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Barn find Mercier 'fait main'

Old 03-31-19, 09:36 AM
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LucasHartong
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Barn find Mercier 'fait main'

Well. You go on vacation to France and find a souvenir. A Mercier 'fait main' / 'service des courses' in beautiful steel blue. What I have been able to decipher until now:


- Frame: built 7/1979, Vitus 172 serie legere, special double butted
- Headset: Stronglight V4 Competition
- Fork/pen: Mercier (logo’s), pen 3TTT Mod. 1 Record Strada
- Handlebar: Kiprim (French)
- Crank: Stronglight Touring Sport Bis (drilled) 52/42
- Pedals: Kyokuto Top Run
- Front derailleur: Simplex SX A22
- Rear derailleur: Simplex SX 410T
- Shifters: Simplex Criterium
- Lugs: BCM Bocama
- Freewheel: Suntour Perfect PT-5000 Maeda Industries 5 speed
- Rims: Mavic MA 700c with Maillard Atom hubs
- Brakes: Weinmann AG 500
- Brakelevers: Weinmann AG 500 drilled (7/97)
- Saddlepen: Mercier
- Bidon: Cobra Italy

I have cleaned it carefully, oiled and greased where needed and am planning to finish it with white steering ribbon, new tires with a white lining, a Selle San Marco saddle. I have no clue what it would be worth. Anyone have a guess?






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Old 03-31-19, 09:46 AM
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Very nice. Should clean up very easily.

It's not the highest-end component kit you would see on a French racing bike of this vintage, but it is definitely good mid-range kit with some nice touches. As to what it's worth you might want to post in the Appraisals subforum.

The 700C clinchers greatly widens your selection of nice tires. What tires with white lining are you looking at? I would suggest the Panaracer Gravelking slick. There is an attractive option with brown sidewalls and an ivory-colored file tread, and you can get them in a 32, which I would think your frame fits.

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Old 03-31-19, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by LucasHartong View Post
I have no clue what it would be worth. Anyone have a guess?
Thread moved from C&V to C&V Appraisals.
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Old 03-31-19, 10:53 AM
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-----

congratulations on yet another interesting find!

happy to see the TS has a good finish. at their launch, about four years prior, they were rougher.

wonder if the KKT's would have been original. are they a metric thread set?

it will look sharp with the white handlebar raiment.

tip - check to verify that handlebar clamp and handlebar centre are of same dimension.

-----
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Old 03-31-19, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Very nice. Should clean up very easily.

It's not the highest-end component kit you would see on a French racing bike of this vintage, but it is definitely good mid-range kit with some nice touches. As to what it's worth you might want to post in the Appraisals subforum.

The 700C clinchers greatly widens your selection of nice tires. What tires with white lining are you looking at? I would suggest the Panaracer Gravelking slick. There is an attractive option with brown sidewalls and an ivory-colored file tread, and you can get them in a 32, which I would think your frame fits.

Thanks for the adviseur. They look great!
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Old 03-31-19, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

congratulations on yet another interesting find!

happy to see the TS has a good finish. at their launch, about four years prior, they were rougher.

wonder if the KKT's would have been original. are they a metric thread set?

it will look sharp with the white handlebar raiment.

tip - check to verify that handlebar clamp and handlebar centre are of same dimension.

-----
Thanks and good tip. Clamp and centre seem to fit well. KKTs seem original, but I'm not sure what Mercier fitted in the first place? Lyotard maybe?
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Old 03-31-19, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by LucasHartong View Post
Thanks and good tip. Clamp and centre seem to fit well. KKTs seem original, but I'm not sure what Mercier fitted in the first place? Lyotard maybe?
-----

By this time French manufacturers were beginning to include a few Nippon fittings on some of their models - at least for those intended for export to North America. "The Continent" be your province.

It is conceivable that both the MAEDA gear block and KKT's were OEM.

Perhaps in your researches for the bicycle you will be able to discover a manufacturer's catalogue for this year.

Mentioned handlebar and stem only because they come from differing manufacturers. Always good to check just for safety sake.

