Tag Archives: 44-16

A Guide to Famous Torker Bikes

As I did my research for To the Max, I came across a wide variety of Torker bicycles, some produced and sold by Torker, some individually built to the personal spec of Torker Factory Team riders and others offered by Torker Distributors. What follows is a list of those bikes and their specifications as best as I was able to determine. I plan to add a few others in the near future.

Torker MX in the Oct. 1977 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: Torker 4130 Chromoly, MX
  • Forks: Speedo (bent during test)
  • Headset:
  • Stem: Ashtabula Single-Clamp
  • Handlebars: Box-Type
  • Grips: Unknown
  • Brake Lever: N/A
  • Seat Clamp: Steel Band
  • Seat Post: Unknown
  • Saddle: Elina Super-Pro Padded Saddle
  • BB: Unknown
  • Cranks: Takagi 7-inch
  • Spider: Addicks
  • Chainring: Addicks
  • Pedals: KKT Rat Trap
  • Brake Calipers: N/A
  • Wheels: Araya Steel Rims, Sunshine Black Alloy Front Hub and Bendix Coaster Brake, 105-Gauge Spokes
  • Tires: Cheng Shin
  • Geometry and other facts:
  • Stickers: Red or yellow, Johnson Engineering MX headbadge, lightning-bolt logo down tube stickers and either two “Chrome Moly” stickers or nothing on the seat tube.
  • Retail Price: $210 on the West Coast; $220 on the East Coast.

Torker L.P.G.T. in Mid-1978 Ads

  • Frame:Torker 4130 chromoly, L.P.G.T. with European bottom bracket shell
  • Forks: Torker
  • Headset: Unknown
  • Stem: MCS 6-bolt
  • Handlebars: New Torker Alloy
  • Grips: Unknown
  • Brake Lever: Shimano Pre-Bent
  • Seat Clamp: Steel Band
  • Seat Post: Unknown
  • Saddle: Unknown
  • BB: Unknown
  • Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Pedals: KKT Rat Trap
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano
  • Wheels: Alloy, but Unknown
  • Tires: Cycle Pro Snake Belly
  • Geometry and other facts: The L.P. had an 18.5-inch top tube, dual head tube gussets, a round brake bridge, a relaxed 64-degree seat tube angle and was available in chrome, red, blue, black and white. The July 1978 Torker Dealer Catalog, which was never distributed, shows a gold option and no white option. No gold Torkers are known to exist. Serial numbers for Torker frames made through 1978 were on the bottom bracket shell. It is assumed the serial numbers ended with “L,” for L.P.
  • Stickers: Red or yellow MX headbadge (unlikely Johnson Engineering version), lightning-bolt logo down tube stickers and two “Chrome Moly” stickers on the seat tube. Forks have lightning-bolt logo. The logo on the new vinyl pads is in the original Torker logo font—the lightning bolt logo—but minus the lightning bolt.
  • Retail Price: Unknown, but the wholesale price was $185.

Maxflyte in Various 1979 Ads and Catalogs

  • Frame: Torker 4130 Chromoly L.P. with American or European BB Options
  • Forks: Torker
  • Headset: Tange
  • Stem: Torker
  • Handlebars: Torker Alloy V-bar
  • Grips: Oakley
  • Brake Lever: Shimano Pre-Bent
  • Seat Clamp: Steel Band
  • Seat Post: Alloy Fluted
  • Saddle: Unknown
  • BB: Tange
  • Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace or 600
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Shimano
  • Pedals: KKT Rat Trap
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney
  • Wheels: Araya alloy 7C rims, Shimano Cassette Hubs
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Comp II
  • Geometry and other facts:
  • Stickers: Red MX headbadge new non-lightning bolt down tube stickers, one 4130 Chomemoly seat tube sticker. Fork stickers are new non-lightning bolt logo.
  • Retail Price: $288.75, jumped to $318.75 in 1980.

