...about Mercians?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Rabbit
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...about Mercians?

Postby Rabbit » 10 Jun 2013, 9:36pm

I'm thinking of getting an old Mercian frame to build up for light touring and days out - my question is does it really matter which model? I've seen a Superlight, which I understand is a lightweight racing frame, and wondered if there would be any problems using that; also an Olympic and Strada Speciale. In terms of how much to pay, which were the high end and which the economy frames? I gather they were all pretty good.

Brucey
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Brucey » 10 Jun 2013, 10:27pm

if you are carrying a light load only (small saddlebag or bar-bag) you are not too heavy/strong and the frame is not too large, then almost any lightweight steel tubeset is going to be OK. But stray outside of this and a slightly heavier tubeset (esp in the rear stays) probably becomes more attractive.

The other obvious thing is the clearance that you will have for tyres and mudguards; full-on racing frames might come with enough room for 23c tyres and no mudguards which might not be what you want. Mudguard/toe overlap gets pretty boring after a while, too.

If you have a good idea what tyres/mudguards you want to use, and your frame size/strength/weight/anticipated load, I'm sure someone will be able to help guide your selection. Mercian frames are nice, but there are of course lots of other frames out there which might do as well or better.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JohnW
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby JohnW » 10 Jun 2013, 10:27pm

Rabbit wrote:I'm thinking of getting an old Mercian frame to build up for light touring and days out.................. I gather they were all pretty good.


...........an understatement..........but I'd say that, for the purpose that you have in mind, the King of Mercia geometry is designed for you. However, if you get the chance of a Vincitore..........

JohnW
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby JohnW » 10 Jun 2013, 10:29pm

Brucey wrote:.............there are of course lots of other frames out there which might do as well or better.

cheers


..........yeah - but this guy wants a Mercian. I wanted a Mercian - I got one - and I know how Rabbit feels - go for it!

Rabbit
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Location: The New Forest

Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Rabbit » 10 Jun 2013, 10:32pm

Thanks - that's helpful. Out of interest Brucey what other types of steel framed bike might it be useful to look at in roughly the same price range as a second hand Mercian? I've seen a lot of people talking about Bob Jackson frames...

Rabbit
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Rabbit » 10 Jun 2013, 10:33pm

Oops - of course, my heart is really set on a Mercian!!

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al_yrpal
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby al_yrpal » 10 Jun 2013, 10:37pm

This is a good reference point http://www.flickr.com/groups/435952@N20/ My Mercian professional doesn't have any braze ons. Don't know about other types.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

Brucey
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Brucey » 10 Jun 2013, 10:55pm

if you can get a Mercian that fits you perfectly etc and it is what you want, then go for it. But if you are faced with a choice between (say) a Mercian that isn't such a good fit and another frame in a similar tubeset that fits you perfectly, I think you know what to do.

We are truly blessed in the country; they are literally hundreds of frame builder's hand crafted frames kicking around that can be picked up for (relative to the cost of something similar new) absolute peanuts. Check out the classic lightweights website for some ideas; look at Hilary Stone's stock, too. Since many of them use similar tubesets, you arguably (provided you are not stuck on one make for some reason) just need to worry about geometry and finish, if a fairly standard tubeset will fit your needs. Finish of course, you can change. A nice new Mercian paint job is a thing of beauty.

I am lucky enough to own a few different steel frames, and I have two which are on paper very similar; however one was custom made for me at great expense, and the other is an off the peg one I picked up used. The latter has slightly different angles, and maybe the size is 1/4" away here and there from what I'd specified on the other one, but the tubeset is the same and if I'm honest, I'd be hard pushed to tell the difference in ride in a blind test. Weight difference? Nil. Cost difference? About x50.... :shock:

cheers
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Mick F
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Mick F » 11 Jun 2013, 7:30am

JohnW wrote: ................ However, if you get the chance of a Vincitore..........
Vincitore.jpg
This one is mine freshly back from Mercian after its 21st birthday refurb.

That was six years ago, and it's still the apple of my eye and used almost daily ........ and definitly NOT for sale! :shock:
Mick F. Cornwall

Ayesha
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Ayesha » 11 Jun 2013, 7:46am

The only alternative to a Mercian is a Tom Crowther.

You could get away with a TC built for 27 HPs with 622-32 tyres, and longer series brake stirups.

There'll be someone at the Beacon RCC who wil tell you every last detail of Mercian frames.

Rabbit
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Rabbit » 11 Jun 2013, 8:52am

Lovely bike Mick F - that paintwork is a work of art... and don't worry, I guessed it wasn't for sale! Out of interest, what groupsets do people tend to use with these Mercians? I get the feeling it's Campag or old school parts like Suntour. Is that just a retro thing?

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Mick F
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Mick F » 11 Jun 2013, 10:03am

Mine was brand new in Oct 1986 and I fitted brand new Campag hubs, Campag gearing and DT levers and a Stronglight 99 double chainset, plus Campag brakes and levers. Also had - and still use - a Campag seatpin, and Cinelli 'bars and stem.

These days, it's kitted out with Campag 2006 Chorus triple with 2006 Chorus Ergos, and matching Chorus hubs.
Bike.jpg
This photo is a couple of years old, I have black mudguards now as the silver ones got damaged.
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby Brucey » 11 Jun 2013, 10:33am

Rabbit wrote:Lovely bike Mick F - that paintwork is a work of art... and don't worry, I guessed it wasn't for sale! Out of interest, what groupsets do people tend to use with these Mercians? I get the feeling it's Campag or old school parts like Suntour. Is that just a retro thing?


Mercian stock campag stuff and have a good supply of campag spare parts. It makes some sense to get a Mercian if you want a campag equipped bike, especially if you are in any way local to them. Past that, it is just a question of personal preference; there are few groupset choices that are defined by the frameset, most derailleur setups will fit onto a variety of framesets and vice versa.

BTW to go lighter than a SunTour Cyclone Mk1 gearset, even now, requires a prodigous expenditure of money if you are buying new parts. Think Record Carbon or thereabouts. Some people do indeed use SunTour because they are retro, but they are not a bad choice in their own right for some setups.

cheers
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JohnW
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby JohnW » 11 Jun 2013, 12:03pm

Mick F wrote:Mine was brand new in Oct 1986 and I fitted brand new Campag hubs, Campag gearing and DT levers and a Stronglight 99 double chainset, plus Campag brakes and levers. Also had - and still use - a Campag seatpin, and Cinelli 'bars and stem.

These days, it's kitted out with Campag 2006 Chorus triple with 2006 Chorus Ergos, and matching Chorus hubs.
Bike.jpg
This photo is a couple of years old, I have black mudguards now as the silver ones got damaged.


............what's the gradient on your saddle Mick?

JohnW
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Re: ...about Mercians?

Postby JohnW » 11 Jun 2013, 12:14pm

Hey Rabbit - there was a long lived thread about Mercians some time ago. I've just resurrected it on the "Technical" section. Worth having a look at.

There are pictures of MickF's Vincitore in an earlier life.