Viscount bicycles!!

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Drake
Posts: 1014
Joined: 19 Apr 2012, 9:01am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Drake » 15 May 2012, 8:25am

Hi,
What a pleasure it's been reading most of the contributions on this thread (got to page 10) .
I'd never heard of Viscounts before reading this thread,but what an impressive beautiful machine it looks . l should imagine just sitting on one would bring a smile to your face,let alone riding it .
Did i read (please excuse me if i've got this wrong) earlier that Yamaha took over Viscount . If that was the case,then what happened next . Did Yamaha still continue producing .
And the information relating to the light steel tubing used for the for the frames was very interesting . Is it still used by any frame builders these days .
I suppose i'm considered a bit of a dinosaur these days because i prefer steel frames to aluminium or composite,both of which have never floated my boat .

UofMWolverines
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 May 2012, 7:33pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby UofMWolverines » 15 May 2012, 7:41pm

I just recently inherited my dads old Viscount road bike-- even though its not in perfect shape, I love the overall look and am trying to restore it to its original look, the trick is find out what year it is. I'm sorry that I don't have pics (hoping to get them up soon), but it does have a V-3000 GS logo on the top rail-- does that ring a bell for anyone? I am really getting into restoring it, but have to admit that I don't know much!

TheRooKnows
Posts: 4
Joined: 13 May 2012, 6:52pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby TheRooKnows » 15 May 2012, 9:10pm

busaste wrote:
TheRooKnows wrote:
Hi,

Welcome to the thread!!! A very nice Aerospace Pro you have there. Lovely.

Sorry to hear about your component failures. These problems are not unique to Viscounts. It is all part of the joy of riding older bikes!

Replacing the BB spindle is best done with a puller. But, I don't have one and I suspect you don't too. So with this in mind I recommend you install it this way.

1. The night befor you tackle the job, put one of the bearings in the left side of the frame. Use Loctite or similar to help keep it in the frame. I use a steel tube (a socket will also do) of the same diameter as the outer bearing race to gently and evenly tap the bearing in.

2. Give the spindle a really good polish so it is nice and shiny.

3. Take the other bearing and put some Loctite or similar on the face of the inner race. Tap the the spindle, which has been in the freezer for a few hours, through the bearing. Make sure you tap on a crank bolt threaded into the spindle so as not to peen over the end.

4. Put the frame left side down on a vice (I rest it on a block of wood with a spindle sized hole drilled through) so that the bottom bracket bearing cannot be tapped out as the spindle is driven through from the right hand side. As per the other side, smear some Loctite or similar on the inner race face of the left hand bearing. Tap through the spindle from the right hand side making sure it is correctly spaced within the bottom bracket. Make sure you tap on the crank bolt rather than the spindle end. If necessary you may need to tap the right hand bearing with a steel tube or socket to help seat it in the shell. The bearings on both sides should be ever so slightly recessed into the bottom bracket shell when you have finished. PLEASE NOTE: if you are using a Viscount rear hub make sure the right hand side of the spindle is 3-4mm further out than the other side. This maintains the chainline. I am saying this on the basis that you are using a 121 - 123mm spindle same as the original. If not, a bit of fiddling is required to account for you alternative wheel's dish and crank offset. Also the original Viscount cranks do not have a JIS taper (booo!) so think twice before you work at getting one of these on as it might deform the spindle tapers (I did that th a Shimano 600 BB).

5. Check that the left side bearing has not moved slightly as you have been tapping the spindle though. Tap back in if necessay (making sure you have moved the wooden block to the other side!).

6. Turn the spindle. Feel smooth? If it feels a bit tight (usualy the case with Viscount's own rough spindle machining!!!) give both ends of the spindle a gentle tap (or two). This helps to 'seat' the bearings.

The Phil Wood spindle is a great product. For a start it is round and true which means not a great deal of force is needed to drive it though the bearings.

Hope all this helps. Sorry if it is overly detailed and tells you stuff you already know.


This is an awesome breakdown! Thank you so much. I hope this can help others learning to install press-in bottom brackets too! I'll do a little photo journey of the replacement! Thanks again!

Best,

Joe

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 16 May 2012, 8:50am

UofMWolverines wrote:I just recently inherited my dads old Viscount road bike-- even though its not in perfect shape, I love the overall look and am trying to restore it to its original look, the trick is find out what year it is. I'm sorry that I don't have pics (hoping to get them up soon), but it does have a V-3000 GS logo on the top rail-- does that ring a bell for anyone? I am really getting into restoring it, but have to admit that I don't know much!


