MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

BILL'S TORPADO - INTRO

FINDING BILL'S TORPADO

BUILDING BILL'S TORPADO

UPGRADING BILL'S TORPADO

RIDING BILL'S TORPADO 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

BUILDING BILL'S TORPADO LUXE

The first thing I do, with an old road bike frame that I plan to build up, is ensure that it is geometrically sound.  If the set is out of alignment, and many are, can it be repaired?  These are fundamental questions, that must be addressed BEFORE restoration begins.  Spending a bunch of time, effort and money restoring a bent frame set is a bad idea.  I know, I have done this and hope to warn others against doing so themselves.  And one other thing - most old frame sets are not straight!  Over the years, they get tweaked, this way or that, until their geometry is altered.  Repairs, of minor irregularities, are not that difficult, for just about anyone to make, once you know what to do, and how to do it.

The frame set tested to be quite true and, as I expected, the chrome cleaned up really well.  The result after, a couple of hours effort, was an incredible metamorphosis.  The caterpillar became the butterfly.  That rusty old bicycle frame emerged, as a glowing, shiny thing, that proved to be difficult to photograph. And, this would be a good time to comment on chrome quality.  Vintage Italian chrome plating is excellent!  It has that "deep" look to it, and stands the test of time, very well.  I cannot say the same for the chrome work from other countries.

The Torpado's frame set is not made from exotic materials.  High tensile steel tubing, ending in pressed steel drops, can hardly be considered impressive.  However, the workmanship is Italian and pretty good.  The pressed steel drops are properly aligned and cleanly installed.  They are sturdy units, but like all pressed steel drops, lack the strength that forged units offer.

Frame preparation issues do present themselves, when the lug installations are considered.  There are some light file marks and even a casting mark, or two.  And that is just fine with me.  The Torpado Luxe is not a high end bicycle.  It is not made of the finest materials.  And, it was not built by the finest craftsman.  Finally, it is really difficult to hide flaws, under a chrome plated surface.  Every booboo shows!  In all fairness, to the person who built this old road bike frame and fork set, - nice job!

And, the lug work deserves a bit of attention, not only because of its preparation, but also because of design.  I, personally, like windows in lugs.  They add a little something extra, that serves no functional purpose, other than to, perhaps, trim a gram or two off the weight.  Hardly the sort of thing one would feel, in the seat of his or her, pants.  However, from an aesthetics point of view, the windows work.  Filled with a contrasting paint color, they stand out wonderfully and add great vintage appeal, to an already appealing old road bicycle.

Even the bottom bracket has been granted the window treatment.  Few bicycle bottom bracket housings are prettied up, as are the Torpado's.  And the effect, once again, adds to the vintage appeal of this nice old Italian bicycle.

With the frame set both straight and shiny, it was time to look at the frame mechanics.  Three cavities always need attention, when refurbishing a vintage road bicycle frame and fork set.  With the cavities prepared, both the original head set, and cottered bottom bracket, were installed and adjusted to spec.  However, the bottom bracket would later be replaced, with a square taper unit, that would work with the Nervar crank set, Bill had decided to include, as an upgrade.

I set the bicycle up temporarily, with unintended handlebars, since the bars I wanted to use were in the city, at the time and I was building Bill's Torpado, at my summer cottage.  I wanted to send Bill an update, on how his bicycle was coming along.  And, as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words.  I might add, that when building a bicycle for someone else, I try to send build updates every day, with the hope of keeping, the soon to be new owner, in the build loop.  And, to add a bit of fun to the entire experience.  Several people have taken advantage of this service and I really like to provide it for them.

Needless to say, Bill was impressed with the pictures, even though they show little detail (chrome is very hard to photograph).  The build continued.  However, Bill had decided to do some upgrading to the bicycle, focusing on Campy componentry.

NEXT - UPGRADING BILL'S TORPADO LUXE

 

 

 

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