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A stunning mystery bike on San Fran CL

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A stunning mystery bike on San Fran CL

Old 05-12-21, 04:25 PM
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Thatís what Iím up to!

Originally Posted by SoccerBallXan
Hmm...

I think gravelinmygears is asking for an individual near this bicycle to help them purchase and ship it to Abq. Theyíll also include a payment for the willing individual.
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Old 05-12-21, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
Thatís what Iím up to!
Post up in the facilitators thread near the top of the front page.

"The Facilitators" Thread - Post here if you're willing and able!
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Old 05-12-21, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SoccerBallXan
Hmm...

I think gravelinmygears is asking for an individual near this bicycle to help them purchase and ship it to Abq. They’ll also include a payment for the willing individual.
Drat! I thought he was going to purchase it for the closest and willing so that we could solve this mystery collectively!

I was thinking this was such a great community gesture, but after you exposed his intentions, the proposal now just seems selfish!
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Old 05-12-21, 04:40 PM
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San Francyclo

Done!

Originally Posted by merziac
Post up in the facilitators thread near the top of the front page.

"The Facilitators" Thread - Post here if you're willing and able!
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Old 05-12-21, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
Done!
Now cross all your fingers and toes and hope for the best.
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Old 05-12-21, 04:47 PM
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Maybe!

I got a local shop working on it!
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Old 05-12-21, 04:52 PM
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Iíve recall seeing those long, thinned pointed lugs on a Merz before.
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Old 05-12-21, 05:29 PM
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Problem!

He wonít respond to my emails - maybe because I said I was from Albuquerque. The shop feels weird about taking my money. Hopefully heíll respond soon.
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Old 05-12-21, 06:08 PM
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.
...there are a lot of people who advertise bikes for sale here in the Bay Area on CL who won't fiddle around with remote purchases any more. I am one of them. There are too many possibilities for things to go awry. I would feel uncomfortable taking your money as a local shop as well. Too much chance that the bike will end up sold already, before I get there to get it and then mail it to you.

I facilitated on a local Legnano CL sale once, and there were all sorts of weird things that came up. Not the least of them was that the seller wanted his bicycle sold back to him after a couple of months.

I need to sell a significant number of my own bicycles (larger than this one) over the next couple of years. Some will go onto the local CL, some probably will go on e-bay. I look forward to this with a mixture of fear and loathing. Which is too bad, because I'd enjoy seeing them go to people who would use and appreciate them. As in other aspects of life, we suffer for the sins of our less ethical brethren.
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Old 05-12-21, 06:11 PM
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Truth

Honestly I feel a little unsteady trying to buy it. It feels risky. Hopefully the guy will let me pay him so the shop can pick it up.
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Old 05-12-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
Honestly I feel a little unsteady trying to buy it. It feels risky. Hopefully the guy will let me pay him so the shop can pick it up.
Time to jump in your truck and drive out
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Old 05-12-21, 07:25 PM
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Its crossed my mind.

Originally Posted by tendency
Time to jump in your truck and drive out
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Old 05-12-21, 08:02 PM
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It's around sixteen hours one way, I drove ten hours one way to pick up a canoe. Twice.
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Old 05-12-21, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
Honestly I feel a little unsteady trying to buy it. It feels risky. Hopefully the guy will let me pay him so the shop can pick it up.
The shop deal only works if the seller will bring it to them and cooperate fully, any other scenario is a no go.

You need a trusted facilitator from here to do this, most sellers are a pita in some way, many are scamming as well.

I always paypal the $$$ to the forum member who acts as the proxy after we work out the details and has the final say, realizing they need to be compensated however it goes.

This puts us at a disadvantage by taking up time to get everything in place, during which many things get sold out from under us, better safe than sorry.
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Old 05-12-21, 08:43 PM
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Some of the earlier Serotta bikes had that style of rear stays.
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Old 05-12-21, 08:48 PM
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Almost...

I found a local guy to help me out. Fingers crossed.
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Old 05-12-21, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
I found a local guy to help me out. Fingers crossed.
Good luck.
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Old 05-12-21, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
Folks on the CR list (which is also where I saw this and then copied the CL link to "Looking for one of these?" thread) had speculated it was an Early Ritchey and then further speculations were maybe a "Palo Alto" model that Ritchey made for sale in that shop (on University in PA) and they were also sold at a shop in Los Altos.

Another thought was it may have been made by a Ritchey contemporary who was also a legendary builder with skills that rivaled (some might say even exceeded) TR's: namely Peter Johnson.(or correction: MICHAEL Johnson?)

