Viscount bicycles!!

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Bendo
Posts: 292
Joined: 3 Nov 2010, 10:10am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 24 Aug 2012, 2:25pm

Hey Tim. Two words: more pics!

Busaste will know more about the International model, but it's a promising looking frame. How did it ride?

I reckon those forks probably came with the bike and are really lovely. That lugged stem too is pretty special. The cranks and rings OTOH look in pretty bad nick. I'm not sure how much you'll be able to clean them up. If it really is a fillet-brazed Phoenix 1027 frame, then personally I'd take it back to bare metal and give it the works: frame-saver inside and out, then a really nice paint job. If you know how to use a polisher, I'd slim down those lugs on the fork just tad so that they look more 'bespoke' and less 'after market'.

I reckon you've got the beginnings of a really nice bike there. b

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 24 Aug 2012, 7:47pm

timbertron wrote:Hi everyone,

I stumbled on this thread whilst trying to do some research on my Viscount bike and was wondering if anyone could help me. I've had a Viscount road bike for a couple of years and I am finally getting round to fixing it up, but I'm trying to work out what model it is? All the info I've found online makes no mention to a Viscount International, I might of missed it but I've been looking for quite some time. So if anyone has any ideas on the model, some background, year etc, I'd really appreciate it. I've included a couple of image links of the frame:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/timlawrence/7850093910/in/photostream

http://www.flickr.com/photos/timlawrence/7850094912/in/photostream

I'm currently trying to decide what to do with the frame, I think the bike itself is a mismash of original and "new" parts, the crank, and calipers are all viscount branded. But I'm guessing the stem (ITM), levers (Chang Star), fork (unbranded steel), wheels (unbranded), rear derailer (simplex) are aftermarket addons. I think the guy I bought it off said he had to build it up himself, which would explain the mix of brands. I'd like to respray the frame and keep the viscount branding, but I can't decide whether to stick with the orange or go for something more like the Aerospace models. I'm also debating whether to convert it in to a fixie or replace the drivetrain is looking pretty ropey.

Any advice/info that anyone can give me on the bike would be much appreciated, thanks.


In Viscount's early years they produced a range of bikes that were of a lower spec. than the Aerospace range. These were marketed as the Trusty Viscount International range and were aimed at those with limited cash. The frames were lugged (usually from Taiwan) and they came with a varied array of entry level Simplex/SR/Suntour/Shimano/Mafac components.

Your frame is clearly branded International and all the stickers are corect for one in that range BUT (I bet you new that was coming!) it is clearly a fillet brazed lugless frame - an Aerospace frame. The absence of a rear derailleur hanger on the dropout, scalloped top to the seat tube, brazed on housing for the seat tube pinch bolt and powder coated finish all indicate that it is a late Lambert 'Aerospace' frame. A frame like yours should not exist!! It never appeared in any Viscount or International brochures. However Trusty Viscount did produce from time to time 'anomalies', show specials, press fleet bikes, etc. which did occasionally find their way into the hands of the cycling public. In addition there was always a degree of 'flexibility' with Viscount's model lineup due to real problems with obtaining good supplies of parts. So, from time to time these almost unique Viscounts do turn up. This is where yours - a top flight Aerospace frame stickered up as if it was in the bargain International range - fits in!! It is also worth bearing in mind that when Trusty acquired the remains of the bankrupt Lambert of England cycle company their former factory was piled high with frames, wheels, cranks, brakes, etc. In the early days all sorts of interesting bikes came out of this vast parts stash. One other possibility, which admittedly is incredibly unlikely, is that your frame may be an old Aerospace frame that someone had repainted and stickered using stuff available at the time.

Please be in no doubt here though that your frame IS an Aerospace one. I am 100% certain on that.


So you have a very, very unusual frame. A VERY rare frame!

In all my years of Viscount lunacy I have only ever seen one other International bike with an 'Aerospace' frame. Like yours the frame had no model name on it. I am not convinced that there ever was a model name. Pictures below (note how it is festooned with Viscount parts):

$(KGrHqF,!p0E9eFIsk9YBPiB-wHRPg~~60_12.jpg


$(KGrHqRHJEcE913!4EvIBPiB-t4Qjg~~60_12.jpg


Your frame's forks by the way are not aftermarket. They are the ones that came with the bike. Ditto the cranks, pedals, chainring and headset. Also, if you look carefully at the rear dropouts you should see 'Lambert' stamped in them.

As to what to do with it...well, from my biased viewpoint THAT is easy; restore it to its former glory. You don't need to do much (I would definitely leave the paint/transfers for authenticity) and most of the parts you need are currently for sale on ebay. Once done, you would likely have one of only two 'Aerospace' Internationals on the planet. How cool is that? A jolly nice investment and a fab bike to ride too! Who could ask for more!