-----
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Old 03-31-19, 11:36 AM
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You'd see that "fait main" decal on various FR frames I recall seeing it on some Gitanes from a certain era so would not consider that to be the model name for this Mercier. Looks nice; Vitus 172 tubes and Vitus dropouts, too. Not sure if I'm seeing ROUND fork blades or just the photo angle makes that hard to tell....I can't give it a $ value but a bike well worth riding!
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Old 03-31-19, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
You'd see that "fait main" decal on various FR frames... so would not consider that to be the model name
Correct, "Fait Main" means "hand maid", it suggests that someone using torches and skill built the frame rather than just sending a crudely assembled set of tubes through an open hearth. 'Service des Courses' is the model name, which I believe was one step below the top line "Pro". Vitus 172 was a French brand of double butted tubing, roughly the equivalent of Columbus SL. This is definitely one of the nicer French bikes!

I think it'd look killer with a set of Mafac 2000 brakes, and maybe an Ideale saddle (The Frenchman's Brooks), but other than that, I wouldn't change a thing.
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Old 03-31-19, 01:10 PM
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Indeed 'fait main' would not be the model name. It's more of a quality/level mark. I am interested to know though what this model would be. I haven't been able to trace a Mercier brochure from around 1979 yet. They seem to be quite scarce.
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Old 03-31-19, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by d_dutchison View Post
Correct, "Fait Main" means "hand maid", it suggests that someone using torches and skill built the frame rather than just sending a crudely assembled set of tubes through an open hearth. 'Service des Courses' is the model name, which I believe was one step below the top line "Pro". Vitus 172 was a French brand of double butted tubing, roughly the equivalent of Columbus SL. This is definitely one of the nicer French bikes!

I think it'd look killer with a set of Mafac 2000 brakes, and maybe an Ideale saddle (The Frenchman's Brooks), but other than that, I wouldn't change a thing.
Thank you for your kind words and information!
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Old 03-31-19, 02:28 PM
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Even though pink is Mercier's Celeste, it sure is nice to see one, other than that color.
Only other thing that is hard to get around with Merciers is their poor quality, not clear coated over decals that challenges Pinarello, when it comes to flakiness.....
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Old 03-31-19, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Even though pink is Mercier's Celeste, it sure is nice to see one, other than that color
Here is a non pink Mercier that is sitting in my basement.

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Old 03-31-19, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Even though pink is Mercier's Celeste, it sure is nice to see one, other than that color.
Only other thing that is hard to get around with Merciers is their poor quality, not clear coated over decals that challenges Pinarello, when it comes to flakiness.....
Thank you and yes, I intend to conserve the decals as best I can...
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Old 04-01-19, 11:00 AM
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Lucas,

You might wish to visit this example.

It appears quite close to yours, differing mainly in chainset and brakeset.

Even exhibits the KKT Top Run pedals.



https://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=39831

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Old 04-01-19, 03:59 PM
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Merci Monsieur! Interesting.
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Old 04-02-19, 02:32 AM
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This one comes pretty close to mine, though from a tad later date. https://mestenspeeds.wordpress.com/2...mercier-velo5/
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Old 04-02-19, 02:34 AM
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And this one too. More in the time-frame. https://www.steel-vintage.com/mercie...e-1970s-detail
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Old 04-02-19, 03:06 AM
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------

Thank you Lucas. Fine detective work.

Yes, the first one looks to be a bit later than yours with its 104bis chainset. This launched 1977-78.

Good job finding the pink example!

Perhaps it should be placed in the "show us your pink bikes" thread.

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Old 04-02-19, 05:52 AM
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Be my guest!
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Old 04-02-19, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by d_dutchison View Post
Correct, "Fait Main" means "hand maid", it suggests that someone using torches and skill built the frame rather than just sending a crudely assembled set of tubes through an open hearth. 'Service des Courses' is the model name, which I believe was one step below the top line "Pro"...

You mean "Made by Hand", as opposed to "Hand Maid', which is completely different.


Also, "Service des Courses" is not the model name. It literally translates to "Race Service", the department responsible for the team bicycles. Basically, it's the Mercier equivalent of Bianchi's Reparto Corse. However, like Bianchi's Reparto Corse decal, Mercier's "Controle Service des Courses" decal was applied to many models that were not built by the department. Rather, the frames were designed by the department and possibly the manufacture supervised, to a degree, by the department.

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Old 04-03-19, 11:50 AM
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So, any idea about value?
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Old 04-03-19, 12:31 PM
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Sorry, I don't have any appreciation for the market conditions in the Netherlands. Consequently, I'll defer to other members on the value.
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