Came across a very old racing bike today

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by saturdaynight, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. saturdaynight

    saturdaynight New Member

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    Hi all,

    As some of you may know, I'm looking into upgrading my bike to an 18 or 21 speed and I asked my father if he had run into any old bikes with a triple chainring. Luck would have it that he found a 15speed bike with a triple chainring. So I went to look at it today and found some interesting information about this bike.

    It is a handmade bike from England. Specifically it was made by Lambert of England and the bike is the "Grand Prix Champion." It weights about 30lbs. Every part seems to be made by Lambert of England. Even the bolt heads are colored blue with a white "L" on them. There are quite a number of labels on the bike and three of them say the following.

    "This cycle has been tested, approved and endorsed as the finest cycle of its type, in the world today, by Reg Hanis." Then it goes on to say the he is five times world Champion.

    "This cycle has been tested, approved and endorsed as the finest cycle of its type, in the world today, by Ian Steel." Then it goes on to list many accolades, one of which he was an entrant in the Tour de France and winner of the Tour of England.

    I cannot find any information on Reg hanis but Ian Steel road in the fifties if that says anything about the age of this bike.

    The final label read as follows.

    "Endorsed as the most advanced bike in the world, built to aircraft spec, by Bob Thorn."

    I cannot find any information about the bike whatsoever or about the company. Has anyone ever heared of this bike or any information about the riders?

    I don't have pictures yet but I'll get them up as soon as I take them. Any feedback would be great! If it's worth nothing then maybe I'll end up using the triple chainring for my upgrade, if it will fit!?
     
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  2. keydates

    keydates New Member

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    No idea, but even if it was a great racing bike back then, it isn't going to be now (just by weight alone).
     
  3. saturdaynight

    saturdaynight New Member

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    Well I know that! ;) I'm not really concerned about it being a great racing bike today. Being a possible great racing bike of its time and that it may very well be antique, might make it worth something with a little restoration.

    Another note: Closer examination revealed something. Not everything is made by lamber. The rear derailur is made by Shimano and the shifters are made by Suntour. I didn't find anything else at this time.
     
  4. Greg-O

    Greg-O New Member

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    most likely only the frame and fork will be made by lamber. the rest will be made my companies that specialize in making just components.

    sounds like a nice treasure to have around :)
     
  5. saturdaynight

    saturdaynight New Member

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    Well all I can say is this. The front derailur actually has the name Lambert (Sorry I forgot the "t" at the end of the name) engraved on it as well does the chainring.

    Another thing that is interesting is that if it is indeed as old as I think it is, the fact that it has quick release wheels and seat are interesting as this wouldn't have been as common a feature on such a bike if it's time. Maybe I'm wrong.
     
  6. saturdaynight

    saturdaynight New Member

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    I found something!!! It even mentions the name Reg Harris! I guess I was wrong on the weight of the bike. According to this article the bike only weighs 22lbs. So at most it's a Classic and not an antique as it was made in the early seventies.

    The first set of pictures at the bottom of the page look just like the one I have.

    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/British/Lambert/lambert_bikes.htm

    Note that it says it's the worlds first aero space bike. If that means anything. Usually something that is a first has some sort of significance.

    The company later became known as Viscount which was to their demise.


    I'm missing a few things on mine. The handlebars are not the original bars and the pedals are missing the straps and toe holds, although my pedals look like the first three pictures of the pedals. Maybe this particular bike didn't come with them?

    Then again, from reading the article, I don't have the Gold edition. So maybe that is why I don't have the emblem on the handlbars and the gold pedals.

    The writter states this:

    What are they worth? To be seen as "collectable", people need to know about a maker, and care about it....That puts the Lambert in trouble. Maybe someday they will be discovered, but right now you would have trouble finding an informed buyer at all.
    Nonetheless, Lambert is a fascinating piece of cycling history and this marque may hold some promise of being seen as truly a collectors item in years to come!
     
  7. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    One thing to beware of on the Lambert/Viscount bikes - they have a non standard bottom bracket. If it goes, you're hosed. Keep it well lubed.