Lucky you!

timbertron
Posts: 7
Joined: 24 Aug 2012, 11:28am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby timbertron » 24 Aug 2012, 11:04pm

Hi guys thanks for the info.

Bendo- it rode very well thank you, I've only ever really riden mountain bikes as a kid and in the last couple of years a tricross that I've been doing crits and sportives on, so I haven't got much to compare it to. But it did feel like it would be really nice to ride once its sorted. The other day when I decided that I'd actually get on and do something with it I found the front tyre had perished and shortly after that it popped, so that second ride was rather short lived.

Busaste- That International you posted is incredibly similar to mine, most of the parts on mine bar the Lambert cranks and wheels look almost identical to those images and as you have said would support the idea that it is a mix of what was available in the factory. The frames looking pretty rusty in places although it feels solid, so I think I'll have a go at getting a colour match and get it resprayed. I had a look at Lloyds range of Viscount decals (they were the first ones I could find) and I couldn't find a replacement international one, so I think I'll have to do some work in Illustrator to make a duplicate one that I can have printed to go on the frame. At the very least I'd like to make the frame look like it did when it was new, even if I have to replace most of the drive train with other components. I think a lot of the parts are really past their best, the brakes and Lambert crank might clean up alright with a bit of work, but the deraileurs and wheels are on their last legs.

I've been looking at replacement wheelsets but it seems to be hard to find a set with 95mm hub spacing for the front fork, hopefully something will crop up on ebay. Thanks again for the information I will add some more images as this thing progresses. Cheers Tim

Bendo
Posts: 292
Joined: 3 Nov 2010, 10:10am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 25 Aug 2012, 4:57pm

Hey hey! Looks like you've got a pretty special bike then! Let us know if it does have Lambert stamped on the rear dropout like Busaste said - I'm curious!

I agree that it would be nice to take it back to its former glory. If you can't find hubs the right width you might be able to get the forks cold-set to a new width. Actually I have a pair of NIB, first generation Dura Ace hubs that are 95mm (front) and 115mm (rear) same as these: http://feelofsteel.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/dura-ace-high-flange-hubs.html. PM me if you're interested.

Believe me you never regret spending money on good wheels. You might not notice a cheap saddle until you've ridden a long way, or cheap bars or derailleur, but cheap wheels are crap from kilometre one. Or rather, they are, nothing, just "meh". You might even think the bike itself is not that good. I've got same hubs as the ones above laced onto CR18 rims (and done by a frame builder whose working tolerance is <0.01mm) and I consistently roll faster on group rides than most medium to high-end carbon bikes with expensive wheelsets and tyres (my tiny advantage of running 27" wheels not 700c is more than offset by the fact that I only weigh about 65kg).

If it is an Aerospace frame then it will only reveal its true potential if it has good components. b

timbertron
Posts: 7
Joined: 24 Aug 2012, 11:28am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby timbertron » 26 Aug 2012, 3:01am

Hey bendo,

I had a quick look and I can't see the lambert stamp on the dropouts, I'll have a closer look tomorrow they're pretty rust so it's hard to tell. I spent two hours trying to remove the stem, which was all but welded in... I finally won the fight though. The chain has also been removed now, so it's a case of trying to remove the headset, the second wheel pump mount, the crankset and then finally the bottom bracket. The headset has a strange lock nut, it's not like a threaded headset lock nut bolt but has a Knurled edge and four small circular indents in the top of the lock nut. So it looks like I'll need a special tool to undo that, I tried to find a similar one online but couldn't find anything. I'm probably looking in the wrong place but it looks different to the ones I've seen in viscount photos so far.

The hubs sound good, but wouldn't that mean I'd need to get the rear triangle narrowed to accommodate the narrower axle? I know what you mean about having decent wheels, I had some very basic wheels that came with my tricross and while they were fine. They were a poor substitute for the mavics I replaced them with and these are only basic kysiriums, but the difference in ride was huge.

I'll post up some images of the headset and dropouts tomorrow, and hopefully that will shed some more light on the frame and headset.

User avatar
breakwellmz
Posts: 1982
Joined: 8 May 2012, 9:33pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby breakwellmz » 26 Aug 2012, 7:38am

Bendo wrote:Hey hey! Looks like you've got a pretty special bike then! Let us know if it does have Lambert stamped on the rear dropout like Busaste said - I'm curious!

I agree that it would be nice to take it back to its former glory. If you can't find hubs the right width you might be able to get the forks cold-set to a new width. Actually I have a pair of NIB, first generation Dura Ace hubs that are 95mm (front) and 115mm (rear) same as these: http://feelofsteel.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/dura-ace-high-flange-hubs.html. PM me if you're interested.

