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Old 11-07-07, 04:36 PM   #1
alters
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Bob Jackson vs Mercian

I'm really taken by a Bob Jackson custom build (9 months waiting list - eek!) I've got prices on an 853 tubeset below just for comparison but not sure if can stretch the budget or if worth it?

Custom Super Legend (in 853 £695 + £140 = £835 (inc VAT)) but prefer the colour scheme on the custom legend (but I guess that's just a piant job that can be done to either model (can anyone tell the difference in spec on these two?)

Also, there's the option of a Mercian Vincitore (in 853 steel £760 +VAT = £893)

Any comments on comparison between the Mercian and Bob Jackson frames above and whether its worth going for 853 tubing?

According to the old Bob Jackson website the custom super legend frame must have its curley rear stays in 531 steel combined with anything for main. I guess there's little point going all the way to 853 if you have a 531 rear (as great as 531 is) in which case the Bob Jackson will be cheaper than quoted above. Standard is 631 & 531 = £695 inc VAT. Thoughts?

Thanks

(P.S. I originally posted this mid-this thread under another heading but hoped I might get more resposes here)
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Old 11-07-07, 05:04 PM   #2
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853 is an oversized tube set, so it will be noticeably stiffer in the bottom bracket and lighter. Also, there is a slight aesthetic difference in tubing diameter which some ultra retro-grouches tend to hark on.

Really it depends on the use. If you're a masher, enjoy sprints, steep out of the saddle climbs or are fairly weight conscious I'd go for the 853.

If you really like the feel of old 531 frames, may as well get what you know in the size and colors you want. Also, don't let the 531 rear stop you from getting the curvey stays, if you like the look don't worry about it.
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Old 11-07-07, 05:11 PM   #3
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Stays will probably be 525 or 725 for most builders. A lot will still have 531 fork blades too.

I would go for the Mercian personally, of the two. Their turn around time is faster. You could also look at folks like Pennine, Woodrup, Ellis Brigg around Leeds, or JF Wilson in Sheffield. Witcomb do some nice frames in London.

I have been thinking of similar things, except with a cyclocross slant. I'm also thinking about the Simoncini frames that Cycles Clements imports. You could also visit Condor. Most of their frames are made in Italy, but my friend raves about her Fratello
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Old 11-07-07, 05:21 PM   #4
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What size bike do you ride? If you're looking for something about 54cm, I know where I can get you a used, but like-new one, completely built up (I'm not sure which group it is, but it's at least Ultegra or Chorus level 9 or 10 speed components) for about the cost you're seeing for the frame only. I'd be happy to get more info, and get you pictures if you're interested.
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Old 11-07-07, 07:25 PM   #5
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Can you get a 60th anniv Mercian with the sterling head badge?
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Old 11-07-07, 07:54 PM   #6
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Alters - just call Mercian down in Derby. When I procured my KOM 2 years ago I bought it out of stock - and no welded 853 frame, either. Nope - I got a brand new 531 lugged frame. They still have a shed full of the stuff. They have lots in stock. I'd recommend the Mercian hands down, but get some lugs, man !!!
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Old 11-08-07, 12:57 PM   #7
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TBH, if you don't know precisely what you want, what's the point in spending the extra money for a custom and potentially changing your mind.
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Old 11-09-07, 01:19 PM   #8
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HoCam - thanks for the tech info, very useful. I won't let 531 stay sway my choice.

Acornuser - I'll check out some of those names, thanks. I know Condor, but i'm not keen. I like the lug work on mercian and bob jackson, their more unique and I like that there still built in shop.

Markwebb - Don't worry, I'm definitely going for lugs (thats one of the best bits about steel). Is 853 only welded, I didn't think so?

Highlyselassie - both bikes are custom built for the price above, I just wanted to find out if there were any thoughts on either frame builders quality/reputation, etc

USAZorro - I need a 60cm frame but thanks for the offer (if anyone does have a good quality 2nd hand frame out there of this size and type I'm interested - I have an ultegra groupset to add to it already)

repechage - I think I'll be lucky to get a 60th!

In all I'm quite taken with the bob jackson, largely due to curley stays (which I've never seen on the roads in london) whereas I have seen a few Mercians about, but a nine month waiting list may be the killer for bobby!
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Old 11-09-07, 01:51 PM   #9
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For ~$1800 you can find a pretty nice vintage frame, if you are willing to spend 9 months looking.
Actually, there are very few complete bikes that go for that much on the vintage market.
FYI, curvy stays were introduced by Hetchins back in the 1930's. At that time, cyclists weren't allowed to be human billboards, like they are now. In fact, many races prohibited you from even having the manufacturers name, visible on the bike. The curvy stays became the trademark of Hetchins. They were successful in preventing anyone from copying their stays when they received a patent in 1936.
In 1990, Hetchins was purchased by Bob Jackson. While it was subsequently sold again, Bob Jackson kept the right to copy the Hetchins curvy stays.
There is some argument that the curvy stays improve the quality of the ride, but it was more of a marketing tool than anything. That doesn't keep me from lusting after them.
There is a bigger supply of old curvy stay Hetchins over there than here. I would hazard to guess that, given 9 months, you could find one in your size, for under 900 Pounds Sterling.
You knew that was coming, since you posted this on the C&V forum
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Old 11-18-07, 08:09 AM   #10
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Thanks for the post CardiacKid, its always good to know the provenience of a frame, and as you point out this is the C&V forum! Nine months is a long time, so i'll be doing some trawling of 2nd hand classifieds too.

Hopefully the insurance payment from my last trashed bike will come this week, otherwise I won't be getting anything!
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Old 11-18-07, 08:22 AM   #11
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You can also mix n match. My frame is a mix of 853 and OS. Personally, I'm a big guy and I am fond of 853.

Give Mercia a call and talk to them about your concerns.
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Old 11-20-07, 06:47 PM   #12
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I bought a Mercian KOM 531 Special Touring last year. ITs light enough, plenty stiff and rides like a dream. Workmanship is first rate.
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Old 11-20-07, 07:27 PM   #13
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If you want the curvy stays, why not a Hetchins? Supposedly Reynolds only bends them for Hetchins, so anything else doesn't look right. But I've always preferred Mercians to Bob Jacksons, though nothing wrong with them except quantity.
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Old 11-21-07, 08:02 AM   #14
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dbakl - what do you mean "except quantity" -- do you mean Bob Jackson produce too many/too little?
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Old 11-21-07, 12:04 PM   #15
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They have always seemed to pump a lot out, lots of them around. Quality seems fine. I think I paid 2,000. for my modern Hetchins frame, built to order and you don't see many of them.
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Old 11-27-07, 12:08 PM   #16
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good tip, I'll investigate...
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