MERCIAN

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
horizon

Re:MERCIAN

Postby horizon » 27 Sep 2006, 12:23pm

While we are on the subject of Dawes plus frames, please could someone say for sure whether the new frames from Dawes (semi-compact, TIG welded, Reynolds 853) are better or worse than their old frames (trad design, i/c lugged, Reynolds 531 ST), ignoring for the moment where they are built.

(My own completely uneducated guess in this is that welded frames can be built by machine but lugged frames must be built by hand - am I right?)

PH

Re:MERCIAN

Postby PH » 27 Sep 2006, 3:16pm

If anyone builds a cycle frame by welding, keep clear of him - brazing or silver soldering are most common

The current Reynolds tubesets are designed to be TIG welded, unlike 531 which has been discontinued. It could be argued that welding doesn't make the most attractive joint, but to suggest that it is somehow structurally inferior is complete nonsense.

horizon

Re:MERCIAN

Postby horizon » 27 Sep 2006, 4:58pm

PH: thank you for that. Does this mean that lugs are purely cosmetic or were they an alternative join to welding? Which tubing do Mercian for example now use then? Do they braze(?) tubing that doesn't need to be brazed?

Is this the end of lugs?

And is my point correct that lugs can only be hand built and that if you want to make frames on a machine production line you have to weld?

Help!

JohnW

Re:MERCIAN

Postby JohnW » 27 Sep 2006, 6:26pm

PH

I said "unless someone knows better or different".

Obviously you do, and thanks for the education. Please educate me further and tell me what TIG welded is, and whether it makes for a better frame than traditional brazed lugged construction. Is it a technique adopted because it is cheaper?

There is one framebuilder (I think its Mercian) that makes a point of advising that they make the joints on lugless frames with bronze fillets rather that TIG welding, which I therefore assume is inferior.

Thanks again.

JohnW

PH

Re:MERCIAN

Postby PH » 27 Sep 2006, 6:31pm

Does this mean that lugs are purely cosmetic or were they an alternative join to welding?
An alternative. Any steel that can be welded could also be brazed or lugged. The opposite isn't always the case. For full details look on the Reynolds website, they list their tubes and their application.

Which tubing do Mercian for example now use then?
Same as everyone else 631, 725 and 853

Do they braze(?) tubing that doesn't need to be brazed?
Yes, but there's no structural disadvantage. Just no advantage.

Is this the end of lugs?
I hope not, I like the look of a traditional frame. The disadvantage with lugs is the ristrictions they place on the angles the builder can use.

And is my point correct that lugs can only be hand built and that if you want to make frames on a machine production line you have to weld?
I think most TIG steel frames will still be hand welded, but you're right that it will be a lot less labour intensive than brazing or lugged construction. The TIG welding on my two bikes, a Thorn and a Hewitt, is very neat. You'd have to look very close to distingish it from brazing.

PH

Re:MERCIAN

Postby PH » 27 Sep 2006, 6:40pm

John W - wikipedia have some interesting stuff on the subject.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_frame

Didn't mean to sound off, no offence meant ;)

PH

Re:MERCIAN

Postby PH » 27 Sep 2006, 6:51pm

Back on topic - I live just down the road from Mercian, very nice bikes, I'd love one. When I was looking for a tourer I considered it but the same service, type of bike, components and frame material were £400 cheaper from Paul Hewitt. The differences being TIG welded in Taiwan rather than brazed in Derby and stock size made to fit with seat post and stem rather than full custom. Neither of which make any difference to riding it. It's a personal choice weather you consider the craftsmanship and aesthetics worth the extra.

Mick F

Re:MERCIAN

Postby Mick F » 27 Sep 2006, 9:40pm

Exactly!

I want a frame that's made well, will last a lifetime, and looks good. Mercian's frames are the frames I want.

No doubt that TIG welded frames are as strong, but they don't look it. A lugged frame looks stronger, and more importantly, it looks lovingly put together, with care and skill. And God forbid if the worst happens, it's repairable too!

Mick F. Cornwall

nella

Re:MERCIAN

Postby nella » 27 Sep 2006, 10:33pm

Mick, I have a frame which I was led to believe is a Mercian. It has rather fancy Nervex lugwork, nicely filed. It doesn't look as though it has ever had a metal headbadge, the fork crown is a double-plated, with round forks, the chain stays slim off very thin as they leave the bottom bracket and are as nearly as thin as the seat stays. No. 5544. At one time it had some sort of brake bosses cut off but i don't think they were original. Any ideas if it could be a Mercian as claimed

JohnW

Re:MERCIAN

Postby JohnW » 27 Sep 2006, 11:09pm

PH

No offence taken - I didn't take the view that you were sounding off at all. If the tone of my message suggested that I'd taken offence I am sorry - I didn't mean to give that impression.

Actually what you say is interesting and I am glad to have learned something - carry on.

I have actually acquired a set of Nervex lugs including the bottom bracket, and Mercian say that they will build me a frame with them, if they're ok. Otherwise I may go for one of their frames with investment cast lugs. Perhaps you could tell me what investment cast means - are there any other kind of cast lugs?

What medium do the TIG welders use for their welding? I understand that the heating (or rather the cooling down after heating) actually strengthens 631 tubing, unlike 531 which loses strength with heating - this being a reason why the more expensive 531 frames were silver soldered rather than brazed.

JohnW

Mick F

Re:MERCIAN

Postby Mick F » 28 Sep 2006, 9:05am

Hi Nella!

Sorry, can't help with identification, so I suggest you email Mercian at www.merciancycles.co.uk

They keep records, or have done since the early 1950s, so they could help.

Mick F. Cornwall

nella

Re:MERCIAN

Postby nella » 28 Sep 2006, 10:40am

Thanks Mick, I'll do that. It's nice to know that some businesses are willing to be helpful, even though there's not always a sale in the end!

Car? never had a licence

Re:MERCIAN

Postby Car? never had a licence » 1 Oct 2006, 12:24am

re lugs - advantages.

if a lugged frame is unfortunate to become damaged in a tube I understood the damaged tube could be removed be melting the brazing material. Especially if the braze is silver based as this has a lowert melting point.

beezer

Re:MERCIAN

Postby beezer » 2 Oct 2006, 5:09am

I was in Deby years ago, 1983, when my prewar BSA was being rebuilt elsewhere.

I went to the Mercian shop...and knew I was spending money on something of a lesser beast.

I also looked at Jack Taylors, and quite a few other high quality tandems.

I regret not spending a relatively small amount extra on a Mercian....the shop exuded quality...the bikes looked and felt fantastic.

Go Mercian is my advice.

You wont regret it

JohnW

Re:MERCIAN

Postby JohnW » 2 Oct 2006, 10:49pm

Beezer - thanks, I am going to order a Mercian.

PH - thanks for the link - it is very helpful - I will go to Derby to get measured for a Mercian frame as soon as work gives me a day off.

JohnW