That must be a USA only model. I've seen a black coloured Viscount V-1000 road test in a 1978 edition of Bicycling!magazine. I think 1978 was the last year that Viscount tried to sell a new non 'Aerospace' range of 'V' model bikes in the USA. They were not great sellers as the '10 speed racer' boom was well and truly over. I think that the V-3000 GS was a higher specification model in the range. Does it have a lugged frame and Shimano components? I would really like to see see some pictures of your bike! in the context of Viscount, it is an important 'end of the road' model.

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 16 May 2012, 8:51am

TheRooKnows wrote:
busaste wrote:
TheRooKnows wrote:
Hi,

Welcome to the thread!!! A very nice Aerospace Pro you have there. Lovely.

Sorry to hear about your component failures. These problems are not unique to Viscounts. It is all part of the joy of riding older bikes!

Replacing the BB spindle is best done with a puller. But, I don't have one and I suspect you don't too. So with this in mind I recommend you install it this way.

1. The night befor you tackle the job, put one of the bearings in the left side of the frame. Use Loctite or similar to help keep it in the frame. I use a steel tube (a socket will also do) of the same diameter as the outer bearing race to gently and evenly tap the bearing in.

2. Give the spindle a really good polish so it is nice and shiny.

3. Take the other bearing and put some Loctite or similar on the face of the inner race. Tap the the spindle, which has been in the freezer for a few hours, through the bearing. Make sure you tap on a crank bolt threaded into the spindle so as not to peen over the end.

4. Put the frame left side down on a vice (I rest it on a block of wood with a spindle sized hole drilled through) so that the bottom bracket bearing cannot be tapped out as the spindle is driven through from the right hand side. As per the other side, smear some Loctite or similar on the inner race face of the left hand bearing. Tap through the spindle from the right hand side making sure it is correctly spaced within the bottom bracket. Make sure you tap on the crank bolt rather than the spindle end. If necessary you may need to tap the right hand bearing with a steel tube or socket to help seat it in the shell. The bearings on both sides should be ever so slightly recessed into the bottom bracket shell when you have finished. PLEASE NOTE: if you are using a Viscount rear hub make sure the right hand side of the spindle is 3-4mm further out than the other side. This maintains the chainline. I am saying this on the basis that you are using a 121 - 123mm spindle same as the original. If not, a bit of fiddling is required to account for you alternative wheel's dish and crank offset. Also the original Viscount cranks do not have a JIS taper (booo!) so think twice before you work at getting one of these on as it might deform the spindle tapers (I did that th a Shimano 600 BB).

5. Check that the left side bearing has not moved slightly as you have been tapping the spindle though. Tap back in if necessay (making sure you have moved the wooden block to the other side!).

6. Turn the spindle. Feel smooth? If it feels a bit tight (usualy the case with Viscount's own rough spindle machining!!!) give both ends of the spindle a gentle tap (or two). This helps to 'seat' the bearings.

The Phil Wood spindle is a great product. For a start it is round and true which means not a great deal of force is needed to drive it though the bearings.

Hope all this helps. Sorry if it is overly detailed and tells you stuff you already know.


This is an awesome breakdown! Thank you so much. I hope this can help others learning to install press-in bottom brackets too! I'll do a little photo journey of the replacement! Thanks again!

Best,

Joe


Glad to be of help! What spindle length are you using?

UofMWolverines
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 May 2012, 7:33pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby UofMWolverines » 16 May 2012, 12:49pm

Here's 2 pics of the bike-- my dad thinks it is around 1976-- but he's not sure. Also, the decals are a bit different than the 'typical' decal that I am seeing on this forum and online in general-- is that also due to it being a bike sold in the US?
Image Attachments
Viscount pic 2.jpg
Viscount pic 1.jpg

UofMWolverines
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 May 2012, 7:33pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby UofMWolverines » 16 May 2012, 3:31pm

