Viscount bicycles!!

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
busaste
Posts: 365
Joined: 1 Mar 2008, 10:18pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 10:15am

lebekster wrote:Have just registered on this forum & it seems a wealth of knowledge.
Sorry in advance if I've posted in the wrong place but I've recently acquired/bought a Viscount aerospace SE, having had my other bike stolen.
I've been riding it happily for a few months & then suddenly read here about the 'Death Forks'. I know very little about bikes, but fell in love with the viscount as soon as I saw it, & although it's an old bike it's got so much character & is a joy to ride.
The model SE seems to be forgotten about & I can find very little about it, except for some pics that were posted a few years back by the originator (Busaste) of this thread who was asking the same thing.
The death fork subject, which is probably exhausted by now, seems to be a bit of a worry, but have checked the bike for cracks & it seems to be pretty solid-But I guess you can't tell easily?
The other thing is the model itself-SE. Has anyone found out the year of make, or anything about it? It's a fascinating thread & I've been absorbed for the past few hours reading it.
Any info would be much appreciated.
I can post a pic of the bike if anyone is interested..many thanks,
Brian


Hi Brian

Welcome to the forum!! This is the place to indulge in all things Lambert/Viscount and get BS free help and advice!! Stick with us, it's all good :D

I never tire of talking about the death fork so don't worry. The Aerospace SE did not come with a death fork. If you have one it will be a post sale fitment. The SE came with fully painted steel forks. The forks were made by Viscount. Simple test to do. Put a magnet on one of your fork blades. If it falls off, the forks are made from alloy and are of the 'death' (although they have never killed any one!) variety. If you have a 'life fork' check to see if it is the Mark 3 version which is built like a tank 8) .

If you have a death fork it's structural condition is easy to ascertain. The few failures that have occurred are at the base of the steerer tube where it is joined to the fork crown. Regularly look for hairline cracks in this area. Simple.

As for the SE model I have made quite a bit of progress on this model. The SE was a late 70s Viscount assembled at the Potters Bar factory. It was a 'use up' old frames bike. By 1978/79 there were still a fair few unused Lambert frames (mostly just the triangle) left over from the heyday of the Aerospace bikes (Pro, GP, GPM, Grand Prix, Gran Sport, Sport). These Lambert frames formed the basis of a new short run model, the Aerospace SE. I know this because I spoke recently to the guy who finished them off back in the day. By the way, those Lambert frames were made by or under the direction of, Ernie Sargeant. His fillet brazing was superb and he put in a lot of effort with the linisher to get smooth joints. RIP Ernie :( .

Some of the old Lambert frames did not have a head tube so one was fixed in place using plain lugs. I have one of these! Other SE models have the traditional Lambert/Viscount fillet brazed joints throughout. Now, because it was a Lambert frame you will see 'Lambert' stamped into the rear dropouts where you will also notice there is no rear derailleur hanger. The RD is bolted to a separate hanger that is fitted to the drop out (loads on ebay for about £5). All this means of course that you CANNOT USE A VISCOUNT REAR HUB as the axle is not long enough (although you can of course fit a longer axle - a good machine shop will knock out a chromo axle for a tenner). I have a Lambert rear hub which has a much longer axle than the later Viscount hub. The axle length is the main difference between the two.

The parts fitted to the Aerospace SE did vary a bit (it is a Viscount after all)) and had a distinctly european feel. Generally the following were fitted:

Chainset - usually SR Apex
Bottom bracket - Viscount spindle, sealed bearings. Note, spindle has a JIS taper and was the best that Viscount ever made (yes, they finally learned how to accurately make a spindle :shock: ).
RD - Simplex
FD - Simplex
Levers - Simplex or Huret
Brakes - Mafac centre pulls (blimey, Mafac on a Viscount!), Viscount quick release hangers front and rear
Brake levers - Weinmann 'suicide' type
Pedals - Lyotard (steel)
Wheels - 36 hole steel/alloy Pelisser hubs, unbranded 27" steel rims (probably Schürmann)
Seat post - Lambert alloy (blimey, where did they find these lying around in the factory?)
Saddle - hard plastic jobbie (replace with Brooks B17 ASAP!)
Shortie alloy mudguards
Handlebars - SR
Alloy bar stem - rather ornately styled of european origin

Please can you post pictures. I would love to see them.

