Viscount bicycles!!

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 15 Jul 2012, 1:53am

UofMWolverines wrote:OK-- if you guys remember, I posted 2 pics of my dads Viscount that I wanted to repaint/finish-- it's on page 36 if you want to see the old pics. Anyways, I finally finished-- decided NOT to paint and am very glad I didn't. Everything turned out great-- I pretty much went over the whole thing with a toothbrush-- but I absolutely love riding it. Here's a few pics for you-- one with our VW bus in the background-- figured most of you would appreciate that!


Great pics, and yes, I for one appreciate the VW campervan! Big part of my childhood those.

The bike looks great. So glad you didn't do a new paintjob. Now you understand how underrated cleaning is as part of the restoration process! You get to keep the bike's patina, and you can generally bring the componentry back to almost new. And like you said, it's incredibly satisfying. And it don't cost much.

Nothing beats a clean drivetrain! Well actually there is one thing: riding a bike that has a lot of personal history to it. You've got both. Nice one! b

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 15 Jul 2012, 9:24am

Bendo wrote:
UofMWolverines wrote:OK-- if you guys remember, I posted 2 pics of my dads Viscount that I wanted to repaint/finish-- it's on page 36 if you want to see the old pics. Anyways, I finally finished-- decided NOT to paint and am very glad I didn't. Everything turned out great-- I pretty much went over the whole thing with a toothbrush-- but I absolutely love riding it. Here's a few pics for you-- one with our VW bus in the background-- figured most of you would appreciate that!


Great pics, and yes, I for one appreciate the VW campervan! Big part of my childhood those.

The bike looks great. So glad you didn't do a new paintjob. Now you understand how underrated cleaning is as part of the restoration process! You get to keep the bike's patina, and you can generally bring the componentry back to almost new. And like you said, it's incredibly satisfying. And it don't cost much.

Nothing beats a clean drivetrain! Well actually there is one thing: riding a bike that has a lot of personal history to it. You've got both. Nice one! b


Then there's the rarity too! I've only seen one of these bikes in over 30 years of Viscount 'watching'.

Great Viscount, great clean up/resto, plenty of history; whats not to like?!

NICE ONE

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 15 Jul 2012, 9:30am

Just have a look at this Viscount Aerospace Pro on Craigslist: https://www.craiggers.com/#!/posting/DEPTKE5

UNBELIEVABLE showroom fresh bike. Originality/condition is once in a generation standard. Someone please buy it - it is incredible and a bargain at just $159.

Sadly, I can't. Booooooooooo!

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 15 Jul 2012, 12:20pm

Very nice. Those wheels look like they could even be sprints. Never could understand the fuss about "splash" bar tape though. At least that's easily fixed. b

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby busaste » 17 Jul 2012, 10:20pm

Bendo wrote:Very nice. Those wheels look like they could even be sprints. Never could understand the fuss about "splash" bar tape though. At least that's easily fixed. b


That would be the first thing I did - bye bye splash tape! Hideous.

JuanM
Posts: 24
Joined: 18 Jul 2012, 7:13pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby JuanM » 18 Jul 2012, 7:18pm

My Viscount originally came to me via EBay badged as a Witcomb – at the time I wasn’t aware of Viscount; I was pretty sceptical that it was a Witcomb but the frame looked interesting being lugless but for the headtube and it seemed to be very light so I went ahead with the purchase. With hindsight I paid well over the odds…but that’s hindsight for you!

I got it home and after a bit of light fettling had a spin up the road, the frame certainly felt very good – light, responsive and springy but it soon became apparent that many of the components with which it had been made up were in pretty poor order. A couple of bits fell off… you get the picture. But I still liked the frame so I decided to source parts over a period of time and build it up for bimbling around on sunny afternoons.

The original wheel rims were knackered but I liked the high flange hubs so these were rebuilt with Mavic 700c rims. I am sure that the hubs are not original Viscount items being S/A or Cyclo or something. The change of wheel size meant I had to swap the original Mavic centre pulls for long reach callipers and a pair of Weinmann 730s were fitted.

The gears were a combination of Simplex mechs and Shimano fittings - these were replaced with Campagnolo items mainly sourced via another forum. I am still unsure about this – heresy I know but I remain unconvinced as to the superiority of the Campagnolo items and am considering a return to Simplex!

