Make 125’s Great Again: ’51 Puch TT “Frankenstein”

Puch TT 125 Custom

From Acid Machine: 125cc Junkyard Dog… 

In 1899, inventor and mechanic Johann Puch founded his manufacturing firm in Graz, Austria, and soon began producing bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, and automobiles. Puch motorcars performed well in pre-war events like the Österreichische Alpenfahrt rally, and a supercharged split-single Puch won the 1931 German Gran Prix. However, the machines of rival firm DKW often came out on top.

By the late 1940s, Puch had recovered well enough from World War II to begin producing new models. One of these was the 125 TT, a twin-pipe lightweight machine.

“The ‘TT’ bore more than a passing visual resemblance to the RT 125 of their pre-war opposition, DKW. A neat lightweight, it achieved success in a bike-starved Europe.” –Bonhams

Puch 125 TT

More than seventy years later, industrial designer and high-performance mechanic Rafael Gianesella Galvão of Brazil’s Acid Machine Motorcycles needed something fun and unique to ride around the neighborhood of his São Paulo-based workshop. Instead of relying on a more common donor, Rafael pulled a ’51 Puch TT chassis from the junkyard and used it as the basis for a new build, reconstructing the frame around a slightly more modern 125cc engine.

“Two donor motorcycles were used. I used some frame parts from a junkyard 1951 Puch TT 125 and a 2005 Sundown Hunter 125 engine.”

Puch TT 125 Custom

As with many shop bikes, this “Frankenstein” Puch was built mainly with parts that Rafael already had lying around the Acid Machine garage, drawing inspiration from vintage flat track bikes and 50s European models.

It’s fun to see such an unexpected junkyard donor brought back to life, especially with a streamlined custom look that’s something between a bobber, tracker, and dirt bike. Rafael says this reborn Puch, which weighs just under 155 lbs, is a hoot to ride due to the extremely light weight and low center of gravity.

“It’s a lightweight motorcycle, about 70kg, with a single cylinder 125 cm3 aircooled OHC 4-stroke 2-valve engine, but with some pepper on it… Despite being a hardtail, the long spring seat and the 21-inch front wheel with hydraulic forks absorb impacts very well. And when accelerating, the sensation is totally raw and analog.”

Puch TT 125 Custom

We’ve rarely seen such an off-the-wall, eye-catching small-displacement shop bike — we’d love to give it a twist around São Paulo! Below, we talk to Rafael for more details on the build.

Puch TT Special: Builder Interview

Puch TT 125 Custom

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

Acid Machine Motorcycles is located in São Paulo, Brazil. We have kustom kulture as our soul and inspiration and specialize in motorcycle customization, with the ability to develop projects ranging from mechanical and structural components, development of customized pieces and parts, and the creation and execution of special paints and paint jobs.

Founded in 2011 by Industrial Designer and high-performance mechanic Rafael Gianesella Galvão, who has more than 10 years of experience in the customization field. The workshop emerged to serve the market with specialized labor and “know-how” in construction with different materials and excellence in finishes.

Puch TT 125 Custom

• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?

In this particular project, two donor motorcycles were used. I used some frame parts from a junkyard 1951 Puch TT 125 and a 2005 Sundown Hunter 125 engine.

• Why was this bike built? (Customer project, company promotion, personal, etc.)

This motorcycle was built just for fun, mainly for riding around the workshop neighbourhood. A collection of scrap parts available in the workshop were used and the entire structural part was completely built around the current engine. The frame was built from parts of a 1951 Puch TT chassis.

Puch TT 125 Custom

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

The build of this bike was inspired by the stance of the vintage flat track and European racing motorcycles from the late 40s and 50s.

• What custom work was done to the bike?

Every single part of this bike was restored, adapted, or machined to fit to a frame built over a bunch of junkyard parts.

Puch TT 125 Custom

• Does the bike have a nickname?

Frankenstein.

• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?

It’s a lightweight motorcycle, about 70kg, with a single cylinder 125 cm3 aircooled OHC 4-stroke 2-valve engine, but with some pepper on it. Producing probably 11 or 12 horsepower with a 5-speed transmission and a single carburetor This bike has a kick-start and electric start mechanism.

Puch TT 125 Custom

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

This motorcycle rides very easily due to its very low weight and extremely low center of gravity. Despite being a hard tail, the long spring seat and the 21-inch front wheel with hydraulic forks absorb impacts very well. And when accelerating, the sensation is totally raw and analog.

Puch TT 125 Custom

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

The idea was to save all possible parts from the 1951 Puch TT 125 from the junkyard.

• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

I would like to thank all the friends involved during the process who were able to contribute their ideas and opinions in any way.

Follow the Builder

Website: www.acidmachine.com.br
Instagram: @acid_machine

One Comment

  1. I can’t even say why but this is a cute little pea shooter! Would be a fun little shop bike or fun little run to the corner kind of bike.

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