Torkflyte in Various 1979 Ads and Catalogs

  • Frame: Torker 4130 chromoly or mild-steel L.P.
  • Forks: Torker
  • Headset: Tange
  • Stem: Torker
  • Handlebars: Torker Alloy
  • Grips: Unknown
  • Brake Lever: Shimano
  • Seat Clamp: Steel Band
  • Seat Post: Unknown
  • Saddle: Unknown
  • BB: Tanke
  • Cranks: Takagi Chromoly OP
  • Spider: Takaig
  • Chainring: Takagi/Shimano
  • Pedals: KKT Rat Trap
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney
  • Wheels: Araya 7C, Shimano Cassette Hubs
  • Tires: Unknown
  • Geometry and other facts: Available in all the Torker colors with contrasting anodized parts (gold, blue).
  • Stickers: Red MX headbadge new non-lightning bolt down tube stickers, one 4130 Chomemoly seat tube sticker on chromoly frame and none on mild-steel frame. Fork stickers are new non-lightning bolt logo.
  • Retail Price: $209.75 in mild-steel; $239.75 in chromoly.

Everything Bicycles Special Tork Pro in Jan./Feb. 1979 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: Torker 4130 Chromoly or Mild-Steel L.P. (chrome)
  • Forks: Torker (chrome)
  • Headset: Tange (chrome)
  • Stem: MCS 6-Bolt (silver)
  • Handlebars: Alloy (blue)
  • Grips: Oakley 1 (yellow)
  • Brake Lever: Dia-Compe Pre-Bent band-clamp (silver) with blue rubber sleeve
  • Seat Clamp: PL-1 (silver)
  • Seat Post: Alloy Fluted (blue)
  • Saddle: Unknown Suede (blue?)
  • BB: Unknown
  • Cranks: Suntour VX (blue)
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Suntour (blue)
  • Pedals: Reedy
  • Brake Calipers: Dia-Compe 890 (blue)
  • Wheels: Araya 7b Rims (silver) Unknown (Bullseye?) Small-Flange Hubs (blue)
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Comp II (blue 2.125 & 1.75)
  • Geometry and other facts: Yellow Torker pads. Everything Bicycles designed the parts packages for its bike dealers and sold them disassembled and shipped them in two boxes, one for the frame and fork and one for the parts.
  • Stickers: Has standard stickers, but two Chromemoly seat tube stickers
  • Retail Price: $495

Everything Bicycles Special Torkflyte in Jan./Feb. 1979 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: Torker 4130 Chromoly L.P. (white)
  • Forks: Torker (white)
  • Headset: Tange (chrome)
  • Stem: MCS 6-Bolt (red)
  • Handlebars: Alloy (blue)
  • Grips: Oakley 1 (yellow)
  • Brake Lever: Dia-Compe Pre-Bent Band-Clamp (silver) with Rubber Sleeve (blue)
  • Seat Clamp: PL-1 (silver)
  • Seat Post: Alloy Fluted (blue)
  • Saddle: Unknown Nylon (blue)
  • BB: Unknown
  • Cranks: Suntour VX (blue)
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Suntour (blue)
  • Pedals: Unknown Rat Trap
  • Brake Calipers: Dia-Compe 890 (blue)
  • Wheels: Araya 7C Rims (blue) Unknown Large-Flange Hubs (blue)
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Comp II (blue 2.125 & 1.75)
  • Geometry and other facts: Blue Torker pads. Everything Bicycles designed the parts packages for its bike dealers and sold them disassembled and shipped them in two boxes, one for the frame and fork and one for the parts.
  • Stickers: Standard
  • Retail Price: $369.95