I have no idea but yeah it's a surprise this hasn't been snapped up already but it sure WILL be!
I think Peter (not Michael) Johnson is a strong possibility. He is a Bay Area guy and certainly built bikes with very similar shot-in seat stays and similar work on the fork crown.
If my hunch is correct the new owner is a very lucky guy. Mark DiNucci once said to me something along the lines of "Peter Johnson is who I want to be when I grow up." When I told Peter this at an eroica event his reply was along the lines of "That's funny: Mark Dinucci is who I want to be when I grow up."
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Old 05-12-21, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs
Iíve recall seeing those long, thinned pointed lugs on a Merz before.
Never seen a Merz yet that didn't have a s/n, usually the production number and the owners initials, there are a very few that were show bikes and prototypes but I have never seen one of those.

And most of his seat binders are the regular, straightforward pronounced ears, bolt and plain, perfect stay caps with beautiful workmanship.






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Old 05-12-21, 09:41 PM
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I also reached out to the seller before reading this thread. My size, local to me, green is my favorite color, and I would definitely put this bike to good use. Smitten, and surprised it didn't sell sooner.
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Old 05-12-21, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris
I think Peter (not Michael) Johnson is a strong possibility. He is a Bay Area guy and certainly built bikes with very similar shot-in seat stays and similar work on the fork crown.
If my hunch is correct the new owner is a very lucky guy. Mark DiNucci once said to me something along the lines of "Peter Johnson is who I want to be when I grow up." When I told Peter this at an eroica event his reply was along the lines of "That's funny: Mark Dinucci is who I want to be when I grow up."
Brent
I think it is a Peter Johnson built frame as well. I'm not personally familar with his work but have often heard many times how exquisite his frames were built. I looked at pictures of his frames on the Classic Rendezvous website and saw several examples of seat stays mitered to fit against a brazed on seat binder bolt. Other west coast builders used a different kind of seat stay treatment. It is a personal favorite of mine and I have built many frames that way (so have some of my frame building class students).

I want to emphasize again that this is an unusually fine custom frame. I'd put it above 95% of any others. It takes a long time and a lot of skill to shape lugs that well and then file them evenly that thin. Some custom builders aren't capable of doing that (or brazing shorelines that clean) while others might not want to spend that amount of time which dilutes their profit margin. There is absolutely no chance this kind of work came from the UK where frames of that vintage only sold for less than $200.

I'm shocked this bicycle didn't sell immediately even though the builder has not been identified. I'm also not surprised it has no decals. Peter Johnson's early decals weren't all that great looking and in my opinion didn't add to the appearance of his frames. This customer/owner might have thought the same as me. Brian Chapman chimed in on the CR thread on this bicycle and I could summarize his comments as "wow".
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Old 05-12-21, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar
What's the little post on the head tube for, Is it for a light? I don't think I have seen that before.
Originally Posted by jdawginsc
It is a pump peg I think. Usually they are more pointed though? Very elegant.
Yes, that's a pump peg. I've seen a few like it over the years.
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Old 05-13-21, 06:46 AM
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More mystery

It seems the seller is very picky about which email heíll respond to. Heís talking to my guy. Iím still in the running, that is to say. Seller wants someone to come to him and heís not sharing a whole lot about the origins.
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Old 05-13-21, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
It seems the seller is very picky about which email heíll respond to. Heís talking to my guy. Iím still in the running, that is to say. Seller wants someone to come to him and heís not sharing a whole lot about the origins.
If I understand this situation correctly, a cyclist died and relatives of the deceased knew someone that could help with the sale of his old bicycle. Whoever the seller is (and probably does these kind of sales to make a bit of extra money) knows a bit about bicycles and priced it a bit aggressively for a typical bike of that era that doesn't have any identification. What the seller doesn't know is that this frame according to at least 2 established and respected builders (and it would be easy to get more if you asked other builders) is that this is an exceptional frame build to the highest possible standards. Way more than an average builder is capable of doing and more than many pros would bother doing because he can't charge more for the additional time it takes to do the extra shaping and filing. In fact it probably reduces his output and makes him less well known and increases his waiting time which irritates customers.

I'm going to assume the seller doesn't want to be bothered providing any additional information. He wants to protect his source. Peter Johnson the probable builder is still alive and can be contacted to ask if this is his. Also he is from the Bay area and might know who built it if he didn't. I'm going to further assume he is going to sell it to the 1st person that brings cash in person so it wastes as little of his time as possible.

If I was in the market for a sport touring or touring frame in my size built to the highest standards, I would be moving as fast as I could to get to the seller. I wouldn't be asking him any questions that might annoy him before completing the sale. He might be more generous with info once the money is in his hands.
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Old 05-13-21, 07:29 AM
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Agreed

I agree with your assessment. I hope whoever gets the bike posts some photos and shares with all of us.

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