Viscount bicycles!!

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
KILondon
Posts: 1
Joined: 25 Jul 2009, 11:49am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby KILondon » 25 Jul 2009, 12:07pm

Hi, Just spent the past year restoring a Viscount Aerospace GP I bought new in 1976 in Helena, Montana. It was custom assembled there with handle bar tip shifters, a triple chain ring for climbing steep passes (of which I did many). Moved to London 20 years ago and flew it over with me. NW Airlines nicely crushed it (chain rings, front wheel, but not the frame) and eventually it wound up hanging in an Underground parking area for about 16 years. I went back to the garage out of curiosity about two years ago and it was still hanging there, looking a bit forlorn. As it was an old friend, I loaded it up in the car and set out to restore it. I since learned about the "death fork" and had a devil of a time finding a bike with the steel/chromed fork replacement. I eventually wound up buying another to break up, from the states and now after a year of work have a very good friend back. Problem is, I now have another near perfect Aerospace frame and am thinking of restoring it as well, or at least get it ride worthy. Anyone know where I can get a replacement fork for it? Will other branded forks fit this? This is a 1981 Viscount Aerospace, and the fork/tube assembly fit perfectly on my '76 version.

rmw
Posts: 24
Joined: 23 Sep 2008, 9:20pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby rmw » 28 Jul 2009, 10:05pm

Stoat, apologies for not replying sooner to your request for further details of my Argos ream and sleeve. I'm a very irregular visitor to the forum. I didn't fit the bottom bracket, Argos did. I took the frame down to Bristol in person on 27 November 1999 and it was back with me, sent by courier, very well wrapped up, on 10 December. I couldn't get the stem out (but they could!) and dealing with bottom brackets is beyond my capability. I may well have a receipt somewhere, but dear only knows where, can't remember how much it cost - it was significant but worth it I would say. The bottom bracket is a Shimano UN72.
I was very pleased with the customer service and work done by Argos. Slight regret is that they did not have the correct transfers, so I just got them to paint on 'Viscount'. And the chrome on the half chrome fork was so rusty, I also opted to have the lot blasted and sprayed, rather than keep the rusty chrome.
Here is the bike in Hertfordshire in March 2000, new stem and bars, please admire the titanium rack which replaced the Pletscher which broke during the dismantling - the disgrace is my fumbling, not Pletscher's product - the Brooks Competition saddle, and yes that angle is comfortable thank you. The brakes and gears were Shimano 600, the original 52x42 SR chainrings were replaced with 48x38 at some point, and in the mid 1990s Francis Thurmer spread the back end to let me get a 7 speed block on, the original was 14-28 5 speed. The left crank is the original SR Apex 170mm, the right is a Sakae SA 170mm [late 1980s]. I suppose it is best to have them both the same length!
Like some other posters, I felt the Viscount was not the best bike to fit a child seat on - there are no luggage bosses, and I did not want the security of the next generation to depend on P-clips. Whilst the bike did fine with luggage on tours and plenty of trips to the supermarket, my Witcomb was a much steadier ride, and you need all the steadiness you can get with a baby on board, I can tell you.
Image Attachments
viscount 2000 compress.jpg
Viscount Aerospace Sport at Farrowby Farm
Rushing through the air at 12 miles an hour will lift the gloomiest thoughts from the mind...and what torpidity of soul is not surmounted by the continuous, delicate interaction of nerve and muscle....C. THEODORE EWART, M.D.

DannytheLuddite
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Joined: 27 Aug 2009, 3:06pm
Location: London

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby DannytheLuddite » 27 Aug 2009, 3:31pm

I bought a ruby red Viscount Aerospace Sport in 1978, and I am still riding it. It has the beautifully finished lugless frame but came with redesigned half-chromed forks. The first thing I did was add proper mudguards and change the pedals (rat traps) and the saddle (I replaced it with the Brooks B17 from my previous bike).

Since then all kinds of parts have been replaced, some because they wore out and some because I just wanted something different. The bottom bracket bearing has been replaced once, but that was due to my own negligence in letting paraffin get into the "sealed" bearings.

