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Viscount/Lambert owners

Old 11-12-09, 11:59 PM
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^ If you can get you're hands on a spindle that looks like it would work, I;d be interested.

Blake
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Old 02-28-10, 05:18 PM
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Hi guys

Ive just been working on an old Viscount Aerospace possibly a Gran Sport (cant see as the top tube decals are worn off), i salvaged the frame from the scrap pile at the local bike recycling with a siezed in seat post. After a few hours of cutting and hacking it away ive managed to get most of it out and knocked the last bit inside the tube. Ive got a couple of questions though;

To remove the bottom bracket is it just a case of taking the clips of and bashing the bearings out with the spindle?

Also what types of cranks does the spindle fit? i had a square taper set but no luck squeezing them on.

Cheers

J

Last edited by The Consumer; 02-28-10 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 02-28-10, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by The Consumer
To remove the bottom bracket is it just a case of taking the clips of and bashing the bearings out with the spindle?
Basically, yes. The bearings will likely be ruined in the process, if they aren't already.

Also what types of cranks does the spindle fit? i had a square taper set but no luck squeezing them on.
For some unknown and ridiculously ill-considered reason, the Lambert spindle is untapered. This not only makes it incompatible with all other square taper cranks known to man, but also gives it a built-in tendency to self-loosen and ruin the arms. Not only that, but the grooves for the circlips create a stress raiser that led to spindle failure. What were they thinking?

Once you get the old bearings and spindle out you will find that the shell is unthreaded and really too thin to be safely tapped with threads. Your best bet is probably one of the new threadless bottom bracket cartridges from Velo-Orange.

Last edited by JohnDThompson; 02-28-10 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 03-01-10, 07:24 AM
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Cheers John

Looks like another project now. I take it getting your hands on Viscount chainsets are pretty difficult?

The treadless BB might have to be the way forward but not sure how good they are, also i believe you have to file off the protruding tubes withing the BB shell, has anyone done this before?
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Old 03-01-10, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by The Consumer
The treadless BB might have to be the way forward but not sure how good they are, also i believe you have to file off the protruding tubes withing the BB shell, has anyone done this before?
See post 66 in this thread.

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post10020045
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Old 03-01-10, 07:36 AM
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Ooops

I knew i had read that somewhere yesterday! Been a long day in uni already and its only lunch time...I should really focus on that instead!

Cheers
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Old 03-01-10, 08:23 AM
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I recently finished rebuilding an early 70's Lambert Grand Prix into something more like a Sports.

I wanted to upgrade an English three-speed but wanted a lightweight frame in a large size, so I got this 62 cm Lambert. I used a YST BB. The fenders (mudguards) aren't quite the right color because they're from another bike. Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub, dynamo front hub, both hubs have drum brakes. Home made LED lights built into old light housings. 26" wheels (26 x 1.5" tires) to lower the BB as much as possible and 140mm cranks.
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Old 03-01-10, 10:30 AM
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Here is another webpage on overhauling the bottom bracket on a Viscount:

https://bikecult.com/works/parts/bbViscount.html

-James
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Old 03-01-10, 10:34 AM
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What keeps the spindle from floating back and forth? I don't see any clips, or stops? Is one bearing permanently fixed on the spindle? Just curious?,,,,BD
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Old 03-01-10, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Basically, yes. The bearings will likely be ruined in the process, if they aren't already.



For some unknown and ridiculously ill-considered reason, the Lambert spindle is untapered. This not only makes it incompatible with all other square taper cranks known to man, but also gives it a built-in tendency to self-loosen and ruin the arms. Not only that, but the grooves for the circlips create a stress raiser that led to spindle failure. What were they thinking?
The earliest Lambert BB spindles were untapered and suitable for use with their own cranks. There were very few cranks which worked loose on these spindles. Those that did were a result of machining failure at the factory - something which was bound to happen when you have to knock out 50,000 of the things per year - and/or poor assembly. This spindle design was changed on later Lamberts to an ISO type taper which was subsequently used by Viscount and later copied by Klein. This information is apparently contrary to much of what is out there on the net. However I gained this TRUE information from the very people who worked for Lambert from 1972 - 1974 (when they sadly went bust).

