Mercian Cycles

Please be fair and thoughtful in your opinions. No rants please.


Postby Jonty » 29 Apr 2010, 8:16pm

I almost bought a new Mercian last year as I wanted to get a nice new bike and support British industry but I cancelled and went elsewhere. It may be helpful to outline why this happened.
The first point I want to make is that I had a session on the jig and I was very impressed by this service and the time Mercian generally spent discussing the bike with me. The variations and detailing which they offered with the custom-built frame were mind-boggling.
However what concerned me was that they didn't seem to be terribly keen to provide a bike, a King of Mercia, with mountain bike gearing. Although I had explained that I was a dodgy-kneed asthmatic aged 65 and wanted mountain bike gearing particularly a very low gear to get me up the hills, the option they came up with was a Campag 30/40/50 triple chainset and a 13 to 29 cassette. The lowest gear this would have provided would have been a knee and lung busting 28 inch.
I did some research on this and other fora, asked around and came to the view that this roadie-type set up was inappropriate for me. I pointed out to Mercian that the lowest gear in this set up was significantly higher than that offered by even "off the shelf" tourers such as the Dawes Galaxy. They seemed to be unaware of this and even ventured that if the gearing was lower I would have difficulty pedalling on the flat and downhill as the pedals would be spinning too quickly.
Eventually we settled on Shimano rather than Campag and I stated that I would like the Shimergo set up which combines brakes and gear shifters. I was told that this was not possible. Again I consulted this forum and drew Mercian's attention to the fact that it was possible and indeed had been the subject of considerable discussion. They're response now was yes it was technically possible but they couldn't do it for warranty reasons; however, they could supply the components and I could assemble them or get someone to assemble them on my behalf.
It was about this time that I decide to withdraw and look elsewhere. To be fair to Mercian they were dealing with someone who isn't particularly knowledgable about bikes and there could have been a fair bit of poor communication.
But what concerned me was that I was having to make the running on establishing what was appropriate for me which involved challenging the advice I was getting from Mercian by presenting them "evidence" from elsewhere of which they seemed unaware.
If I had followed their advice I would have ended up with a bike which I may not have been able to ride up modest hills and paid over £2k for the pleasure.
So to sum up 1) they didn't seem to be sympathetic of the need for low gears for older riders 2) they seemed to be remarkably unaware of discussions on technical subjects freely available on forums 3) advice was inappropriate and communication wasn't great 4) the session on the jig was excellent and a lot of time was made available to discuss the detailing of the frame.
Lovely bikes though. Great pity.
PS I bought a Paul Hewitt Cheviot SE

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Re: Mercian

Postby spanner1718 » 29 Apr 2010, 10:28pm

Hmm,very strange,, it seems to me, as you put it,you have had "poor communication" somehow. When i had my Vincitore Special built by Mercian two years ago i simply asked for a wide range of gears that would enable me to cycle up the steepest of hills and i was not too bothered about top end speed,they immediately suggested Shimano Deore XT mountain bike range which gives me a bottom gear of 18 inches and a top of 106 inches and has been a superb go anywhere bicycle. They did say at the time that Campag do not do that kind of wide gear range.

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Re: Mercian

Postby Jalan » 29 Apr 2010, 11:30pm

Very interesting to read your comments
Towards autumn I will be looking for a similar set-up to you for the same reasons
How do you find the Paul Hewitt Cheviot SE ?
Living only a few miles from Paul I may go the Cheviot way too

Your comments would be much appreciated


Re: Mercian

Postby Jonty » 30 Apr 2010, 12:56am

Jal - it's a fine bike and I'm very pleased with it. It looks a treat and rides well. I had the standard bike with a few extras including Tiagra 9 speed STI shifters, extra bottle cage, rear chainstay protector and Topeak rack and bag and simple computer. The components are Deore, Deore XT, Deore SLX and Deore Ace/XTR. The chainset is 22/32/44 and the cassette 11-34 giving an excellent range of 17 to 108 inches. I don't use the lowest gear to get up the hills at present but I suspect it will come in handy in a few years' time when I'm a bit older. It has a surprising turn of speed.
Paul fitted me up on the jig and the bike arrived in a big cardboard box the day he said it would arrive. All I had to do was to tighten the bars and put on the pedals. It was set up perfectly for me.
IMO excellent value for money and well worth looking at if you're in the market for a new tourer.

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Re: Mercian

Postby Mike59 » 30 Apr 2010, 10:40am

Very interesting topic, Jonty

I was in a similar position a month or so ago, wanting a touring-type bike with low gears (had a cycling accident last Sept, when I broke my back and various other bones!). Eventually I went for a Thorn Club Tour with an Shimano XT set-up. I'm really pleased with the bike - sturdy, but feels quite nippy too.


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Re: Mercian

Postby DavidT » 30 Apr 2010, 9:35pm

Interesting post Jonty with a good discussion.

