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My first Merz

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My first Merz

Old 02-22-24, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
If you determine the tubes are metric, then it's definitely 753. No way would Jim have used metric tubes for any other reason.
One clue, not conclusive by itself but indicative, is if the BB shell is a Cinelli investment cast that says "FRANCE" in the flat spot on the bottom. The shells weren't made in France, that's just telling you it's a French shell as in threading, and metric sized tube sockets.




26.8 seatpost is also indicative of 753. Normal French frames with metric tubing (531 or Vitus) take 26.4 or 26.6 posts. A 26.8 post in a 28.0 tube is possible with 531 but only just barely, and uncommon. Like putting a 27.4 post in a 28.6 tube — you do see it in 531 sometimes but more often you see 27.2, with 27.4 more likely to fit in 753.

Honestly though I'd hope it's not 753 if it were mine, due to how whippy that would be in such a large frame. So my money is on 26.8 being the seatpost due to a heavier 28.6 seat tube, chosen for adequate stiffness for such a large rider. Did you say it was a 66 cm? I don't think 753 seat tubes even came that long.
no one voting for pinched seat lug?
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Old 02-22-24, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Well for the first time ever, here's hoping for French threading!

Somehow I've never found a frame too whippy, but I suppose there is a limit eventually.

Might have to sneak home on my break just to ogle and check sizing.
That looks like it was built to take a touring load. If so, Mr. Merz would not have made it whippy. He was/is too experienced and too good a builder to build a noodly loaded touring frame, especially in that size. I'd expect thicker-walled tubes on it, certainly in the bottom bracket area.

Add me to the list of folks who saw this frame. I was not particularly tempted, not out of any disdain for a Merz in my size - quite the opposite - but because I really am not in the market for more frames/bikes and I certainly do not need a bike designed and built for fully loaded touring at this stage of my life. I am very glad, however, that this frame found its way to someone who appreciates it for the fine example of the frame builder's art that it is. I look forward to seeing pics of it built up and reading the ride report.
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Old 02-22-24, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
no one voting for pinched seat lug?
That is always a possibility, but it looks to be in nice shape.

​​​​​Ran home to check some things. Appears to be 120mm spaced in the rear, English threaded bb shell and canti posts for 27" wheels .
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Old 02-22-24, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
no one voting for pinched seat lug?
Well, the OP seems pretty savvy and I wouldn't want to insult him, plus we'll know soon enough when ge brings it to gugie .

At some point, once a frame is larger than anyone makes butted tubes for, you have to resort to plain gauge, typically 4130 "aircraft" Cr-Mo. In 1-1/8", that used to come in .028" (0.7 mm) but that would be too thin at the BB. The next size up from that in standard (not custom drawn) 4130 is .035" (0.9 mm) which makes for a 26.6 mm seatpost normally, but it can be reamed to 26.8 easily.

Or bigger! On '70s Schwinn Paramounts, on frames that big, they used .035 PG Cr-Mo and then reamed it all the way to 27.2, leaving a substantial shelf partway down where they stopped reaming. Here's a pic I took of one I worked on recently:



One of the reasons I was working on it was a dent in the seat tube, so I was hammering in my 27.2 steel mandrel, which took out the dent nicely. But then I went too far and made an "out-dent" where the slightly-tapered nose of the mandrel collided with that shelf. Then I had to take the out-dent back down to flush, annoying, especially since it was my fault! I shoulda looked inside before ramming my mandrel in (words to live by!) I've since spoken with a few other owners of Paramounts that big, who report the same thing, a big ol' shelf where the reamer stopped.
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Old 02-23-24, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Well for the first time ever, here's hoping for French threading!

Somehow I've never found a frame too whippy, but I suppose there is a limit eventually.