Relatively few of the BB spindles in their various guises broke. Most failures were likely due to materials quality issues not the design principles used.

Due to a need to get to the bottom of things (I am always wary of internet wisdom) and find out if I have a safe bicycle I have shown the Lambert and Viscount BB spindles to a number of professional structural engineers. Their views have all been the same. Having circlip grooves does not fundamentally weaken the design of what is a 17mm diameter solid steel bar. Failure would be down to the material itself not being to specification. Again given the production volumes - at least 150,000 circlip grooved BB spindles have been made - some breakages would be inevitable. A friend of mine has broken Dura Ace and a fair few Campagnolo Record cranks over the years. These metal components we use from time to time are gonna break!!

I have a number of Viscount BB spindles which are still giving sterling service after 33 years of continuous use/abuse.

I can't help but feel slightly sorry for Lambert's engineers and designers. They broke new ground in bicycle design with some of their products, something which has never really been acknowledged. There is also a fair bit of largely untrue information on the internet too. Oh well. That's life I suppose....
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Old 03-01-10, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by busaste
The earliest Lambert BB spindles were untapered and suitable for use with their own cranks. There were very few cranks which worked loose on these spindles. Those that did were a result of machining failure at the factory - something which was bound to happen when you have to knock out 50,000 of the things per year - and/or poor assembly. This spindle design was changed on later Lamberts to an ISO type taper which was subsequently used by Viscount and later copied by Klein. This information is apparently contrary to much of what is out there on the net. However I gained this TRUE information from the very people who worked for Lambert from 1972 - 1974 (when they sadly went bust)...
I have to agree with John D. Thompson on this. The original, un-tapered spindle design was poor at best. The spindle bolt held the crankarm to a flange on the spindle, but the design did not ensure that the crankarm would tighten on the spindle. The result was that the hole in the crankarm would enlarge resulting is a slight slipping with a click. This information is based on my personal experience with my early Lambert, not what I read on the internet.
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Old 03-01-10, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued
What keeps the spindle from floating back and forth? I don't see any clips, or stops? Is one bearing permanently fixed on the spindle? Just curious?,,,,BD
The bearing fits the BB shell tightly and the spindle fits inside of the bearing tightly. I believe this is called and interference fit. It actually take a bit of force o press the spindle on the bearings and the bearings into the shell.
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Old 03-01-10, 10:03 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by busaste
I can't help but feel slightly sorry for Lambert's engineers and designers. They broke new ground in bicycle design with some of their products, something which has never really been acknowledged. There is also a fair bit of largely untrue information on the internet too. Oh well. That's life I suppose....
I agree that there were many things to like about the Lambert bikes, but the bottom bracket wasn't one of them.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:05 PM
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In hindsight it's pretty obvious that the un-tapered spindles were a poor design choice. They allow virtually no manufacturing tolerance and no tolerance for wear. On a tapered BB it's not catastrophic if the hole/spindle interface is off slightly, it just moves the crank in/out a bit. On a non-tapered design, it will cause the fit to be too tight or too loose.

That said, I have a Viscount with the tapered BB so I know they were produced at one point.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The Consumer
Cheers John

Looks like another project now. I take it getting your hands on Viscount chainsets are pretty difficult?

The treadless BB might have to be the way forward but not sure how good they are, also i believe you have to file off the protruding tubes withing the BB shell, has anyone done this before?
If you're serious about getting this bike back on the road I think I have a few tapered spindles that will work with standard Lambert bearings (ie 6003 spec). I don't know the length, taper or exact dimensions but I could measure them to make sure. I'd be happy to ship if you pick up the charges.
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Old 03-02-10, 08:57 AM
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Iowegian

Cheers for the kind offer, i may well get back in touch regarding one of them. At the moment though i might have to hold off the Viscount for a while as money and time are too tight.

