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Photoshoot of the early Merlin Titanium bike

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Photoshoot of the early Merlin Titanium bike

Old 09-02-23, 09:08 AM
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Photoshoot of the early Merlin Titanium bike

Picked this up a few weeks ago to scratch the Ti itch. Years ago I had a new Lynskey R265 that was just too flexy and bouncy for me. Now with a few rides on this Merlin (to include 52 miles yesterday) I can happily say it's everything I liked about the Lynskey without any of the dislikes. Came to me with a Dura Ace build, the FSA crank and the Deore Long Cage RD and some not so good wheels.


How I picked it up

How I initally set it up with Look Pedals, Avocet Saddle, Thomson Seatpost, and Fulcrum Racing 0 wheels

Swapped on a Zipp Stem to get the reach where I wanted it.

After the 50 miler I decided to go forward with my plans on this one. It feels like it climbs well, is fast on the flats, and proved to be quite comfortable. So last night I swapped on some new Wickwerks 53/34 chainrings, a SRAM 11-32 cassette, and a new chain.


Helps being buds with the owner of Wickwerks. I got these for two pieces of carrot cake. I need to still do something nice for him.

This is how the bike is right now. Still a work in progress. Needs new cables, new handlebar tape, and some matching bottle cages. Trying to decide if I'm sticking with the all black or what for bottle cages and tape.


18 lbs even in this picture.

Clean welds, silver seatpost or black? I have both.

The RD is a bit slow shifting

These rings have worked really well on a few other bikes I've had.

Nicely built

Decals are showing there age. Love having the pump peg.
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Old 09-02-23, 09:11 AM
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Kestrel Fork rides well


Dura Ace FD

Dura Ace Brakes, not much more tire clearance

More nice welds

Tom Kellog

Nice dropouts

Dura Ace Headset too.

Cool headbadge

STI shifters in good shape
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Old 09-02-23, 09:12 AM
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Old 09-02-23, 09:12 AM
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Sweet Merlin. I had one and sold it in the UK on a business trip because I didn't want to take it back. I like my Litespeed Tuscany better. You need to update your signature line to have a blurb about TI ride quality.

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Old 09-02-23, 09:19 AM
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Congrats and welcome back to the TI club
Love riding my TI bikes.
Nice work on the upgrades.
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Old 09-02-23, 10:50 AM
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Great looking bike , theres something about Titanium bikes that make you feel faster then you really are.
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Old 09-02-23, 11:23 AM
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Congrats on your merlin, I see fulcrum wheels , nice wheels and again what is pleasing to see is that is a dura ace 7700/XT equipped bike
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Old 09-02-23, 11:27 AM
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Gratz!

I would bet it is the slack frame geometry that makes it more "comfy" then the titanium tubing. Certainly, it looks like it would be a comfortable bike to ride.
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Old 09-02-23, 12:56 PM
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Seatpost binder looks a bit sus though, is that the right size seat post?
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Old 09-03-23, 07:35 PM
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I wouldn't call that early. The early ones had a non-threaded bottom bracket.
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Old 09-03-23, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mackers
Seatpost binder looks a bit sus though, is that the right size seat post?
Yep, I agree but it is a 27.2 seapost which is what I found as the spec size. I've got a Campagnolo C.F. seatpost marked as 27.2 that won't fit in any of my 27.2 seatpost and it wouldn't fit into this one either.
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Old 09-03-23, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Retoocs
I wouldn't call that early. The early ones had a non-threaded bottom bracket.
Happy to learn more like what year it really is if you know. In my limited research I did see the comments about the BB. But I also saw where they stopped using the welded on seat clamp, hence why I thought it was early. I know nothing about these really. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-23, 08:39 PM
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That is gorgeous. Once you have dialed in the fit, a quill stem would be nice. Nitto and others make open face plate 31.8 riser ones.
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Old 09-03-23, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mackers
Seatpost binder looks a bit sus though, is that the right size seat post?
My first thought also, Though perhaps in its past, someone used a too small post and the binder distorted accordingly. Ti Cycles in Portland would know instantly what they were looking at and be the folk to fix it right or tell you it is good to go.

Edit: And ti, the ride. Just got back from a 50 miler on Jessica, the bike of my avatar. A near race bike, not far off from my steel '83 Pro Miyata. Jessica is probably stiffer and is a touch nicer on rough roads. Comparable quick race steering. The ride was just a disciplined fix gear ride for Cycle Oregon coming up next weekend. Jessica is not a bike you snooze on. Fall asleep and she will wake you up rather rudely! But if I ride smooth, she's all day sweet! (Steel fork. Got reminded once again that a quality steel fork on a ti bike feels like a perfect match. I have zero interest in ever changing that.)

