Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

With no load in my front forks, there's about 1/2" slop before the springs begin to compress. When I pull the front brake and push down, I find a little slop. Should I put in spacers; or replace the fork springs? Could the coils be fatigued, since they're from the year '78?

They seem to be functional and there's no clinking or clacking when the forks rebound, but I have that slop, and there's no damping that I can tell as well.

What are the options?

בס'ד

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Like I said in the other thread, take them all apart, clean, grease, look for loose or bad hardware, reassemble

It's in the puch service manual

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

remove forks, throw them away, get some EBR hydro dampened forks (from treatland or a newer tomos)

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Sounds to me two things are happening, 1 the top aluminium threaded coupler is stripped or 2 the bottom part of the fork has stretched past the captive weld part of the fork. Remove your wheel and pull on each fork one at a time. if one pulls out you have a serious problem, If both come out its really bad. finding springs or the top coupler are pretty hard, so I would shop around for a decent used fork or just get a new fork set up all together. Hope this helps!!!

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

I've gotten some specifications now, for two other Puch mopeds. Are either of these specifications compatible to apply to the '78 Sears Free Spirit? Can I go with either of these spring sizes? Images are below: (edited)

FFMaxi.png
FFMagnumll.png

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

Just answered my own question (possibly). I found this on the Treatland online catalogue:

Treatland - Aftermarket Free Spirit Forks

I just would like to replace the springs and bushings though, I am not yet ready to assume that the entire fork assembly is necessarily in need of replacement.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Sadly it is highly unlikely you are going to find NOS replacement springs and bushings for these forks. Your best options are to 1. measure the components and remanufacture your own replacements, 2. replace with a more modern EBR fork, or Magnum MKII hydro forks if you can source them.

Keep in mind that these forks were never highly technical to begin with. Pretty much the bare minimum for shock absorption, with like a 160 lb rider in mind.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

I don’t know if the springs are the same in a Maxi, but:

https://www.sundaymorningmotors.com/Puch-Maxi-Fork-Spring-p/c001088.htm

Also, the Red FreeSpirits have shorter forks than the Silver.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

They are not the same as maxi

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Yeah with my series b and Murray build I'm working on I bought a bogus set of "heavy duty Murray fork spring" that are no where near right.... I bought a used Murray fork complete and the springs are pretty good and then for the series b I got lucky with a local find from a member on here and got a deal on a nice set of springs. I bought a Maxi speedo cable thinking it was long enough for the series b... nope.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

I'm not sure but if Treats doesn't have the correct length for the Sears Free Spirit.

I measured my fork length from center of the axel to the top triple tree, it was 25 3/8" or about 645mm. Treats only has either 27" or 23" as far as I can see. The forks on this Deluxe should be the same as a Puch Magnum ll (not the Mk II) according to what I am seeing. I am trying to avoid having to change my speedometer and brake cables.

What about these from eBay, they are the correct length and come with a triple tree:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/303691751010

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

The freespirit forks are the same as the magnum length forks.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

I can confirm the fact that magnum ii and free spirit forks are identical. I've owned both bikes and have the magnum ii forks on a maxi now. I'm pretty sure they measure to 27 inches. I'll measure them when I get home later if I remember.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

> Matt Mulligan wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> ... the fact that magnum ii and free spirit forks are identical. ...

> ... I'm pretty sure they measure to 27 inches. ...

Thanks. I really am curious to see how they measure out!

According to Treatland, the Magnum ll are identical to the Free Spirit 'Deluxe' but the other two Free Spirits have their own forks, as do Maxis, Magnums, and Magnum lls. This is also reflected in the repair manual, there are definitely three different sets of Free Spirit forks, depending on what model. There is a note at the bottom of one of the descriptions, in the feedback section:

They describe Magnums as being 27" and Maxis as being 23".

When I measured my forks, from the centre of the axel and the bottom of the upper triple tree, they measured 25 3/8" or just under 25.5".

I'd like to see how your Magnum ll forks measure out, since according to the above chart, they aren't the same as both the Magnum Mk ll, Magnum XK, the Maxi and the original Magnum. If the Magnum ll's are the same as the Free Spirit Deluxe, then they should only be around 25.5", not 27".

I'm concerned, because even only adding 1.5" to the fork length may mean issues with cables getting too short or needing to be replaced or rerouted; as well the reviewers reporting that after replacing shorter forks with longer ones meant that the cycle couldn't be started on the stand any more, due to the rear wheel being forced down too close to the pavement. But subtracting 2.5" from the fork length will mean less ground clearance for going over bumps.

I don't mind more ground clearance but I'm not prepared at this point to start fooling around with new cables. Also, if the forks are going to be extended 1.5" then my brand new shocks are now going to be a bit shorter than I'd like. Which means I may need a new chain if I get longer shocks.

So I'm trying to be careful about this and match the 25.5" length if and when I replace the forks.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

I can respect your concerns, but there is so much more to swapping forks than the relatively minor hassle of installing new cables. Those Amazon ones you posted, while potentially the correct length, will likely require extensive mods to use with the rest of your stock components. Plus they look like even if they do fit the stem, they will raise up the handlebar mount position compared to stock, which means - yup longer cables.

