's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Viscount Gran Touring rebuild vs. New Bike Questions(10 posts)

Viscount Gran Touring rebuild vs. New Bike QuestionsRoadyRacing
Sep 1, 2003 12:38 PM
I recently acquired a free Viscount Gran Touring 10speed. I have search all over for any in depth information about this model. I am interested in building it up using newer components. I'm a big man... a little over two ballons! I have a FS mountian bike built to the hilt but have become more interested in road bikes. My question is this... is it worth it based on the price of newer components on an almost 30 year old steel frame or should I just save my money and buy a new bike with everything. I have read several post in the vintage bike areas but I want performance, comfort and the greatest savings. The thing rides pretty well, it has a steel front fork no braze-ons and a "hodgepodge" of parts. Is there anyone in here that can help???????


My thoughts.....Lone Gunman
Sep 1, 2003 2:11 PM
Not familiar with that particular model of Viscount, I have a Sebring that I am re-doing at this time and will be a stunning retro ride when finished. Mine is very similar to your description, Shimano friction 600 drivetrain and brake levers, SR cranks, stem, and bar, Wolber Alpine 27"rims on 32hole Shimano 600 hubs.

Let's start with wheels. Chances are that you have 27" heavy as sin wheels. Modern day bikes as you know are 700mm. You probably could put 700s on the frame providing your brakes fit to catch the rim. 27" tire selection is small and the tires are heavy. Next problem is rear spread is probably 126mm, so you would need to cold spread the dropout area to accommodate a 130mm hub that is 9 speed today. The next problem is the bottom bracket, depending upon how your frame was welded. A modern day sealed bb may not fit if one of the intersecting tubes protrudes into the bb shell like mine did. But the old style cup and bearing works with any tapered crank.

As you could see, you run into a host of compatability issues with components. It will get expensive and in the end you may not like what you have. Since you like the steel frame, I would suggest keeping it original and riding as a retro bike or turning it into a single speed or fixed gear as it has the horizontal dropouts to do that easily enough. Since you asked, If I am you, I shop around for a steel frame in the geometry that fits you and your riding style, buy a set of components that you want spec'd to your needs and build it up. Or go to a site like and look at his steel frames or full bikes. Almost always cheaper to go with a full bike as opposed to piecing it together.

Having been in your position, (my Viscount had less than 1000 miles on it, rode nice and fit, but I wanted newer components) I opted for a nice steel frameset with very good components. I still like the retro bike and have put more money back into it than I purchased it for new, but when I am finished I have a very classy retro ride to have fun with.
Listen to the Gunman, he's got it right! (nm)Kerry Irons
Sep 1, 2003 5:42 PM
Hey Gunman...RoadyRacing
Sep 2, 2003 6:25 AM
I tried to email you with a couple of questions but I couldn't get through... anyway, without any real interest in retro (I'm 40 and fighting it! ) Is the frame a worthy example of a handmade model as it describes by all of the stickers attached or will I be upgrading an Edsel? I'm willing to build it up slowly especially since cold weather is closing in fast here. How painful ($$$?) was the frame adjustments and where are you now with you own project bike? Regarding the infamous fork...I will get a magnet after it but it's chromed on the bottom half of each leg... I thought that was the sign of the change over. Also if anyone could help me out with a little history on this thing... good or bad (minus the death fork issues), more like what it may have sold for new and what year it was made. It's labeled everywhere "Aerospace", hand crafted and made in England by Trusty Corp. It's a Gran Touring model if it helps even though I've read that all Viscount bikes used the same frame materials just better dressed in the price line up!


Mike Roady
You've seen this?OldEdScott
Sep 2, 2003 6:41 AM
Sep 2, 2003 7:28 AM
Once during my futile attempt to learn more about my specific bike but I couldn't find it again when I looked back. Thanks, that site even gave me general prices on the Lamberts... 200 bucks in the early seventies... hell, my bike should be worth "humpity-million dollars" if I put decent parts on it! Well, maybe not but it'll make a damn good start to my life on a road bike again. Thanks again, and Gunman... if you get a chance write me about spreading the rear frame.


Advice on spreading rear.OldEdScott
Sep 2, 2003 7:56 AM
Sounds like you're approaching this as a big complicated undertaking. It probably isn't. Just wedge the damn 130 mm wheel in there. It'll probably fit. 2 mm per stay isn't a lot for steel to spread. Think of it this way: a credit card is about 1 mm thick.

I've done it several times, and it's never been a problem.
Not to be TOO picky, but his original rear spacing is 120mm...bicyclerepairman
Sep 2, 2003 6:56 PM
I wouldn't change it on that bike...if it was me...which it isn't.
"Death Fork"OldEdScott
Sep 2, 2003 5:16 AM
Are you absolutely SURE someone has put a steel fork on the bike? The old steel-frame Viscounts had aluminum forks that were notorious for catastophic failure, hence they were known as "Death Forks." Put a magnet on the thing. If it won't stick, you have another little expense -- replacing that fork.
re: ViscountAlexx
Sep 2, 2003 3:40 PM
Most viscounts had a pressed-in BB that is now obsolete, and nearly impossible to find. also, the dropouts were at 120mm, not 126, so spreading is a big deal. If you just "bung it in", you'll have dropouts at an angle.

My advice: Forget it. A Viscount wasn't really that good when it was new. Now it's 30 years old, and way past obsolete. Spending money on this frame is akin to flushing it down the toilet.