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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 08-06-03, 11:02 AM   #1
TheMilford
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Rivendell vs. Mercian

Hello All,
I'm starting research for next summer. I'm going to put together a full touring bike. I'm leaning toward all steel luged frames particularly the Rivendell Atlantis. I would like to keep the cost around $1500 - $2000 (complete).
I was doing some research today and came up with the Mercian name.

Does anybody have expirience with either or both. I will be able to check out a friends Atlantis in a few weeks and I really like their website and philosophy. The Mercian stuff is beautiful and a bit cheaper... wish I could find out more on them.

Any insight would be helpful.

Thanks,
David
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Old 08-06-03, 11:37 AM   #2
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Ask the Captain at Harris Cyclery (do a google). He knows all. And is happy to answer e-mail questions.

You may also wash to check out Waterford. They are at the same level as Rivendell.

But definitely go steel. Nothing rides so nice.
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Old 08-06-03, 12:43 PM   #3
don d.
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The Mercian is an old and well respected name. You will find that British companies tend to charge alot less than American counterparts. Without going into the reasons for this, companies like Bob Jackson, Mercian, etc... all charge significantly less for comparable products. And, if you require repairs done, say a repaint or a tube replaced, you may even save money sending it back to the UK rather than having it done here.
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Old 08-06-03, 01:05 PM   #4
TheMilford
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Cool thanks,

I'm gonna send Sheldon Brown an e-mail soon.

I'm curious about Mercian geometry. how do they compare to the "relaxed" fit of the Rivendells?

I sent an e-mail to Mercian about availability in the states too.

anybody know where I can see one in New England/ New York area?

Thanks,
David
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Old 08-06-03, 02:15 PM   #5
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Hi,
Bruce Gordan makes some nice touring bikes... http://www.bgcycles.com/
Gunnar is a division of Waterford; it's not listed in the catalog or website, but they make a nice touring frame that costs less than the Waterford, kinda like buying the Toyota instead of the Lexus.... http://www.gunnarbikes.com/
There are other small, excellent companies; those just came to mind. Her is something to read on the subject... http://www.adv-cycling.org/features/buyabike2003.cfm Now, I have seen a Rivendell, and it was one of the prettiest bikes I have ever seen. But personally, I prefer STI shifters to the old fashioned handlebar end shifters. I think you will face many questions of this sort if you buy just a frame. The STI shifters allow you to shift
at any time, an upshift while grinding up a hill is a piece of cake. They are reliable (and what I use) but they are less reliable than bar ends. If you are thinking of riding across the country, I would say go with the bar ends. If you want a touring bike that has a little performance, get STI. All of which is a way of saying that I would love to have a Rivendell frame, but I'd build it up with parts that reflect my priorities.
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Old 08-06-03, 09:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheMilford
I'm curious about Mercian geometry. how do they compare to the "relaxed" fit of the Rivendells?
FWIW, Mercian has been in business since before I've been involved in cycling, over 30 yrs. They are renowned for their work. They know how to make a true touring bike. Call them, e-mail them and ask. They will talk to you about their geometry and they can customize for you.

I'm currently in discussions with Bob Jackson about a custom track frame. There is no US distributor for Jackson. They will ship directly to you and they will stand behind their work.
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Old 08-07-03, 03:36 AM   #7
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The trad English club touring bikes from companies like Mercian and Bob Jackson are excellent machines, superbly made by top craftsmen , and designed with decades of experience. The stock geometry frames are made with the same detail as their custom geometry ones, and are excellent value for money. These lugged frames are perhaps made to a higher standard than mid-range stock TIG-welded frames from Gunnar, Surley, Soma, and are a whole lot cheaper than most US frame-builders.
I compared my stock Bob Jackson to a custom Waterford tourer at a hostel, and have to say the Waterford was better, but at over twice the price, you would expect that.
Looking at the US market, its hard to find a better specced or better value tourer than the Bruice Gorden BLT. It does seem to be heavier-duty than an English-style model, and more of an expedition bike than a club tourer.
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Old 08-07-03, 04:18 AM   #8
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Hi,
I agree with MichaelW. English bikes used to be imported here by the million.
It would be great if they came back, because they would be a better choice than comfort bikes or pseudo-racers for most.
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Old 08-07-03, 09:18 AM   #9
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...Of course when one does enough research on something one can get a bit obsessed...