Believe me you never regret spending money on good wheels. You might not notice a cheap saddle until you've ridden a long way, or cheap bars or derailleur, but cheap wheels are crap from kilometre one. Or rather, they are, nothing, just "meh". You might even think the bike itself is not that good. I've got same hubs as the ones above laced onto CR18 rims (and done by a frame builder whose working tolerance is <0.01mm) and I consistently roll faster on group rides than most medium to high-end carbon bikes with expensive wheelsets and tyres (my tiny advantage of running 27" wheels not 700c is more than offset by the fact that I only weigh about 65kg).

If it is an Aerospace frame then it will only reveal its true potential if it has good components. b



Morning.

Does he build wheels to a tolerance of 0.01mm? :)

Bendo
Posts: 292
Joined: 3 Nov 2010, 10:10am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 26 Aug 2012, 11:41am

@timbertron: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Shimano-Dura-Ace-EX-1st-Generation-Large-Flange-Hub-Hubset-New-NOS-NIB-no-600-/150880641476?pt=AU_Sport_Cycling_Parts&hash=item23212fe1c4#ht_500wt_1107 These ones are for 126mm spacing.

@breakwellmz: I dunno, but the gauges on his truing stand are pretty serious! I'll check next time I'm there and report back. b

User avatar
Sooper8
Posts: 790
Joined: 20 Aug 2012, 7:53am
Location: Midlands

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Sooper8 » 28 Aug 2012, 10:08pm

Hi All,

After my son bought the Aerospace Pro, he wanted another little Viscount project on the go just for fun...

So, he just picked this up for pocket money and is hoping to restore. (seller's pic, we don't have the bike yet)

I far as I can see, nothing os original except the frame. What model would it have been?

Cheers!

Image
Everything you love,everything meaningful with depth & history,all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated,mishandled,watered down,cheapened, repackaged,marketed & sold to the people you hate
http://www.tumblr.com/blog/sooper8cycling

Bendo
Posts: 292
Joined: 3 Nov 2010, 10:10am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 29 Aug 2012, 7:55am

Nice! Actually it looks mostly original. Looks like a Titlist front mech. Can't see the rear. Headstem is not Viscount, prob SR, but everything else looks of its era. b

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 29 Aug 2012, 9:37am

Sooper8 wrote:Hi All,

After my son bought the Aerospace Pro, he wanted another little Viscount project on the go just for fun...

So, he just picked this up for pocket money and is hoping to restore. (seller's pic, we don't have the bike yet)

I far as I can see, nothing os original except the frame. What model would it have been?

Cheers!

Image


You have a VERY original 1978 Viscount Aerospace Sport :D .

All the parts on it are the original ones (wonder what happened to the wheels?!). The front lamp boss is missing off the forks but that is all. If you look back on this forum to some of my earlier posts you will see that I have the same model in the same colour. If you PM me with your email address I will send you some high res pics so you can see what the full spec is.

By '78 Viscount production had been moved to the Potters Bar factory. The supply of many of the unique Lambert/Viscount parts had run out by '78 so a greater reliance was placed on stuff made by SR and Shimano. Also Taiwanese made fillet brazed frames were being used (these have Suntour rear dropouts) as Potters Bar staff did not have the skills to do this kind of frame building. You just need some elbow grease and a set of wheels with Shimano large flange quick rlease hubs to have a fantastic bike.

Enjoy!

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 29 Aug 2012, 9:44am

Bendo wrote:@timbertron: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Shimano-Dura-Ace-EX-1st-Generation-Large-Flange-Hub-Hubset-New-NOS-NIB-no-600-/150880641476?pt=AU_Sport_Cycling_Parts&hash=item23212fe1c4#ht_500wt_1107 These ones are for 126mm spacing.

@breakwellmz: I dunno, but the gauges on his truing stand are pretty serious! I'll check next time I'm there and report back. b


It is worth looking at 'b's link above to the Shimano hubs.

I strongly recommend that you all seek out and buy these 1970s Shimano Dura Ace hubs when they become available. It's only my opinion (so don't shoot me, Campy fans) - these are the finest hubs ever made. Build quality, bearings, finish, appearance, etc. is as good as you can possibly get. Shimano make nothing of this quality now. Plus the infatuation with Campy hubs keeps prices silly cheap.

You will not be disappointed!

timbertron
Posts: 7
Joined: 24 Aug 2012, 11:28am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby timbertron » 29 Aug 2012, 10:51am

Morning.

