Saturday, September 13, 2014

In the work-stand: Early 1970's Torpado Alpha

Now that I am done with the campus bike project for my Niece its time to move onto the next bike in the queue while the weather is still nice.  I wrote about the Torpado here back in January, since my options were to work on a complete bike or build one up from a frame-set, old Motobecane Mirage, I went with the complete bike.

I've noticed that on last few projects that I have jumped right in without much thought to whether I had all the parts I needed, so for this project I decided to give my parts bin and the bike a careful going over.  That helped me realize that I did not need to order brake pads, but that I was out of new chains and 27" tubes.  It was pretty obvious I would need new tires.
"All Original"
One benefit of a careful inspection was I discovered something about my brake levers.
The sharp eyed will notice that the levers are not the same.  One is fairly nice with a built in quick release.
The other is a converted "safety lever" model and is a bit Rube Goldberg to my eye.
Call me anal but it would bug me to finish the bike with this set up, fortunately I have a nice set of drilled Weinmann's that I can use instead of the existing set.

However there is one issue, ain't that always the case!, the drilled levers have no clamps for the handlebars so I am hoping I can cannibalize the mismatched set to make this work.

Giving this bike a careful once over also made me realize I would need to change how I route the brake cables.  Normally I like to run the the right lever to the rear brake but on this bike there is internal routing for the rear brake cable on the left side of the top tube so using my normal routing would mean some messy cable routing, so for this rebuild I am going to run the left lever to the rear brake (which I believe is how motorcyclist run their brakes) to keep things tidy.

So now that I have things scoped out and all the parts assembled (I hope) the next step is to take this Italian beauty down to the frame and start the rebuild, and find out what I have missed ;-) 

Until next time; Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. I like how you assemble all the pieces and parts into a nice pile and organized mind.
    I'm confused, are you rebuilding the Torpado using parts from the Motobecane or visa versa.

    1. Hi Jim, Sorry for the confusion, the Torpado and the Motobecane are separate projects. The Torpado is keeping all its parts. I have a number of parts in the parts bin that will go into the Motobeane when its time for that project.

  2. When I find old dirty bikes of this quality, I re-purpose them as single speeds or fixed gears.

    I admire that you rebuild them to their 1970s bike boom glory. That is a ton of work, degreasing and getting everything working properly.

    Great blog, I just discovered and enjoy reading about the rebuilds.

    I am going to try the Meguiar's 3 step process on some of my old bikes.

    1. Klo - thanks for stopping by and thanks for the nice comments. Yeah it can be a bit of work but I do like the end results and the Sonic cleaner is good for cleaning up the smaller stuff, I have really been happy with the Meguair's 3 step process on the 2 bikes I have used it on.


    2. I wasn't able to find the 3 step process anywhere. I ended up using the Meguiars cleaner and wax on my raleigh international and I was impressed. Maybe they discontinued the 3 step process?

    3. As I recall when I got the Meguiars stuff it wasn't sold as a 3 pack I had to buy the 3 separate products; 1) Meguiar's A1216 Cleaner Wax - Liquid - 16 oz. 2) Meguiar's Deep Crystal Polish and 3) Meguiar's A2216 Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax. All 3 are available on Amazon

    4. Thanks! Looking forward to your next post

  3. I've been dicking around wirh bikes since the eighties. Thank goodness I'm not the only one who has spent hours looking at he order of headset components!!! Tie them together. What a tip!!!!