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Mercier 300

Old 05-12-20, 11:07 AM
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Does the fork turn freely with shift cables routed that way? If not I would suggest the cables leave the handlebar drop/hook transition.
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Old 05-12-20, 12:03 PM
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Final result.



















That skewer looks a bit long--you gets what you gets.

Miscellaneous observations: Wheels appear to be a decade older than the bike, which has derailleurs marked "74." Hubs are really old Records, the ones with no sunburst logo, and spokes are Torringtons, not so common anymore during the Bike Boom. Pedals were sourced in France and the earliest Maillards I've seen not marked as "Atom." I believe they were TOL when this bike was built. I made no attempt to restore damaged or missing transfers but left all as-is. I rather prefer an honest used bike in good nick to a reconstructed "new" one, if there is a choice. Fit and finish are typical of the period, with gaps in legwork and astonishingly sloppy detailing, but it's straight as an arrow--alignment was not neglected.

Ride: This is a 50cm (C-C), the smallest I can ride, and like small frames generally it is quite stiff. Wheels and tires (250g) are featherweight, so the bike is very quick. The geometry feels a bit different to me than my Peugeots, more weight-forward, and the bar -end shifters take getting used to. I like to ride it for short dashes in the neighborhood; not sure how it would be all day long. But I did get to see what it had been, and I like it rather a lot.

Last edited by mikestr; 05-12-20 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 05-12-20, 12:35 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Insidious C.
Does the fork turn freely with shift cables routed that way? If not I would suggest the cables leave the handlebar drop/hook transition.
I tested the arrangement thoroughly before taping down the cables--full fork movement. The slack in the cable is greater than it appears here--see photos farther down. This is also cleaner than having the cables leave farther down, but I've seen both arrangements.

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Old 05-12-20, 01:02 PM
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Something else a bit interesting. These Mafacs don't squeal, and I didn't even toe in the calipers. What's more, the pads are original NOS and still stop on a dime. They had been sealed in plastic bags, and probably kept in a dark place, which probably postponed degradation from ozone and UV. I really didn't need those Kool Stop replacements after all (though they undoubtedly are superior).

I now see I pictured two different brands of toe strap--oops. The Christophes were replaced with the Campys some time ago. They are really nice.

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Old 05-12-20, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa
Can't day that it looks bent to me. Perhaps the fork is just turned a wee bit to the non-drive side. And, I really like the bike.

Standing the pink bike in front of the pink Owens-Corning insulation is a nice touch--much more so than the usual white garage door.
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Old 05-12-20, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Standing the pink bike in front of the pink Owens-Corning insulation is a nice touch--much more so than the usual white garage door.
What bike? Where?

