Mercian Frame Restoration

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bikepacker
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Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby bikepacker » 29 Jun 2020, 4:28pm

I am considering having my Mercian Frame circa 2000 restored to its former glory. My first thought was getting Mercian to do the job but there have been some adverse comments about them and I have doubts. My last frame restoration was done by Bob Jackson and I was pleased with the result. However they are not working at the moment and I do think there is a case for going back to the original builders.

What are your thoughts as I am open to other suggestions.
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby Bonefishblues » 29 Jun 2020, 4:53pm

Argos have a tremendous reputation (never used, but only ever seen good reports)

alexnharvey
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby alexnharvey » 29 Jun 2020, 9:22pm

They all have some bad reports, Argos included.

It's a very hard job.

jon.k
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012, 11:01pm

Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby jon.k » 29 Jun 2020, 9:30pm

I was delighted with the service and quality of work on the refurb of an 80's tandem mercian frame by mercian, so much that we went back and bought a new single bike too. To my non-expert eye the repairs and finish were beautifully done. This is only my personal experience but as has been suggested above, most of these places probably have many many happy customers to each vocal, dissatisfied one.

You mention going back to the makers having some merit - it really did for us because the owner, Grant, could remember selling our tandem new (he really did, because we then got in contact with them). The service was personal from start to finish and the Mercian shop have been happy to help with other bits of advice on the bike since then.

(A one-sided review but only because of a good experience!)

drossall
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby drossall » 29 Jun 2020, 11:07pm

I've used Argos and been happy enough, but found Mercian a class above. The paint job they did on my Mercian refurbishment is the best I've found. Years on, although not the most heavily-used bike, it still looks as good. As a result, I took my 30-year-old Dawes there a bit back to have something similar done.

Image

Image

You do pay for it mind :D

tatanab
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby tatanab » 30 Jun 2020, 7:12am

I have been using Argos for 40 years. Several resprays and frame from them. I am sure you know that modern paints are not like good old enamel with all its solvents.

Recent jobs are -

About 2006 Argos resprayed a frame for me in a flamboyant colour. They warned me at the start that flamboyant colours tend to be a bit delicate. They were not happy with the results so they did it again. Good service indeed. They were right, the flamboyant finish chipped very easily.

About 2016 they did a metallic finish. I found it a bit delicate but I think it hardened off over time. This machine is seldom used (1956 Higgins) so is better protected.

2017 I had the flamboyant finished frame noted above resprayed. I'd had some additions to the forks and the paint was getting bad enough to justify a respray. This time I thought to use a colour from their basic BS colour list which I thought might be more robust - Ferrari Red. They have revamped the colour charts on the website so these basic colours are no longer separated from the rest, so not as easily identified. 3 years on and it is still unmarked even though this is on my hack and so is used and abused the most.

As for being remembered - when I walked in they said they remembered me buying a tandem frame from them in 1991

The best paint jobs I have had have been by C&G enamellers in Liverpool. Used by many frame builders. My local shop on the south coast used them, and my first respray was in the early 1970s. Longstaff used them and my 2003 frame is still in very good condition.

If you want to see any of these you are welcome to pop across that big river to visit.

pwa
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby pwa » 30 Jun 2020, 7:22am

I bought a frame from Argos in the late 1990s and the paint needed re-doing after five years. The new paint job, also by Argos and maybe around 2002, didn't last any longer. It was worst at the cable stops. And it was spending all that money on an expensive frame and an expensive makeover that convinced me that my next frame would be a paint-free titanium one that would not require repainting at intervals. It seems to me that modern paints have been robbed of all those lovely toxic substances that made the old enamels work.

fastpedaller
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby fastpedaller » 30 Jun 2020, 9:08am

tatanab wrote: I am sure you know that modern paints are not like good old enamel with all its solvents.



Which makes me think a brush-applied humbrol finish may be just as durable after curing for a couple of weeks - and a lot cheaper! :D

peetee
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby peetee » 30 Jun 2020, 12:38pm

So, given enamel finishes are effectively history, where should I take my Ellis Briggs so I don’t spoil its Uber/thin ornate lugs?
Bob Jackson did a really nasty toffee-apple thick coating on one I saw a couple of years back.
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slowster
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby slowster » 30 Jun 2020, 2:22pm

Do Argos, Mercian, C&G or anyone else painting individual bike frames use an oven to cure the paint?

I presume the factories which mass produce bike frames all use ovens. I suspect that with the paints currently available an oven is essential to get what many customers would consider satisfactory results.

jon.k
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012, 11:01pm

Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby jon.k » 30 Jun 2020, 3:11pm

Peetee, I’ve pm’d you some photos of my Mercian lugs. Hope it will give you an idea either way.

JakobW
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby JakobW » 30 Jun 2020, 3:12pm

Pretty sure any enamel sprayer will be using a paint oven; even so, the paint will continue to cure for a while after it's out. Ideally you'd leave a frame in a hot attic or similar for a month or two before building it up, but generally you'd also like to build it up and ride it...

(FWIW I had a frame refurbished by Bob Jackson four years ago, and have been very happy with it - the lugs have kept their definition, and it's been reasonably durable. It's had the odd chip and/or scrape, but I've managed to touch them up with Humbrol enamels.)

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Mick F
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby Mick F » 30 Jun 2020, 5:41pm

tatanab wrote: I am sure you know that modern paints are not like good old enamel with all its solvents.
My Mercian Vincitore was made in 1986.
It went back to Mercian for its 21st birthday in 2007 for a refurb and a few modifications.
Picked it up and it was wonderful ............. but some few years later, the paintwork is faded and not nearly as good as it was when it went back at 21 years old.

Happy with the mods.
Spread to 130mm OLN at the rear and an extra pair of bottle cage mounts. They also removed the fork boss for a front light that I didn't ever see using again.

If I could have had the enamel paintwork as it was, I would have been supremely happy. As it is, it's disappointing. Not with Mercian in the slightest, but with modern standards of paint.
Mick F. Cornwall

Bonefishblues
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby Bonefishblues » 30 Jun 2020, 5:48pm

Mick F wrote:
tatanab wrote: I am sure you know that modern paints are not like good old enamel with all its solvents.
My Mercian Vincitore was made in 1986.
It went back to Mercian for its 21st birthday in 2007 for a refurb and a few modifications.
Picked it up and it was wonderful ............. but some few years later, the paintwork is faded and not nearly as good as it was when it went back at 21 years old.

Happy with the mods.
Spread to 130mm OLN at the rear and an extra pair of bottle cage mounts. They also removed the fork boss for a front light that I didn't ever see using again.

If I could have had the enamel paintwork as it was, I would have been supremely happy. As it is, it's disappointing. Not with Mercian in the slightest, but with modern standards of paint.

Have you tried a very mild cutting compound on it Mick - chances are it's the top few microns only, and a mild hand polish may well reinvigorate it.

tatanab
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Re: Mercian Frame Restoration

Postby tatanab » 30 Jun 2020, 6:34pm

slowster wrote:Do Argos, Mercian, C&G or anyone else painting individual bike frames use an oven to cure the paint?
Argos steps 5 and 6 in the process
https://argoscycles.com/resprays-refurb ... n-process/