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Vintage builder critique - let's see some artistry.

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Vintage builder critique - let's see some artistry.

Old 09-19-17, 09:33 AM
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I'm not sure if fancy lugs automatically equate to artistry, but it is certainly novel and requires a lot of extra work (for the lug striping, if nothing else!). My Hetchins Magnum Opus has some fairly elaborate lugs, as well as the cool curly stays. Rather ostentatious for a midwestern fellow, but much more modest than the version with chromed lugs!

a view of the whole bike...



top view of the head lugs...



front of head tube...



bottom bracket shell... (as you can see, the bike does get ridden)



The bike is built with Reynolds 531C and does ride quite nicely. I'm inclined to think that it is due to the lighter gauge tubing, at least compared to my '74 Raleigh International. Or maybe it's the fork blades?? They are fairly round in cross section, while the International has blades that are more flattened and oval.

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Old 09-19-17, 12:28 PM
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Beautiful, I'm loving them all!

Another plug for Mercian - they keep turning out clean, beautiful work. Details from my 87 Pro:

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Old 09-19-17, 08:40 PM
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Only one i got to add is nice but not as flamboyant as alot of these other ones,

here's my 74 Paramount
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Old 09-25-17, 10:41 PM
  #29  
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Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

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So I never thought I would see Merz classified as second tier. A few random points for consideration in no particular order, DiNucci worked for Merz at one point, Merz was self taught which not many can say, his main goal was utilitarian reliability with the simplistic beauty of excellent craftsmanship being an automatic byproduct. Anyway, maybe he wasn't prolific enough with his 400 frames before Specialized and 1000's after with his mark well placed. He built for Spence Wolf, Adams Ave., Cupertino, Pacific Coast cycles, California Peddler and others. He was Raleigh's authorized warranty repair which I doubt was an easy gig to get even if you wanted it. So obviously I have a little trouble accepting the 2nd tier call. Anyway here is some of his work for consideration.pic037.jpg

pic047.jpg

pic262.jpg

pic261.jpg

pic263.jpg
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Old 09-25-17, 10:44 PM
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Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

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pic264.jpg

pic265.jpg

pic273.jpg

pic282.jpg

pic279.jpg
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Old 09-25-17, 10:48 PM
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Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

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pic280.jpg

Picture 034 copy.jpg
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Old 09-26-17, 08:57 AM
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Yup, nothing 2nd-tier about Merz. You see his artistry in his lugs, and his straight-ahead design sense in those racks. I'd love to see more rack details...

Originally Posted by merziac
So I never thought I would see Merz classified as second tier...his main goal was utilitarian reliability with the simplistic beauty of excellent craftsmanship being an automatic byproduct...
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Old 09-26-17, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pcb
Yup, nothing 2nd-tier about Merz. You see his artistry in his lugs, and his straight-ahead design sense in those racks. I'd love to see more rack details...
Agreed!
I am a self-admitted fan of subtly sculpted fillets, beautifully-tapered lug thinning, artful shorelines and lug shapes, finely finished stay and blade ends, and simple,elegant cutouts. But none of that adds up to much if the bike is poorly designed or poorly constructed.

The frames made by Jim Merz may look deceptively simple compared to some of the others we have seen here but I can guarantee you they will ride like a dream and be as strong as possible given the limitations of the materials. The amount of knowledge, thought, and integrity that went into Mr. Merz' frames makes him a true master, not to be undervalued. First tier in my book.
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Old 09-26-17, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by SoreFeet
Klein Aluminum with press fit cartridge bearing bottom brackets...those were pretty sweet and the integrated welded stems on the MTB's were neat.
ca. '75/76 Klein:











As found:



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Old 09-26-17, 11:54 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by pcb
Yup, nothing 2nd-tier about Merz. You see his artistry in his lugs, and his straight-ahead design sense in those racks. I'd love to see more rack details...
Agreed and here you go.

pic047.jpg

This one originally had canti's on it so now the sidepull is mounted on the front side.
pic038.jpg

pic268.jpg

Last edited by merziac; 09-26-17 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 09-26-17, 11:59 AM
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Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

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pic274.jpg

This one is my favorite, made to accommodate and compliment the Campy sidepull.
pic283.jpg

pic 043.jpg

pic269.jpg

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Old 09-26-17, 12:12 PM
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This front rack has the ferruled holes for the original slide on Eclipse panniers that I now have courtesy of the original owner, they are blue and in excellent condition.

pic273.jpg
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Old 09-26-17, 12:28 PM
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Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

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Also agreed and very well said, exactly my point. The quality and expertise was a given with Jim, anything else was unacceptable and therefore not a consideration, no compromise, period. One of the things that is very interesting is that his racks are mounted well up the fork so it can still do it's job as a shock absorber, all the while carrying its load which was very heavy in many cases. The confidence of this speaks volumns and has been expressed so by many current framebuilders when they see this at our C+V shows when we have them.


Originally Posted by obrentharris
Agreed!
I am a self-admitted fan of subtly sculpted fillets, beautifully-tapered lug thinning, artful shorelines and lug shapes, finely finished stay and blade ends, and simple,elegant cutouts. But none of that adds up to much if the bike is poorly designed or poorly constructed.