I wonder if Mercian just need to take a bit more care with who exactly is dealing with the customer, and making sure that person has the right knowledge to deal with any specific query.

When I told my LBS I had bought a Mercian (albeit some 4 years ago know), the manager, who is also a competitive racing cyclist in the local road club waxed lyrical about how good Mercian had been (or Jeff, I think, in particular) at helping him sort out his Shimergo problem that was driving him mad. He had genuine respect for the place - and his shop is a good one.

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Re: Mercian

Postby Neil Fat Man On A Bike » 17 May 2010, 11:56pm

I found their customer service to be aweful !
I dont doubt their abilities at all, but the interaction between customer and shop was dreadful and really not up to scratch.
The result of their poor communication was that I didn't get quite what I wanted, even though it was all written down and explained.
Poor show but still a lovely bike.

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Re: Mercian

Postby georgew » 19 May 2010, 5:04pm

Neil Fat Man On A Bike wrote:I found their customer service to be aweful !
I dont doubt their abilities at all, but the interaction between customer and shop was dreadful and really not up to scratch.
The result of their poor communication was that I didn't get quite what I wanted, even though it was all written down and explained.
Poor show but still a lovely bike.

When I had my Vincitore frame built about 20 years ago I submitted an engineering drawing for 60's style forks. When the bike was delivered it was built with standard forks and this was a great disappointment to me at the time. Other than that the frame was fine and a perfect fit.

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Re: Mercian

Postby Reece » 27 Jul 2010, 12:00am

That`s what i have found in the past, wanting a frame to my specs. and contacting various frame builders and being given the cold shoulder , for example - Harry Quinn, Steve Goff, Roberts. When i contacted Dave Yates with my requirements he could have not been more accomodating,(we`ll build anything you want for the money) my Audax Populaire has served me well for the last 10 years and the paint job is as good now as from new,

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Re: Mercian

Postby johncharles » 28 Jul 2010, 11:58am

I had a frame resprayed at mercian a few years ago and the paintwork was excellent but they had applied the transfers in the wrong place and they were not straight.

I refused to pay until they had sorted it out which they were very unhappy with and tried to make out that it was may fault until I produced my copy of the order which specified exactly where the transfers were to be and then they backed down and sorted it out.

Their customer relations does appear to let them down sometimes.

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Mercian Cycles

Postby bikercolin » 17 Nov 2013, 9:30pm

I visited Mercian a few weeks ago thinking of having a Frame built. I found the staff friendly, knowledgable and happy to spend time with the customers.
I was assisted by Ray who was able to find a couple of off the shelf frames in my size, in particular one King of Mercia that was all I would spec if ordering a frame. A deal was done with my leaving my Tri Cross (cracked frame) and Mercian building it up over that week for pick up the next weekend.
I received a text and call on Monday re the build and a final call to say my bike was ready. I picked it up the following week . What can I say lovely quality and a perfect build. I have cycled 300 miles now and find the Bike absolutely spot on.
My only problem was that Mercian omitted the Data tag agreed in the sale, however following an email posted me a kit out.

Am chuffed with the Bike and the service

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Re: Mercian Cycles

Postby ScotchEgg » 7 Dec 2013, 11:08am

I've found the resprays a bit on the less tghan perfect side myself. Bob jackson do a much bertter job

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Mercian - Amazingly Speedy Service

Postby fausto99 » 30 Dec 2013, 2:14pm

Ordered a couple of cones for a '97 Campagnolo Veloce front hub on Saturday the 28th Dec from Mercian Cycles. They arrived today (Monday morning)!!! Post free!!!
Am I impressed? Yes, I am!

p.s. I had done my research and could supply Campy part numbers.

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Re: Mercian Cycles

Postby Sweep » 3 Mar 2014, 10:49pm

Interesting post from the OP.

I met someone on a ride recently on a Mercian.

It was a thing of rare beauty.

But he also said that their customer communication was very poor and that the experience had left him with a bad taste.

I think he said he wouldn't go their way again or advise others to.

Can't help feeling that they need to sort themselves out.

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Re: Mercian Cycles

Postby Neil Wheadon » 3 Jun 2014, 12:07am

I've had 2 bikes built by Mercian
Both bespoke, a tandem and a tourer.
In both cases I insisted on gears to climb walls, mainly as i cyclecamp and am trying to look after my knees. in both cases they were very obliging and it was no problem to set the tourer up with 32 on the back 26 on the front.
They do pride themselves with getting it right and like any professional service if you leave them too it with a brief they will come up with a solution.
The tandem this year needs the rear end rebuilt as I need to change the hub and cassette type and it will be going back to Mercian. I'm armed with Chris Judens suggestion that with MTB 29er technology then a rear cog of 36 is feasible and I expect them to be obliging and helpful as i have always found them to be
CTC Tour Leader