I usually do not post much text. I just thought this build could be appreciated more with a little back story.
This build was a long time coming and has a long back story.
It started with my first moped, a Maxi N frame. I got into mopeds because a good friend was always riding them and telling me how fun they were. I grew up on a farm with a dirt bike and a banshee so I wasn’t sold on the idea of a slow moped until I rode his Garelli Top tank. After looking at all the different mopeds I decided I wanted a Puch Cobra. Good choice for a first moped! I could not find one and decided I would have to look for something else. At some point I found Paz’s orange Maxi N and loved the lines. I decided to try to track down a Maxi N. I was able to find a Frame with a leaky tank on MA in late 2008. The tank was rusty, it had pin holes, and swing arm looked like it got t-boned. It was my first moped part and I didn’t know what to do with it. I decided I wanted to top tube it and powder coat it white. I was wishing the powder coating might fill the pin holes. After welding the top tube in and getting the frame powder coated I realized the pin holes were still there and now I just had a pretty frame to hang on my wall. I talked to some old timers from where I grew up in the country and they suggested red-kote to line the tank and fill the holes. My neighbor who runs a machine shop had a can of it and let me use it, it worked great. Now I was back on track to build this moped.
I still had a problem, I knew nothing about moped and had no parts besides a frame. I decided I should find a similar moped to learn on and use as a template to put mine together. I started searching craigslist and other sites for some kind of Puch. In a couple weeks I found a Puch Newport about an hour north of the Twin Cities. It ran but was in poor condition. I drove up there during a blizzard and got it for $250. It was far enough away that there was no snow at my place and was able to ride it all around when I got home. It ran great, had a high torque cylinder and did 35 easily. For the next month I worked on the new port and learned everything I could about the E50 and Puch Maxi model.
In march I started swapping parts over from the Newport to the Maxi N frame. There were a lot of parts that were slightly different. The rear brake plate was a different size and I had to grind the stop slot down. Both chain drives were longer so I had to purchase new chains. I had a chopped saddle seat on the Newport but since the N did not have a rear rack I had to make a custom bracket for it. I wanted to have cool clip on bars but no one sold small ones for mopeds at the time. I found a great thread from Nate Bandit about making clip on bars with mountain bike stems. I found some stems and made custom clip-ons using his guide. I rebuild the engine using a racing crank, but kept the stock cylinder. I milled the head and geared at 16×40 and was able to hit 43mph. I was introduced to some riders in Minneapolis and started riding and hanging out with them.
On my birthday June 15th I got a facebook friend request from Anya, my high school girlfriend. She was from and lived in Ukraine. We had not spoken to each other in 8 years so it was quite a shock. We started talking and soon were chatting every day. We talked about what happened during our 8 years apart and all the other experiences we had. I talked a lot about mopeds and how excited I was about my white N. I decided to Name it Aika after her childhood nick name. I really wanted to see her again and hoped I could soon. When I was younger I really wanted to visit her in the Ukraine and she said the invitation was still open. We started looking at calendar dates and decided August would work really well for me to come visit her. I still had feelings for her so this trip was really exciting to me.
In July some friends from the Mpls moped crew were throwing around the idea of going to Peddy Ca$h FTW moped rally. I really wanted to go but was on a tight budget and still needed to buy a plane ticket to Ukraine. FTW was in the end of July and I was trying to go to Ukraine in August. I needed to set my priorities and figure out if I could do both, Ukraine mattered much more to me than the moped rally. I figured out all of my expanses and what income I could expect. I was really disappoint to realize I did not have enough money to go to Ukraine, I was about $700 short. I really wanted to go to visit her but could not see a way. I decided if I couldn’t not go to Ukraine in August I would go to Chicago for FTW and save money and go to Ukraine later.
5 friends and I all drove to Chicago for the rally. I was pretty sad I would not be going to the Ukraine, but still excited for my first moped rally. Once in Chicago we met with friends and went on a Friday night ride. We met up with Peddy Ca$h and partied all night. It was really exciting to meet so many people with similar interests and see so many mopeds. Saturday was the long ride. We rode along the lake and took winding roads all the way to a state park. I was cruising and enjoying the long ride with so many other mopeds. There were at least 300 other riders in the group. There was a guy on a white Tomos who rode with me for a while until we reached the park. Once at the park, he introduced himself and told me how much he loved my N. He wanted to ride it and kept asking if it was for sale. I told him it was for sale for the right price. He took the moped for a ride and ended up getting a ticket for passing a car in a no passing zone. When he returned he was bummed out about the ticket but said he had fallen in love with the N and had to have the moped. I never wanted to sell this moped, it was my first moped and I built it myself. I was also thinking about Anya, Ukraine, and how this might provide enough money for my ticket. I originally needed $700 but now it was more like $1000. I decided if I could sell the moped for enough to finance the trip to Ukraine I would sell it. I told the potential buyer the story and how much I needed and he agreed to the price. We made a plan that he could purchase the moped on Sunday before I left to return to Mpls. We met on Sunday and exchanged money and the moped. I was sad to see my moped go, but excited to be able to go to Ukraine.
