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Old 07-25-10, 01:55 PM   #1
rosieochiltree
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Vintage steel frame identification

I have inherited a really nice very old steel bike frame and which I am currently building back to be a bike again. There is no marking anywhere on the bike except a serial number and 'brev Campagnolo' on the front drop outs.

Would love to know what brand and model my frame is. It seems very high quality, light weight and beautifully welded together.

Serial number is: 001465 BK

Only things I've heard so far are that it's old (!) very expensive (lovely) and maybe from 1950s-60s. Also they think it's a tourer because of the lugs above on the dropouts - ?

Some pictures of the drop outs, forks and welds.
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/_pitkin/4828100962/>
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/_pitkin/4828100874/>
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/_pitkin/4828100366/>
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/_pitkin/4827491399/>

Help would be really greatly appreciated as I try to make a nice vintage bike out of it.
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Old 07-25-10, 02:33 PM   #2
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Seems odd to me for a supposed old valuable frame that the bottom bracket is welded rather than lugged. You'll probably want to post a photo of the head tube and seat cluster, and measurements of the seat tube inside diameter and bottom bracket width.
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Old 07-25-10, 03:39 PM   #3
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A picture of where the seat goes in, and the seat post: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/_pitkin/4827823537/>

I think it's 25mm in diameter and says this on the seat post but I think it says 25.(something) but the decimal is illegible.

This is the frame in its entirety with some of the parts that I might use.

<http://www.flickr.com/photos/_pitkin/4827831817/>
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Old 07-25-10, 04:03 PM   #4
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Fork is the nicest part. I do not think it matches the bike, totally different construction, etc. Rear dropouts do not match front dropouts. Small seat post diameter is indicative of lower grade tubing.

Frame does not appear to be super valuable but is nice.

What is the rear spacing?

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Old 07-25-10, 04:05 PM   #5
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Looks like a Trusty-built Lambert frame with a replacement fork.
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Old 07-25-10, 04:47 PM   #6
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John probably has the id right, but there were some valuable fillet brazed frames built in the C&V era. This is fillet brazed, not welded.
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Old 07-25-10, 05:06 PM   #7
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I think it looks like a lovely frame, and id have no issues riding it.
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Old 07-25-10, 06:39 PM   #8
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Viscount?
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Old 07-25-10, 07:26 PM   #9
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Yep, probably either Lambert or Viscount, but the deal-killer will be the BB: is the shell threaded or does it use pressed-in cartridge bearings?
the fork crown is the same as my Bob Jackson Merlin, which is definitely a step nicer than the Yamaha replacement forks that Viscount used to deal with the "death fork" issue.
just to be a stickler about it: what we call "fillet brazed" the British call "bronze-welded", sometimes even shortening it to "welded" when comparing to a lugged frame...in that context it's understood that they're not talking about a "welded" frame as we'd know it.

Last edited by unworthy1; 07-25-10 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 07-26-10, 02:51 AM   #10
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Thanks for all of this useful information! What is C&V?
In response to some of the questions:
- rear spacing: is that the distance between the rear drop outs? If so, that's 5 inches (measured with a wonky ruler).
- the BB: assuming that's the bottom bracket? It had two bearing cartridges in either end and a solid axle (?) through the middle. Couldn't see any threading.

Is it normal for the forks and frame to be different and used together like this? I'm almost sure that these were together in their last riding days together...
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Old 07-26-10, 09:39 AM   #11
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C&V: Classic and Vintage (relax, you're soaking in it)
your rear spacing (measured between the inner dropout faces is 120mm (about 4.75") for 5-speed or 126mm (about 5") for 6-speed.
BB= Bottom Bracket (in this case the shell) and your answer confirms that it's a Viscount or a Lambert. Your new problems are that the shell is unthreaded and the axle (spindle) for the crank is unique in that it is un-tapered, designed to work only with the original Lambert/Viscount crank (and a worthless design you don't want).
The fast/dirty solution is to buy a BB unit that requires no threads (or damaged threads) in the BB shell: the good one is from Velo Orange, the cheap one is from YST.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
C&V: Classic and Vintage (relax, you're soaking in it)
your rear spacing (measured between the inner dropout faces is 120mm (about 4.75") for 5-speed or 126mm (about 5") for 6-speed.
BB= Bottom Bracket (in this case the shell) and your answer confirms that it's a Viscount or a Lambert. Your new problems are that the shell is unthreaded and the axle (spindle) for the crank is unique in that it is un-tapered, designed to work only with the original Lambert/Viscount crank (and a worthless design you don't want).
The fast/dirty solution is to buy a BB unit that requires no threads (or damaged threads) in the BB shell: the good one is from Velo Orange, the cheap one is from YST.
One concern. Are the bottom bracket shells a standard size for a Lambert/Viscount bottom bracket shell? If the shell is anything like a Merlin pressed in BB shell, I don't think it is a standard size.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:02 PM   #13
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i don't know (but some Viscount / Lambert owners can chime in) but I think that the BB shell is very close to the standard 68mm width and 1.37" diameter. I'm guessing that these "aerospace" frames were using standard readily available tubing back in the '70s, and they would have used a standard BB blank...unlike the "real" aerospace titanium frames that had to initially use tubing that was surplus from fighter jet manufacture.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:51 AM   #14
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Ok sounds interesting. I have the bottom bracket (took it out so that I could powder coat the frame) so will photo it and put it up to see if it's useful/usable - ?

Are there any considerations on headset and quill that I need to think about? Also, would the bike have used 27 1 1/4 wheels? And would 700c ones be ok?

