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My first Merz

Old 02-27-24, 07:03 PM
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Stole the bars from my Trek 640 to try out the red:
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It clashes nicely. Might get a lot of hate, but I think I like it.

Here's some shots of the tight brake fitment. Mafacs will be a little better. Or maybe I'm just not trying hard enough! In part it is the long pads which don't play well with the fork blades.






​​​​​I was surprised to see no fender attachment on the chainstay bridge. Was this not something that was common on older fenders? The other fender attachments seem very deliberately placed.

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Old 02-27-24, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10

Here's some shots of the tight brake fitment. Mafacs will be a little better. Or maybe I'm just not trying hard enough! In part it is the long pads which don't play well with the fork blades.






​​​​​I was surprised to see no fender attachment on the chainstay bridge. Was this not something that was common on older fenders? The other fender attachments seem very deliberately placed.

Seems like fenders were not even considered on this one. The eyelets may have just came with the DO's and maybe accommodate aftermarket racks. I would think the CS bridge was to be drilled by the builder if fenders were going to be used, fork crown too.

I doubt Jim would have drilled for fenders unless he was putting them on, I believe any water intrusion was a paramount concern for him here in the PNW.

Two of mine were built for fenders and TW189 is very nice with them as they are original.



And JM027 was built for them and came to me with poorly fitting ESGE's, not shown but as built originally with Bluemels.



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Old 02-27-24, 08:33 PM
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merziac it does have threaded bolts for fenders on both the fork crown. (on the back) and seatstay bridge. Just not chainstay bridge.
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Old 02-27-24, 11:04 PM
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Thank you for the detailed photos! Indeed the Frogglegs cantis are not as eager to play as other vintage cantis. You do still have a lot of pad and arm angling available to you, but the first problem I foresee with further "leaning out" of the canti arm is that the straddle cable will heavily interfere with the brake pad post, and it looks like you've positioned and angled things to just before that point, front and rear. "Maxed out" in a way. Are you also concerned that any further "leaning out" will completely disengage the springs? I could see that happening, and it was something I dealt with on my 620.

Don't know why I didn't lead with these photos earlier, but here is the stock 1984 620 setup with 27" wheels. Chunky pads, but at least they didn't hassle the fork blades. That, too, is a battle for me.


I misspoke earlier, the pads are Jagwire and not Kool Stops. The Jags are thin, with a nice clean look and perform well against machined brake tracks. I was having trouble with them in the short front/long tail orientation, so I did what many OEMs have done: I flipped them around. No fork blade interference, and they open up to accept a fully inflated tire.

Both of these cantis put the pad post really low, and both allow for some real leaning out of the arms along with the ability to really angle the pads downward (relative to the arm), especially the Shimano units. They'd have zero issue with the Merz, IMO.
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Old 02-28-24, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
merziac it does have threaded bolts for fenders on both the fork crown. (on the back) and seatstay bridge. Just not chainstay bridge.
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DOH!

Yep, I see them now.

The Bluemels just had a spring metal clip at the CS that normally did a real number on the paint, no bolt or screw.
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Old 02-28-24, 06:26 AM
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For installing fenders on bikes without drilled chainstay bridges (which was really common in the 70s), I use plastic p-clips:

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Old 03-02-24, 08:02 PM
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Mostly installed the Mafac Criteria (thanks again, bulgie !) today and did a test fit with 700c:




This is on a Wolber 58, so not the skinniest rim. I'm not sure how beyond horizontal the arms are safe to go. As it is, the straddle cable barely clears the brake pad posts, and that's with this rather ludicrous looking triangle. When I actually set this up, I'm planning on a much shorter straddle cable.
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Old 03-03-24, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Mostly installed the Mafac Criteria (thanks again, bulgie !) today and did a test fit with 700c:


This is on a Wolber 58, so not the skinniest rim. I'm not sure how beyond horizontal the arms are safe to go. As it is, the straddle cable barely clears the brake pad posts, and that's with this rather ludicrous looking triangle. When I actually set this up, I'm planning on a much shorter straddle cable.