Eddy King’s Race Bike in June 1980 issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: E.K. Replica, European BB (chrome)
  • Forks: Torker (chrome)
  • Headset: Tange
  • Stem: Torker (gold)
  • Handlebars: Torker alloy V-bar (gold)
  • Grips: Grab-On (first-gen)
  • Brake Lever: Shimano Pre-Bent (gold) with Rubber Sleeve (black)
  • Seat Clamp: Addicks (black)
  • Seat Post: Chromoly
  • Saddle: Cinelli Unicanitor (black)
  • BB: Phil Wood No. 3
  • Cranks: Campagnolo Gran Sport (G.S.) 170
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Dia Compe 44T (black)
  • Pedals: KKT Rat Trap (filed)
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney (gold) with Mathauser Finned Pads
  • Wheels: Araya 7b rims, Phil Wood hubs (36H), 80-60-Gauge Stainless Steel Spokes
  • Tires: Cheng Shin 1.75 Front; Mitsuboshi Competition II 1.75 Rear
  • Freewheel: Suntour 16T
  • Geometry and other facts: The E.K. Replica has the same geometry as the L.P. The only difference is a European bottom bracket shell.
  • Stickers: Eddy’s personal bike had the yellow headbadge and the lightning-bolt Torker logo down tube stickers used on the pre-1979 frames. The red headbadge and non-lightning blot down tube tickers were stock on the Eddy King Replica frames sold by Torker. (Eddy’s personal bike may have been an earlier 1978 frame.)
  • Retail Price: Unknown

Maxflyte in Dec. 1980 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: Torker 4130-chromoly L.P. in Standard, Long or European B.B. (Formerly the E.K. Replica) models in chrome, red, blue, white or black with blue, red or gold components
  • Forks: Torker
  • Headset: Tange
  • Stem: Torker
  • Handlebars: Torker Alloy
  • Grips: Finishline
  • Brake Lever: Shimano Pre-Bent
  • Seat Clamp: Addicks
  • Seat Post: Chromoly
  • Saddle: Kashimax MX
  • BB: Shimano 600
  • Cranks: Shimano 600 (175)
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Shimano 44T
  • Pedals: KKT Lightning
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney
  • Wheels: Araya 7X rims, Shimano Cassette Hubs, 80-Guage Spokes
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Comp III (spec’d, but bike in article had Comp IIs)
  • Geometry and other facts:
  • Stickers: Standard
  • Retail Price:

Clint Miller’s Bike in the Dec. 1980 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: Torker 4130-chromoly L.P. Long
  • Forks: Torker Custom with 1-Degree Steeper Geometry, Painted Black
  • Headset: Tange
  • Stem: Torker
  • Handlebars: Cook Brothers Chromoly
  • Grips: Oakley
  • Brake Lever: Front and Rear Haro Handles
  • Seat Clamp: Addicks
  • Seat Post: Chromoly
  • Saddle: Kashimax MX
  • BB: Redline
  • Cranks: Redline Flight, Non-Pinch
  • Spider: Takagi
  • Chainring: Shimano
  • Pedals: KKT Lightning
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney
  • Wheels: Araya 7X rims, Campagnolo Large-Flange Hubs
  • Tires: Carlisle Aggressor 2.125 front Mitsuboshi Comp III rear
  • Geometry and other facts:
  • Stickers: Standard
  • Retail Price: Unknown

Torkflyte in Jan. 1981 Issue of BMX Plus! Magazine

  • Frame: Torker 4130-chromoly L.P.
  • Forks: Torker
  • Headset: Tange AW-27
  • Stem: Torker
  • Handlebars: Voris Dixon Alloy V-Bars
  • Grips: Finish Line
  • Brake Lever: Shimano Pre-Bent
  • Seat Clamp: Steel Band
  • Seat Post: Chromoly
  • Saddle: Troxel
  • BB: Tange
  • Cranks: Takagi Chromoly OP (175)
  • Spider: Takagi
  • Chainring: Shimano 44T
  • Pedals: KKT RT-E-MX Rat Trap (Trashed by Greg Hill after 30 mins. of testing.)
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney
  • Wheels: Araya 7X rims, Shimano Cassette Hubs, 80-Guage Spokes
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Comp II
  • Geometry and other facts: Test bike came with Suntour hubs because the stock Shimano hubs were back ordered. Bike got positive reviews, but the rear drop out was poorly butted to the seat stay. After the pedals were destroyed, the testers put on KKT Lightnings.
  • Stickers: Standard
  • Retail Price: $300