The Maxy chainset that it came with was rather too bent so a Stronglight double was sourced. The original chainset did not fit well onto the BB spindle and when I came to fit the Stronglight I could see why – the taper was non-standard; this was probably how the Maxy chainset had become bent, by a previous owner trying to lever it off when it couldn’t be fitted. I entertained thoughts of filing the original spindle to modify the taper – when I left school I did an engineering apprenticeship so I should be able to do stuff like that. On trying to drive out the BB spindle I found myself surrounded by pieces of splintered timber after an hour of trying larger and larger hammers. Assuming that if it won’t move with the repeated application of a 4kg club hammer then the method is probably wrong, I set about constructing a press with bits I had in the garage. Luckily I had a couple of short lengths of 6” steel channel and a metre of 10mm studding so an evening’s work had the press sorted out and the spindle pressed out without any difficulty – the bearings were then drifted out from either side. After much measuring and a bit of thinking I decided to replace this with a 122mm YST threadless BB. This fitted much more easily than I had thought it would after I had cut away the stubs of the frame tubes that projected into the BB shell. That installed, the Stronglight cranks went on without problem.

Until I saw some pictures on this thread, I had thought that the forks fitted were not original but from some random ‘roadster’ and thinking that the frame warranted something more sporty, sourced a 531 steel fork from a Roberts road bike. Which is rather lovely in itself! This meant that I had to change the Weinmann 730 calliper for a shorter reach 500 but there are shedloads of these on EBay for few quid and now I have enough parts to build up every conceivable flavour.

I had a pair of Cinelli Criterium bars and a nice slim Mavic stem on an old gas-pipe ‘racer’ which were fitted in place of the original random components. An old Brooks B17N, brown brake hoods and brown faux leather bar tape were also fitted. I have a nice pair of S/A quill pedals fitted at the moment but I think I might change these for a pair of track type pedals in the future.

So after a rather longer period than I had originally anticipated, the Viscount is on the road. And a very nice ride it is too – even with the Roberts fork that I thought might make the ride rather harsher. Cosmetically, it looks pretty horrible at the moment with nasty multi-coloured paint but the intention is to run it around during what is left of the ‘summer’ and then strip it down in the autumn for refinishing the frame – probably powder coat and further fettling and polishing of the components.

I am very impressed with the quality of the ride, the bike feels brisk and sure footed on 23mm Vittorias and the springiness of the frame does seem to damp out a good deal of the rough road surfaces that I have to ride on – a very underrated frame I think. So, I have ended up with an interesting bike, not one for the purists perhaps but I am looking forward to developing the machine further and to the relationship that will build up in the future.

With apologies for the length of the post.

PS I have a good 122mm spindle with circlips if anyone needs it – the threads were slightly damaged when I tried to pull the cranks on but a 5/16’’ BSF tap should sort that out. Drop me a PM and I’ll be happy to post it in the UK.

Also, does anyone have a Campagnolo Gran Sport or Nuevo Record derailleur they want to sell? Otherwise it’ll be Simplex!

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 20 Jul 2012, 8:46am

Great post JuanM. Pics?

b

triitout
Posts: 120
Joined: 22 Dec 2009, 8:12pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby triitout » 21 Jul 2012, 4:45am

It's gotten to the point that I've got too many road bikes that do the same thing and I dare say the newer bikes do it better than the old Viscounts. I know that many in this forum may disagree but I feel that our attachment to Viscounts, especially the older guys who were riding them from the beginning, is in a large part emotional. Viscounts were often our first real good bike and those rides in our youth were memorable. I find all the technical info fascinating but want to hear more about why we're still fascinated with these bikes. I have my modern carbon fiber and titanium bikes that just function better with their lighter weight, STI shifters and better fit, ( I've shrunk an inch since 1976 and my 24 1/2 inch frame Aerospace Grand Touring is on the big side), and these bikes are just better for go fast training and triathlons. Still my retro grouch side wants my Viscounts to be relevant and eureka I think I've found a way to enjoy my Grand Touring for what it is. There was recently an ebay post showing an Aerospace Pro set up with straight riser handlebars and trail tires and that was my eureka moment. I got online and for about $60 got some new bars, brakes and saddle and converted the road bike to a pseudo hybrid/road bike. Over the years, this bike has become a hodge podge of different parts so I haven't further ruined its original state. I've still got two pure Viscounts that won't be touched. To me, its still a very cool looking, ahead of its time frame that I now enjoy getting on to ride for those days that I don't want to train and go fast but just want to "enjoy a bike ride". Rode it today for the first time and it gave me that good feeling that I had back in 1976-1990 with more comfort which is a BIG plus as we age. I've include some before and after pictures. What make them special for you and how are you using your Viscounts???
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Bendo
Posts: 292
Joined: 3 Nov 2010, 10:10am

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 21 Jul 2012, 11:54am

Good questions and nice pics. Always love to see what people are doing to/with their bikes. Your setup triltout is similar to my Victor. But rather than calling them hybrids or a flat-bar road bikes, I prefer the term Ridiculously High-Performing Gentleman's Town Bike. :p

Yes for me it's an emotional/historical connection. This is an interesting fact in itself since most carbon bikes won't last long enough for a rider to form an emotional attachment to them anyway. In its place people form an emotional attachment to a brand, and upgrading or updating regularly, which is exactly what the marketers want.