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 10:20am

ScubaScott8177 wrote:Girlfriend keeps getting mad at all the bike stuff so I think I might see about hiding this one


Don't let that stand in your way - you are restoring an important piece of cycling history! :D

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 11:01am

triitout wrote:I would love to get a feel from forum members on what you've done with your fork selection. Are you riding the aluminum version 3 without worry or do bad thoughts mess with your head when riding them. If you've switched is it to steel or possibly another aluminum type? I'm looking forward to feedback from all you hardcore Viscount riders!


I ride on a mark 3 'life fork'. I have one fitted on three of my Viscounts. And, much as it pains me to say it, the fork does mess with my head too! I mean it is the death fork after all and it is hard not to think about what must have happened to those poor people who crashed when theirs broke. I tend to reconcile worries about the death fork by reminding myself of the reality of riding bicycles. It is a risky activity. Statistically, I am more likely to be hurt or killed by another motorist than a life fork. Aside from myopic motorists, potholes, ice, etc. we inadvertantly accept a certain level of risk with all of our bicycle components too as from time to time they WILL fail. Sh*t happens as a T shirt once said! Part failure - and this is very well documented - does not respect any level of component either. Campagnolo/Dura Ace/TA cranks, Cervelo forks (have you seen how much they cost?), Giant forks, Reynolds 531 DB frames, etc, etc. have all fallen to bits over the years. A friend of mine broke a collarbone when his top of the range and little used right hand Dura-Ace crank sheared in half. OUCH!!!!!!!!!

I suppose all you can do is carry out periodic checks to the steerer tube for peace of mind. If it fails it would be a fast fracture. Prior to this catastrophic way of breaking, early warning signs would manifest themselves in the form of small hairline cracks. Also it could be argued that since a fork is a high stress component is it not prudent to replace it with a new one after 30+ years of hard use?

On my Viscounts, I only fit a steel fork where the model was meant to have one e.g. Aerospace Sport. This is why Whippet's Sport has a full chrome steel fork (genuine Viscount too). Plus I do like the look of full chrome forks!

So there you go, it's a bit risky but then so is cycling. I will carry on riding on my life forks and enjoy the ride comfort, light weight and great looks (the forks, not me :lol: ). What will be will be...

Still messes with my head though.

By the way, the ride on a life fork is like nothing else. There is noticable squish when you put the er, hammer down (okay, as much as my chicken legs can apply :lol: ) and it gives an amazing level of rider comfort. Everyone should ride on a life fork at least once and they WILL live to tell the tale.

Brucey
Posts: 36104
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Brucey » 22 Dec 2012, 12:43pm

busaste wrote: I suppose all you can do is carry out periodic checks to the steerer tube for peace of mind. If it fails it would be a fast fracture. Prior to this catastrophic way of breaking, early warning signs would manifest themselves in the form of small hairline cracks. Also it could be argued that since a fork is a high stress component is it not prudent to replace it with a new one after 30+ years of hard use?


if I was mad enough to run one of these forks (or indeed any thirty-year old Aluminium fork) I'd suggest that regular (like once every 500-1000 miles) dye penetrant inspections would be worthwhile.

The logic is that a detectable small crack will take a given mileage to propagate to the point at which the part will be likely to then fail suddenly.

Steel forks are inherently safer for one simple reason; it is not that they never break, it is more that they very rarely break without warning. Normally the fork becomes very mushy well before it breaks. Most people notice this; a few unlucky ones in hindsight. Arguably aluminium and carbon are less satisfactory materials in this regard, because a damaged part will not necessarily feel very much different in use, up until the point that it may fail catastrophically.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 1:41pm

Another Aerospace Sport update

Stickers are now on the frame and it looks fabulous:

DSCN0574.JPG


DSCN05754.JPG


DSCN05793.JPG


I added about 6mm to the headset stack height to give some flexibilty for future replacement headsets. After all, once the forks have been cut to length, that's it, no going back. And, it's not as if there are plenty of NOS Viscount chrome forks in your friendly LBS either. At least this way whatever changes are made to headsets, there is enough thread left on the fork to cover this. I wish I had done this on mine!

The Viscount fork came with a Tange headset the cups of which were a very loose fit in the frame.

O.M.G. :shock:

Perhaps the previous owner of the frame had the head tube reamed out to take an ISO headset (the Tange headset is JIS)? Or maybe Viscount were up to their usual tricks of changing specifications which on this occasion means a head tube with a different internal diameter. Who knows?

Anyway a NOS ISO Tange headset fitted perfectly. Phew. Who said these restorations/rebuilds are easy?

Feeling somewhat relieved, I set about putting in the wheels, bar stem, bars and cranks.

