Viscount bicycles!!

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 2 Jun 2009, 11:28pm

stoat wrote:Bit of an update...
So I checked the BB again, took off the circlips and managed to prise the BB shells out.
The spindle has a crack in it :(

I took it down my lbs and was advised that the BB shell would be too small to accept any modern BB if it was threaded, I don't know if this is the case or not?

rmw - Would you mind telling me how much argos charged for the work and do you remember which BB you put in once it had been reamed by argos?

I'm wondering whether I can fit a threadless BB so am currently searching for one small enough to deal with the clearance issues the protruding downtube causes...!

Viscount's BB is a pain. I should know as I have quite a few of them. There are fortunately a number of options:

a) Use a Phil Wood SS mega quality spindle (from memory he does one around 119mm spindle long, 17mm diameter). He does JIS and ISO tapers. What taper you choose depends on the crank you have or want to get. The Viscount crank will go on a JIS taper but it is not easy to get it square (see below). Probably better to stick with ISO taper if you have a Viscount crank to reuse.

Check this Viscount/Phil Wood conversion:

b) Have a look at this particularly the bit that says: "Cooks also make a press-in version for older Fat Chance or Klein frames, in fact Cooks is the only one to make a good aftermarket replacement for these" The weblink is: ... cooks.html

c) Here is another option: ... white.html

d) AND another option: ... 151c003226

e) Also, old Klein spindles are still out there. I use one on an Aerospace Pro. It is 123mm long, 17mm diameter and has a JIS taper. A nice quality part. Good for at least 100,000 miles!

This is the Loctite to use: ... B000FN0UPW

f) get the BB shell edges chamfered to accept one of these (note there are a variety of spindle lengths to choose from). I use this on one of my Viscounts, It is an excellent fix.

g) Get the BB shell tapped out for Italian thread and then fit a suitable Campy, etc BB - a common Viscount BB fix 'back in the day'.

Viscount actually made 4 different bottom bracket spindles for the Aerospace frames! The most commonly used spindle had an ISO taper and was recognisable by having 3 grooves machined in it (2 on one side). This spindle accepted Viscount cranks (TA copy, made in England by Birmalux) and very early Shimano, Sugino, SR Apex ones too, although getting the last three to sit square on the spindle is harder than building a space shuttle. Whilst drunk. Also, as I know to my cost getting the original Viscount cranks to sit square on a JIS taper is very difficult. I managed it by fully tightening up the crank/chainrings as normal, locating where it was not sat square and hitting it hard from the back of the chainrings to literally force it back into position, square on the crank. It took me an hour but it eventually sat just nice.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby a.twiddler » 4 Jun 2009, 12:59am

I've been watching this thread with interest and would like to add my bits of info.
I bought a Viscount Aerospace Sport in late 1979 in metallic red. This was before mountain bikes had been heard of in this country and bikes like the Dawes Galaxy were well out of my price range. I wanted a light tourer and it was my intention to adapt the Viscount to be able to do this. I paid about £120 for this bike at The Cycle Centre, Swansea and had to wait about a month for delivery. It was the smallest frame available (20", I think) and with the addition of a set of matching red Bluemels mudguards and a cheap chrome wire carrier I had the basics.

Apart from a lot of cycling in my youth on a single speed bike I had not done much cycling: however the year before I had bought a cheap catalogue bike and now wanted something better: hence the Viscount.

I had a lot to learn! Firstly the gearing was way too high. During a visit to a friend in Chester I was able to get hold of a set of Stronglight cranks and TA Cyclotouriste chainrings which with a Sun Tour rear changer and a (for that time) wide range rear gearset (still 5 speed) gave me 10 reasonably lowish gears, although with wide gaps between gears. I soon found that the frame, though light,was quite whippy when loaded and found that the best combination was a bar bag and rear panniers. Using just a loaded saddlebag made the bike quite a handful especially on rough surfaces. With the addition of a GB Randonneur handlebar and a Middlemores leather saddle,the set up served me well for many thousands of miles. I estimate that up to 1983 I did around 15,000 miles including several solo tours and a couple of Audax events.

