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Lambert Professional w/ Death Fork

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Lambert Professional w/ Death Fork

Old 12-17-18, 09:35 AM
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Lambert Professional w/ Death Fork

For those in Minn. with interest in vintage English bikes there's a rare one on auction at Shopgoodwill a Lambert Professional. Bike Rendezvous has a nice write up about this bike company and its models. This looks to be in very good condition and intact, the latter of note, as Lambert was known for building many of the components. Oh and do take the "Death Fork" seriously, also discussed online. So a lovely complete display bike to add to your collection or ride only after swapping out the "Death Fork". Don't know if the gold on the handlebar makes this one of the very rare "golden", actual gold, models mentioned in the Bike Rendezvous write up about this bike. This looks to be a later fillet brazed as opposed to lugged frame, but all decals look to be intact.


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Old 12-17-18, 10:26 AM
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Yes, it does have the death fork. No, it's not one of the gold plated ones. That brass handlebar plaque was riveted to the bars on most of the early Lamberts. Thanks for heads up!
It does look very complete, but is missing the crank and pedal dust caps. Those are hard to find.
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Old 12-17-18, 11:00 AM
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Mine was stolen in the 70s.., a larger size.. I bought it in a bike shop on Eugene..
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Old 12-17-18, 12:07 PM
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Nice bike! Thanks for posting it.

WRT the death fork: I'm aware of the online discussions - probably read most of them - but have found few facts. Just the Yamaha recall and some construction drawings. Lots or referring to other online discussions but nothing about actual accidents so far. Since I own a Viscount with said fork, which I plan to recommission and ride, I'd be interested in any real evidence.
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Old 12-17-18, 12:46 PM
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Great candidate. Appears all there except where noted on the caps. The tubing specification decal remains.

There are some quirks in the Lambert era vs. later Viscount but I think that only adds to the charm of having one. Bearings are readily available and low cost. I would surely inspect the fork and if met my approval would ride it.

Good luck to whoever gets it!
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Old 12-17-18, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Nice bike! Thanks for posting it.

WRT the death fork: I'm aware of the online discussions - probably read most of them - but have found few facts. Just the Yamaha recall and some construction drawings. Lots or referring to other online discussions but nothing about actual accidents so far. Since I own a Viscount with said fork, which I plan to recommission and ride, I'd be interested in any real evidence.
I bought a Lambert in1973. 1977, it broke on a downhill with no warning whatsoever, leaving me in a 5 day coma and seizures. 1985 I went back to my university to retake my engineering classes so I could read my textbooks again and return to my profession. Had I not been wearing the original Bel Biker helmet, it is a given that either I would not have lived or I'd have been one of the vegetables whose rooms I wandered into in my spacey ventures during my stay. (I could walk and the nurses couldn't keep me put.)

It you have a Lambert with the smooth fork underside, ie no drilling for the steerer, don't ride it! Incredibly poor engineering. We learned not to do what they did sophomore year.

Ben
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Old 12-17-18, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I bought a Lambert in1973. 1977, it broke on a downhill with no warning whatsoever, leaving me in a 5 day coma and seizures. 1985 I went back to my university to retake my engineering classes so I could read my textbooks again and return to my profession. Had I not been wearing the original Bel Biker helmet, it is a given that either I would not have lived or I'd have been one of the vegetables whose rooms I wandered into in my spacey ventures during my stay. (I could walk and the nurses couldn't keep me put.)

It you have a Lambert with the smooth fork underside, ie no drilling for the steerer, don't ride it! Incredibly poor engineering. We learned not to do what they did sophomore year.