Jason Jensen’s Bike in the April. 1981 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: New Torker 4130-chromoly mini (black)
  • Forks: Torker Mini(black)
  • Headset: Tange MX-5 (gold)
  • Stem: New Torker Ultra-4, 4-bolt (gold)
  • Handlebars: Laguna Alloy Mini V-Bars (copper lacquered)
  • Grips: Oakley .5 (black)
  • Brake Lever: Team Products (copper lacquered)
  • Seat Clamp: Tange (copper lacquered)
  • Seat Post: N/A
  • Saddle: Uni Seat
  • BB: O.M.A.S. with Alloy Crank Bolts
  • Cranks: Shimano 600 (170) (copper lacquered)
  • Spider: N/A
  • Chainring: Shimano Dura-Ace 44T
  • Pedals: Suntour MP1000 (copper lacquered)
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano Tourney (copper lacquered)
  • Wheels: Araya 7X rims, Shimano Dura-Ace Large-Flange Hubs with Track Axles, 80-60-Guage Stainless Steel Spokes
  • Tires: Raleigh Red Dot 1.75 front Mitsuboshi Comp II 1.75 rear, 16” inner tubes
  • Freewheel: Suntoru 16T
  • Chain: Sedisport 3/32”
  • Geometry and other facts: The new mini frame, like the new cruiser, lacked head tube gussets. It had a 17.5-inch top tube, a 7/8-inch O.D. down tube, a European bottom bracket shell and used 13/16-inch O.D. seatposts.
  • Stickers: Standard
  • Retail Price: Unknown

Clint Miller’s Cruiser in the Sept. 1981 Issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: New Torker 4130-Chromoly 26” Cruiser
  • Forks: Torker Cruiser
  • Headset: Tange
  • Stem: Torker 6-bolt (black)
  • Handlebars: Prodyne Crsuier
  • Grips: Oakley .5 (black)
  • Brake Lever: Shimano DX
  • Seat Clamp: Addicks
  • Seat Post: Chromoly
  • Saddle: Elina Lightning (no bolt)
  • BB: Redline
  • Cranks: Redline Flight
  • Spider: Addicks
  • Chainring: Addicks Graphite 44T
  • Pedals: MKS BM-10 Filed
  • Brake Calipers: Dia Compe MX1000, Mathauser Pads
  • Wheels: Ukain Rims (blue), Shimano Large-Flange Hubs (blue), 80-Guage Stainless Steel Spokes
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Silver Stars 2.125 Front and 1.75 Rear
  • Freewheel: Shimano 20T
  • Chain: HKK 1/8”
  • Geometry and other facts: Torker vinyl pads. The frame lacked gussets and was built with larger-diameter 5/8-inch tubing (20-inch frames have ½-inch tubing) for the top tube/seat stays and the chain stays. The rest of the tubes were beefed up a ¼ inch to 1¼ inches. The wall thicknesses, were 30 to 40 percent thinner. Miller’s bike weighed 29 pounds, 14 ounces.
  • Stickers: Standard
  • Retail Price: $185 for Frame, $55 for Forks (The 1981 Wes’ BMX mail-order catalog listed the frame and forks for $170.)

