Author Topic: Mercian bicycles  (Read 1276 times)

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Offline hikerjer

Mercian bicycles
« on: March 06, 2020, 12:15:54 am »
I have a chance to buy an older model Mercian "classic" bicycle. It looks t be in pretty good shape.  I'm buying it mostly for the frame as I plan on rebuilding  it into commuter/gravel bike. I haven't been able to find out much about the brand. I know it's British and I've gone to their website which, of course, makes them sound great, but I'm pretty unfamiliar with the brand. It is Reynolds 531 which is a good sign and has some really nice lug work and braze- ons. Anyone out there had any experience with Mericians or know anything about them?

Thanks.

Offline DaveB

Re: Mercian bicycles
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2020, 09:06:49 am »
How old is "older"? If it's quite old it might have 120 mm dropout spacing which will limit you to 5-speed freewheels unless you are willing to "cold-set" it to modern spacing (at least 126 mm and for a gravel bike maybe as much as 135 mm).  What is the required brake reach?  Is it designed for 27" or 700c wheels?

I recommend getting all of the current frame dimensions before buying a frame that will be difficult to modernize. 

BTW, www.bikeforums.net has a C&V (classic and vintage) forum and the members there can probably give you a lot better info.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Mercian bicycles
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2020, 03:40:15 pm »
From Sheldon Brown (who died in 2008):
A very nice British bike. There are all sorts of models, and a great many of these came into the U.S through the big mail order companies. Some models were very ornate. The ornate examples, with N.R. parts in guideline condition are probably worth around $900. Relatively plain examples with N.R. parts are probably worth several hundred less. There are few people who consider these to be super desirable, so they remain a very good value. There was a very plain model called the classic that was remarkably well-constructed that we tried forever to sell. It was such a nice frame with so little of a following. Maybe people will be inspired to take another look at these.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Mercian bicycles
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2020, 10:00:39 pm »
" There was a very plain model called the classic that was remarkably well-constructed that we tried forever to sell" -

The Classic" is the frame I have and am going to rebuild. It's an absolutely fabulous bike. I'd never part with it.

Offline froze

Re: Mercian bicycles
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 11:04:50 am »
I use to own a 2007 Mercian Vincitore Special, it was a very nice bike, too nice!  I sold the darn thing because it looked like a piece of art and I was literally afraid of scratching the paint so I rarely rode it and sold for what I paid for it to a friend who was begging me to sell it him for months, I finally relented knowing that I wasn't going ride it anyways, it had maybe 20 miles on when I sold it after owning for 10 years.  I had it equipped with Campy Athena skeleton silver components.

I should have never bought the bike, it was a impulse buy that I usually never do. But if buying one used the scratch paint issue is not a problem, I would HIGHLY recommend that you buy that bike, it's entirely handmade the real old fashion way where they heat the tubes so not to localize the heating in a small area in an oven then braze using silver at very low temps, it's the best way to braze lugs onto tubes, but it's labor intensive and the silver cost more than brass.

This is what Mercian says on their website about the above technique:

Open Hearth Brazed:

Mercian have brazed frames in an open hearth, since the 1940's, as we believe this reduces the possibility of overheating the tubing, unlike a welding torch which can be too harsh in the wrong hands. Open hearth brazing, in our experience, is much kinder to the lightweight metal tubes and also means that should a frame tube be damaged in use, we can undo the braze and replace a single tube meaning your frame gives you many years of pleasure.

So YES YES YES buy that bike.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Mercian bicycles
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 01:00:00 am »
"Mercian Vincitore - an absolutely gorgeous bike. I agree, maybe more to be hung on the den wall than ridden it's so beautiful. But then, that's not what bikes are made for. But I understand your dilemma.
a.