The frames made by Jim Merz may look deceptively simple compared to some of the others we have seen here but I can guarantee you they will ride like a dream and be as strong as possible given the limitations of the materials. The amount of knowledge, thought, and integrity that went into Mr. Merz' frames makes him a true master, not to be undervalued. First tier in my book.
Brent
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Old 09-26-17, 12:49 PM
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This is the most impressive frame/fork and stem/bars I've come across...









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Old 09-26-17, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
This is the most impressive frame/fork and stem/bars I've come across...
Beautiful work and all is out in the open to see. Gorgeous.
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Old 09-26-17, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Sir_Name
Beautiful work and all is out in the open to see. Gorgeous.
I'm not sure it makes sense in terms of utility...but artistry? Just WOW.
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Old 09-26-17, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I'm not sure it makes sense in terms of utility...but artistry? Just WOW.
I just noticed the seatpost appears to be Ti w/ a Passoni sticker...? As if that bar/stem combo weren't enough. Sheesh. Fantastic find.
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Old 09-27-17, 02:12 PM
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Not letting this go, still can't fathom Merz even being considered 2nd tier. Not only did he build them, he rode them on epic well documented trips, tested tires all over the world to help launch Specialized to be the juggernaut it is now and is more than partially responsible for bringing Japan out of the dark ages to produce most of the outstanding production frames we now revere for their longevity and quality. His reach in the bicycle industry is equaled only by those that worked with him on those fronts and spans a lifetime of making it better and more viable for everyone concerned. To be continued...
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Old 09-27-17, 02:56 PM
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There are far fewer people talking about, or collecting Merz bikes in relation to Confente, Bayliss, BG, Eisentraut or many of the others being discussed here. I've never seen or ridden one, so it's certainly not a comment on quality...but as far as reputation/name recognition...

Merz is definitely second tier. If you disagree...sell one, and see what happens in relation to one of the others being discussed here. By that standard, many of my bikes that I consider first tier quality are second tier.
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Old 09-27-17, 03:48 PM
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"Merz is definitely second tier." Wow. Harsh words for a quality builder. I am a hobby builder and humbly follow his example of quality above all else, and appreciate the simplicity of simple lug lines. Not much of an artist, I guess, but I have a fancy head badge!
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Old 09-27-17, 04:02 PM
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Well based on your criteria I can see where you could make that call, based on the OP's ask and the fact you state that you have never seen or ridden one, his artistry would be unknown to you and has nothing to do with the lack of knowledge of him. Also I can tell you that his frames and bikes when they do come up sell quickly and for substantial money. That is when you can find one. So yes, obviously I disagree.


Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
There are far fewer people talking about, or collecting Merz bikes in relation to Confente, Bayliss, BG, Eisentraut or many of the others being discussed here. I've never seen or ridden one, so it's certainly not a comment on quality...but as far as reputation/name recognition...

Merz is definitely second tier. If you disagree...sell one, and see what happens in relation to one of the others being discussed here. By that standard, many of my bikes that I consider first tier quality are second tier.
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Old 09-27-17, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Well based on your criteria I can see where you could make that call, based on the OP's ask and the fact you state that you have never seen or ridden one, his artistry would be unknown to you and has nothing to do with the lack of knowledge of him. Also I can tell you that his frames and bikes when they do come up sell quickly and for substantial money. That is when you can find one. So yes, obviously I disagree.
I have no opinion on his artistry, other than that people I respect think very highly of him. I prefer a simpler aesthetic myself and find the posted photos beautiful!

But, in terms of name value, it's second tier. He didn't have the influence that some others have had either. Not on the scale of some others.

So I agree with both perspectives

This is keeping in mind that most of my bikes are more obscure brands.

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Old 09-27-17, 04:43 PM
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Sounds like we need a "Value and influence" thread which also imho would not find him in 2nd tier. Based solely on the OP's criteria, seemingly yours and definitely mine, he very much holds his own for artistry and aesthetic with the others. And of course I couldn't agree more about them being beautiful which I believe was the original point in asking for artistry critique.


Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I have no opinion on his artistry, other than that people I respect think very highly of him. I prefer a simpler aesthetic myself and find the posted photos beautiful!

But, in terms of name value, it's second tier. He didn't have the influence that some others have had either. Not on the scale of some others.

So I agree with both perspectives
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Old 09-27-17, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Sounds like we need a "Value and influence" thread which also imho would not find him in 2nd tier. Based solely on the OP's criteria, seemingly yours and definitely mine, he very much holds his own for artistry and aesthetic with the others. And of course I couldn't agree more about them being beautiful which I believe was the original point in asking for artistry critique.
Certainly a good point. I think the ones posted are simple and nice looking.
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Old 09-27-17, 05:54 PM
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Thank you, I know that your influence and opinion are highly regarded and I certainly agree with that. As you can see I will be happy to discuss all of it until it ceases to to have value to do so, and maybe even past that if we deem it necessary.


Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
Certainly a good point. I think the ones posted are simple and nice looking.
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