The reason I am asking is that I am planning on stripping it and painting it a gloss black (no, I'm not using rattle cans--- bringing it to an auto paint shop to have it done professionally). I would love to save the original decals on the bike, but the paint needs to be baked for it to cure, and I'm sure that will turn the decals a nice shade of brown. Any suggestions where I could find these decals? I'm thinking there is no way to find these anymore-- which means I will probably go with the typical head badge that I have seen all over this forum (like in the pic below) and the Viscount name logo (also pictured below). Only thing is that the black outline obviously will not show up since it will be on top of a gloss black bike. Again, thoughts anyone? I am very open to suggestions. Will I destroy the value of the bike by doing this? Should I include the V-3000 GS logo on my bike that is on it currently (think I can get that custom cut)? Let me know-- Thanks so much for the help!
Image Attachments
Viscount Logo.jpg
Viscount head  badge pic.jpg

UofMWolverines
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 May 2012, 7:33pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby UofMWolverines » 16 May 2012, 4:02pm

Last question; does this bike have the 'death fork'? Can anyone tell by the pic-- I've read a lot about it, am guessing it is not, but just dont know for sure.

TheRooKnows
Posts: 4
Joined: 13 May 2012, 6:52pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby TheRooKnows » 16 May 2012, 4:07pm

busaste wrote:
TheRooKnows wrote:
busaste wrote:
Glad to be of help! What spindle length are you using?


I'll be using the 123 mm from Phil Wood.

I've got another question for you. When I was riding my bike, when I would come to a stop, I'd notice some chatter or vibration of the front fork when I applied the brake. This was a forward and back movement of maybe 5-15 mm at the axle. Is this common to this style of Tange fork or is it indicative of a faulty component? I haven't ridden road bikes much before so my experience is limited.

Also, my wheels are meh at best. I'm going to be spending some money on replacements and wondering what recommendations everyone has for great wheels for city riding, while not compromising the look and feel of this beautiful bike. Any takers?

Best,

Joe

TheRooKnows
Posts: 4
Joined: 13 May 2012, 6:52pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby TheRooKnows » 16 May 2012, 5:06pm

UofMWolverines wrote:Last question; does this bike have the 'death fork'? Can anyone tell by the pic-- I've read a lot about it, am guessing it is not, but just dont know for sure.

Check the fork with a magnet. If you can get a magnet to stick, it's not aluminum, which means it's not the death fork. Aluminium is a non-ferrous metal aka not magnetic. That's a good test.

Joe

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 16 May 2012, 6:59pm

UofMWolverines wrote:Here's 2 pics of the bike-- my dad thinks it is around 1976-- but he's not sure. Also, the decals are a bit different than the 'typical' decal that I am seeing on this forum and online in general-- is that also due to it being a bike sold in the US?


Yes your bike is unique to the USA. It is not an 'Aerospace' model hence the different decals. The bike is either a 1977 or 1978 model. Definitely NOT a 1976 model.

The frame will have been made in Taiwan. The fork is NOT the 'death fork' - it is made of good old steel tubes mated to a feature cut box crown. In fact the frame is remarkably similar to that on a Viscount Sebring.

I really like it!! Nice Shimano/SR components.

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 16 May 2012, 7:29pm

UofMWolverines wrote:The reason I am asking is that I am planning on stripping it and painting it a gloss black (no, I'm not using rattle cans--- bringing it to an auto paint shop to have it done professionally). I would love to save the original decals on the bike, but the paint needs to be baked for it to cure, and I'm sure that will turn the decals a nice shade of brown. Any suggestions where I could find these decals? I'm thinking there is no way to find these anymore-- which means I will probably go with the typical head badge that I have seen all over this forum (like in the pic below) and the Viscount name logo (also pictured below). Only thing is that the black outline obviously will not show up since it will be on top of a gloss black bike. Again, thoughts anyone? I am very open to suggestions. Will I destroy the value of the bike by doing this? Should I include the V-3000 GS logo on my bike that is on it currently (think I can get that custom cut)? Let me know-- Thanks so much for the help!


It's only my opinion but - DON'T remove the paint!!! From your photos the paint appears to be in excellent condition. How the paint has survived in such good condition for so long is a mystery. There may be the odd rust spot but that is nothing to worry about. The V-3000 GS is a RARE bike, believe me. Speaking as one of the world's biggest obsessive Viscount nerds for, ahem, 30+ years I can assure you that in all that time I have never seen a V-3000 GS. Not one. Once the paint is off the frame the bike's originality and authenticity is gone and of course its value plummets.

