Episode 47. Townsend Topeka. (Part 1).

Wandering around autojumbles is one of my favourite pastimes, I just love to look at rusty crap, and occaisionally I'll even buy some of it. Such was the case at the latest autojumble I went to. It was getting pretty near to the end of the day as people were getting ready to pack up, so I picked up a couple of bikes, and I only paid a fiver a piece. First up was this gem...

If your a long term sufferer of this blog then you probably know why I bought this... Its like a better version of the Magna Fugitive, you may well be asking yourself why is it better? Well, because it doesn't have cantilever brakes like a childs bike, it has center-pull brakes like a grown up might have! I could upgrade them to Vee brakes if I so desired... I don't so desire, so I'll not bother! So what can I tell you about the Townsend Topeka?

Well, I took this out for a little spin after fitting the tyres with some fresh wind, and I can describe this bike in just one word... HEAVY!! If I were to describe it in two words I would say VERY heavy! Much like the Magna I would say this is made from iron pipe that would normally be reserved for industrial boiler rooms!

The wheels are arrow straight presumably due to being made from girders! I really think that these are probably 50% of the total weight! And speaking of total weight...

The whole bike with its frame made from iron pipe and its wheels made from girders weighs in at a hefty 16.6kg, or about 36.5 pounds if your still working in English! But whatever you're working in, thats a heavy old ride! It was a struggle to get it going, but it has to be said once I was moving along, keeping it moving was quite easy!

Yep, make no mistake this is an old heavy duty machine, built from old heavy duty parts. But much like the Magna Fugitive I like it, I like it a lot, probably too much! I can see this being the victim of a damn good fettling, much like the previously mentioned Magna Fugitive to the point that already I've been to the tip scavanging for parts, and have returned with parts (bikes)! Today I picked up an Apollo just for the crank as it has three cogs, and not just two like the Topeka has... Upgrade!! I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with it to be honest, but I guess I'll just hang onto it so that it's there when the Diamond Back gets stolen!


  1. Nice little article. I'm currently restoring my 30 year-old Topeka. Am using new wheels, New saddle, and mew cables, but everything elsr 100% original. ( bar the paint job) am going with all black. Needless to say it wont replace my fancy 'TREK Domane', but still i can't wait to complete it and get out on a canal trail.


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