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Old 09-03-23, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
Happy to learn more like what year it really is if you know. In my limited research I did see the comments about the BB. But I also saw where they stopped using the welded on seat clamp, hence why I thought it was early. I know nothing about these really. Thanks!
My guess is post 1996 because that was when Dura-Ace 7700 came out with the non-taper bottom bracket. And probably no later 1998 because it still has a threaded headset.
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Old 09-04-23, 10:49 AM
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I bought my Merlin frameset off eBay back in '07, eventually outfitting with Dura Ace 10sp pictured here.
Nowadays, it runs full mechanical 11sp, with the same wheelset, post, saddle, stem, bars.
It weighs 18.5 pounds now, so you did great to drop yours below that.
As pointed out earlier, we suggest addressing that seatclamp issue. Mine looks properly aligned.
I think my Campagnolo carbon fiber runs 27.2, but my rack clamp obscures the size.


'94 Extralight
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Old 09-04-23, 07:49 PM
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Ok, lets discuss the seatpost clamp that has several folks excited. Yes the clamp section the bolt goes through is really close and not what one would expect. But the slot behind is fine even with clamped on the seatpost.

Like I said above, I saw this as I sorted the bike out and did try that slightly oversized seapost. I also tried another Thomson 16.8 and a Kalloy 27.0. There was play even with the 27.0. Both the 27.2 Dura Ace (Easton) and the 27.2 Thomsen fit snuggly and require a bit of effort to insert. What it looks like to me is the parts the bolt passes through are not properly aligned. There are no cracks or the like in the area or in the welds holding the clamp pieces one. With everything loosened and the setpost removed it still looks to me like those clamp bits are canted in a bit. So....other than looking wrong I don't see a concern myself I've got over 60 miles on the bike and the post is not slipping. Even though they are close there is still space between the two sides of the clamp pieces. I don't see a reason to mess with it. What am I missing?

See how they look a bit canted, especially the right one?

More obvious here, the right looks twisted even

Slot not crushed but there is an issue with the alignment of the clamp pieces

I couldn't get a picture but the slot is still uniform from the bottom hole past the clamp and then get's a bit wider up top. The bottom pieces of the clamp are close but I could inset the cardboard my Wickwerks Chainrings came in all the way to the bolt.

Am I really missing something to be concerned about in terms of riding it safely?
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Old 09-05-23, 03:05 AM
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Nice bike James. I had a steel frame that had the same kind of issue with the seat post insertion area. I never had any problems with it, never did anything to it. My foray into titanium was a 2017 purchase of an Airborne Zeppelin, 2004?. It is now set up as a 1X, 44 front and 11-34 rear, 12 speed, with 6400 bar end shifter in friction mode. I live in flat land Delaware, this has made for terrific road 1X, right at 17.5 pounds with basic accessories mounted.
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Old 05-16-24, 09:03 AM
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Been messing with this one a bit again. Had it out on a ride and then finally got around to rewrapping the bar tape. Gonna make a few more minor changes to it but I think for the most part I've got this one where I want it. The 53/24 Wickwerks Chainrings with the 11-32 cassette should make this a good climber for me. Aided by those stiff and light Fulcrum wheels. I did just place an order for a FSA K-Light seatpost for this as I think it will look better. I got some creaking on the last ride that I think were the saddle rails on the Kurve saddle but I'm not sure yet. Today will be my first mild climb since the second knee replacement but I'm going to use the Colnago. If today goes well I'll take this one up Snowbasin on a more serious climb Saturday. Grabbed some shots of the current setup today.


The smaller frame doesn't feel wrong to me out on the road. 18 lbs 5 ozs. Needs black Keo pedals still.

Love the beautiful shifting of these chainrings but usually the look clashes with the bike. Not on this one though as it just looks right.

11-32 T cassette, bring on the hills.

New bar tape with red finishing tape accents

New bar tape with red finishing tape accents

New bar tape with red finishing tape accents

New bar tape with red finishing tape accents

I put on matching bottle cages awhile ago

New bar tape with red finishing tape accents
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Old 05-17-24, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
Been messing with this one a bit again.
Looks fantastic! Curious about what size tires you were able to fit in this thing?
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Old 05-17-24, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp
Looks fantastic! Curious about what size tires you were able to fit in this thing?
It's got 700 x 25 GP 5000 on it with room for a tad more. But honestly I don't feel any need for anything larger on it.
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Old 05-24-24, 12:12 PM
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And...

A seatpost swap on this. Found an older FSA to match the crank. Save me a whole oz too!!


4 ozs away from being under 18 lbs Wonder if I can get there cheaply just for the heck of it.
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