Torker 280X in the Sept. 1982 issue of Bicycle Motocross Action Magazine

  • Frame: New Torker 4130-Chromoly 280X
  • Forks: Torker
  • Headset: Tange AW-27
  • Stem: SR MS-240
  • Handlebars: Torker chromoly Pro “T” Bars
  • Grips: A’me Tri
  • Brake Lever: Dia-Compe Tech 2
  • Seat Clamp: Addicks
  • Seat Post: SR Alloy Fluted
  • Saddle: Torker
  • BB: Redline
  • Cranks: Suginoa Chromoly OP (175)
  • Spider: Sugino
  • Chainring: Sugino 44T
  • Pedals: MKS BM-10
  • Brake Calipers: Dia Compe 890
  • Wheels: Araya 7X Rim, Suzue Large-Flange Hubs
  • Tires: IRC Z-1 2.125 Front and 1.75 Rear
  • Freewheel: Suntour 16T
  • Geometry and other facts: Basically a Torker L.P. Long (the 280 is the standard size frame) sold only as a complete bike.
  • Stickers: Standard with the short-lived vertical headbadge.
  • Retail Price: $280 (A 24” cruiser similarly spec’d and called the 340 was available for $340.)

© 2010 Michael Gamstetter

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The Effect of One Number Plate

From the first time I saw one in the Jan./Feb. 1979 issue of Bicycle Motocross Action magazine, I wanted a Bob Haro number plate. Not only did they look cool and give every rider who used one an air of  invincibility, they represented the pinnacle of  California BMX chic.  By July that year, photos in the BMX magazines showed three types of Haro plates in two shapes. There were Haro’s original hand-made plates in round and square, the interim Bob Haro’s Factory Plates, also in round and square, and the best-known Haro Pro Plates—the one with the lightning bolts. My fave, the square Factory Plate.

This was one of the first photos I ever saw of a square Factory Plate. I wanted one so badly. To this day, I've never seen one in real life.

I wanted a square Haro plate so badly, but BMX stuff like that was impossible to find in Dayton, Ohio, at the time. By the time I saw one in the July issue of BMXA, Haro had long since stopped making them and had switched to the Pro Plate graphics. Of course, I didn’t know this. I just assumed my local bike shops were too lame to order and stock them. By the time Haro plates made their way to Ohio, all you could get was the Pro Plates. (I got my only Haro ProPlate or my birthday in 1980. It was red and black.) After doing a fair amount of research (I still haven’t asked Bob Haro.), as far as I can tell, Haro made one run of the Factory Plates. Maybe he only made 100 or so. However many and for however long he made them, it wasn’t a lot and it wasn’t for long. To this day, I still haven’t seen a real Factory Plate, either round or square, in real life. I’ve only heard of one rumored to be for sale. It was round, well-used and in SE colors. The price—$800.

Three people have sent me this photo asking if I could replicate it.

When I started making my replica plates, I did so only for myself. I borrowed an old plate from a friend and used it to make a template. I used my computer to design the graphics and to make patterns I used to hand cut colored vinyl. When I tried to build my first prototype plate with my patterns, I discovered a problem. The graphics didn’t fit. I had traced a Type 2 Plate and designed Pro Plate graphics. Until then, I had no idea there was even a difference between the Pro Plate and the later Type 2. So, I set out to find an Pro Plate. As luck would have it, I found a hand-made Haro plate to trace. A hand-made plate was what I wanted to use, but I assumed I’d never see one.

As before, I made a template, cut out a couple of blanks and then decorated them with colored vinyl I cut from some old scraps I had. I also used two vintage Haro Panel Covers I had been saving for the day when I figured out how to make a decent number plate. The plates looked pretty good. I was stoked. I got some flack from the diehard anti-reproduction crowd, but that was expected. Others asked me to make a plate for them. I wasn’t ready. Then, I bought more vinyl and made a couple of plates based on the handmade plates Clint Miller and Eddy King ran in 1978. They looked great. I was ready to make a few for sale. That’s when I first saw the $800 Factory Plate.

My first Pro Plate-style prototype.