By that time it was looking the worse for wear. I had replaced one set of bottom bracket bearings as they were clicking (a common bearing found in motorcycle wheel bearings, for example, and quite cheap, though could be a swine to press out). The paint had faded to almost silver on the upper surfaces and the cheap clips used for cable guides etc had scratched the surface. Also I had converted from 27 X 13/4" wheels to 700c replacing the origimal Weinemann centre pull brakes with Mafac Racers for the extra reach.

In 1983 it was totally renovated by Bryan Warnett of Cardiff with braze ons, 2-pack epoxy paint in lilac and the frame trued. I continued to use it, though less intensively, after moving to Cheshire late in 1983 and in 1993 it was sold to buy my wife an ATB which sadly has been unused and now disposed of. The Viscount has been sighted locally up to 2 years ago in regular use by the buyer so obviously the lugless frame was not as fragile as some might think. I would like to think that it is still in use somewhere.

A. twiddler.

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby a.twiddler » 4 Jun 2009, 1:54am

Further info (I had to rush before AOL cut me off on the hour, don't know why it does that).
The original spec on the Aerospace Sport that I had was; Shimano q/r hubs with large flanges (don't know what model), Weinemann ribbed box section rims, 42/52 shimano chainset, some sort of close ratio rear block with Shimano rear changer, Maes bars (what make, don't know), ditto the stem -SR?
I remember having a puncture which I fixed at Brecon YHA and had an awful time getting the tyre off -looks like they had been fitted with a metric size tyre (on 27 X 1 1/4 rims!) even worse trying to get it back on. (Viscount quality control!) Changed the tyres for proper fit soon after.
The half chrome forks were a nice touch. I did not learn about the "Death Fork" until I'd owned it for several years but these were definitely steel. After a collision with a large dog in 1980/81 I kept on breaking rear wheel spindles which were kept together by the skewer until I had to take the wheel off and found the break. When the frame was trued in 1983 the rear triangle was found to have been distorted.

With 700 X 25c tyres the bike would certainly fly even with my decidedly non lightweight bod on it. I was never a great climber but the way it would pass everyone on a long downhill on club runs was a joy to me. The undecided steering when it reached those speeds was less of a joy but I never had an accident due to this. I came to call it "the Flexy Flier". When my daughter was born in 1988 I bought a child seat but this bike was not the one for carrying kids, it flexed far too much, I had to buy an ATB which felt made of lead after the Viscount but was very solid and stable. After riding that, the Viscount seemed to fly down the road with a twirl of the pedals. You will gather that I enjoyed my Viscount Aerospace Sport. I regret selling it.
I currently have a Claud Butler Dalesman (if only I could have afforded a real Claud Butler at that time!) which, wherever it was built, does the business for me. It has Nitto Randonneur bars, that ancient Middlemores saddle, and the old pinger of a bell that I did so many miles with on the Viscount. I don't ride so much now, or so fast, but it is light enough, and doesn't flex even with luggage. I have no fears of the frame snapping like a carrot at an inopportune moment. I think, though, that if I had the opportunity, that I would like to buy back that Viscount if the chance arose.


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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby pq » 4 Jun 2009, 1:45pm

When I was at school, my history teacher used to commute on a very decrepit Lambert. He had a pretty big stable of bikes and said that the lambert had been relegated to commuting because it was such a diabolical bike. He hated it with a passion and took great delight in it gradually falling apart as the layer of salt and grime on it got thicker. I imagine it's in a landfill site somewhere by now.

I don't remember much about it other than the bizarre lambert copies of other manufacturers' parts and apocalyptic tales of serious mechanical failures.
One link to your website is enough. G

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby thepurist » 8 Jun 2009, 6:29pm

As luck would have it, I'm just starting to resurrect my old Viscount Indy 500. I think I bought this 2nd hand just after I finished at uni in the 80s, rode it for a summer and then 'stored' it in various garages and sheds. I've recently started doing a bit more travelling in the local area and wanted something else to use instead of my semi-slick shod MTB, so last weekend I went to the place this has been stored for the last 9/10 years and dug it out. It's in surprisingly good condition - all I'm planning on doing is giving it a damn good clean, sticking on some new tyres & tubes, brake & gear cables and then it should do the job just fine. Might take a look at the hub bearings too, but the BB seems smooth enough for now.

With any luck you'll be able to click the pic for more 'before' pictures.


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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby drossall » 8 Jun 2009, 8:59pm

We've still got an Indy 500, but happily it's in almost perfect condition.