Might have to sneak home on my break just to ogle and check sizing.
I'd like to think that there would be a difference between uber whippy and "dead fish" floppy, but maybe they are the same or very close to each other on the same axis. I took my 720 out tonight--been a while since the last time--and was reminded why I love that bike. Plenty of whip plus some long stem flex, all "just right" when needed. I would also like to think that your Merz, strong as it is built, will have that beautiful 531 blend of whip/comfort and athleticism (when really getting after it). You'll have to let us know what the frame/fork/headset (no seat post etc) weight is. I hope it is below 3,500g, just because a light 531 touring frame is a absolute delight. If it is in the 3,500g range, it will still be fantastic. You're in for a treat either way.
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Old 02-23-24, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel
I'd like to think that there would be a difference between uber whippy and "dead fish" floppy, but maybe they are the same or very close to each other on the same axis. I took my 720 out tonight--been a while since the last time--and was reminded why I love that bike. Plenty of whip plus some long stem flex, all "just right" when needed. I would also like to think that your Merz, strong as it is built, will have that beautiful 531 blend of whip/comfort and athleticism (when really getting after it). You'll have to let us know what the frame/fork/headset (no seat post etc) weight is. I hope it is below 3,500g, just because a light 531 touring frame is a absolute delight. If it is in the 3,500g range, it will still be fantastic. You're in for a treat either way.

I'll be happy either way, because I don't have a real touring frame other than an unbuilt Pro-Tour that is too small for me. But if it's too lively it might replace rather than compliment my other bikes.
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Old 02-24-24, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I'll be happy either way, because I don't have a real touring frame other than an unbuilt Pro-Tour that is too small for me. But if it's too lively it might replace rather than compliment my other bikes.
While I freely admit that I have drank plenty of Kool Aid, especially where Merz's are concerned, it rarely applies like it does with Jim's bikes and frames.

I have 5 of his bikes and frames, I have ridden 3 exstensively and can tell you they are special.

Plenty of bikes ride well and or live well up to their advertised hype or legacy, Jim's frames do it for me in spades, plain and simple, it is what it is.
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Old 02-24-24, 06:31 PM
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I don't know if this is possible or not, but I may try out the Día Compe 980s. Seems like they can be set quite low:



Should brake pretty hard for loaded touring! Can maybe meds with the straddle cable length to decrease the mechanical advantage a little bit.
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Old 02-24-24, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I don't know if this is possible or not, but I may try out the Día Compe 980s. Seems like they can be set quite low:
If they don't adjust low enough, I'd be OK with filing the slot to make it go lower. 1/4" chainsaw file is perfect for that.

This would technically weaken it, but that would only be a factor if you later put it on another bike with posts much lower, so the pads were adjusted up near the top of the slot. That's where the weakness at the bottom from filing would maybe have enough leverage to be a problem.

A mm or two filed at the bottom wouldn't concern me, but I am a lunatic so take that into account. Don't file 'em if you're risk-averse.
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Old 02-24-24, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I don't know if this is possible or not, but I may try out the Día Compe 980s. Seems like they can be set quite low:



Should brake pretty hard for loaded touring! Can maybe meds with the straddle cable length to decrease the mechanical advantage a little bit.
I sort cantis into two main categories with respect to their brake pad adjustment: pivot style and slot style. The slot style, pictured above, can go low-ish, but there is great limitation to it, especially when it comes to pad (angle) articulation. The slot style is often unable to accommodate a transition from 27" to 700C wheels, especially when the post spacing is narrow...or anything less than about 80mm, which is most of everything before the late-'80s. Pivot style cantis are like the original Dia-Compes as well as the Shimano MT62 and MC70s. Those have considerable ability to articulate their pads and accepts various rim widths, brake track 'evelations', etc. If you have those 980s, its free to experiment, and if it works, pictures of this wonder would be appreciated! In the half a dozen or so vintage canti bikes I've built up, none were able to accommodate 'slot style' cantis, but I am happy to see something contrary!
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Old 02-25-24, 02:36 AM
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Anyone else eager for Portlandjim to chime in?
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Old 02-25-24, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by P!N20
Anyone else eager for Portlandjim to chime in?
Yes, very! But I see he's been busy with rescuing another Merz, and I think some other folks have stated he doesn't remember much about this one and doesn't have the build sheet.

I wonder though if he remembers ever making a frame larger than this? It seems like bikes in the extreme sizes would be more memorable.