Over the past six months, three of my customers have sent me the same photo of that plate along with their requests for me to reproduce it. My first-ever customer was the first of the three. He wanted an SE-colored plate for his OM Flyer and that was the plate he had in mind. (It was him, by the way, who told me it was for sale. He had considered buying it, but couldn’t see paying more than $500 for it.) At the time, I was still building plates using a mix of  hand-cut and computer-cut vinyl. I had no way to do details like the black outline and the “Factory Plates” logo. He was cool with that. I built him a plate in brown and light blue. It was nice.

The first SE plate

Months later, another guy sent me the same pic of the same plate, asking if I could make it. By then, my skills had been honed and I was using a computer-controlled vinyl cutter and the black outline and logos were within my ability. His plate was brown and blue and had a couple of small SE logos and a black outline around the center oval like the original in the photo. I also added a number 7 and the word Expert like had had on his old race bike.

SE plate number 2.

About a week later, I got my third request for the same plate. I made him a plate similar to the one  the last guy got, but decided to try something new, too. I had been experimenting with digitally printed graphics. Printing meant I could do more complicated graphics and, I had hoped, would reduce production time and complexity. But I had reservations about the process. Sure, it was a little more convenient, but would the quality stand up?

The first printed plate I made was for a guy who wanted a Wizard plate. He sent me a photo and  two dimensions (width and height) and asked me to recreate one for his JMC 3.1 XL. I did. It turned out nice, I thought.  The buyer loved it and said he’d be buying another when his next bike build was completed. I made a similar plate in black and yellow for my Torker rider/race bike. I wanted to test the durability of the process and material. Not long afterward, a second JMC owner asked for one. Since the plate on my Torker was holding up well, I decided to make one for him. He loved it, too. I took their approval as an indication that the quality was good.

I used this photo to design and make a custom plate for a customer.

I made this plate to test the durability of printed graphics.

When the third SE-colored Factory Plate request came in, I thought I’d try making one digitally, not for the customer, but as a test. I also made a few ovals printed with the black outline and the Factory Plates logo and a bunch of two-color numbers. Everything turned out pretty cool. I made a second Factory Plates sticker, in Torker colors of course, that I have yet to mount. It also looks good.

A Factory Plate prototype based on the plate above.

I showed the “SE” plate and numbers to a couple of my best customers and their feedback was super positive. One guy wants me to use the digital process to recreate his holy-grail of number plates—an Aero Stadium Plate. “I’ve been chasing this plate since my childhood,” he said. I think it’s going to happen. Like the Wizard plate, I’ll be designing it using photographs.

So, I’ve reached a place where I must decide how far I want to go with this number plate project. What stared out as a simple question that I asked myself, “I wonder if I can figure out how to make a number plate exactly like the ones Haro made?” and the desire to put number plates on all my bikes, has turned into a tidy little business, with the emphasis on little. It’s a business that takes loads of my time, however, and one that has yet to provide me with enough of an income to quit my “day job.” (My day job, by the way, is applying for jobs.)

I now offer six different hand-cut and molded shapes—Pro Round, Original Square, 44-16 Square, 44-16 Mini/New-School Cruiser, Wizard Large and Type 2—with cut vinyl or for the Wizard plate only, digital graphics. And all are custom made-to-order. It’s a complex and slow process, but one that ensures high quality and, so far, perfect customer satisfaction. (Almost all of my customers have come back for more plates.) It was this process, however, that led me to announce last fall that I’d make 100 plates, then stop. I assumed by the time I made 80, I’d be ready to shoot myself and 100 would be my limit. But, the truth is, at just over 60 plates made, I really like making them. That said, I have yet to make any serious capital investments (I could sure use a nice vinyl cutter and a quad-core iMac.), so it’s not too late to stop at 100.

The Forty Four 16 number plate catalog has grown to include six shapes and a variety of graphics options.

For now, while I remain unemployed and with plenty of free time on my hands, I’ll keep making them “the old fashioned way.” But keep an eye on this blog for news and announcements regarding new products an changes here at Forty Four 16 Design World HQ.