
45
61
Yurp
#4
It is a very pretty bike, IMO. If you like the fit and the touring geometry, it might be worth it to see if you can lose some weight and make it 'real nice'. My wife and I have quite a few entry level bikes that have benefited considerably from a little attention and a careful selection from the parts bin.

My remark about the reflectors and kickstand were made in jest (somewhat, anyway ;)) but those and the spoke protector are the first thing to go on my bikes. Replacing the stem shifters with a downtube clamp-on set will shave off some weight and improve shifting (if not looks). The Weinmann levers are very nice, but unless you need the added comfort of the safety levers, those would be the next to go. Not the levers themselves (I really like the version you have with the quick releases), mind you, just the 'turkey wings'.

(For a left field comfort suggestion: get some 'old' (pre-2001) Campagolo 9 speed brifters and a Shimano SIS RD. That combo shifts vintage 5 and 6 speed cog sets, and whatever you've got up front, very nicely.)

WRT tires: if you really need knobblies then the Kendas look like an excellent choice. But if you don't, then I would suggest something less intrusive. If your rims (Araya?) are hooked, then the Panaracer Pasela PT 32-630 folding would be my preferred option. They ride smoother, will take a lot of abuse and at 350 grams a piece they are very light. My go-to tire for L'Eroica.

Just my two cents.
 

Blackbomber

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 23, 2018
665
1,413
44
Unionville, CT
#5
Thanks. Yes, the look of the bike is growing on me. The paint is pretty cool in sunlight, the seat isn't all that bad, and I'm getting used to the odd geometry (Puch seems to have used the same length top tube for all sizes of this frame).

I'm with you on all of that. I'll be keeping the kickstand (or using a center stand) as it's so much easier when the trailer is attached. The reflectors will go. The plastic spoke protector looks so cheap. I remember breaking it off of a bike I had when I was a kid (didn't know how to remove the gear stack then). The stem shifters are going for sure. Which is kind of a shame, because even with the sticky cables, I really like the ratcheting action. But I've had bad experiences with stem shifters where I'm out of the saddle in a low gear, and my knee knocks the lever. I was toying with the idea of barcons - mainly out of curiosity. I do love the brake levers, and am indifferent to the safety levers. I'll eventually remove them, but figured I'd leave them on for a ride or two just to see what the fuss was about. They do look goofy, and I expect they'll be in the way while riding on the hoods. Yes, those QRs are great. Just today I forgot to reset them on the Bianchi - love the way those reset themselves.

I don't want to spend a lot of money on this thing (figuring $150 tops, not counting the rack and panniers). Your suggestion on brifters therefore won't make the first round of improvements. But I was dreaming of indexed shifting - I didn't know there was a way to integrate brifters into the equation and keep my existing rear hub. I'll be giving that one some thought - thank you.

As for the tires, I initially wanted this to be an all purpose bike, and my winter bike. However, the more I look at it, the more I realize it's actually going to clean up well. I'm not sure if I can subject it to the harshness of a New England winter. Yeah, it's a $35 bike, but still... The rims are Weinmann, and are hooked. I may try the Kenda 161s even if I don't ride this in slush, because I presently don't have anything with an aggressive tread, and do like riding off the beaten path from time to time. It's a $30 loss if I don't like them.

I have some time to decide on all of this, as I won't be starting on the bike immediately. I need to build a shed, and I'll be working on planning that tomorrow. Wife said I couldn't get any more bikes until I had room for them, and that was four bikes ago. She's only aware of two of them, neither of which are this one.
 

non-fixie

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jun 5, 2011
45
61
Yurp
#6
Yes, the spoke protector is maybe more of a vanity thing than a weight issue in this case. :)

The reason I mentioned the pre-2001 Campy 9-speed brifters, is that they are relatively affordable (like $30 a pair). I've mounted a Chorus set on my own A-D and liked the result very much:

IMG_20190519_160930000 (2).jpg
 

Blackbomber

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 23, 2018
665
1,413
44
Unionville, CT
#7
Stunning Inter 10, @non-fixie. I think I'm sold on the brifter suggestion. They look very much at home on your bike, and I know I'll appreciate them (and the resultant indexing). Price is on par with anything I was thinking of, so it's really just the addition of the derailleur - I don't suppose that will end up costing much. I also really like the fenders you have, and how snugly they are mounted. Fine looking machine, thanks for sharing that.
 

non-fixie

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jun 5, 2011
45
61
Yurp
#8
The fenders (mudguards, actually, in this case ;)) are Bluemels Club Specials. I love them: classic look, no weight to speak of, no rattles and fairly easy to mount and adjust. The downside is their vulnerability. Finding a used pair without damage is not easy, and NOS pairs are still available but expensive ($100 and up).
 
Likes: Blackbomber

Blackbomber

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 23, 2018
665
1,413
44
Unionville, CT
#9
I can appreciate that price considering Velo-Orange gets in the $70 range.

I'm very acclimated to the idea of switching to indexed / integrated shifting on this bike. I will be doing things in stages, as I haven't ridden this bike enough to know if I'll like it. I'm slightly worried about the long top tube, although I can flip the seat post clamp to move seat forward (it's one of those). I'm also not even certain I want drop bars. Up until now I've been very happy with the tourist style bars on my Schwinns, although I'm going to drops an honest try. I did own a Trek 560 previously, but that was over 20 years ago. Anyway, I figure I'll do a cleanup, and replace the necessities now, and put some miles on to make sure this bike is a keeper.

For mudguards :), I have a 26" set off of a Schwinn lightweight which will work as long as I mount the front stays through the skewer. (I'll need to move the rear bracket as well). That should hold me over until I decide on the bike, or I can just ride it on nice days until I decide. Either way, I should be able to get on the road for about $50.

I think I'll break it down for cleaning and inspection today, after lunch :)
 

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