The frame was too nice to disapear into the scrap just for a siezed seatpost but at 58cm its too big for myself so thought i could get it on the road for a friend and clear up some of my stock pile of parts at the same time without any real costs....never happens the way i plan!

Give me a few weeks and i'll probably feel the urge to get it built, maybe just as a single speed though.

Cheers for the help and offer.

Jonny
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Old 04-14-10, 09:28 PM
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Looking to put in a threadless BB. bbllaakke, what size/make BB did you buy? How's it working? well I hope. I'm excited about getting this rig running again.
A few pics of its former glory here


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Old 05-13-10, 10:08 PM
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Wondered if any of you Viscount owners could measure or know what spindle length came on these bikes. I want to get a threadless BB and need to know. I don't have my old one to measure. Thanks out there.
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Old 05-13-10, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by awc380
Alright, come on. Someone start talking about the 'death fork'.
Be glad to...replaced lots of these forks during my bikeshop days in the mid 70's. Viscount was distributed by Yamaha and once the fork issue surfaced, they got "on it" with recall notices. As you know, the "death fork" was aluminum blades with a "press fit" steel steering tube...not the strongest fabrication...tended to work loose! The Viscount was ahead of its time in many ways (sealed bearing BB, fillet brazed frame, relatively light) but not everything on the bike was well thought out..for instance the TA inspired chainrings with seemingly a jillion chainring bolts of various sizes. Also when the sealed cartridges crapped out or worked loose, we would tap new threads in the BB with an Italian Tap since it is slightly bigger than English thread BB. We would then install a threaded Italian BB & spindle....far more reliable. The marketing campaign for these bikes was extraordinary for its time. I remember seeing full-sized billboards with a Viscount in the foreground and a private jet in the background with the caption: The Viscount has landed. This was the first ad campaign I saw for bicycles that promoted them as a high-tech serious machine rather than a toy. It pleases me to no end to see this thread and the splendid examples of restored Viscounts that all of you have posted.
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Old 05-13-10, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
I agree that there were many things to like about the Lambert bikes, but the bottom bracket wasn't one of them.
See my other post..when we repaired BB's that crapped out or worked loose, we tapped the BB shell with Italian threads since these are a bit larger diameter than the English size. By doing this we were able to cut threads deep enough to accept an threaded Italian BB & spindle which was far more reliable. It has to be done carefully..the diciest part is getting the threads started "straight" in the threadless BB..
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Old 05-14-10, 06:56 AM
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It was a brilliant ad campaign. It gave the image of a bike of greater quality than it actually was. I wanted it so badly as a teenager. That indicates how smart the ads were.

For the price, it was a VERY light bike. The Lambert components, though, were not so hot, even though they had cartridge bearings. I adore the look of the chainrings, even now.

I am scouring craigslist and ebay, waiting for one to show up in my area at a decent price. If I get l lucky, I'll buy one, fix it up, enjoy it for a while, and then sell it. I expect riding it will be a bit of a let-down.

By the way, how do y'all pronounce Viscount? I know the proper way is "VYE count" though I don't know if people know that and think it rhymes with "discount."
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Old 05-14-10, 08:54 AM
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Here is one of those ads. I have more, too, if anyone is interested.

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Old 05-14-10, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Pedale
See my other post..when we repaired BB's that crapped out or worked loose, we tapped the BB shell with Italian threads since these are a bit larger diameter than the English size. By doing this we were able to cut threads deep enough to accept an threaded Italian BB & spindle which was far more reliable. It has to be done carefully..the diciest part is getting the threads started "straight" in the threadless BB..
Already did one. Worst bit was to grind out the tubing in the BB - nobody mitered the darn thing.

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Old 05-14-10, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill
Here is one of those ads. I have more, too, if anyone is interested.

See, isn't that gorgeous for a mid-range bike? And the chainrings are the absolute best.
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Old 05-14-10, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
See, isn't that gorgeous for a mid-range bike? And the chainrings are the absolute best.
They also look good on Windsors:



-Kurt
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