The simplest swap would be with another used Puch set or with an EBR set specifically meant to work with Puch loose bearing drum brake wheels. Those options will allow you to use the same headset cups, bearings, wheel axles and hardware, brake hubs, handlebars, etc that are on your existing bike.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

I should have specified but I did mean the free spirit deluxe being the same as magnum ii.

Mine measure to about 25 3/4. They're also pretty clapped. Not as clapped as the maxi forks were though which measure under 22. So an inch or so of sag doesn't seem out of this realm.

20220914_210725.jpg
16632045777796826551908945324275.jpg

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

> Matt Mulligan wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> ... I did mean the free spirit deluxe being the same as magnum ii. ...

> ... Mine measure to about 25 3/4. They're also pretty clapped ...

Thanks so very much. This really helps to add needed clarity to the situation.

By golly if I don't have the same kind of key-chain tape measure that your photo shows!!

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

> Mike Boyd wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> I can respect your concerns but ... the simplest swap would be with another used Puch set or with an EBR set ...

So, if I try this set from Treatland's warehouse, I may need cables. Otherwise I'm set that it's going to bolt up straight away? I know with the rear dampers, the eyelets needed 8mm bushings that had not been included, though the site has them available to be ordered; do I need any extras that anyone knows of, to swap these into a '78 Free Spirit Deluxe? These are the ones I'm probably going for:

Description from the site: These work perfectly as a replacement for trashed magnum forks with an upgraded reinforced top plate and fork stabilizer.

Head tube is 180mm - 55mm of threading. Thread OD is 26mm x 1mm - for Puch and Tomos compatibility.

(Maxi EBR's are 23 inches; These Magnum EBR's are 27 inches).

Fork tube diameter is 28mm so when you're picking clip ons make sure you get the right size! Top plate has cups for the fork legs to fit into for extra reinforcement.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Yes, assuming you can get your bearing race removed from your original forks to use on the stem for those EBRs, it should be pretty much as bolt-and-go as anything in mopeds can be. There will be small things you will have to address depending on what you are trying to achieve, for example I'm not positive that fork brace will allow you to use your stock fender as well, so you will have to choose. The dropouts might be a little wider (not sure about that) so one or two extra washers might be needed for wheel spacing, etc.

Nothing in mopeds is perfect, there will always be small problems to solve.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

> Mike Boyd wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> ... assuming you can get your bearing race removed from your original forks to use on the stem for those EBRs, ...

> will have to address depending on what you are trying to achieve, for

> ... I'm not positive that fork brace will allow you to use your stock fender ...

> ... Nothing in mopeds is perfect, there will always be small problems ...

Yes, the front fender is riveted to the stock fork brace. I thought it was just a flimsy mounting bracket up to now, but the Puch factory put an actual fork brace between the forks and riveted the fender to it. It will need to be drilled out, and the new brace will probably need to be drilled for the new rivets.

I don't think I have the facilities at the moment for this large of a project. Since I'm already going to leave town next week; and since I'm going to be lodging the moped at NYC Mopeds in Brooklyn, what if I just have the forks shipped there? Maybe they'll get tired of looking at the moded with those EBR forks just sitting there and maybe they'll try to put them on so when I come back to town and pick up the moped, they will have the new forks on without my having to lift a finger?

Or, I could just contract with them to install the forks instead. Probably that would make more sense. Seriously, though, I don't know but if it's a bit too much for me to do on the sidewalk. A headlight is one thing. Rear dampers is another thing. But, a front fork assembly with the triple trees and cables, with the handlebars and the wheel with the brake hub and the whole shebang? If I had a garage it would be different. Sheesh.

We'll see how it goes. If anything, it will give me something to look forward to, for when I come back to town in October. At least, now, I know which forks I want.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

I ordered the new forks from Treatland, the ones in the above post, and they should be installed by next week, so I'll be able to give a review soon. Probably after breaking them in, and maybe a short synopsis of how they are right at first.

ANOTHER NOTE: I asked for a few quotes from several spring manufacturers, giving them the specifications from the online repair manual, regarding the stock springs from the Puch Magnum ll (images in the earlier post above). One of the manufacturers responded, and there's an image of the quote below. It is obvious they can manufacture new springs for the stock forks, but it seems that ordering in bulk is the key. Also, we'd need to be absolutely certain that the specifications are correct, but as for the prices, I'm fairly confident that the prices below are comparable:

2022-10-21-1351-19_Screenshot.png

If I only order two, it ends up costing more than a run of ten, (in a separate email). As anyone can see, ordering a run of 100 is only nominally more costly than a run of only 10. So, by looking at the above estimate, it's only under $12 each per spring, which might seem feasible - this is the size for either a Puch Magnum ll or a Free Spirit Deluxe, but going by this estimate, I'd guess that any similarly sized spring would be of a comparable tariff (per spring).

They're in Brooklyn, so once my old forks are removed, I can schlep over there and show them the original springs, to get an accurate size assessment.

