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,
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
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 .
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 ).
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.