Ben
Thanks, Ben, for your candid reply. Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope it didn't have any lasting effects. I will definitely have a closer look at that fork before trying it on he road!
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Old 12-17-18, 02:41 PM
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My grandpa had one (I now own it). He broke the original fork at the failure point but did hit a shopping cart someone had left in the bike lane in the middle of the night. Not out of nowhere, but does suggest a slightly weaker fork than the norm. He replaced with the later fork with a steel plug, which is still on the bike. It's a 58 so I've never ridden it, and have no plans to, but I keep it around cause it's a cool looking frameset and it's not worth anything (and it was my grandpa's, of course)
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Old 12-17-18, 02:52 PM
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What's puzzling to me is that the aluminum fork provided NO weight savings at all. The original aluminum fork for my 58cm Lambert weighs 1.92 lbs. A hi-tensile steel fork like the Yamaha replacement weighs 1.94 lbs. A quality chrome moly fork that size weighs around 1.6 lbs. I'm using a Nashbar threaded carbon fork (1.32 lbs.) on my Lambert build, to pay homage to what I believe was the original intent of the aluminum fork... exceptionally light weight. BTW although replacement BB bearings are cheap and plentiful, you'll need a hydraulic press to remove the old bearings without damaging the spindle. Especially if the bike has been out in any inclement weather.
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Last edited by Hudson308; 12-19-18 at 08:29 PM. Reason: corrected spelling
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Old 12-17-18, 04:59 PM
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Here's a better picture of the seat tube decal which details the tubing, though hard to read, I believe it is "aircraft" quality tubing (?), there's more discussion on this point in the Bicycle Rendezvous article on the Lambert. Also the head tube decal, lovely thing. Couple additional pictures on the auction at Shopgoodwill. If someone gets this do post and describe what you find, always interesting to see something this old with intact decals, might even find the prior owner from the Minn. bike license on the seat tube?

Merry Christmas to all.



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Old 12-18-18, 07:14 AM
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The challenge with those early Minnesota licenses is that they were temporary. You had to keep buying new stickers after your old one expired. Records weren't kept for long after the expiration date.
The new system implemented by the Minneapolis Police Dept. is much more useful. You register your existing frame serial number and bike description online for free, and can even include pictures.
I've talked with Minneapolis police officers who say they do use that info as one more tool when encountering suspicious situations.
If anyone here on BF ends up acquiring the bike noted here, I've got a Yamaha replacement fork that I would gladly provide for the cost of shipping.
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Old 12-18-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Here's a better picture of the seat tube decal which details the tubing, though hard to read, I believe it is "aircraft" quality tubing (?)
There were a couple variations of the tubing decal. Here's a similar one, unrolled:



And a rarer one:

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Old 12-18-18, 09:43 AM
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Yield Stress 45 tons sq. in.
Tensile Strength 50 tons sq. in.

HOLY BATMAN

And those only the "nominal mechanical properties"!!!
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Old 12-18-18, 11:58 AM
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Tubing maker I.D.....
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Old 12-19-18, 05:41 AM
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I've seen these bikes on and off over the years on CL, so there are still some around. They have no appeal to me personally at all, though I remember when they came out there was a lot of interest due to their heavy marketing.
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Old 12-19-18, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Here's a better picture of the seat tube decal which details the tubing, though hard to read, I believe it is "aircraft" quality tubing (?),
Reynolds 531 was used in the English Spitfire airplanes in WWII.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:16 PM
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Old 12-19-18, 08:26 PM
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^ ^ That's obviously the weight of the smallest frame they made. The bare frame I show above in post #9 (without fork) weighs 4.37 lbs.
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Old 12-20-18, 02:25 PM
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Viscount (Lambert) bikes

I owned a bike shop in from the early 1970's until the mid 1990's. I made both good and bad decisions as a business owner. The one decision that stands as perhaps the worst in my 20 plus year career was selling Viscount bikes. They were the absolute worse bikes I ever sold. It wasn't just the forks that were crap and broke - everything they made to hang on the bikes was terrible - the pedals, brakes, headsets - the frames themselves. Just horrible quality. The marketing was alluring . . . the imagery was nice. The bikes themselves just awful.
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Old 12-21-18, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by thunderworks View Post
I owned a bike shop in from the early 1970's until the mid 1990's. I made both good and bad decisions as a business owner. The one decision that stands as perhaps the worst in my 20 plus year career was selling Viscount bikes. They were the absolute worse bikes I ever sold. It wasn't just the forks that were crap and broke - everything they made to hang on the bikes was terrible - the pedals, brakes, headsets - the frames themselves. Just horrible quality. The marketing was alluring . . . the imagery was nice. The bikes themselves just awful.
Must have been quite a challenge figuring out which way the threads go and how to service the bottom bracket. And same goes for that most basic common headset.

