When it comes to random vintage two-wheeled vehicles you don't see every day, it certainly seems like Wisconsin is the place. And if it's not the place, it is for sure a place.

I mean sure, it's the state that birthed Harley-Davidson. But beyond its most famous contribution to the two-wheeled world, speaking purely from years of observation from a neighboring state, there seem to be an awful lot of cool and interesting old bikes just gathering dust in random places up there. 

Either that or Joe from 2Vintage is skewing my perception somewhat because he just keeps digging up gems. I'd totally be willing to accept this as a possibility, except I've been to plenty of vintage bike events in Wisconsin that have shown me otherwise. The Badger State's full of some cool, weird stuff, and also people who enjoy and appreciate it, and I like it.

On to today's example, which is a 1965 Tatran Manet 125 scooter, a Czech marque, and as 2V starts to dig into the thing, that means you'll see some Czech components pop up upon closer inspection.

There's a set of what appear to be original Barum tires on the scooter (a company that still exists and is now owned by Continental AG), but despite their advancing age, they don't actually look too bad on visual inspection, either. [Editor's note: Please, for the love of all that's holy, change your 40-year-old tires.]

It's clear from a general visual inspection of the rest of this scoot that it must have lived the majority of its life indoors, guarded from the elements. 

According to what the seller told 2V, it's believed that this scooter hasn't run in about 40 years. It only has 20 miles on the odometer, and the visual condition does look surprisingly nice given its age. It's not pristine, but even the seat cover isn't nearly as bad as you might expect if this scoot had lived a rougher life. For heaven's sake, I've personally seen windscreens in worse shape on much younger bikes.

While the shell is indeed made of steel, it has these cool little doors that open up on either side of the saddle. At first glance, you might expect that they're some kind of storage cubbies, but no! They're access ports to get to the engine, so you don't have to take the entire shell off for simple maintenance jobs. There's even a neat little round port for easy access to the spark plug, so it's clear that whoever designed this thing was thinking about packaging for ease of regular maintenance.

Nice work, Tatran!

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Up front, there's a cubby that looks like it might be some type of glove box. Instead, it appears to be where two six-volt batteries are wired in to feed what appears to be a 12V system. There's also a smaller metal panel inside the outer panel that has both a fuse box and a mouse nest hidden underneath. Luckily, the mouse has moved on, and there's only some slight chew damage to a few of the wires inside. The fuses all have continuity upon testing, which is another good sign.

There's plenty more to see once 2V takes the metal shell off the engine, from a neat little cover that slides over the points (you knew those were coming; don't tell me you didn't at least suspect, given the age of this scoot) to a simple and straightforward little Ikov carburetor. (Incidentally, Ikov is another Czech brand and one that was also used by the original Jawa in at least some of its motorcycles.)

He does the normal tests you'd expect. The only thing he did before buying this scoot was check to see if the engine kicked over and wasn't stuck, and it wasn't. So now it's time to check for spark, compression, and fueling. The carb needs a clean, and a new bit of clear fuel line and a fuel filter just to make it easy to see if the fuel is flowing the way it's supposed to. The fuel tank only shows a little bit of surface rust inside, but nothing at all to be concerned about. He also cleans up the points with a file, because of course.

The little Tatran has a left-side heel-toe manual gear shift, a left-hand clutch and a right-hand brake lever and foot pedal. The airbox is a strange metal capsule shape, and is really cool to look at on its own, even before you realize what it is. 

But Does It Run?

I usually don't like to spoil a video like this, because it's so much better if you watch it and see for yourself. But there's more to this video than just whether the Tatran 125 will run or not.

After a little basic maintenance and cleaning, it fires right up. Not only that, it fires up so strong, it almost bursts right off of its built-in center stand. When 2V first starts it, he has his garage door closed, and all those lovely two-stroke fumes had me practically begging my computer screen to open the door. I mean, the guy clearly knows what he's doing, but a headache is a headache.

So, it runs! Not only that, but it runs so well that he hops on and takes it for a little test ride. Now, at this point, I got slightly concerned, only because while he did check the right-hand brake lever and saw that it grabbed earlier, it didn't appear that he checked the condition of the brakes (at least, on camera). However, it seemed like it was stopping well enough, and so he had a little test ride and then brought it back into park for the night.

And that's when it all went wrong. It's not totally clear what happened yet, but he thinks that leaving it sitting on a battery tender overnight fried the ignition coil.

That's right; it was running beautifully, and now it's not. It's the central statement of many a vintage bike enthusiast, demonstrated handily in a single video.

The sweet taste of successful diagnostic glory! The heartbreak of "oh no, what have I done?"! The sheer drama of it all!

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