I agree with a previous poster that the original gearing was not ideal. The last time I needed to replace the rear sprockets, I was delighted to discover that a modern 7-speed Shimano freewheel fits in place of the old 5-speed. The new narrow chain that goes with it is thin enough to drop between the two front chain wheels, but that has only happened to me once.

The saddle was replaced a couple of years ago (another B17! Is there another manufactured article that is still on sale a century after its introduction?), and I recently replaced the front centre-pull brake with a Shimano dual-pivot model because I was concerned about the braking efficiency of the old one.

This is what it looks like these days.Image


Danny

busaste
Posts: 365
Joined: 1 Mar 2008, 10:18pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 27 Aug 2009, 7:22pm

I have original Viscount frame transfers for sale. See attached photo. These are VERY RARE. Once gone that's it!!
They are £8.00 each. PM me if interested.
Thanks.
DSCN0917.JPG

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jhefner
Posts: 13
Joined: 3 Sep 2009, 11:53pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby jhefner » 4 Sep 2009, 5:43pm

Greetings;

I am new to this forum, and joined it so I could participate in this thread.

I have a c.1975 Viscount Aerospace G.P.:

Image

I was working in a bicycle shop in about 1977 when I found this bicycle sitting in a corner. They were a Viscount dealer, and had sold this bike to a customer, who then proceeded to break the "death fork" on a curb. It was looking forlorn sitting there with it’s broken front fork (he also tweaked the frame, causing some paint to flake off the top and down tubes, you can see where I touched it up today.) I loved it, and fact that it was so light, and bought it from the bike shop owner. We then put another “death fork” on it, and off I went.

It originally had tubular tires on it, and weighed 20 lbs. My first few weeks with tubulars went fine, but then I had two or three flats in short order, so I changed the rims out for 700Cs. I also received the Tange fork from Yamaha, and went ahead and changed it out. I also installed the Cannondale water bottles of the time, which were wrapped in Velcro, and stuck to a cradle also covered in Velcro. I took the kickstand and reflectors off first thing, but I added the “tire savers” that were popular at the time, and it still has them. By then, it weighed 24 lbs.

Had many happy years riding it. Always took with me on vacation to a state park; loved flying up and down the hills in the campground, and making the longer ride to the north shore of the lake. I also rode several 20 miles on it, and a single century ride. That Viscount saddle was hard, and about halfway through the ride, I could barely pedal anymore. Fortunately, someone had a ladies saddle; we changed it out, and I did great the rest of the trip, and sprinted across town back home afterwards.

But like most folks, as I went through college, I rode it less and less. A flat tire finally sidelined it around when I started my first job, but I kept it with me. Even as I got married, and our family grew, I kept with me as we moved from one place to another, flat tires and all. When Hurricane Rita damaged our home, and we moved further north, it was one of the things I made sure moved with us. My son-in-law gave the boys a dog, who then proceeded to knock it over on the back porch, and chew the saddle, top clips, and rear tire off. The foam handlebar covers also became dry-rotted; but still, I moved the sorry looking machine through the next two moves to the much larger home we have now.

In the years since Rita, I have been sick all the time; maybe from exposure to mold and other stuff while moving our stuff out of the area. But, I managed with steriods and later Motrum and allergy medicine to feel a little better, and since my boys were riding, I decided to fix it up.

I kept it as original as possible, replacing only the tires and tubes and the saddle and toe clips the dog chewed off. I found another set of foam handlebar covers; they work great with my aging hands. The only thing I did to update it was to add a Specialized SpeedZone Comp cycling computer.

Getting back on it after 20 years was scary after first, but now, it is like being reunited with an old friend. I also found as I rode to strengthen my lungs and muscles once again that I was also feeling better, and having fewer “bad” days. I have also been taking much less medication than I used to.

Anyway, here it is, still going strong after 25+ years. It still has most of its stock components, including BB, pedals, hubs, derailleur and brake systems. (I checked the original chain, and it shows less than 1/16 inches of stretch per foot.) I don’t miss the Viscount seat; there is a small crack at very top of the seat tube, but it seems to be stable. The Cannondale bottle is long gone; but I bought another bottle, and plan to wrap it in Velcro and use the same “cage”. After all, you can’t find strap on water bottle cages anymore; I noticed you also can’t find the old bicycle cleats that worked with rat trap pedals, and may have someone machine some for me. I replaced the cartridge bearings in the BB and hubs some time after I bought it; when they were grinding from the bike being exposed to rain while lying on its side; I poured some Lucas transmission oil treatment on them, and they freed up nicely.