When I told Anya I sold my moped and had enough money for the trip she was very excited but also sad that I sold my moped. She knew how much time I put into building it and how much it meant to me. We were also both very excited for the trip and to see each other.
In August I flow to Ukraine to meet her after 8 years. Anya was more beautiful then I remembered and all my feelings instantly returned. Ukraine was great. We drove all around, went to the black sea, stayed with friends, met lots of people, but most of all we were with each other again. It was really something else to see her and touch or in real life again. It was worth selling my N to see her again, but I was still sad I had too. She was very sorry I sold it and promised I would build another one, even better. When the trip was over I made her promise to come visit me in the US. We decided that Thanksgiving was coming up and would be a good time to come visit.
When she came in November I already had a ring and was ready to propose. In Ukraine they had a tradition to put locks on bridges with the couples initials on the. We did that and talked about doing it in Mpls when she visited. On thanksgiving day I took her to a bridge in the center of the city, The Walker Art Bridge. It connects Downtown with Uptown and all the major freeways run underneath it. To me it symbolizes all things coming together. I took her to this bridge and told her how I wanted to place a lock on it with her. She was really excited and wanted to see the lock, but I told her she had to wait. Once on the bridge I took her to the very middle and asked her if this spot was ok. She said it was perfect. I reached into my pocket to get the lock but did not have one. Instead I found the ring and presented her with it. I got down on one knee and told her how important she was to me and asked if she would make me the happiest man in the world by being my wife. She said Yes! After we kissed and held each other, we drove to my family for Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving dinner everyone was very excited and happy for us.
Anya had to go back to Ukraine, and we needed to file for her immigration. It was a long process to come before she could be here legally.
During this time I was building mopeds and had many. I still missed my N and wanted to build another one. There were so many things I now knew that would have made the build that much better. Anya always said I would find another one and make the best moped. I heard thru some people that an owner of a motorcycle shop had a Maxi N in storage that he wanted to sell. I looked up the shop and went and visited. The owner must have been in a good mood or just a generous guy. He let me have the Maxi N for $150. I was so happy to have another one. It was in rough shape but a perfect candidate.
The Twin Cities moped group was getting a lot bigger and more focused. The group was 12 core people who met every week and rode. There were up to 30 people in the cities that would ride with us and hang out. We called our group MPLS MOPEDS. After riding together for a couple years we decided to change our name to The Casserollers and become even more official. I became the president of the gang, we have a vise president (Greg), a page (Kim), an accountant (Decker) and 13 other members. We ride every Thursday, weekends, and meet and wrench in between.
I started tearing down the moped and figuring out what to do. I did not want to rush the build, I wanted to do it right this time. I also didn’t want to build it for me. I wanted to build it for my wife. I got the new N in winter of 09-10 and started the slow build. During this time of collecting parts I build many other mopeds. Learning new things and making new choices about what to do.
We are now married, we finished our legal process and Anya moved here in the fall of 2012. I continued working on her bike and finished it in this spring 2013. She loves it and comes on all of the gang rides.
I took everything off of the Maxi N. The only thing original is the frame. I collected parts to make the build.
Maxi N frame with custom top tube (powdered white)
Puch 5 star rims (powdered gold)
Front hub converted to 12mm sealed bearingst
SSR forks with custom triple tree (powdered black)
SSR disc brake caliper, master cylinder, and brake lever (powdered white)
Custom Clip-on bars with Casserollers Logo
Polini seat with custom Hydro Turf pad
Magnum pedal shaft with Italian crank arms
All City gold pedals
Gold pedal chain
Custom projector light (Suzuki Bandit)
E50 case matched for Polini
Polini 64cc cylinder
High torque head milled for higher compression
Lightened Main gear
Lightened clutch bell with custom roller bearing
Treats Gigator pipe with custom header
Lightened 3 shoe clutch with kick start springs and MLM brace.
Oko 28mm carb D slide