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Mercian ID help

Old 05-04-19, 10:47 PM
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Mercian ID help

Well, another call from a bike shop customer who was given my number because she has a vintage bike. I need to talk to the shop owner about this. In any case, I will probably inspect this on Monday. Not sure what they want to sell it for or if they want to sell it. I told the lady I could always try to find a home for it.

Looking for some help on a possible id of the bike. Blowing it up on my phone shows what look to be Cyclone shifters and SR crankset. I'm not sure on the rest. Frame and paint look to be in good shape. I would guess 27" wheels. Double eyelets on the fork. This is a photo from the owner's that she texted tonight.

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Old 05-05-19, 06:40 AM
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I think itís a King of Mercia, post 1980 or so because of the Mercian-embossed seat stay eyes. The parts wonít help with identifying the bike as the overwhelming majority of Mercians sold in the U.S. were framesets. Itís a lovely bike, 531 throughout and hearth brazed by hand.
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Old 05-05-19, 07:46 AM
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Modelwise it looks to be sending mixed signals.

Note the double eyelets on the fork ends.

There were the standard models such as Olympic, King, Vincitore, Barrachi, etc, but some dealers ordered their framesets with specific details which took them out of the brochure models.

My local Mercian agent did this so he had a few "stock" models but most were done to his specification so they did not line up with catalogue models.

If frame has a retailer transfer from Stone's Bicycles in Alameda California this would explain it...

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Old 05-06-19, 07:29 AM
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Juvela notes it is sending mixed signals, model-wise, which makes sense. It occurs to me that neither of my Mercians is a set model, either - my Vincitore I had built custom for me is a Vincitore, but it's a custom road-fixed gear without the fancy spearpoint BB and odd braze-ons. My '82 Colorado is another freak. The Colorado model name really is more a retailer's model for The Spoke in Boulder. I've seen a couple of sports tourers for sale over the years with this model. It's also what's on the top tube of my machine, a mix of King of Mercia and Professional bits built as a team-issued bike for a member of the Mercian/Harvest/The Spoke team that included Marianne Martin, first American winner of the Tour de France Feminine in 1984.

Because this bike has the engraved top eyes, it's probably from the era where the serial numbers include the year of production. Stamped on the underside of the bb directly below the downtube, mine is marked 6, which is the builder code for George Bryan, who built it, and 45882, which indicates it was the 458th bike built in 1982. My '02 Vincitore has a 3-line serial number, marked 5 (Derek Land, builder) 181 (not sure if that's Derek's production for the year or the shop's total) and 2002, the year I ordered it and the year the paperwork indicates it was built.
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Old 05-06-19, 11:28 AM
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Man, I need to check my Mercian’s serial number. Is there a database or table somewhere for deciphering them?
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Old 05-06-19, 12:02 PM
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Inspected the bike this morning. I've got to say it's pretty nice. Wish I was in the market. 53cm frame with paint in quite good shape. My size but I'm not really in the market right now. There's a pretty decent scrape on the left side of the fork but other than that it's held up real well. Owner bought it used in 1983 in California. Serial number seems to indicate 1981 production. Components are original from when they purchased the bike. I forgot my calipers to measure the seatpost in hopes of identifying frame material. Owner stated he remembered something about 531 from when they purchased it. This was his wife's bike and it's probably not been ridden for the last 15 yrs. Suntour Cyclone long cage rear derailleur and a Shimano front derailleur. SR crankset and stem. Gran Compe levers. Wheels are 27" which was confusing to me considering the bike seems too nice for that and I was expecting 700c.

The frame has double eyelets on the fork and dropouts and a second set of bottle cage braze ons under the downtube like you'd see on a touring bike.









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Old 05-06-19, 12:04 PM
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Some more photos:







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Old 05-06-19, 12:06 PM
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The seat post diameter could be a clue.

I had a recent exchange with Mercian about my '83 King of Mercia Touring because I was having a hard time with the 27.2 seat post. They confirmed that in the early 80's, the KOM Touring model would have been reamed out to 27.0, not 27.2, and sure enough, a 27.0 post fit like a glove.
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Old 05-06-19, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Man, I need to check my Mercianís serial number. Is there a database or table somewhere for deciphering them?
For pre-1970 bikes, there's this site, which is mostly photos linked to serial numbers. Mercian has serial numbers for bikes built from 1970 on, but they charge for looking them up now after years of people having them stop what they're doing to poke through files. What I posted before seems to be largely correct - the last two digits of the long number are the year of production. To my knowledge, no one outside Mercian has posted a listing of the builder's numbers, which I would imagine would change over the years.