Neat bike! If you decide to try going with 27" I have a nice wheel set with Specialized sealed bearing hubs and Ambrosio 19 rims mounted with almost new Pasela 27 x 1 1/4 tires that I'd sell for $100 plus shipping if you want them. PM me if you have any interest.
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Old 03-03-24, 09:04 AM
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I would just have a framebuilder move the brake posts down to the correct location. I did that on a frame and fork and Ed Litton touched up the paint. One could barely tell that it had been repainted around the posts. Or, use 27" rims. Jim Merz
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Old 03-03-24, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
I would just have a framebuilder move the brake posts down to the correct location. I did that on a frame and fork and Ed Litton touched up the paint. One could barely tell that it had been repainted around the posts. Or, use 27" rims. Jim Merz
It's most likely that I'll ride the 27" wheels I have until I'm ready to have some brazing work done on the frame as well as some touchups from Ed.

Top tube cable guides, down tube shifter bosses and a threaded chainstay bridge for fenders are on my list as well as moving the canti posts.

I have a feeling that I might just enjoy the frame as-is for many many years first.

As far as the broken canti bolt, is there any reason not to use one of the mounting bolts to a Mafac Racer centerpull?
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Old 03-03-24, 04:46 PM
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Cantilever brake mounting bolts

Originally Posted by jPrichard10

As far as the broken canti bolt, is there any reason not to use one of the mounting bolts to a Mafac Racer centerpull?
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The 12mm hex M6 bolt used for the Mafac cantilever brakes is the same as those used on the Racer brakes. Jim
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Old 03-03-24, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
As far as the broken canti bolt, is there any reason not to use one of the mounting bolts to a Mafac Racer centerpull?​​​​​​
As Portlandjim pointed out, they're the same. Just as weak and prone to snapping off! You can substitute most any M6x1 screw that's threaded right up to the head, including socket-head if you'd rather attach 'em with an allen wrench.

I'm torn — on a vintage bike, I like to use original parts. But I'm not a slave to it, and I like having allen-head fasteners so that I have the wrench with me on the bike. Not that I've ever needed to tighten a canti bolt mid-ride! It's a very unlikely scenario, and the polished-chrome Mafac bolts sure are handsome.

Peter Weigle once sanded the chrome off of a set (it's super thin) and polished the brass to a mirror finish. It'll tarnish, but at least for a while, it looks faaabulous.
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Old 03-03-24, 05:32 PM
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I like the way the stock bolts look, but made my own using titanium! Socket head bolts require a larger head, the flange head version works for cantilever brakes.

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Old 03-03-24, 06:19 PM
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With any other brakes, and perhaps on any other bike, I'd swap them for different bolts.

Those Merz titanium bolts would be an elegant replacement however!
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Old 03-05-24, 02:11 PM
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Got the bottom bracket and crankset I'm hoping to use, but I got the wrong spindle (pre '79 Campy) for the crankset (1983 Record Strada). 42t chainring grazes the chainstay and that's without even tightening the bolt:





I do have a 1983 68mm spindle I could use, but it's mated with a Nuovo Gran Sport crankset that I would like to keep together. And anyways, the plan is to triplize this Record crankset so I might need a longer spindle anyway.





What spindle length do people use for those fancy triplized Record cranksets? I was hoping for a 74bcd chainring, maybe a 28t?

And maybe it would be enough to have a pre 79 Record Crankset on a post 79 spindle (115.5ish, iirc)?

I might be overthinking this hike and trying to make it match too many of the older Merzes. I'm sticking with a Suntour drivetrain because it's just better in every way than the Campy derailleurs, Rally included. Jim says a bike is "a tool, not a piece of art" anyway ("why not both?" Say some of us) so I may stick with my preferred Stronglight 99 crankset.
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Old 03-05-24, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Got the bottom bracket and crankset I'm hoping to use, but I got the wrong spindle (pre '79 Campy) for the crankset (1983 Record Strada). 42t chainring grazes the chainstay and that's without even tightening the bolt:





I do have a 1983 68mm spindle I could use, but it's mated with a Nuovo Gran Sport crankset that I would like to keep together. And anyways, the plan is to triplize this Record crankset so I might need a longer spindle anyway.





What spindle length do people use for those fancy triplized Record cranksets? I was hoping for a 74bcd chainring, maybe a 28t?

And maybe it would be enough to have a pre 79 Record Crankset on a post 79 spindle (115.5ish, iirc)?