I have pondered why it has held up so well, when so many others were breaking parts. Some factors I could think of was the fact that I was so skinny (I weighed less than 140 lbs in high school and college), and didn’t have the jackhammer pedal strokes others may have had. I also carefully avoided as many bumps and stones as I could, and carefully rode over those I could not. I even braced the top tube with my knees when I would go flying downhill.

Here is my bike’s entry on the Internet Bike Database. If you search the database, you will see it has a few more Viscounts on it, some of which I don’t think were mentioned yet. I also have included scans of a Viscount booklet I found online, and I don’t think has been shared in its entirety yet. In case you can’t tell, I also love my “time machine”; I hope to get many more useful years of service out of it.

http://ibikedb.net/bikes/35137-viscount-aerospace-g-p

-Take care;
James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

cyclingthelakes
Posts: 231
Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 2:34am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby cyclingthelakes » 7 Sep 2009, 5:58am

What is this? A Viscount Club??

James Hefner's story is a bit moving, though I'd watched this conversation for a few weeks, I did not feel inclined until now.

The thing is, the specs on his Viscount and mine (I am in the USA) are very close to each other, the T-bird front mech ( we might call it front derailleur) and the rear mech is Titlist. I don't have the foam on the handlebars. I use foam on one bicycle I have. It really is the best thing to prevent hand aches though it may not look as suave and cool as cork tape, etc. Better than any shellacking too as far as that goes.

Image

I've just got a red one to James' blue one it looks like. Mine only says "Viscount" where some people's says "Aerospace."

I have one question, the plastic on one of my brake hoods seems dry, you know, the way, the floor of the desert can be a kind of broken up pattern if it is too dry. I'm wondering what I should do with that. I have it sheltered currently and though it is no real problem, I'd like to coat it with something. I may well order some Brake gum grips from Velo Orange. That might work as well. I just don't like dissassembling it, mainly because I think it has had the same brake cables all of these years. But I guess, what ever is done, with about anything I would have to dissassemble the brake levers some to put something over it. Otherwise, it's done well.

cyclingthelakes
Posts: 231
Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 2:34am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby cyclingthelakes » 7 Sep 2009, 6:10pm

Guess what?? We would not have known this if we had not taken it apart and I put in a "safe" fork, but it looks like I have a #3 Yamaha Fork, a safe fork! http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewto ... 455#508455 Shown in the data placed on this page. A magnet works on my base (in this case, the tubing going into the headtube, steering column??), so though I exchanged my fork out for a I believe Steel Tange Chrome fork, it looks like this is not one of the reputedly dangerous ones.

AxisFT
Posts: 1
Joined: 7 Sep 2009, 8:56pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby AxisFT » 7 Sep 2009, 9:03pm

I've got a Aerospace Sport sitting in my garage roof-Think its completely original except for new bottom spindle-had one made. Also new rear mech bracket completely remanufactured. Have'nt used for years.
Will have to dig it out. Is there still a market for old racers.

willem jongman
Posts: 1986
Joined: 7 Jan 2008, 4:16pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby willem jongman » 8 Sep 2009, 1:38pm

Same here. My Viscount Aerospace Pro bought in the UK late in 1976 or early in 1977 has what apperars to be the no 3 fork. And in fact, it has survived riding with a front rack and later even a low rider. I did replace the aluminium fork a few years ago, but I still have it (might put it back). Does anyone else have additional information on possible failures with this no 3 fork?
Willem

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bovlomov
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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby bovlomov » 8 Sep 2009, 1:53pm

busaste wrote:I am keen to talk to people who used to work for and/or sell Trusty Viscount/Lambert/Viscount bicycles.


My brother worked for Trusty Viscount - I think it must have been in the late 70s. He became very disillusioned with them, mainly because of the low quality components that they fitted to the bicycles. I say 'fitted', but the problem, as I recall, was that many bits didn't fit but were used anyway.