Not that I haven't seen production frames even larger than 64cm.
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Old 02-26-24, 07:42 PM
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Got it a little dressed, mostly in hopes of test riding it sometime this week. Even with 27" wheels, I couldn't manage to make the spare set of Frogglegs I have fit (though they seem notoriously difficult). I might end up doing Mafacs after all if I stick with 27s, but I'll be a bit sad on tire choices.




If not Mafacs, maybe some Campy Euclid's? Don't know how they fit, but there's enough Italy on the bike I may as well go that route.

I don't love the black ITM seatpost (there's a lot of other changes to be made too) so I might swap it for the Campy fluted seatpost on my Allegro project:




I think the red would actually go well with the green (a bit Welsh? Or Hungarian?). The main problem I have with this seatpost is the flutes going so low that they go into the seat tube, thus inviting water to come live inside your bike and fuse your aluminum post to your steel frame. Not sure if people have used grease (or wax?) To prevent that from happening.
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Old 02-26-24, 07:46 PM
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Paint the ITM post flutes green! That’s an under-rated seatpost there.

There’s a cool Gipiemme post as well without flutes. I’ll try to remember to snap a picture if I remember.

Edit

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Old 02-26-24, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by VRJAKE
I'm lucky to have a 753 Merz frame to care for (it needs paint), build sheet dates it 1980. 27.0 seat post, French threaded BB, per Jim, early 753 tubing was available in French metric sizes, hence the BB shells. Steerer is standard 1", English thread taking a 22.2 diameter stem quill.
You can't tease us with that statement without a picture of the bike....
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Old 02-27-24, 03:47 AM
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The canti post elevation looks good for a 700C conversion. The front will be a touch more work, but that vertical distance from the posts to the brake track is more than workable.
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Old 02-27-24, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel
The canti post elevation looks good for a 700C conversion. The front will be a touch more work, but that vertical distance from the posts to the brake track is more than workable.
Pictured is with 27".

It may just be the cantis I have on hand are a bad fit.
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Old 02-27-24, 08:59 AM
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I wasn't paying attention to this thread and just noticed it. There is zero chance this was built using 753 tubing, it was built before 753 was available in the USA. Also, this tubing would not be suitable for a heavy duty touring frame.

Here is the back of a build sheet dated 12/19/1978, showing the shipping details for recieving my 753 test tubing set from Reynolds England. I was the first American frame builder to apply for certification to use 753 tubing, and had to send a full frame for testing. Later, one only had to send a joint with one lug IIRC. Also, Mark shows a French size Cinelli BB shell which is what I used on all my 753 frames. However, I filed the Cinelli logo off and used the flat space for my frame number.

I don't think I ever made large frames with straight gauge 4130 tubing for the seat tube. I had 531 seat tubes in oversize length, I am sure that's what this frame has.

Any other questions? Jim Merz


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Old 02-27-24, 11:34 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
I don't think I ever made large frames with straight gauge 4130 tubing for the seat tube. I had 531 seat tubes in oversize length, I am sure that's what this frame has.

Any other questions? Jim Merz
Thank you! Likely .9 .6 .9 double butted 531 main triangle, or would you have made a touring frame beefier?

Trying to decide what route to go for racks; I'm guessing clamp on? I can get an idea for racks in your build sheets probably.
​​​​​​
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Old 02-27-24, 11:47 AM
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tubing and racks

Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Thank you! Likely .9 .6 .9 double butted 531 main triangle, or would you have made a touring frame beefier?

Trying to decide what route to go for racks; I'm guessing clamp on? I can get an idea for racks in your build sheets probably.
​​​​​​
I used some rare heavy gauge 531 down tubes, I can't remember the thickness. But, heavier than what you mention. 1.2/1.0/1.2 I think.

My racks were custom made to fit each frame, not interchangeable at all. They were, and most likely still are, the best touring racks made. It is possible to make some more, but not by me! They aren't going to be cheap. The chrome plating alone would be astronomical. Very time consuming, high material cost and high level of skill required.

Story about the racks:


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Old 02-27-24, 11:58 AM
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Thanks for the visual and info about the tubes!

If I did get custom racks, I think I would nickel plate them (probably myself). Less costly and I think less toxic?