I might be overthinking this hike and trying to make it match too many of the older Merzes. I'm sticking with a Suntour drivetrain because it's just better in every way than the Campy derailleurs, Rally included. Jim says a bike is "a tool, not a piece of art" anyway ("why not both?" Say some of us) so I may stick with my preferred Stronglight 99 crankset.
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You're probably going to want to start with another triple.

The "fancy" Record triples are only 100 BCD with 36t rings being the only ones readily available and the bolts can be as much as the crank, also hens teeth if you find one.

You can of course wait to find a Merz tripleizer but you will need one that comes with the ring and they are 31t for the most part, usually worn out, "hens teeth" is an understatement.

A Willow tripleizer is a good option.

Here's a good deal on a complete Campy.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18632345113...3ABFBMjOCsicJj
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Old 03-05-24, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
What spindle length do people use for those fancy triplized Record cranksets? I was hoping for a 74bcd chainring, maybe a 28t?
And maybe it would be enough to have a pre 79 Record Crankset on a post 79 spindle (115.5ish, iirc)?
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Well the original spindle for a Record triple (old '60s-'70s Record not the reborn Record of the '80s) would be 117 pre-'78 and about 119-120 post '78 (don't have one handy to measure, someone help me out here...)

You can use a narrower spindle if the granny is smaller, but don't go under 28t if you use the Super Record style inner chainring with the "webs" removed. The chain can get wedged between the middle and granny in a way that's hard to get back out without disassembly with tools. Not frequently but super annoying when it happens. Less likely with 26 than with 24t, don't go there! The webs on a NR style middle ring help prevent that, if you want to "get small". You mentioned 28t though, which is well in the safe zone.

You can also use a narrower spindle if you're willing to indent the chainstay. On such a nice bike, I'd be hesitant to suggest this, unless it were done sensitively by someone who's real good at it. I have seen some hack jobs by DIY-ers that made me cringe...

As to using a double spindle for a triple, it can be done but usually requires a pretty deep indent. Here's the actual bike ridden to victory in the crucial mountains stages of the Giro in '81 by Battaglin.


Clearly a double spindle, since SR Ti was never made in triple.

I don't know whether his mechanic used any trickery like a post-'78 spindle on a pre-'78 crank. My guess is no, but he should have — that indent is fairly heinous. His granny at 36t is much worse for clearance than your 28t though. So, "maybe..."

On my '80s racing tandem I used the opposite swap, used a shorter pre-'78 X3 spindle and a post-'78 crank, to make the Q-factor narrower, I think I got it down to 135 which is crazy narrow for a triple. And that's with a 45t timing ring on the left crank. Even the left chainstay needed an indent on that bike. But my sweetie shouldn't have to pedal all splay-footed!


Those are abnormally large chainstays too. Normal (trad) for steel is 7/8", "OS" is 24 mm, inch would be crazy big, and these are 1-1/8" round, the biggest steel chainstays I know of from any bike tubing set. They're Columbus Max, which start out oval, but I reshaped them to be round at the BB shell. Transitioning to oval at the tire clearance point, like R-O-R stays. Then also indented, to allow 32 mm tires, which is tight with a typically-short road-racer chainstay length of 42 cm. I would do it differently now, longer chainstays to allow fatter tires.

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Old 03-05-24, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
The "fancy" Record triples are only 100 BCD with 36t rings being the only ones readily available and the bolts can be as much as the crank, also hens teeth if you find one.
It's not too hard to make yourself a 30t granny to fit the 100 mm BCD. A few people I know have done it, by starting with an existing 74 mm BCD ring and adding 5 new holes. Here's a little Flickr album showing how I made mine. I also made one at 29t once, but that's a bit impractical, stick to 30t minimum.

I also drill Campy cranks to take 86 mm BCD Stronglight 99 granny rings. Only goes down to 28t but that's as low as I want on a Record triple anyway. For the older bikes I have put them on, I like that it uses only parts that were available in the early '70s, could plausibly have been done then ("period correct"), tho I'm not a slave to PC-ness.

For the granny "stand-off" bolts, yes the real Campy #818 bolts are expensive when you can find them but there are lots of alternatives, such as Stornglight 'Mygal' bolts which are either still made or at least still in the retail pipeline. You might need to go to a Euro or UK seller to find them. Normal industrial shoulder bolts such as from McMaster-Carr can also be made to work with a little modification, ask for more detail if interested.