I could ask for more details, but he may not want to be reminded.

cyclingthelakes
Posts: 231
Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 2:34am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby cyclingthelakes » 8 Sep 2009, 6:16pm

Image

Borrowing from Classic Rendezvous, http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Britis ... _DBs_2.htm the above is a picture of the brake hoods. I think "gum hoods" would probably solve the problem but before dissassembling it, I wonder if anyone else has some tips?? I only have it on the right front brake lever which of course, is used a lot more than the rear or maybe even the rest of the bicycle. I only have slight crackling reminiscent of above.

I once heard someone say repair a saddle with some poly bottle something or other. I wonder if that might work, a plastic in the bottle. I also may check out the hobby store.

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jhefner
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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby jhefner » 8 Sep 2009, 10:46pm

cyclingthelakes;

Your Viscount is in beautiful shape. I noticed that the black trim on your right chainstay and cranks is even still intact; portions of mine are missing. (Thinking of redoing them with black electrical tape.) I think mine had cloth handlebar tape originally, but my skinny hands always preferred the foam grips. Looks like you also lost the Viscount "V" caps on the ends of your pedals, and I think a red plastic cap on the crank end. (I actually have one of the "V" pedal caps, but took it off when I lost the other one.)

In my bike shop days, I remember seeing the Aerospace G.P. with both red trim and blue trim; not sure what difference there were in them otherwise. The only differences I can see from your picture is your saddle looks different (and more comfortable than my original), and the brake lever extensions. I think I remember seeing them on the "red" Aerospace G.P., but my "blue" one never had them. Did the red Aerospace G.P. come with tubulars or clinchers?

I think I saw maybe one Gold Aerospace Pro, and none of the Sebrings that came later; our shop also had one of the Viscount "produce scales" for measuring the weight of your bike.

Your brake hoods held up much better than mine did; mine got seriously dry rotted and brittle, and finally fell off. Like you, I didn't want to disturb the brake cables (not even sure if you can get a replacement cable with the correct ends anymore); so I am just riding without them.

I found strips of velcro with adhesive on the back, and stuck them to an off-the-shelf water bottle. The resulting bottle works just fine with my Cannondale water bottle "cage", so it has a water bottle again. Now, I just need a set of old-time cleats that will work with the original Viscount pedals.

I am realizing that I am a "spinner" rather than a "masher" (maybe why my bike has held up), so I am riding in a lower gear but pedaling faster; my average speed is up to 15-16 miles per hour, so I am happy with my progress to date.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

busaste
Posts: 365
Joined: 1 Mar 2008, 10:18pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 8 Sep 2009, 11:26pm

cyclingthelakes wrote:Image

Borrowing from Classic Rendezvous, http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Britis ... _DBs_2.htm the above is a picture of the brake hoods. I think "gum hoods" would probably solve the problem but before dissassembling it, I wonder if anyone else has some tips?? I only have it on the right front brake lever which of course, is used a lot more than the rear or maybe even the rest of the bicycle. I only have slight crackling reminiscent of above.

I once heard someone say repair a saddle with some poly bottle something or other. I wonder if that might work, a plastic in the bottle. I also may check out the hobby store.


Those hoods are the OEM fitment. Some Aerospace Pro's also came with a similar looking hood which had a 'V' on the top where you rested your hands. I have some of these. Send me a PM if you would like a picture. I have found that once the cracks are there there is nothing you can do to get rid of them. Better to take them off (to preserve them!) and fit some other makes - Weinmann of the same period can be made to fit with the judicious use of a sharp knife.

Those Lambert badged leavers were made in England by 'GB'. They were used on Aerospace Viscounts right up till 1977 when the supply (purchased with the rest of the bankrupt stock from Lambert) finally ran out. It was Weinmann levers after that with the brown gum hoods.