Thanks for the link bendo. I'm stuck until pay day, but I've done a few more bits to the frame, the cranks have been removed and dismantled so I've begun cleaning them and they are coming up pretty well, so I think I'll be re-using them. Does anyone know if they were anodised? I have some polish but it cant be used on anodised metals. Also are the viscount center pull brakes anodised? The headset came apart nicely but I think I'll be replacing it with something a bit easier to dismantle and work on. I've managed to find out what the hubs are on the bike, they are Vito steel hubs I've never heard of them and there is nothing online but I think I'll be keeping an eye out on eBay for some dura ace hubs they look the biz. Ive also fallen for the shimano 600 arabesque components and I think I'll be replacing the simplex and huret (wasn't titlist under the rust) deraleurs with those and some of the sexy thumb shifters to finish it off. Aside from that I've started to rebuild the international logo on illustrator but that's taking ages and I don't want to strip the frame until that is sorted. I'm still debating what to do about the frame spacings, I'm beginning to think it might be better to get the fork respaced if that's possible, as it's relatively easy to find hubs with 126mm rear axles and 100mm front axles. So I'll be looking into that over the next couple of days. I was also wandering if anybody knew what the frames are painted with? Enamel, powder coat etc? I'd like to stay faithful to the original paint method if possible, having said that enamel paint jobs aren't cheap. Apologies for not posting more images I'm without Internet and have had to go mobile. Oh one last question, does anyone know where I might be able to find replacement bolts etc for the crankset? The ones I have are extremely rusted and some are losing their threading. Thanks

Tim

Bendo
Posts: 292
Joined: 3 Nov 2010, 10:10am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 29 Aug 2012, 2:37pm

I'm surprised the fork spacing is not standard. There's not as much historical variation in front hubs as rear ones. Anyway, a frame or forks can be cold set 5mm, even 10 mm without too much stress.

Not sure about anodising, but I would use elbow grease (and a mild abrasive) rather than strong polishes. The other thing you do could is buy a polishing mop for your drill and use polishing compound. This would be the heavy duty response.

Arabesque is indeed beautiful. But it's still a step down from DA :P ...

Busaste says the frames were powder coated, but my frame builder swears it was some kind of enamel. Either way, because it's a flat colour without any poncey blends, gradations, pearlescences, metallics or whatnot, you could get it powdercoated and that would stand you in good stead.

Crank bolts are everywhere. You don't even need to get on eBay or your LBS. You're in Melbourne right? Go to CERES bike shed in Brunswick and scavenge them for $1.00. If you've never been to the Bike SHed, PM me.

b

PS - those DA hubs have gone. Starting to wonder whether I want to part with mine... hehe!

timbertron
Posts: 7
Joined: 24 Aug 2012, 11:28am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby timbertron » 29 Aug 2012, 7:15pm

Haha, I just rechecked the fork spacing and low and behold it is 100mm. Time to get the eyes tested! That makes the wheel issue a lot easier I'll keep an eye on ebay for some DA hubs. I'm based in the UK, I'll have a look in a local hardware store and see what they've got fittings wise, I just thought they might be difficult to source.

I've been using fine wire wool so far on the aly bits which has been good, some areas seem a bit flat though and I'd like to get them looking really nice.

Would there be much difference between DA and 600 deraleurs? I assumed they'd be a bit of a muchness. I just liked the styling of the arabesque parts, a bit of style over substance I guess

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 29 Aug 2012, 7:30pm

Does anyone know if they were anodised? No, the alloy was polished at the factory (along with the forks, bar stem, hubs, pedals, brakes and chainrings)
Also are the viscount center pull brakes anodised? See above. Note, some Lambert centre pull brakes were anodised.
The headset came apart nicely but I think I'll be replacing it with something a bit easier to dismantle and work on. Tange make a nice Campy copy which has a similar stack height to the original parts.
I'm beginning to think it might be better to get the fork respaced if that's possible - easy, ask for your bike shop to do a 'cold set' (posh speak for careful bending)
I was also wandering if anybody knew what the frames are painted with? The frames were powder coated at the factory. They had all their own powder coating equipment (inherited from the defunct Lambert enterprise). This is true - I have spoken to one of the guys who used to maintain the painting equipment. Some of the cheaper lugged frames from Taiwan were wet finished. Enamelling was never used on any frames. Viscount finished off the powder coat with an acrylic clear coat. Well worth getting done as the shiny surface of a powder coated frame can be flattened off surprisingly easily.
Oh one last question, does anyone know where I might be able to find replacement bolts etc for the crankset? The ones I have are extremely rusted and some are losing their threading. You will be lucky if you can get crank bolts from a bike shop as Viscounts had an imperial size. However any fastners supplier can get you these. You will more than likely need (if you are using the original Viscount bottom bracket spindle) the imperial 5/16 BSF crank bolt. Eventually by '77/78 Viscount started tapping their BB spindles for the standard M8 metric crank bolt. See which one you have

Tim[/quote]