I started out on this with a strong interest in the Rivendell Atlantis because of thier philosophy and beauty. Not wanting to limit myself I began looking for other alternatives. The one that stuck in my eye were the Mercians. They are beautiful they have been doing what Rivendell is doing now for 50 years and they are the most affordable. I think I'm in love

I will be checking out the NYC shop in a few weeks.

So heres what I've found so far for those who are interested:
thier site:
http://www.btinternet.com/~merciancycleslimited/

Dealers:
Bicycle Habitat in NYC:
http://bicyclehabitat.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=72

and Momovelo in CA:
http://www.momovelo.com/mercian.html

some beautiful pictures of a fixed gear track:
http://www.bikecult.com/works/archive/mercianTK.html

Grant Peterson of rivendell gives a mention here (interviews):
http://www.gaansari.com/interview0403.htm

Thanks all, I'll let you know how it goes,
David J. Gereg
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Old 08-07-03, 06:18 PM   #10
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Have you considered the Heron touring model. Made by Waterford with a design from Rivendell. One memeber saids it like riding a Rivendell.

John Hawrylak
Woodstown NJ
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Old 08-07-03, 07:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheMilford
...one can get a bit obsessed...

Momovelo in CA:
http://www.momovelo.com/mercian.html
Nice link, Thanks!
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Old 08-28-03, 10:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by jhawrylak
Have you considered the Heron touring model. Made by Waterford with a design from Rivendell. One memeber saids it like riding a Rivendell.
John Hawrylak
Woodstown NJ
I own a Heron Touring, and love it. A friend of mine who bought one of the first Rivs (when Grant was selling them out of his garage), rode my Heron, and said it felt like his Riv.
Heron Bicycles
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Old 09-06-03, 11:03 AM   #13
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Hi.
I like the Rivendell image. They´ve got a nice angle on cycling. I have an interview with Grant Petersen (president of Riv Cycles), from 1997, to download on my site. I really like his attitude on bicycling.

I also have an article on Rivendell Allrounder and an article on Riv Roadbike to download from my site.

Feel free to download theese articles.

http://www.karlstam.com/

Click link "Bicycling" and then link "More tips about the bike and gear".

/Anders
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Old 09-07-03, 01:53 PM   #14
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I second the suggestion that you look at Bruce Gordon bikes. BLT with BG racks will be significantly less that $2000 assembled.

www.bgcycles.com

I almost bought one, but with a lower budget than yours it made sense to go with a Trek 520.
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Old 09-07-03, 03:57 PM   #15
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I considered a BLT, but the Heron came assembled (except had to put the HB stem in the steering tube, install the seat and peddles). Ready to ride in 20 min. When I added the cost to assemble the BLT, the Heron Touring was a better value, and IMHO, a better bike (for me). Price was a consideration, but silver brazed lugged steel, Riv philosophy, frame USA made at Waterford Cycle Works, ride/handles close to a road bike when not loaded, stability of a touring bike when loaded were more important.
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Old 09-16-03, 05:37 PM   #16
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I have an 'all Phil Wood' Rivendell Atlantis which is my pride and joy. Riding it is pure pleasure. I assembled it myself, taking my own sweet time and following directions in the Rivendell Reader.

The Rivendells are expensive but they embody a certain philosophy of cycling that I agree with and they are certainly unique bikes, you wouldn't believe the comments I get on it.

It is not necessarily the best choice for everyone, but certainly a worthwhile one for those that have the inclination (and the money!)

I was originally scheduled to to be in Europe right now, touring on it, but sadly the trip has been postponed.
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