If you want your crank drilled at 74 mm, Bob Freeman of North Bend WA has a drilling jig that makes that mod pretty easy and very precise. I don't know what he charges but it's probably reasonable. He knows all about which McMaster shoulder bolts and spacers to buy, and how to make them work, so he's your one-stop shopping for Campy Triplizing.

And let's not forget BF's own Jon Vara who makes the Red Clover triplizer for 144, way simpler than drilling your crank and searching for stand-off bolts/spacers. And it's a fully-reversible mod, the crank is not harmed!
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Old 03-05-24, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
It's not too hard to make yourself a 30t granny to fit the 100 mm BCD. A few people I know have done it, by starting with an existing 74 mm BCD ring and adding 5 new holes. Here's a little Flickr album showing how I made mine. I also made one at 29t once, but that's a bit impractical, stick to 30t minimum.

I also drill Campy cranks to take 86 mm BCD Stronglight 99 granny rings. Only goes down to 28t but that's as low as I want on a Record triple anyway. For the older bikes I have put them on, I like that it uses only parts that were available in the early '70s, could plausibly have been done then ("period correct"), tho I'm not a slave to PC-ness.

For the granny "stand-off" bolts, yes the real Campy #818 bolts are expensive when you can find them but there are lots of alternatives, such as Stornglight 'Mygal' bolts which are either still made or at least still in the retail pipeline. You might need to go to a Euro or UK seller to find them. Normal industrial shoulder bolts such as from McMaster-Carr can also be made to work with a little modification, ask for more detail if interested.

If you want your crank drilled at 74 mm, Bob Freeman of North Bend WA has a drilling jig that makes that mod pretty easy and very precise. I don't know what he charges but it's probably reasonable. He knows all about which McMaster shoulder bolts and spacers to buy, and how to make them work, so he's your one-stop shopping for Campy Triplizing.

And let's not forget BF's own Jon Vara who makes the Red Clover triplizer for 144, way simpler than drilling your crank and searching for stand-off bolts/spacers. And it's a fully-reversible mod, the crank is not harmed!
Good to know about the chain getting stuck on 26t and 24t.

merziac, I wasn't meaning the factory drilled triples, but either a triplizer ring or having it custom tapped for 86bcd or 74bcd.

86 is my favorite bcd (why I love the Stronglight 99) and chainrings are still being made by Stronglight last I checked. 74bcd only tempts me as possibly more future-proof. I don't think I've ever seen an 86bcd drilled Record crankset though; do you have pictures? And since it sounds like you might have some experience here, any guesses on a good spindle length for a Record 45/42/28? I know it does depend somewhat on my chainstays here.

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Old 03-05-24, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Good to know about the chain getting stuck on 26t and 24t.

merziac, I wasn't meaning the factory drilled triples, but either a triplizer ring or having it custom tapped for 86bcd or 74bcd.

86 is my favorite bcd (why I love the Stronglight 99) and chainrings are still being made by Stronglight last I checked. 74bcd only tempts me as possibly more future-proof. I don't think I've ever seen an 86bcd drilled Record crankset though; do you have pictures? And since it sounds like you might have some experience here, any guesses on a good spindle length for a Record 45/42/28? I know it does depend somewhat on my chainstays here.

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Yeah, wasn't sure on the 86, obviously bulgie is your guy, he knows more than just about anybody.

Honestly not sure on the length, I have always done the hunt and peck method, go to a co-op and grab a handful of spindles, usually 5, more if they are cheap in what seem to be good sizes and swap around until I get the right combo.

This can build a very good "feel" for this and help anytime you have to dig in.
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Old 03-05-24, 06:31 PM
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I have at least one Merz Triplizer middle ring, NOS. The one I noticed recently is 46 teeth. I don't have any 31 or 32 tooth Merz inner rings, but do have a Campagnolo 36 tooth 100 BCD ring. If anyone is interested I'll dig them out, the price will be cheap. I may have a triple spindle for the CPSC Campy cranks, again I'll have to look for ​it. Jim Merz
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Old 03-27-24, 04:38 PM
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This has been upgraded to "rideable!" I still need to swap tires and maybe lace a new set of wheels (I have some Record hubs and some 1st Gen Phil's; thinking of lacing one pair to some concave Weinmanns). Not sold on the Cinelli 66 bars yet, which is why the shifter housings aren't wrapped. Need to install fenders, cable clamps and hoods.
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