    Lambert/Viscount outsourced most of its components, but had it's own name put on them.

    Keep in mind that they sold for around $200-300, which was unheard of for a 22 pound bike back then. Typically, a high end racing bike of that era weighed around 20 pounds, and sold for $600.

    The Lambert/Viscount bikes are an interesting curiosity, but as noted, have no real collector value. They're more notorious than noteworthy, due to the 'death fork' problem.
     
  8. RobotDeathSquad

    RobotDeathSquad New Member

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  9. saturdaynight

    saturdaynight New Member

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    My original intent was to use the tripple chainring and the derailur but after further inspection, I think I'm going to pass on using any of the parts off of this bike. I'm probably just going to go to the shop and get new parts rather then trying to find a donar bike.
     
  10. RcNMoon

    RcNMoon New Member

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    Yamaha later purchased Viscount and recalled the Alum fork replacing it with a Tange (Chromed) steel fork.
    The BB used a pressed in sealed bearing arraingement. I had the BB threaded (Italian thread) and used a conventional BB to replace the original. With a new set of wheels the bike was used for a X-country trip and commuting, later replacing most of the original components and almost 30 years later it is still in use for recreational riding.
     
  11. RcNMoon

    RcNMoon New Member

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    "The Lambert/Viscount bikes are an interesting curiosity, but as noted, have no real collector value. They're more notorious than noteworthy, due to the 'death fork' problem."

    Several of us 'raced, commuted and toured on the "Viscount Pro" for a bit in the '70s, never saw the "death fork" occur prior to the recall but we did have the BB axle fail. Fork was a bit flexible but did a good job of absorbing bumps on rough roads. Rear triangle would flex a bit when really cranking it.

    Weighed about 23 lbs w/ tubulars. With gearing changes 13-34 & 38-52

    Collector value??
    Call it fond memories from a couple of months on the road.
     
  12. Jaguar27

    Jaguar27 New Member

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    John,
    What was the death fork problem?

    Incidentally, I'm from the UK and have never heard of a Lambert...

    Is there no way anyone could MAKE a BB for this bike?

    Thanks for the interesting info...

     
  13. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    The 'death fork' was a fork with a press fitted steer tube. Under duress, it could snap off, although I knew several people in the 70's that rode Lambert/Viscount bikes without a problem.

    As RcnMoon noted, the BB shell can be threaded to accept a normal bottom bracket. That's a tricky operation, probably not something you want to try if you haven't done much metalwork. There's no reason a machine shop or pipefitter couldn't do it for you.

    The Lambert/Viscount was an interesting footnote to 70's cycling, as it was quite light, full featured, but also reasonably priced. Spotty quality control on the early Lamberts and the bad publicity on the forks with Viscount probably contributed to the bike's downfall, as did the collapse of the 70's bike boom in the US.

    And I'm as guilty of fond memories as anyone. I own a pair of 70's vintage Falcon San Remo cycles, used to ride crits back in college on a Falcon. Now there's a classic bike.
     
  14. Jaguar27

    Jaguar27 New Member

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    Hi John,
    Thanks for the reply, as I said in my previous post, I'm British but have never heard of that company (I live in SoCal now)...but anyway, it sounds like it would be a shame just to scrap a Bike like that (Junk in the US)...

    Incidentally, I don't think threading the BB shell would be a problem for me, I own a high-end auto performance corp, but have many years Toolmaking/Machining experience and also have access to various kinds of CNC machinery, so if anyone ever needs any special parts made, or if you hear of anyone, just let me know...feel free to PM me...

    By the way, what size is the thread in a normal BB, any idea?

     
  15. Telegram Sam

    Telegram Sam New Member

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  16. beanfoto2

    beanfoto2 New Member

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    A Lambert. Bow down and worship! Good bike. British craftmanship. Chromoly tubing. 70s. Later became Viscount, bought by Yamaha 1978. See www.sheldonbrown.com/lambert.html BEFORE you cannibalise it, or even ride it. ( Use the Search Engine Luke!) :rolleyes:
     
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