As far as the tubing goes, I don't think Mercian has ever used anything but Reynolds 531 or nicer tubing. I think even their baseline models used butted and not plain-gauge stuff. Of the five Mercians I've owned or helped build (an Olympic, two Vincitores, a Colorado and a KOM), they all took 27.2 mm posts.
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Old 05-06-19, 01:42 PM
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------

scozim -

thank you for the additional information and imagery.

can you tell us what is the yellow "Locomotion" transfer? from retailer or something else? not in a typical location.

one of the things about the machine which made me think "Stone's Alameda" was the mixed midliner kitting it exhibits.

this was exactly how the shop built up many of its Mercian framesets for recreational riders.

now we learn it was originally sold in California...

am sure you will be able to assist owner.

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Old 05-06-19, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
------

scozim -

can you tell us what is the yellow "Locomotion" transfer? from retailer or something else? not in a typical location.


-----
From memory I think that may have been the bike shop sticker but I didn't pay that much attention to it. Sorry.

The post above about KOM Touring has me curious especially because of the double eyelets and bottle braze ons below the downtube. If I wasn't afraid of being stuck in the dog house for a long time I'd definitely consider this as a touring rig vs my converted Peugeot hybrid.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim View Post
From memory I think that may have been the bike shop sticker but I didn't pay that much attention to it. Sorry.

The post above about KOM Touring has me curious especially because of the double eyelets and bottle braze ons below the downtube. If I wasn't afraid of being stuck in the dog house for a long time I'd definitely consider this as a touring rig vs my converted Peugeot hybrid.
FWIW, the seller for my frame mentioned that it was originally sold from Stone's Cyclery in Alameda...
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Old 05-06-19, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim View Post
If I wasn't afraid of being stuck in the dog house for a long time I'd definitely consider this as a touring rig vs my converted Peugeot hybrid.
I can confidently tell you that if this bike fits you, it is WORTH being stuck in the dog house. Many of my bikes have come and gone, but my Mercians are here for the duration. If a touring Mercian in my size came along at a good price I would be on it like white on rice.

27-in wheels are NOT a sign of poor quality. Every top quality bike with clinchers sold in the English-speaking world used that wheel size for years and years and years, including Paramounts and all manner of custom bikes. Ian Hibell rode all over the world on 27s. The triumph of 700C over 27 is more about standardization, globalization and compatibility with tubulars than it is about superior performance for non-racers. Yeah, sure, there are a lot more 700C tires to choose from, but so long as Panaracer sells the Pasela, who cares? For touring and general day-riding, non-competitive use, 27 x 1 1/4 is an awesome tire size.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
For pre-1970 bikes, there's this site, which is mostly photos linked to serial numbers. Mercian has serial numbers for bikes built from 1970 on, but they charge for looking them up now after years of people having them stop what they're doing to poke through files. What I posted before seems to be largely correct - the last two digits of the long number are the year of production. To my knowledge, no one outside Mercian has posted a listing of the builder's numbers, which I would imagine would change over the years.
Thanks. I got the bike several years back, but got distracted and never bothered with the serial number. Whatís curious to me are the braze-on cable guides but no shifter bosses! Iíve assumed it was made in the 80s. It would be nice to know who built it, but not sure I want to pay for the info, though I understand why thereís a fee! Will follow up once I can check it.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
r. Whatís curious to me are the braze-on cable guides but no shifter bosses! Iíve assumed it was made in the 80s.
Depends on the cable guides; the oldest Mercian I've owned was a late 60s Campionissimo that had rear brake housing stops and derailleur housing stops at the base of the downtube and on the right chainstay. I believe the thinking was those would all work no matter what derailleur system one chose to use, or whether your shifters were on the downtube or the bar ends. I don't remember seeing brazed-on shifter bosses much until the late 70s/early 80s.

I do want to know more about later, though!
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Old 05-06-19, 07:10 PM
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Serial number is 10582, so I guess it’s an ‘82 model.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:03 PM
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Great looking bike Scozim. (You could stay at my place for a while. )

Looks a lot like the 1976 Mercian Olympic frame I bought a few years ago. Immaculate paint and lug lining.

55cm CTT



Wrap over seat stays



Mine has a TDG Italia headset



The bike Scozim posted about has a Mercian badged Tange headset. Looks more like hardened grease and dirt rather than rust. Nothing a wire brush won't clean up.



Top locknut from another bike.



verktyg

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Old 05-06-19, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Great looking bike Scozim. (You could stay at my place for a while. )

Looks a lot like the 1976 Mercian Olympic frame I bought a few years ago. Immaculate paint and lug lining.

55cm CTT



Wrap over seat stays



Mine has a TDG Italia headset



The bike Scozim posted about has a Mercian badged Tange headset. Looks more like hardened grease and dirt rather than rust. Nothing a wire brush won't clean up.



Top locknut from another bike.



verktyg
It's definitely a Tange headset. The bike is definitely in need of a good overhaul after sitting for 15 yrs
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