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How To: 1913 Control Levers part 1

March 23, 2011

The Veloce project arrived without levers for the front brake and the exhaust lifter, and that was a bit of a problem.  While several people are making new levers and selling them on the internet, eBay, and the VMCC classifieds, they are all the familiar reversed-type levers.  These were common from the early days through about 1930.  Cables exit from the ends of the handlebars, and the lever pivot on hollow perches that plug into the bar ends.  A nice clean setup, with long levers that are easy to grab.  But Veloce had used the less common open-type levers, as shown in all their period adverts.  While many things changed in the ads from 1912-1914, they all show open levers.


Mr. Ingram with his 1913 Veloce from the 1914 catalog.  Note the open type brake lever.

Mr Ingram with 1913 Veloce


Here is a photo of a soldier on a circa 1915 Triumph with the familiar reversed levers at the end of the handlebars.

1915 triumph


Searching for a matched set of open levers didn’t produce many leads, but I found a set of raw steel castings from an enthusiast in Latvia.  They were cast in two pieces, a perch and a lever, with enough material  in each casting so that it could be machined to become either a right hand lever & perch or a left hand version.


Some quick pics of the raw castings:



There was a lot of sand still stuck to the steel, so the first step was to wire brush them and clean off the flash with the rough wheel on the bench grinder.  That sand isn’t good for the milling cutters.



The first milling operations were on the perches.  A 1.00” hole was bored through where they mount onto the handlebars, then the two holes will drilled for the tap drill diameter for the clamping screws.  After that the perches could be cut into two pieces, with the larger part getting threaded, and the small part receiving clearance holes for the #1 BA mounting screws.




Next was some work on the rotary table, to create a shoulder and surface for the lever to pivot on. 


Still to come in Part 2: Removing the redundant right-side material for the left-hand perch and the left material on the right perch, machining the levers, adding holes and slots for the cable, making pivot bolts, and lots of milling, grinding, sanding and polishing…


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Somer permalink
    March 23, 2011 3:44 pm

    had a bunch of raw castings from Argentina like that for Vincents.
    Sure takes time to finish them.

  2. March 23, 2011 8:07 pm

    I just picked up motor mount and transmission mount nuts for Excelsior. Hand made copies of originals. Working on cylinder nuts, but he has to mill down the bar stock first. Very exciting. Thanks, Paul

  3. Lee Samuelson permalink
    March 24, 2011 12:20 pm

    Fun? YES.
    Being a farm and oilpatch guy, I would have dug-out the welder and built approximate-to-cast shapes and gone for the gusto. When doing weldments for machining, use more than one pass to draw the hardness that result from a singleton. High-nickel or Unichrome , stick, makes for better machining and a flattened pocketbook. Stick works better than MIG. Little experience with TIG buildup.. Fussy peoples like mineself would take the finished weldment (with torch) to red heat and bury it in a pail of dry sand or lime. “Stress relief and annealing”.

    Casting is lotsa fun. I used “lost styrofoam”, when teaching, ’cause no match plates yada yada… needed. Had a jigsaw-lookalike hot wire cutter driven from a battery charger. Mistakes are easily discarded. Glue pieces together with wax. Include sprues and risers in the styrofoam master and cover with Petrobond sand and ram juduciously. Vent holes done with a piece of wire.

    Pour hot metal on the, “vanishes instantly”, styrofoam and wait patiently. Tonsaladda black acrid smoke. Good fume capture system indicated. Do do outside when neighbors hang wash or display their white corvette.

    More snow and gloom, more calves.
    Lee, suffering PMS in Alberta

  4. Lyndell Dean Wolff permalink
    October 19, 2015 9:54 am

    What …did you stop after part 1?
    Sorta left me hanging there.

    I’m a new reader and really enjoy what your doing here,

    • October 19, 2015 9:59 am

      Sorry! I forgot all about that. It was a such a busy time when restoring that bike, with a million projects. 🙂

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