MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

TORPADO SR - INTRO

FINDING THE TORPADO SR

BUILDING THE TORPADO SR

RIDING THE TORPADO SR

THE TORPADO RESTORED

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

RIDING THE TORPADO SUPER RACING

Though the as found tires on the Torpado were beyond safe to use, they did hold air.  Pumped to 80psi, the early eighties Italian steed and I walked up the gravel laneway, seeking a reasonably smooth surface to test ride the bicycle on.  The day of the Torpado's test ride saw the front street still completely destroyed, thanks to the construction that had been ongoing for the previous two weeks.

Once onto a smoother surface, the bike was put through only the most fundamental of its paces.  In fact, the only thing that was considered was whether or not the bicycle would ride as true as the measuring had indicated.  And the bike did ride true and felt pretty good doing so, keeping in mind that there was no shifting of gears, or slamming on of brakes or swooping around corners.  The shredded and highly pressurized front tire encouraged caution.

But the bicycle did feel good, even though it was not tested properly.  The real testing would take place over the next several weeks.  The Torpado would be sharing what was left of this season's ride weather with another newly acquired and prepared Italian stallion, a seventies something Maserati as well as an equally enticing Motobécane Grand Jubileé.  Between the three bikes and three months of good riding season left, they should reveal a bit about themselves.

Time will tell if that fancy, found at the Dump Cinelli saddle is worth its reputation, assuming that it even has a reputation.  Though the saddle still looks dirty, it did clean up a bit, as did the bar tape that came with the bicycle.  To that, add the off-white hoods, selected to keep the theme consistent.  All in all, not a penny spent and the results work very well, blending patinas of age all but perfectly.

Of course and sometimes, saving a penny or two does not get the job done.  I an effort to keep costs down, the original handlebar tape was left in place.  No thought was given to lever placement, hoping that the levers would be well enough positioned to suit the new rider - not!

The levers were miserably uneven, as mounted.  This had not even be considered, or noticed, until the rider's hands came to rest on the hoods.  Then the situation could not go unnoticed!  Further investigation revealed improperly taped handlebars.  Needless to say, the as found bar tape would be coming off and that would mean rethinking the choice of hoods and saddle.  Considerable thought was given to going with the three in black in keeping with the near all black art work of the bicycle, itself.

When considering the aesthetics of the Torpado, is became clear that extra color would be too much, drawing attention to itself and away from the bicycle.  That considered, the TTT Competizione handlebars were wrapped with a cork/rubber compound tape, black being selected in keeping with the simply stated art adorning the Torpado.

Though black would have been the most appropriate choice for hoods, no black hoods were tucked away and alternate choices would have to be considered.  Gum rubber would do, but not a NOS set of Campy gum rubbers.  Modolo hoods were selected because they were the next most appropriate set available.  And, they are very comfortable, be they white or gum rubber color.

That left the saddle, and wouldn't you know it.  A friend donated a drop dead gorgeous 1984 Brooks Professional saddle to the Torpado.  And that saddle had less than twenty miles on it.  Perfect!!!  The Brooks Pro found itself fitted to the bicycle not long after my soon to be retired chum left.

Though the bicycle is being ridden with tubular tires, chances are a set of clincher hoops will be installed before long.  Simply put, the tubulars are too expensive and less than user friendly, should they flat out.  However, for the first little while, the sew-ups remain, even though they have seen better days and were, quite frankly, unsafe to use.

With the tire question raging, it was a complete surprise to find a set of near identical clincher wheels in The Old Shed.  The wheel set had been removed from a 1983 Gardin Anniversary Special, put away in The Old Shed and pretty much forgotten.  Fitted with Mavid Open 4 CD clincher rims and good tires, the problem was solved.

Did the clincher wheels impact the ride quality of the Torpado?  Not really, at least not in the seat of the pants sense.  Simply put, the sew-ups were not tested long enough to form an opinion, one way or the other.  And, with that in mind, no preference can be, or will be, given to either system.  Know only that both wheel sets offered decent ride quality.

Once fitted with tires, that appeared to be safe to use, the Torpado was put through its paces.  The bicycle accelerates quickly and is very agile.  In fact, the bicycle could be said to border on being a bit twitchy, particularly when first getting accustomed to the way the bike rides.

Once ridden and tested, it was pretty obvious that the bicycle needed a bit more TLC to make it road worthy.  With that in mind a full refurbishment was undertaken, with the target being to get the bike looking good and running the way it was supposed to.

NEXT - THE TORPADO COMPLETED

 

 

 

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