Maybe one of the suppliers would be interested in getting involved with this? Swapping out two springs in the front forks is a lot less work than changing the entire front end. (edited)

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

Much better than the old forks. They are so new. They're completely stiff - I can't compress them at all when parked. Compared to the original, sloppy forks, which compressed any time you even looked at them. I'm not used to them yet but the ride is very solid. It's a little dangerous, when I tried to hop a curb, the forks held stiff, and I dumped on my right side, trying to go over a wet gutter coming from a 45° angle. Obviously need some riding to break them in. They're very satisfying to ride in comparison with the old forks though, so far. Corning especially is much better and should continue to improve as they break in.

I am anxious to get some miles on them so they'll start to soften up a little.

IMG_20221031_093856330.jpg

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

It's been a week of daily driving or so, I have not seen much change in the forks yet.

When I try to compress the forks with the front brake locked, there's no travel. Also when I go over bumps, so far, the only dampening in the front is from the air in my front tire.

When I go back to the moped shop, later in the week, I'm going to show them this. Is there any chance that there is some kind of stop that needed to be removed when the new forks were installed, that is preventing them from compressing?

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

So, I took it to the shop. They did the same thing I did. When they do it, the forks are traveling. The shop owner showed me, and there was about 1" of travel when he pushed down on the front wheel. Albeit, when I do it, nothing happens. They are still extremely stiff.

I hope the front forks break in more than this. I'm riding over all the bumps and not feeling any compression/dampening yet; maybe it's my imagination. Still, they've only got a tiny amount of miles on them. It's not been more than a few weeks. They probably just need to be ridden more.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

So, I wrote that guide as I work almost exclusively in puchs and the main takeaway I was trying to convey was the relation to which forks go with what fenders.

Free spirits have two different forks and only the regular free spirt uses the combos it does.

Free spirit deluxe uses the exact same fender and forks as a magnum 2

Regular free spirit has a lower fender brace that is exactly like a maxi lower brace except its much shorter and it mounts to small tabs on the back of the forks instead of he axle.

As far as the deluxe/magnum 2 fender is concerned, those rivets always get loose and rattle like hell. Drill em out and replace them with hardware.

Either way, there is no direct aftermarket magnum 2/freespirit deluxe option, but those do allow the resuse of your old fender due to thier rear tabs.

If your regular freespirit forks get replaced with ebrs, they will need lower braces from a maxi, freespirit deluxe need those tabs to work

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

That's one of the reasons I selected the model that included a heavy looking brace.

I've been driving them for a while now, and they're getting a little softer, but I still can't get any travel out of them when I lean on the bike. I don't even really feel them compressing at all when I hit bumps; then again, I KNOW that they're softer now than when they were brand new. I don't know if they're ever going to break in much more than they are now, but we'll see how they are as time goes on.

They corner much better at road speed than the originals, but the originals were more maneuverable at parking lot speed, even if they were floppy and soft on the main road. I could really avoid obstacles while just tooling around much easier with the original forks, as in approaching a parking spot; but the new forks are much less annoying when I'm actually going somewhere.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

In your other post about the cap falling off it seems the shop isn't the greatest. Also could be a chance that when they put the front wheel on it needed a spacer and they just cranked the nuts down and now the forks are binding as they are not parallel to each other? Loosen the bolts on the wheel and see what happens? Also could be the opposite. They may have pryed them open to make them fit. I had a set of those before and was not super impressed with them. They didn't have much travel at all and you had to have the fork brace or they would twist bad.

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Kelikaku קוטין /

Several months later - report on how the new forks are working out. They were extremely stiff on installation, and I was expecting them to break in. I was expecting them to soften up. When they were new, I could not get any compression out of them at all. They were very close to if not exactly like, having absolutely no springing at all.

2023-02-05-124039.png

Well, after working them if for a few months, now, they don't seem to be any softer. There is no springing when I go over bumps that I can tell. They're completely stiff, close to having no front suspension at all.

They look great, and the cornering at speed is very solid, but as far as I can tell, they're about the same as having no front suspension at all. I'll continue to monitor them, and ride them, but if I had to suggest anything to EBR about these forks, I'd tell them that the springs are too heavy.

These are the forks being referred to:

puch EBR BLACK magnum forks WITH stabilizer + reinforced top plate

I can't recommend these to anyone at this point, unless you just want them to look good without any mechanical benefit. I'm pretty heavy and I've been riding these pretty hard for a few months, and they have little to no compression even on the hardest bumps.

EBR if you are reading this, your forks need softer springs!

Re: Play in Front Forks of the Puch Free Spirit

Ok. So, you replaced the old, soft, made for 25mph worn out forks and replaced them with performance\racing forks.

They should be stif. That feeling you have when you corner and it is all solid. That is how it should feel. I am sure the ones you have are just the spring ones vs the hydro style ones they offer. The spring ones are usually stiff and there is not much that can be done about it. But it is acting as it should. If it got soft all of a sudden that is a problem. This is the safest way to have your bike set up. Especially if you are going over 30mph and may really lean into a turn.

Good luck and ride safe.

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