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Old 07-12-09, 02:28 PM   #1
Daytrip
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Viscount Restoration Project

Well, sort of. Back in my college days in the mid '70s I had two Viscounts. One was a new, bottom of the line model and the other one was a used, but much nicer model (Gran Tour, maybe). Anyway, the bike pictured is a combination of the two. The frame and fork are off the lesser bike. Everything else (except the seat) is from the other bike. The seat is a Selle that I had laying around. I realize that the paint job matches the better bike while the decals are from the cheaper one. It's just a poorly done rattle-can paint job and I bought the decals online, so the downtube "Viscount" logo is wrong for this paint scheme.

Anyway, I'm recovering from major surgery at the moment, so I've only ridden it 2 miles (today), but it rides surprisingly well. It's a lot different from my '08 Giant OCR-1, but it brings back fond memories, and one of these days I'm hoping to do a century on it. I put a lot of miles on both bikes back in the day, and it's nice to have both put together in one package. One reason I went with the cheaper frame is the original Gran Tour had the "Fork of Death" and the chrome fork wouldn't fit on that frame for some reason. The other reason is that the original frame somehow got bent in 30 years of multiple moves and storage. Looks like somebody backed a car into it. And the seatpost was frozen to the frame.
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File Type: jpg viscount2.jpg (91.4 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg viscount3.jpg (70.4 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg viscount4.jpg (92.1 KB, 20 views)
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Old 07-12-09, 10:37 PM   #2
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You did a great job on that bike, I like the paint scheme you chose. Sorry to hear of your surgery, I hope you have a speedy recovery.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:56 AM   #3
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I really like those frames. I have one that I plan to build back up again that looks similar, fillet brazed, pretty light, but in blue. I think I've heard them called aerospace or aerospace pro frames but haven't seen many to compare. Are the two frames you have different?
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Old 07-13-09, 05:15 AM   #4
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The two frames are almost identical. The only difference I could find is that the headtube on the more expensive bike is a bit longer to accommodate the infamous "fork of death" which was a cast aluminum affair prone to catastrophic failure. So that's why I didn't use it.

The bikes were marketed with the "aerospace" label, presumably because they were made using state of the art (at the time) aviation construction and materials (I think). One unique and annoying feature was the use of sealed roller bearings in the bottom bracket and hubs. So there's no threads down there to screw a new BB into. Fortunately, I had a brand new shaft and bearings for this build, so they should outlast me.

My original lower-end bike was blue. I remember that it had this really crummy looking blue plastic handlebar tape. The other bike had the paint scheme you see here.
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Old 07-13-09, 07:59 PM   #5
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I found a Lambert in the trash and rebuilt it for sale. Kinda wish I had kept it - it was just 'different".
Wish some laid off auto workers would follow Lambert's example and put their expertise to work making a quality bike. I'd buy one if it was as cool as a Lambert/Viscount!
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Old 07-14-09, 01:01 AM   #6
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I never fully appreciated my viscount, got it used and cheap and rode it pretty hard, even offroad for a while. But when the bb spindle broke and I stripped the frame I was impressed. Weighed just over 4lbs (56cm) and felt kind of delicate. If I ever get around to dealing with the bottom bracket I'd like to build it up again with better parts.
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Old 07-14-09, 04:59 AM   #7
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There are a couple of Lambert/Viscount threads going here, and the bikes are generally well thought of.
I recently rode my Aerospace Pro on a 180 mile charity ride under very miserable weather conditions and thought it was a great riding bike until mud and road grime began to shut down the drivetrain.
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Old 07-14-09, 08:43 AM   #8
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The 5-speed gear cluster is original and probably worn out. I have a newer chain installed that isn't stretched, but the original chain was, so I assume the cluster is shot. I'd like to replace the chain and gears with something new. The wheels and hubs are original.

Can I install a new gear cluster on the original Viscount hub?

On the BB, I think you can get a Phil Woods retrofit that's not cheap, but apparently pretty good. Sheldon Brown has a page or two on that, I think. The stock bearings are off-the-shelf parts, so they're easy to find replacements for. The shaft, on the other hand, is another story.
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Old 07-14-09, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daytrip View Post
The 5-speed gear cluster is original and probably worn out. I have a newer chain installed that isn't stretched, but the original chain was, so I assume the cluster is shot. I'd like to replace the chain and gears with something new. The wheels and hubs are original.

Can I install a new gear cluster on the original Viscount hub?

On the BB, I think you can get a Phil Woods retrofit that's not cheap, but apparently pretty good. Sheldon Brown has a page or two on that, I think. The stock bearings are off-the-shelf parts, so they're easy to find replacements for. The shaft, on the other hand, is another story.
I thought Phil Wood made a bearings/spindle set? Plus you could find a vintage 5-speed freewheel that would fit (Normandy or Regina).
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Old 07-14-09, 03:33 PM   #10
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I think any old 5-speed BSC (British thread) freewheel will fit on the Viscount hubs. Basically any 5-speed that isn't French threaded should work fine. I could give you one for shipping costs if you can't find one locally.

I recently saw some titanium spindles that should fit the standard 6003 bearings on ebay. They were titanium and $30+shipping IIRC.

I have an old Viscount that I was thinking of turning into a single speed. If anyone wants an original BB/crank combo and can help offset the costs of the replacement parts, PM me and maybe we can work something out.
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Old 07-15-09, 02:38 AM   #11
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I would give any good 5 to 7 speed wheels a try. As far as the bb, do spindles without c clips just tap into place and stay there? Could you use an old spindle of adequate length, with the cranks you want to use attached, to deduce the spindle length you want, and then just plan on being able to hammer it into center?
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Old 07-15-09, 04:48 AM   #12
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There are C-clips that snap into grooves machined into the stock shaft. I'm not sure about the spindle. You might find one that you could do that with. Or, if you had access to a lathe and somebody who knew how to use it, take one down to fit the bearings.
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