From reading old books, I knew how diverse the choices were back in the 70s: Batavus, Puch, Jawa, Peugeot, Motobecane, Solex, Garelli and many more. In 1996, there were only 3 brands available locally:
- Puch Korado - made in Slovakia by Jawa. I test rode it and it was fun until I hit a bump and engine died. I had to walk it back. It took me a while, they even got worried and sent a guy on a scooter to look for me :)
- Kinetic - made in India. This bike was the chepeast, but it was also single speed, so it was pretty sluggish to get going.
- Tomos - made in Slovenia. They actually had 3 models: Sprint (basic), Targa (turn signals and some cosmetic features added) and Targa LX (top-tank).
My mind was made up and I bought a Tomos Targa with a credit card (took me a year to pay it off).
New bike didn't have issues like old Sachs did, but it did take some getting used to. For example, using a choke to start it and knowing how cold start and warm start differ was a learning process. Once I couldn't start it when the engine was warm and had to walk it for half a mile before it cooled down... a year later I laughed, remembering how inexperienced I was.
I have ridden Tomos for years without any major issues. The joy it brought me is hard to quantify. Things changed when I bought a Vespa scooter. After that, Tomos spent most time sitting in the garage, until one day I decided that it deserves better, so I posted an ad, saying that I will give it away to someone who needs it and can pick it up. So, few weeks later, Tomos had a new owner and I am sure it was happily on the road again!