I'm going through the build sheets looking for any other MM initials in case it was a repeat customer. Unless MM is a relative of Mr. Merz
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Old 02-27-24, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
I used some rare heavy gauge 531 down tubes, I can't remember the thickness. But, heavier than what you mention. 1.2/1.0/1.2 I think.
That is some stout tubing, significantly thicker-walled than, for instance, Columbus SP. I would think that a touring bike built with that tubing and with a set of Merz custom racks would go exactly where the rider wants it to go and not wander. That is a great thing on a fully loaded tourer. In my experience, it's more than a fatigue-factor thing, although not having to fight to hold a line makes a noticeable difference in how tired you feel at the end of a day. It's also a confidence/safety thing; when pedaling up a steep hill on a narrow road with a bunch of car traffic (think Calif. Highway 1), having complete control of where the bike is tracking is a godsend.
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Old 02-27-24, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Pictured is with 27".

It may just be the cantis I have on hand are a bad fit.
Correct! I followed your initial setup. If the cantis are those Dia-Compe 980s, then yeah, they won't get close, hence my describing the slot style type canti and the pivot style. You'll need pivot style cantis like some of the old Mafacs, the vintage Dia-Compes, or the Shimano units. I have found that the slot style cantis (and the v-brakes that use the same post locations) work with--if a 700C wheel--a post height/elevation (from the axle) of ~283-285mm, and a post width spacing of 80mm. Outside of those numbers, it can get dicey.

My comment on the canti post height with respect to the brake track of the 27" rims, is that there was a good bit of daylight between the two, particularly in the back, which is good news! Bridgestone T500/T700 and my former '85 Voyageur SP (all 27" rim tourers) all have their canti posts "tucked" pretty close in height/elevation to the 27" rims' brake tracks, making it very difficult, if not impossible to convert to 700C. Their pivot style cantis were already adjusted pretty aggressively with the stock wheel setup.

This is my former '82 Miyata 1000, a 27" wheel bike originally. These are its original pivot style Dia-Compe cantis working with a 700C wheel. You can see the canti arm leaned out pretty well, the brake pad closer to the end of its post (in the clamp), and the brake pad unit angled down, low over the canti post center line. The canti post center line and the brake track center line are pretty close in height/elevation. There is more articulation to be had with the cantis, as in, one could have a more challenging circumstance and still overcome it.


Another former touring Miyata: 1984 610. 27" bike as well. I have to say that the canti post height on this was quite generous. Still, you see these Tektro CR720s, which are slot style cantis, cannot work with a 700C wheel. The pad units are as low as they can go and angled/articulated downward as much as they can.


Here are the 610's original Dia-Compe cantis (pivot style). Piece of cake.


And here are some later Deore LX cantis that I ended up using. They are actually both pivot and slot style, and while they are meant to be oriented vertically, they worked just fine splayed out 15-20° here in the front.
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Old 02-27-24, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel
Correct! I followed your initial setup. If the cantis are those Dia-Compe 980s, then yeah, they won't get close, hence my describing the slot style type canti and the pivot style. You'll need pivot style cantis like some of the old Mafacs, the vintage Dia-Compes, or the Shimano units. I have found that the slot style cantis (and the v-brakes that use the same post locations) work with--if a 700C wheel--a post height/elevation (from the axle) of ~283-285mm, and a post width spacing of 80mm. Outside of those numbers, it can get dicey.
I'm getting some Mafac frombulgie with the plan of keeping it with 27" wheels, but I will test them with 700c too.

Frogglegs are the pivot style, but I have had a really hard time fitting them before with narrowly spaced posts like these.

Either way, I'll be happy, but if I can get 700cs to fit I'll be elated!
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Old 02-27-24, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I'm getting some Mafac frombulgie with the plan of keeping it with 27" wheels, but I will test them with 700c too.

Frogglegs are the pivot style, but I have had a really hard time fitting them before with narrowly spaced posts like these.

Either way, I'll be happy, but if I can get 700cs to fit I'll be elated!
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Sounds great! I apologize for the badgering. I keep forgetting just how narrow the spacing was on those cantis (at least in front) when I held the bike. Hoping for success!
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