Really appreciating all of your help here!
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Old 07-27-10, 11:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosieochiltree View Post
Ok sounds interesting. I have the bottom bracket (took it out so that I could powder coat the frame) so will photo it and put it up to see if it's useful/usable - ?

Are there any considerations on headset and quill that I need to think about? Also, would the bike have used 27 1 1/4 wheels? And would 700c ones be ok?

Really appreciating all of your help here!
it would be more useful to measure the BB shell (both ID and width) and use that to determine what replacement would fit.
it might have used 27" wheels , but a lot of Viscounts came with sewups so 700C would be an exact match in that case. You'll have to just try a wheel out for fit and see. The steerer would most likely be a standard one so a standard 1" threaded headset should work as well as standard 1" quill stem.
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Old 07-27-10, 12:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
...just to be a stickler about it: what we call "fillet brazed" the British call "bronze-welded", sometimes even shortening it to "welded" when comparing to a lugged frame...in that context it's understood that they're not talking about a "welded" frame as we'd know it.
That's a good history lesson, but just to be a stickler back, it is good to dispense with inaccurate terminology probably invented by the marketing department. There is nothing "welded" about that frame. It is brazed. All brazed and nothing but brazed.
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Old 07-27-10, 03:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mike Mills View Post
That's a good history lesson, but just to be a stickler back, it is good to dispense with inaccurate terminology probably invented by the marketing department. There is nothing "welded" about that frame. It is brazed. All brazed and nothing but brazed.
Where is Eisenhower when Monte and Old Blood & Guts get into it?
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Old 07-27-10, 04:17 PM   #18
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where is eisenhower when monte and old blood & guts get into it?
lol!
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Old 07-27-10, 04:32 PM   #19
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I have measured the frame bits and you seem to be correct in your assumptions - I think:

The internal diameter of the BB is 35mm (external 39/40) and the width is 67mm.

The headset seems to be just over an inch at 30mm but that might be my bad measuring?
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Old 07-27-10, 11:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rosieochiltree View Post
I have measured the frame bits and you seem to be correct in your assumptions - I think:

The internal diameter of the BB is 35mm (external 39/40) and the width is 67mm.

The headset seems to be just over an inch at 30mm but that might be my bad measuring?
I got the same bb shell measurements on a fillet brazed viscount. I tried to measure carefully because someone told me that the max shell id for a vo grand cru threadless bb to most likely work well was 34mm. The id is probably smaller inward of the bearing space so maybe it would still work. I think those are really lite and nice frames, worth fixing up if you can figure out the bb.
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Old 07-28-10, 06:03 AM   #21
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I got the same bb shell measurements on a fillet brazed viscount. I tried to measure carefully because someone told me that the max shell id for a vo grand cru threadless bb to most likely work well was 34mm. The id is probably smaller inward of the bearing space so maybe it would still work. I think those are really lite and nice frames, worth fixing up if you can figure out the bb.
Great news. I definitely did not measure accurately as I am missing the required tools! Did you fix your frame up? Do you have pictures of yours? I am very much liking the frame and can't wait to get going. The bearings and axle (?) are there and look in good condition, I guess it's just a case of finding some cranks that fit?
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Old 07-28-10, 10:57 AM   #22
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unless somebody did you a big favor and replaced the original spindle, the only cranks that will work on the untapered spindle are the original Lamberts (which look like a slightly cruder TA Cyclotourist set). This is why replacing the entire BB unit makes life better. That and a steel fork and these frames make for a decent ride, I have seen many (retrofitted) still on the road.
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Old 07-28-10, 11:38 AM   #23
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the only cranks that will work on the untapered spindle are the original Lamberts (which look like a slightly cruder TA Cyclotourist set).
Ah ok, is this a bad idea then? Or just something difficult to get hold of?

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This is why replacing the entire BB unit makes life better. That and a steel fork and these frames make for a decent ride, I have seen many (retrofitted) still on the road.
And these are these BB units are those Velo Orange ones that people have mentioned? The steel forks I hear are good from the above so that's done I guess - any idea who made these?! Great news on the rest.

I'll go BB shopping...
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Old 07-28-10, 12:16 PM   #24
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Ah ok, is this a bad idea then? Or just something difficult to get hold of?
It's bad because untapered spindles (and the soft alloy Lambert cranks that fit them) are not a good design: the taper is important to get a good tight fit between these materials, that's why 99.9% of all square-taper cranks use a taper. The Brits who made Lamberts/Viscounts were not bicycle engineers and they made some poor design choices in an effort to be innovative and cut corners. The Lambert cranks are both difficult to find and best left alone, if you did find them they'd only be worth scavenging the rings off to put on a TA (tapered) crankset.


And these are these BB units are those Velo Orange ones that people have mentioned? The steel forks I hear are good from the above so that's done I guess - any idea who made these?! Great news on the rest.

I'll go BB shopping...
Some folks have been lucky in finding just a spindle they could use with the OEM pressed-in bearings, but I don't know what brand spindle (or where/if they still sell them) or how much extra machining was required to make that work... seems like the VO unit is the best unit yet for this application, good quality and at a decent price, too, Before you buy you must settle on what crankset you'll use it with, so you buy the correct spindle length (your taper choice is limited since VO only makes it in ISO, but plenty of cranksets out there to pick from.)
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Old 07-28-10, 12:43 PM   #25
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That isn't the Viscount crankset. Are there threads inside the bottom bracket of the frame (where the pedal crank passes through - no intention of offending with this clarification - just hoping to prevent time lost for a potential next question).
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