O.M.G. :shock:

The bars did not fit the stem and the cranks would not sit square to the frame. One frantic polishing session later and the bars were in a genuine Viscount stem (which I forgot that I even had...) sitting snugly in the frame. The crank problem however is a bit more challenging. I tried 4 differnt cranksets and got exactly the same results; not square to the frame. Close examination of the bottom bracket shell which the previous owner had chamfered to take a JST threadless cartridge BB showed that the job had not been done as well as it could have been, especially on the right hand side. Here only part of the shell edge had been chamfered and it was not square to the frame either. Consequently the BB cartridge unit was not sitting square in the BB shell. Who said these restorations/rebuilds are easy?

I am tempted to ream out more of the BB shell to square things up but something about that just does not feel right. What if I take so much of the shell edges away that it is not possible to tighten up the threadless cartridge unit. Also, revisiting the worn out YST threadless cartridge that came with the bike shows that YST have significantly increased the size of the cups that butt up to the edges of the BB shell. The thinner cups of the earlier YST BB fit much better in this frame (although the last owner used a spindle length that was way too short). So, a retrograde step design wise? There is certainly no way the cups on the new YST BB will sit snugly in the BB shell of a road bike even with the edges chamfered. The only exception to this would be a BB shell which has a seriously thick wall. Something to be wary of.

So, where do we go from here? Back to the original design that's what! I have NOS spindles, Klein and Viscount so this has to be the way forwards. They are easy to work with and do the job. To make life easy, I have finally got a proper Viscount BB spindle puller made by a top fabricator called Taylor and Taylor. Nice bit of kit and as you will see below, great value for money. I'll do a post on it soon.

I tested the spindle puller on an Aerospace frame that still had the original bearings in - the ultimate test as the spindle would be 'welded' in place by 35 years of corrosion. And the result? Out it popped with not a hammer in site. No peened over ends, damaged threads or bent and weakened spindle. Out of necessity, I have in the past had to resort to a BIG hammer to get heavily corroded spindles out of Aerospace frames. This is just not the way to do it as the poor old spindle gets an absolute pounding and often ends up as scrap :( Whilst the spindle puller is doing its, err, pulling, it doesn't half generate some force and it needs to. The first version I got made up failed as the big 24mm nut stripped the thread off a 16mm bar!!!

In my opinion, Viscount goofed with the type of fit used for the BB spindle. Why, oh why, oh why, oh why, did the engineers choose a press fit for the spindle and then add circlips? Talk about overkill. The fit does not need to be that tight. Throw in 30+ years of corrosion and you end up with something that is borderline unmovable without specialist tools. Why not have an interference fit and circlips? Can you imagine the joy of tapping out a spindle with light hammer blows. This type of fit worked on a motorbike that I used to have, and that put out 165bhp at the back wheel (Kawasaki ZX12R - what a MONSTER).

Now look, this is important - I will pull out your spindles. My new tool needs to get to work!!!! Just call in and I'll pop them out. No more mullered spindles!!!!

If you want your own puller tool which, by the way, does the 8mm and 5/16 BSF threaded spindles please let me know. They are £20 plus postage. £20 is exactly what I paid for mine which is silly cheap.

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 1:44pm

Brucey wrote:
busaste wrote: I suppose all you can do is carry out periodic checks to the steerer tube for peace of mind. If it fails it would be a fast fracture. Prior to this catastrophic way of breaking, early warning signs would manifest themselves in the form of small hairline cracks. Also it could be argued that since a fork is a high stress component is it not prudent to replace it with a new one after 30+ years of hard use?


if I was mad enough to run one of these forks (or indeed any thirty-year old Aluminium fork) I'd suggest that regular (like once every 500-1000 miles) dye penetrant inspections would be worthwhile.

The logic is that a detectable small crack will take a given mileage to propagate to the point at which the part will be likely to then fail suddenly.

Steel forks are inherently safer for one simple reason; it is not that they never break, it is more that they very rarely break without warning. Normally the fork becomes very mushy well before it breaks. Most people notice this; a few unlucky ones in hindsight. Arguably aluminium and carbon are less satisfactory materials in this regard, because a damaged part will not necessarily feel very much different in use, up until the point that it may fail catastrophically.

cheers


Good points well made. Thanks.

Good old steel!!! Will it ever be bettered?

lebekster
Posts: 9
Joined: 20 Dec 2012, 5:01pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby lebekster » 22 Dec 2012, 2:15pm

Hi Brian

Welcome to the forum!! This is the place to indulge in all things Lambert/Viscount and get BS free help and advice!! Stick with us, it's all good :D

I never tire of talking about the death fork so don't worry. The Aerospace SE did not come with a death fork. If you have one it will be a post sale fitment. The SE came with fully painted steel forks. The forks were made by Viscount. Simple test to do. Put a magnet on one of your fork blades. If it falls off, the forks are made from alloy and are of the 'death' (although they have never killed any one!) variety. If you have a 'life fork' check to see if it is the Mark 3 version which is built like a tank 8) .