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Old 05-13-20, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mikestr
Wow, this is great. I'm a bit surprised to see a completely painted fork and rear triangle on a Model 300 of this vintage. All those I've seen, including mine, are half-chromed. Given the quality of that plating I wish mine were painted as well. Does anyone have any version info that would indicate when the chroming was begun or discontinued? Was there perhaps a difference in finish between bikes exported to different markets?
Last year, I made an effort on this forum to collect information about Mercier bikes and find answers to questions such as yours (my sense is that the U.S. import (1969-1972) Merciers were indeed different in this respect from European exampes, and possibly those exported to Canada and perhaps other countries. Other details varied too, according to the markets they were shipped to). The general lack of interest in the details and history of Mercier bikes was pretty discouraging, and I eventually gave up trying to keep the thread going, but it still exists for anyone who may be interested: 50 years later, another Mercier
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Old 05-13-20, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JimR56
Last year, I made an effort on this forum to collect information about Mercier bikes and find answers to questions such as yours (my sense is that the U.S. import (1969-1972) Merciers were indeed different in this respect from European exampes, and possibly those exported to Canada and perhaps other countries. Other details varied too, according to the markets they were shipped to). The general lack of interest in the details and history of Mercier bikes was pretty discouraging, and I eventually gave up trying to keep the thread going, but it still exists for anyone who may be interested: 50 years later, another Mercier
That's great, Jim--thanks for the heads-up on that earlier thread. I see you are also in the Bay Area and apparently of my generation. And perhaps that's a key to this interest in these bikes. In that period these French bikes were most often the ones we knew best, and in their better models ll, the ones we might aspire to own. Whether a Mercier 300 or a PX-10, they were both serious and possibly affordable bikes for a younger person. They were real racing bikes, with sewup tires, man! True, the Merciers never had the following here the Peugeots did, but that was simply because they weren't promoted nearly as much in North America, and I suspect that for more documentation we would need to reach out to our French friends, for whom Mercier was an extremely popular brand, having perhaps the most admired racing team and star, M. Poulidor. In any event, these old French racing bikes do have an undeniable allure for those of us who came of serious riding age during the great Bike Boom. And a Mercier can usually be found at a reasonable price.
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Old 05-14-20, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mikestr
That's great, Jim--thanks for the heads-up on that earlier thread. I see you are also in the Bay Area and apparently of my generation. And perhaps that's a key to this interest in these bikes. In that period these French bikes were most often the ones we knew best, and in their better models ll, the ones we might aspire to own. Whether a Mercier 300 or a PX-10, they were both serious and possibly affordable bikes for a younger person. They were real racing bikes, with sewup tires, man! True, the Merciers never had the following here the Peugeots did, but that was simply because they weren't promoted nearly as much in North America, and I suspect that for more documentation we would need to reach out to our French friends, for whom Mercier was an extremely popular brand, having perhaps the most admired racing team and star, M. Poulidor. In any event, these old French racing bikes do have an undeniable allure for those of us who came of serious riding age during the great Bike Boom. And a Mercier can usually be found at a reasonable price.
Yes, Oakland was one of the few U.S. locations where the Merciers were imported in those years, so there is an increased connection for those of us who lived (or live) in this area. For me it wasn't about having a racing bike vs a non-racing bike. I was 13 when I got my Mercier in 1969, and I rode it in the neighborhood and to school. I've never raced a bike in my life, and knew nothing about sewup tires. My 1969 Mercier was a beautiful thing to me, a utilitarian work of art, and also very special in that it was a significant gift from my dad (who treated us sparingly to things like new french bicycles, and never spoiled us). My bike wasn't a model 300, nor is my "new" Mercier, so I guess there are many readers here who will turn up their noses at the thought of talking about them as part of Mercier history. Oh my god, they're too heavy to race! Change those rims! How can you ride a bike with steel rims? Jeez. My main bike for years has been a Schwinn cruiser, and it weighs a hell of a lot more than my Mercier. I'm 64 years old, and I'll actually be lucky if I can stay healthy enough to even ride a bike again. There's no racing in my past, or in my future. I just want to enjoy and appreciate my bicycle, which brings back some great memories. If at all possible, I'd like to learn as much as I can about the history of the company and their models, and maybe connect with others who share my interest. I really put a lot of time and effort into that thread. I scoured the web for info and images; and scoured this and other forums for weeks in an attempt to bring together all the information I could about the Mercier brand. I hope people will read it like a general reference source, and find a question to answer, or perhaps ask a new question. My Mercier thread began with me and my story, but I went on to try to make it about the brand in general.

Thanks for responding. Oh, and I know about Poulidor, of course, and have tried to engage French members who briefly joined in. Cheers.
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Old 05-14-20, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JimR56
Yes, Oakland was one of the few U.S. locations where the Merciers were imported in those years, so there is an increased connection for those of us who lived (or live) in this area. For me it wasn't about having a racing bike vs a non-racing bike. I was 13 when I got my Mercier in 1969, and I rode it in the neighborhood and to school. I've never raced a bike in my life, and knew nothing about sewup tires. My 1969 Mercier was a beautiful thing to me, a utilitarian work of art, and also very special in that it was a significant gift from my dad (who treated us sparingly to things like new french bicycles, and never spoiled us). My bike wasn't a model 300, nor is my "new" Mercier, so I guess there are many readers here who will turn up their noses at the thought of talking about them as part of Mercier history. Oh my god, they're too heavy to race! Change those rims! How can you ride a bike with steel rims? Jeez. My main bike for years has been a Schwinn cruiser, and it weighs a hell of a lot more than my Mercier. I'm 64 years old, and I'll actually be lucky if I can stay healthy enough to even ride a bike again. There's no racing in my past, or in my future. I just want to enjoy and appreciate my bicycle, which brings back some great memories. If at all possible, I'd like to learn as much as I can about the history of the company and their models, and maybe connect with others who share my interest. I really put a lot of time and effort into that thread. I scoured the web for info and images; and scoured this and other forums for weeks in an attempt to bring together all the information I could about the Mercier brand. I hope people will read it like a general reference source, and find a question to answer, or perhaps ask a new question. My Mercier thread began with me and my story, but I went on to try to make it about the brand in general.