Couldn't imagine how tricky it was to swap out common bearings in the wheel hubs. Perhaps 15 minutes at most for a newby doing the job..... (no 'hydraulic' press needed)... ahemmm.

And a sub 4 lbs fillet brazed less that robust powdercoat frame is just impossible. How dreadful.

Those crude finish but OVERBUILT takeoff design type of one of the most successful - MAFAC Racer - simply could throw you over the bars. Lol

And all those deaths due the possessed fork stabbings. My head is spinning.
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Old 12-21-18, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Reynolds 531 was used in the English Spitfire airplanes in WWII.
And the beautiful Jaguar E Type cars as well!
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Old 12-21-18, 03:04 PM
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A good source of accurate info on Lambert & Viscount bicycles is Viscount
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Old 12-21-18, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
Must have been quite a challenge figuring out which way the threads go and how to service the bottom bracket. And same goes for that most basic common headset.

Couldn't imagine how tricky it was to swap out common bearings in the wheel hubs. Perhaps 15 minutes at most for a newby doing the job..... (no 'hydraulic' press needed)... ahemmm.

And a sub 4 lbs fillet brazed less that robust powdercoat frame is just impossible. How dreadful.

Those crude finish but OVERBUILT takeoff design type of one of the most successful - MAFAC Racer - simply could throw you over the bars. Lol

And all those deaths due the possessed fork stabbings. My head is spinning.
Why all the snarky comments, do you believe the poster was lying? And do you in fact think the Viscounts were high quality bikes? Just curious, I never worked on one but had heard they were pretty poorly made as well..
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Old 12-21-18, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89 View Post
Why all the snarky comments, do you believe the poster was lying? And do you in fact think the Viscounts were high quality bikes? Just curious, I never worked on one but had heard they were pretty poorly made as well..
I'm going to pull one from Richard Sachs. ATMO

Whether you personally experience a Viscount or not, are welcome to base your opinion. Googlize-
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Old 12-21-18, 06:31 PM
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I get a kick out of these old vintage bikes, to actually experience and learn of its history. The poster who whined about Viscount clearly admits his poor decision and experience with Viscount. That's his story, not mine.

And the unfortunate poster whom had a severe injury from crash on a Viscount is his experience. Very sorry to hear of these things but again, not my problem or issue. What do I know of his riding or possible abuse prior to his wreck? I can repeatedly make this case to every rider and bike made to this very day. Especially the carbon wonders.

I intentionally acquired a 1976 Aerospace Pro, completely dismantled, rebuilt and experienced the whole rotten potato skin as others claim.

The revised type 3 fork remains. The brakes are excellent and I'm using Kool Stop inserts. The cartridge bearings / bottom bracket and hubs/ were most convenient to source, low price and EASY to replace. And this being my first time servicing one of these bikes. The headset is essentially similar to perhaps 90% of bikes of the era. The frame is very impressive for its time and frankly, you don't see many rusted out or have yet to see fractured. Production -hand made, fillet brazed with powder coat finish. Remarkable that the bean counters decided to sell so cheap.

The fork debacle is clearly addressed but its over hyped of 'death'. The former dealer and comment about components could be of the majority of all makers, hence the progress and nature of improving. I also have a bike with a French derailleur from the mid 1930s. It functions yet expect idiosyncrasies that make it fun today. Others might be a crybaby because they miss a slight shift on their modern STI. It is what it is.

My conclusion is I love the bike and in my fleet rotation. They did offer a tubular wheel option so I went with 'both'. I rebuilt the wheels but using another fabled story by all the experts.... Super Champion Mixte rims. A 700c that accept wired clincher or tubular. The temptation was worth it. I'm now riding it with tubular.

ATMO
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