If you have a death fork it's structural condition is easy to ascertain. The few failures that have occurred are at the base of the steerer tube where it is joined to the fork crown. Regularly look for hairline cracks in this area. Simple.

As for the SE model I have made quite a bit of progress on this model. The SE was a late 70s Viscount assembled at the Potters Bar factory. It was a 'use up' old frames bike. By 1978/79 there were still a fair few unused Lambert frames (mostly just the triangle) left over from the heyday of the Aerospace bikes (Pro, GP, GPM, Grand Prix, Gran Sport, Sport). These Lambert frames formed the basis of a new short run model, the Aerospace SE. I know this because I spoke recently to the guy who finished them off back in the day. By the way, those Lambert frames were made by or under the direction of, Ernie Sargeant. His fillet brazing was superb and he put in a lot of effort with the linisher to get smooth joints. RIP Ernie :( .

Some of the old Lambert frames did not have a head tube so one was fixed in place using plain lugs. I have one of these! Other SE models have the traditional Lambert/Viscount fillet brazed joints throughout. Now, because it was a Lambert frame you will see 'Lambert' stamped into the rear dropouts where you will also notice there is no rear derailleur hanger. The RD is bolted to a separate hanger that is fitted to the drop out (loads on ebay for about £5). All this means of course that you CANNOT USE A VISCOUNT REAR HUB as the axle is not long enough (although you can of course fit a longer axle - a good machine shop will knock out a chromo axle for a tenner). I have a Lambert rear hub which has a much longer axle than the later Viscount hub. The axle length is the main difference between the two.

The parts fitted to the Aerospace SE did vary a bit (it is a Viscount after all)) and had a distinctly european feel. Generally the following were fitted:

Chainset - usually SR Apex
Bottom bracket - Viscount spindle, sealed bearings. Note, spindle has a JIS taper and was the best that Viscount ever made (yes, they finally learned how to accurately make a spindle :shock: ).
RD - Simplex
FD - Simplex
Levers - Simplex or Huret
Brakes - Mafac centre pulls (blimey, Mafac on a Viscount!), Viscount quick release hangers front and rear
Brake levers - Weinmann 'suicide' type
Pedals - Lyotard (steel)
Wheels - 36 hole steel/alloy Pelisser hubs, unbranded 27" steel rims (probably Schürmann)
Seat post - Lambert alloy (blimey, where did they find these lying around in the factory?)
Saddle - hard plastic jobbie (replace with Brooks B17 ASAP!)
Shortie alloy mudguards
Handlebars - SR
Alloy bar stem - rather ornately styled of european origin

Please can you post pictures. I would love to see them.[/quote]

Hello Busaste & thank you for your amazing reply! This is so interesting & informative & a real eye opener into the twists & turns of bike production. The death forks info has put my mind at ease but you'll have to bear with me, because I know very little about bikes & am not sure of the terms or the bike parts that you refer to!
Not sure I have version 3 of the fork but hopefully you'll be able to tell from the pics, when I put them up.
I've spent the last few hours trolling through Wikipedia to find out about the parts that you describe in your post, & loving it…
I'm starting to understand more about the workings of it but am still confused about the rear hub & length of axle, but I will carry on searching to get a better handle on it. I didn't know what a Derailleur Hanger was until today...
I will post some pictures when it stops raining!
Brian

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Sooper8 » 22 Dec 2012, 2:26pm

Bustaste- loving your write up on the work so far on the red 'Sport.

That is going to be one heck of a beautiful bike!

Spindle puller is a week too late for me, but sounds superb.

Jem
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

ScubaScott8177
Posts: 51
Joined: 10 Dec 2012, 5:32pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby ScubaScott8177 » 22 Dec 2012, 3:47pm

Hello Busaste & thank you for your amazing reply! This is so interesting & informative & a real eye opener into the twists & turns of bike production. The death forks info has put my mind at ease but you'll have to bear with me, because I know very little about bikes & am not sure of the terms or the bike parts that you refer to!
Not sure I have version 3 of the fork but hopefully you'll be able to tell from the pics, when I put them up.
I've spent the last few hours trolling through Wikipedia to find out about the parts that you describe in your post, & loving it…
I'm starting to understand more about the workings of it but am still confused about the rear hub & length of axle, but I will carry on searching to get a better handle on it. I didn't know what a Derailleur Hanger was until today...
I will post some pictures when it stops raining!
Brian


Brian, that bike should be in your living room! all of mine are (maybe thats why the girlfriend doesnt want me buying more), I love seeing pics on here of peoples finds and projects.