I started this thread and am absolutely loving all the posts. Please keep it up!!!!!

cyclingthelakes
Posts: 231
Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 2:34am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby cyclingthelakes » 9 Sep 2009, 3:15am

Thank you for your kind responses Busaste and JamesHefner:

To be brief, no that is not the original saddle from the Viscount. But I do have the original. I did put on a comfortable saddle and in fact, an old Schwinn saddle, well padded. Saddle will often be changed out certainly. Also, the tyres, well, I think they are tubes but I haven't actually had to change one yet, I'm pretty sure they are tubes with shroeder valves, high pressure and I mean really high pressure, the seller filled it with lots of air. In fact, I'm sure it is the same make of tire as is in the photo above with the brake lever in it, you can see it in the background, big amber walled tyres.

And secondly, in my picture too, you can not see or can not see clearly all of the brake cable holding brackets on the top tube. The sun did make that a good picture and I had taken photos on that dock before, so it is in good shape but the photo was enhanced by mother nature some.

I was fortunate in getting the Viscount, I hadn't looked at ebay much in years and wasn't into cycling as much as I was a few years ago so I really had not made a major cycling purchase in years. I got back into cycling and was checking what was available and I set the search for nearest sellers and there was a Viscount. I figured with a local seller if you find a good bike, you can bid a little higher if you are going to pick it up. Well, there wasn't that much bidding so I managed to get it.

I'll just finish up by saying, some of the Lamberts I've seen on the internet have been nice looking bikes too as well as clearly, the bikes in this thread.

Oh, and lastly, since in this case, I really was concerned about the fork, I looked over at http://www.fixedgeargallery.com , I don't do fixed gears to my bikes, one is a single speed but that is a good website to bike watch. Here is the search for Viscount fixed gears or fixed wheels http://mdcclv.com/fgg.pl?string=viscount and I did correspond with a few of them. Maybe some of them have additionally posted in this thread. One of these guys has a photo purporting to be a Viscount fork that cracked up the middle of the fork! ( http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2008/ju ... Crooks.htm <------ this one, with a name like that?? , all I can say is Wool's Viscount perhaps is the same fellow ).

Yes, this is a very interesting thread, especially the chap who biked around Scotland on the Viscount, that'd be interesting to go from Land's end to John O'Groats on it.

I found out additionally, a good way to seek to protect decals on a bicycle is helicopter tape. Just a tip I've heard and seen about.

I just go on, I could relate to James' story about state parks. I took the Viscount first to the state park, figuring that'd be a good place to ride it in a rather quiet setting to see what it was all about.

Thanks !!! To all!!!
Last edited by cyclingthelakes on 9 Sep 2009, 6:46pm, edited 1 time in total.

cyclingthelakes
Posts: 231
Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 2:34am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby cyclingthelakes » 19 Sep 2009, 5:30am

Hey! hey!!! This is a great thread, let's keep it going. You do well Busaste. You know, I know (sounds like some song lyrics doesn't it) that footballing books in the UK, seem to come out a dozen a month! Really.

The true history of these Viscounts, good or bad, would be interesting.

Oh, and I did find an old worn out gum grip I have and saw it would fit the brakes. I really don't care to change the brakes too much as they work so very well on a bicycle like that. Brakes, okay aren't too difficult to work with but I don't know. Sometimes I don't do a great job on them and maybe I should consider getting a third hand tool. To older non-metal bicycle parts, I keep of all things, a bottle of olive oil around. I've massaged those brake handles and it seems to work some. I'd like to put a gum grip on it. I'm slightly considering getting new ones and maybe somehow, cutting a slit on it and placing it on top, maybe lacing it up. That doesn't sound like the greatest solution but it could work. Maybe medical bandaging might work too.

Bandages actually do okay on handlebars. Some of your "shellac your handlebars" (reference: http://www.outyourbackdoor.com/article.php?id=428 ) crowd use even odd materials like medical bandages, etc. to shellac on handlebars. I've shellacked before and it can peel as the author says in the link. In this case, obviously, I'd use a clear shellac. Usually, people will use the amber/honey variety as it looks "prettier." I don't think it's ever caught on in the UK, they like to say it started in France which makes sense, because Shellac has a long history there and may have been discovered there, I don't know.

Also, I don't know if shellac would be the substance I'm looking for, but there might be something to "seal" the plastic with or even bandaging the brakes well and shellac the covering. Just thoughts along this line. Those brakes sure work well.

Rode it today. Enjoyed it.