Viscount's frames were powder coated at the factory so paint removal usually involves a chemical strip or very thorough blasting. You would struggle to retain the fork chrome in good condition whilst this work is being done. Removal of old chroming is expensive and requires a special process which, in the UK, is expensive. There is no way you can retain any of the decals when stripping/repainting is done. Unfortunately the unique decals cannot be obtained anymore unless you can find a former Viscount dealer who has a few lying around at the back of his shop - a million to 1 shot? Ther are plenty of companies which can reprodue the decals but it is usually expensive (I know I've tried it for other Viscount decals) and the accuracy of reproduction varies considerably. H Lloyd in the UK does Viscount reproduction decals but non of them are appropriate for your bike.

Naturally, I am biased towards preserving Viscounts in their original form if possible. With yours the decision seems easy to me. The paint is very, very good for a 34 year old bike. The components are more than likley the original ones and clearly of a high quality. What's not to like?!!!!

Hope these thoughts help.

UofMWolverines
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 May 2012, 7:33pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby UofMWolverines » 16 May 2012, 8:48pm

Definitely helps out a LOT! Thanks so much-- I almost wish I would have inherited a less rare/valuable bike so that I wouldn't feel bad about making it into 'my' bike! Do you have a guess what it is worth?

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 16 May 2012, 10:07pm

"I'll be using the 123 mm from Phil Wood.

I've got another question for you. When I was riding my bike, when I would come to a stop, I'd notice some chatter or vibration of the front fork when I applied the brake. This was a forward and back movement of maybe 5-15 mm at the axle. Is this common to this style of Tange fork or is it indicative of a faulty component? I haven't ridden road bikes much before so my experience is limited.

Also, my wheels are meh at best. I'm going to be spending some money on replacements and wondering what recommendations everyone has for great wheels for city riding, while not compromising the look and feel of this beautiful bike. Any takers?"


Hi Joe

The fork judder is almost certainly good old fashioned loose head bearings. If they are correctly adjusted and there is still judder then the bearings are worn out. The head sets were usually made for Viscount and as such cannot be found now. I recommend new bearings/regrease and - if you have to - replacement with a Tange 'Levin' chrome head set which looks very similar to the one fitted to your bike (it is a Campagnolo copy). The Tange fork is a well made and very robust unit so no problem there.

Seen as we like to be safe here and any mention of Viscounts gets people thinking about fork failure why not drop the fork out and check that the steerer tube is solidly fixed to the fork crown? I would be amazed if it is not but who knows, the fork may have been in a crash some time in the past?

here is a pic of the Tange Levin headset on a Viscount - perfect period look and style:
DSCN2599.JPG


Wheel replacement is tricky because Viscount used a different chainline to other companies. You can fit more modern wheels - and people do - but unless you relocate the axle in the new hub (BEFORE the wheel is built up!!!!!!!!) to match the Viscount spacing your chainline will be miles out. Best bet by far is to stick with the Viscount hubs AS LONG AS the sealed bearings are not loose. For the hubs to work as designed the bearings have to be a snug fit in them and the axle needs to be dead straight, round and of a consistent diameter. When this all comes together Viscount hubs are as good as anything. And I mean anything. So, check the bearings are nice and tight in the hub (and smooth of course), polish the aerospace spec. alloy, rechrome the skewers (costs buttons) and have them rebuilt with rims of choice and 14g spokes. I have a set of hubs that I mirror polished and put new bearings in. Incredibly smooth and mated to lovely Wolber Super Champion rims. Here is a close up pic:
DSCN25831.JPG

By the way, the chainline Viscount used was for a very good reason - it enabled them to make a stronger back wheel 8)

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 16 May 2012, 10:18pm

UofMWolverines wrote:Definitely helps out a LOT! Thanks so much-- I almost wish I would have inherited a less rare/valuable bike so that I wouldn't feel bad about making it into 'my' bike! Do you have a guess what it is worth?


The value of Viscounts varies enormously. The market does not know what to pay! As a daily watcher of Viscount activity on ebay, Craigslist, Gumtree, Freeads and Freecycle I would say that your Viscount is worth up to £150. You could try and get more - people do - but high priced Viscounts have been on ebay for over a year without selling!! Over time it is inevitable that Viscount prices will go up - to what level is anyones guess. Yours is a particularly rare example. I've just chatted about it with a former Viscount employee in fact. He thinks it is one of a special limited run built up as a prototype to test the USA market - again - in the late 1970s. You lucky, lucky person :D