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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 5:04pm

lebekster wrote:Hello Busaste & thank you for your amazing reply! This is so interesting & informative & a real eye opener into the twists & turns of bike production. The death forks info has put my mind at ease but you'll have to bear with me, because I know very little about bikes & am not sure of the terms or the bike parts that you refer to!
Not sure I have version 3 of the fork but hopefully you'll be able to tell from the pics, when I put them up.
I've spent the last few hours trolling through Wikipedia to find out about the parts that you describe in your post, & loving it…
I'm starting to understand more about the workings of it but am still confused about the rear hub & length of axle, but I will carry on searching to get a better handle on it. I didn't know what a Derailleur Hanger was until today...
I will post some pictures when it stops raining!
Brian


Hi Brian

Glad to be of help :D .

Here is the kind of derailleur hanger that you need if the rear right hand side frame drop out does not have one (Aerospace SE):

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Shimano-Rear- ... 336e02c485

Here is a drawing that I have done to help explain the differences between the Lambert and Viscount rear hub axle lengths and the provisions for attaching a rear derailleur (double click on the drawing to enlarge it and then zoom in):

hub differences 1.JPG


Have a close look to spot the differences :wink: I can always email the drawing if you want it at a higher resolution (send me a PM).

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 22 Dec 2012, 5:52pm

Here is my Viscount bottom bracket spindle puller:

DSCN0581.JPG


DSCN0582.JPG


Oops, I fogot to put the washer on.

Using it is easy:

Slide the steel tube and washer onto the threaded bar.

Turn big nut anti clockwise to get it out of the way

Thread the bar into the end of the BB spindle.

Locate end of steel tube onto the edge of the bottom bracket shell.

Whilst holding box section bar with left hand tighten nut/washer against the steel tube with a big 24mm spanner.

As nut is turned clockwise the threaded rod pulls the spindle out :D .

lebekster
Posts: 9
Joined: 20 Dec 2012, 5:01pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby lebekster » 23 Dec 2012, 2:12pm

Brian, that bike should be in your living room! all of mine are (maybe thats why the girlfriend doesnt want me buying more), I love seeing pics on here of peoples finds and projects.[/quote]

Thank you for your message & after reading all these posts that may be the way to go..although my place is pretty small & am not sure where I'd put it. If the bike made a cup of tea it would surely be in here..
Brian

ScubaScott8177
Posts: 51
Joined: 10 Dec 2012, 5:32pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby ScubaScott8177 » 23 Dec 2012, 2:48pm

lebekster wrote:Brian, that bike should be in your living room! all of mine are (maybe thats why the girlfriend doesnt want me buying more), I love seeing pics on here of peoples finds and projects.


Thank you for your message & after reading all these posts that may be the way to go..although my place is pretty small & am not sure where I'd put it. If the bike made a cup of tea it would surely be in here..
Brian[/quote]

Lol yeah it's tricky.. Here's everything I have that's lambert that I've struggled to find places for inside my 1 bedroom apartment.. Seems like apartments never have enough storage space..

http://i1171.photobucket.com/albums/r54 ... C2FD38.jpg

lebekster
Posts: 9
Joined: 20 Dec 2012, 5:01pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby lebekster » 23 Dec 2012, 5:25pm

ScubaScott8177 wrote:
lebekster wrote:Brian, that bike should be in your living room! all of mine are (maybe thats why the girlfriend doesnt want me buying more), I love seeing pics on here of peoples finds and projects.


Thank you for your message & after reading all these posts that may be the way to go..although my place is pretty small & am not sure where I'd put it. If the bike made a cup of tea it would surely be in here..
Brian


Lol yeah it's tricky.. Here's everything I have that's lambert that I've struggled to find places for inside my 1 bedroom apartment.. Seems like apartments never have enough storage space..

http://i1171.photobucket.com/albums/r54 ... C2FD38.jpg[/quote]

That's quite some collection you have there. It"s so good to see people with a passion for these machines & appreciating the work that initially went in to designing & producing them, especially when we live in "Throw away" world. I'm only just starting on this journey, so most things I'm reading are new to me..tremendous.
Putting up oics of my bike in a min, if I can get them to upload..