Anyone actually toured on one? Older threads contain lots of comments about beautiful lugs and paint. I'm more specifically interested in opinions from people who've loaded them for tours. I'm inclined to ask that the chainstays be stretched to 44 cm and that the headtube extend above the top lug for 1 cm to get the bars up a bit. Other than that, the geometry seems sound -- very close to Bob Jackson's tourer and other dedicated tourers.
While I don't own the King but I do own the Vincitore, both of these bikes are well known in Europe to be superbe touring bikes. The thing I like most about Mercian is that they can have several lug styles to choose from. The only thing I don't like about them is their lack of a front headtube badge-it's just a decal, but the bike rides wonderfully so the tradeoff is more then acceptable.
Bob Jackson's bikes have had complaints about inconsistent quality control in their frame building-some good some bad.
Another good touring bike is the Atlantis from Rivendell; or if you can afford the best then look at Robert Beckman Designs and his Sakkit Expedition 26 or 700, these are serious long term touring bikes. http://www.coinet.com/~beckman/bikeframes.html
Rivendell Quickbeam, Rivendell Rambouillet, Rivendell Atlantis, Circle A town bike, De Rosa Neo Primato, Cervelo RS
I've never ridden a mercian, but everyone I've talked to who has loves them. Quality is second to none,
fantastic reputation and infinite ability to customize. One day I will own one....oone day sign. I'm jealous of you. The Mercian is superior to the Bob Jackson, and I'm a Yorkshire man saying that. Buy the KOM and enjoy it.
EAI Brassknuckle fixed Sannino fixed, Thorn Club Tour, Soma Smoothie
I met a Englishman riding a King of Mercia earlier this summer. He'd had it for 8 years and done a few tours and was very pleased with it. This time he, together with his wife was cycling from Gibraltar to the North Cape.