Secondly, for me, it's about renovating/recycling/reusing. I always prefer things to have a patina than to be brand new. This makes them more than tools. It makes them alive.

Thirdly, I like being part of a very small, crazy group of enthusiasts who (by and large) have never met. And to celebrate a company that is now dead, and that, among many other reasons, died because they tried to give their customers too much.

Fourthly, sure I create carbon miles shipping parts around the world, but they are nearly always parts that have been used already or were made long ago. All the stuff we buy has carbon miles on it for shipping (in the case of Aus, 40% of everything comes from China). All the new stuff has the extra carbon footprint of being made to satisfy our personal demand. I strongly believe that buying things second-hand, or finding them, or trading them, means we take a small but important step outside this endless loop of production and consumption.

Fifthly, I hate brifters. And clipless pedals. And "looking pro". And more than that I hate the unspoken imperative (actually on most group rides it is spoken) that I should love all that. It makes me sound like Clarkson banging on about "flappy paddle gearboxes" but dammit the old soak is right. In a few years time people will laugh at those old codgers who still shift without electronics. Dave Moulton says he never heard the term "suicide shifters" until he moved to the US. He used lever operated front mechs in club races for years, as did everybody else. Tellingly, all the people he met who called them "suicide shifters" had never used them. I've since heard guys refer to downtube shifters as "suicide shifters".

Sixthly, as I mentioned in a post above, I took a 2012 BMC Race Machine with Sram Red gruppo for a test ride a few weeks ago. I was prepared to be wowed and won over. I wasn't. I was then prepared to be underwhelmed when I got back on my Viscount. I wasn't. Probably I'm a pretty crap rider not to be able to tell the difference between a $500 aluminium alloy wheelset and a $2000 carbon wheelset. In fact I'm sure that's the bottom line when it comes to my love of Viscounts. But I'm kind of glad about that. I feel like I've dodged a bullet —got enough champagne tastes in other areas already.

b

PS - I am a bit jealous of the fact you can refer to your titanium bikes triltout! Ti is perhaps the one modern advance I would consider buying new for, if I could afford it! For lightness and ride comfort but mostly for longevity.

alpgirl
Posts: 164
Joined: 30 May 2012, 10:22pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby alpgirl » 21 Jul 2012, 7:46pm

Sell them at Go Outdoors!

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 22 Jul 2012, 11:46am

alpgirl wrote:Sell them at Go Outdoors!


Spambot? b

alpgirl
Posts: 164
Joined: 30 May 2012, 10:22pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby alpgirl » 22 Jul 2012, 2:50pm

Bendo wrote:
alpgirl wrote:Sell them at Go Outdoors!


Spambot? b


???

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 22 Jul 2012, 3:37pm

alpgirl wrote:
Bendo wrote:
alpgirl wrote:Sell them at Go Outdoors!


Spambot? b


???


When someone chimes in for the first time in a thread with a non-sequitor that appears to be promoting something, 99 times out of 100 it's an automatic script or "bot" for inserting spam links or advertising into the forum.

They never come back and put question marks however, because that's human behaviour. My apologies, you must be a real person! b :oops:

alpgirl
Posts: 164
Joined: 30 May 2012, 10:22pm

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby alpgirl » 23 Jul 2012, 8:50am

???[/quote]

When someone chimes in for the first time in a thread with a non-sequitor that appears to be promoting something, 99 times out of 100 it's an automatic script or "bot" for inserting spam links or advertising into the forum.

They never come back and put question marks however, because that's human behaviour. My apologies, you must be a real person! b :oops:[/quote]

I read some (not all!) of this thread a few weeks ago. I was in Go Outdoors last week for the first time and noticed they were selling Viscount Bicycles. I remembered this thread, and I just wondered whether it was the same company!

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

Re: Viscount bicycles!!

Postby Bendo » 23 Jul 2012, 12:38pm

alpgirl wrote:???


When someone chimes in for the first time in a thread with a non-sequitor that appears to be promoting something, 99 times out of 100 it's an automatic script or "bot" for inserting spam links or advertising into the forum.

They never come back and put question marks however, because that's human behaviour. My apologies, you must be a real person! b :oops:[/quote]

I read some (not all!) of this thread a few weeks ago. I was in Go Outdoors last week for the first time and noticed they were selling Viscount Bicycles. I remembered this thread, and I just wondered whether it was the same company![/quote]

Not such a non-sequitor then! That's very interesting. I'm assuming they were brand new bikes. Did they have anything like the same kind of logos/branding? What kind of bikes were they? b