Thanks for responding. Oh, and I know about Poulidor, of course, and have tried to engage French members who briefly joined in. Cheers.
I'm quite in agreement, and my reference to the racing models was merely to explain my own personal point of entry. I didn't race but I did ride fast and hard, and did serious long rides. I also did all my own mechanical work and had the tools, which was not at all unusual back then. But yeah, all the models from these makers were beautiful, and compared to the Schwinn Varsitys and Continentals very light and mechanically sophisticated. Nothing to look down on at all and far more than the racing models the mid- and lower-level bikes were responsible for the growth of bicycling as a popular activity for American adults (which we might take for granted now). I was not aware of the Oakland Mercier connection, and this does help explain the greater prevalence of these bikes up here. Growing up in Southern California I rarely saw them--until I went to college in Santa Barbara. Peugeot, on the other hand, had its US offices in LA (a fact which helped me later when I met someone retired from there who had a lot of spare parts!)

Last edited by mikestr; 05-14-20 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 09-25-22, 02:08 PM
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It's been a long time coming but this one is almost complete.
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Old 09-25-22, 02:33 PM
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The 300 is a really nice looking bike. Enjoy it!
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Old 05-29-23, 01:11 PM
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Just found this thread

Learning how to post and reply, so I'm replying.

I have a Mercier 300 that I bought while working in a bike shop (Ann Arbor, MI) in 1973. So my bike is 50 years old. Not much original, basically cranks (Stronglight), pedals (Lyotard platforms), and um, that's about it. Wheels, handlebars (the original broke off one half while I was streaking (not naked) down a Seattle hill), bottom bracket (since mid XXs, Phil Wood), brakes (I subbed Weinmann 500s for the orig Mafacs because noise), rear derailleur is Campy Nuovo Record, etc. Also, several paint jobs since (I used to be a professional spray guy). I love the original decal set-up - so very French (my late mother is French, so there).

I rode that bike from San Diego to Ann Arbor (MI) in 1974, on heavy duty sew-ups (tubulars, as we called them then). Many miles before and after that trip.

I'm still riding that bike, or rather, I'm riding it again after about 8 years break. I got the bike tuned to perfection, my legs and heart not so much.
Hope to hear from y'all.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:15 PM
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Narhay -
How did you hang the metal-framed Simplex rear derailleur from the drop out? I found one on Ebay several years ago, but it wouldn't fit into my 1972 M300 dropout. I've long since lost the Delrin rear derailleur that originally came on my (brand-new, then) M300.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by aimont300
Narhay -
How did you hang the metal-framed Simplex rear derailleur from the drop out? I found one on Ebay several years ago, but it wouldn't fit into my 1972 M300 dropout. I've long since lost the Delrin rear derailleur that originally came on my (brand-new, then) M300.

You should post a new thread on your Mercier 300 with pics and the backstory to the bike. You'll will need 10 posts before you can post pics though (it's an anti-spam measure). Maybe your thread will motivate me to fix up the kelly green Mercier 300 I have sitting on a hook, .
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Old 05-29-23, 01:43 PM
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Any advice on what to tell my domestic partner? I need a drill press to "ventilate" my old Lyotard platform pedals to save 29-62 grams. A hand drill is not precise enough. The drill press won't do much for her ceramic artwork, so I need a better justification. I am not a dentist, so I can't tell I'll be able to do free root-canals going forward.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:46 PM
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How do I post a new thread? I don't want to get off this one, or have too many threads to follow. I'm 67 yo, and can handle tech, but also I'm a recovering actuary so can have very focused attention on a few channels.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
You should post a new thread on your Mercier 300 with pics and the backstory to the bike. You'll will need 10 posts before you can post pics though (it's an anti-spam measure). Maybe your thread will motivate me to fix up the kelly green Mercier 300 I have sitting on a hook, .
Narhay -
I fixed up my M300 after a good 8 years of not riding it. I was a bike mechanic in a previous life, so it wasn't too hard, but anyone can do it. If you had that bike before and knew it, you'll know what to do. If it's new to you, it will be a nice bit of discovery.

I bought a new-gen Mercier fixie quite a few years ago, lots of fun. The M300 was like driving a Cadillac after that. I could ride hands-off with no worries, plus having multiple gears was great. I'm allergic to giving advice, I'll just say that the first time I took my M300 out after the lengthy tune-up, I remembered how cool that bike was (my muscles and heart were not so sympathetic, I'm 67).

I like to say that when it comes to bicycles, "I am a lazy-ass MoFo". I hate extraneous weight, I find the M300 superlight for that gen of bikes, and to get anywhere near that weight today you'd have to spend a few large. Back in 1994, I bought a modern replacement for the M300 - there were two differences: PLUS: cool-guy integrated brake-gear shift, MINUS: Less responsive and slightly heavier. I returned the cool-guy brake/gear-shift bike and continued to ride my M300 12 miles to work and back 3 times a week.
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