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 8 Jun 2009, 10:36pm

Thought I would post a picture of my finished (at last) restored Aerospace Pro. It was in a right state but now it's done I am well chuffed. Another Viscount saved from the great scrap heap in the sky!
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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby stoobs » 10 Jun 2009, 11:54am

I had an Indy 500, too! I rode so many miles on it. If I remember correctly, that blue frame is a lovely pearlescent/metallic finish, almost like enamel rather than paint. Mine never scratched. I sold it in the early 80s, but then heard that the seat tube cracked in the vicinity of the bottom bracket, so owners might like to check that before embarking on restoration.

Any chance of a pic, drossall, for me to drool/reminisce over? Pretty please?

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby pigman » 10 Jun 2009, 1:16pm

stoobs wrote:I had an Indy 500, too! I rode so many miles on it. If I remember correctly, that blue frame is a lovely pearlescent/metallic finish, almost like enamel rather than paint. Mine never scratched. I sold it in the early 80s, but then heard that the seat tube cracked in the vicinity of the bottom bracket, so owners might like to check that before embarking on restoration.

Any chance of a pic, drossall, for me to drool/reminisce over? Pretty please?

looking at the pic of the indy, it looks to be the same frame as my Sebring was, altho' mine was a different blue and had a different component spec. My seat tube cracked too near the BB.

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby drossall » 10 Jun 2009, 11:22pm

stoobs - that's tricky because it's in the loft at present behind my bikes. It's my wife's machine and hasn't been used for a bit. The pictures we have are from tours 25 -30 years ago and are not very distinct of the bike - a bit blurred and so on. There may be some more in files somewhere, but who knows where...

I can tell you that it's sort of a sand colour, rather than the light blue mentioned above.

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby niggle » 11 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

I had a Viscount Aerospace bought for me by my parents, in the late 1970s, from a discount cycle warehouse in Cambridge. I was a teenager and when I was 15ish I rode the bike up from Suffolk and round the Peak District with a friend who had a Peugeot. My bike was both cheaper and lighter than his and did not break even when I came of it on a hairpin bend (showing off :roll: ) and slammed into some boulders. I think the panniers were the only things to hit plus my backside so both bike and rider were fine. I remember the distinctive wide flange hubs but I think mine was a low spec version, fairly sure it only had a Huret derailleur for instance. It all silver and was OK but did not ride as good as the Dawes Windsor I replaced it with.

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby devster » 26 Jun 2009, 12:56pm

I was given a 70s lightweight frame covered in blue household paint. I scraped the paint off and found that it was a Viscount Apollo Tourer. I have found plenty of info about Lamberts/Viscounts but nothing about this particular version. It is pretty much like those pictured on this forum except that the chainwheel is different and the brake cable has integrated eyelets rather than the clip-ons in all the photos. I'm doing it up but don't have anything to go on. Anybody know about this kind of Viscount?

willem jongman
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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby willem jongman » 28 Jun 2009, 9:34am

I still have an Aerospace Pro that I ride. It is in near original condition, apart from the alloy fork that I replaced quite recently when I heard about the potential danger. But I still have the fork. The fork and I did survive loading with a front rack, mind you.

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby broglet » 13 Jul 2009, 7:27am

Hi. I have a Viscount Aerospace Sport which I think I bought in the 1970s. The left hand crank keeps coming loose. A French bike repairer says there is some 'product' he can use to stop this happening. Is this plausible? Or will it be possible to find a new crank that will fit?

Also, I'd like to replace the drop handlebars with straight handlebars and replace the saddle - will there be a compatibility problem with current fittings?

Thanks for your help

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Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby buryoldroader » 14 Jul 2009, 10:41am

Not really a bike expert but I have spent the last few months dismantling and cleaning up an old five-speed Viscount Sebring that had been rusting in a shed for about the last 30 years. Got it re-assmebled finally and took to my LBS for a service and general safety health-check (they seemed particulalry impressed with the Shimano 600 rear mech, tourney centre-pull brakes and other classic components).

Rode it into work this morning and enjoyed a great ride, got admiring glances at the lights from the Trek and Specialized crowd and suddenly all the hours of cleaning and wire-wooling seemed well worth it. Couple of pics for you below.
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