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Vintage Components - Viscount Brakes

On this page: Viscount centerpull brake calipers

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The Viscount bike story is fascinating. Originally, the bikes were sold as Lamberts and were made in the old Viking bicycle factory in South London that had been shuttered in 1967. The first production, about 1972, was lugged. But soon the company switched to fillet (lugless) brazing. With tubular tires, a 21-inch Lambert weighed only 19 pounds.

The bikes featured many proprietary components, including brakes, fork, crankset, derailleurs and bottom bracket. Specially notable were the sealed (cartridge) bearing hubs. It was all in an effort to produce a bike that performed as well as bikes costing twice as much. They were marketed as "The World's First Aero Space Bike".

What made people crazy was that Lambert came close, oh, so close.

Most of the proprietary parts worked well, but there were a couple of problems. The first was the Lambert-Viscount aluminum fork with a steel steerer was prone to failure. The second was the sealed bottom bracket made to fit a T.A.-like crankset proved to be unreliable. Still, the bike sold in the early 1970s for just $125.00, roughly half that of a Peugeot PX-10. Replace the fork and one usually had a bike that would give excellent service for a very low price.

Financial troubles prompted a reorganization and the emergent company was called "Viscount".

Yamaha acquired Viscount in 1978 and began equipping the bikes with standard Japanese parts, including SunTour derailleurs. After a few years and an expensive recall of all Lambert and Viscount forks, Yamaha folded the company.

What a shame.

Viscount centerpull brake calipers. used $70.00

Part# BR-210

They still have their "V" (for Viscount) pivot buttons. The brake pads are Kool Stop.

Viscount center pull calipers

From the front. The straddle cables are probably not original. They aren't highly polished. We assume this is part of the cost-savings drive to prioritize performance and low cost over looks.

Viscount calipers

And from the back. Made for nutted, not incassio mounting.