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My first Merz

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My first Merz

Old 02-21-24, 08:40 PM
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My first Merz

This has hung in a local co-op for quite some time. I knew I couldn't swing the hefty price tag, but always checked it out since it's my size (size NBA) and a piece of local and international bike history (thanks Portlandjim !)

With the Seattle bike swap looming a month or so ago, one of the employees offer me a killer deal on it so they wouldn't have to schlep it up I-5. This has as heartbreaking, because I didn't have the funds then and I know they would be even more motivated to not bring it home... I figured it was gone for good.

​​​​​​With my Gugie rando frame headed out the door, I stopped by on the off-chance it didn't sell. Lucky for me, the employees had work complications and they never made it up to the swap! It definitely made the parting blow of my custom faux-Weigle more manageable.





The problem is, I'm now too broke to dress it.



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Old 02-21-24, 09:14 PM
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You should ask Jim what wheel size it was designed for.
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Old 02-21-24, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
You should ask Jim what wheel size it was designed for.
The tag said 700; I'm really hoping that's the case because I didn't check. That said, I've never had a 27" frame that couldn't be converted to 700c. The canti posts on this are quite narrow though.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
The tag said 700; I'm really hoping that's the case because I didn't check. That said, I've never had a 27" frame that couldn't be converted to 700c. The canti posts on this are quite narrow though.
​​​​​​
I'm glad you got this, I almost went by to check on it and was going to low ball them just to see, sounds like I may have gotten lucky but glad you did instead.

I didn't have $$$ to build it either but have plenty of stock and would have figured it out.

Pretty sure the cantis would have been Mafacs, maybe tandems, Jim didn't make hardly any 27" frames.

Welcome to the club.

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Old 02-21-24, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
I'm glad you got this, I almost went by to check on it and was going to low ball them just to see, sounds like I may have gotten lucky but glad you did instead.

I didn't have $$$ to build it either but have plenty of stock and would have figured it out.

Pretty sure the cantis would have been Mafacs, maybe tandems, Jim didn't make hardly any 27" frames.

Welcome to the club.

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Glad you didn't! I got it for a song (comparatively).

Maybe not enough tall people interested.

No clues on the tubing though. No "dove" on the steering tube.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:40 PM
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WooHoo! Another member in the Merz tribe. If its anything like mine, Mafac cantis. Portlandjim was very helpful providing info about my bike.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
The problem is, I'm now too broke to dress it.
​​​​​
The skirtings and electrical can wait.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by P!N20
The skirtings and electrical can wait.

😂 This is my bike dungeon. I am always a bit self-conscious of the unfinished electrical but there aren't many other spots for pictures in the unfinished bedroom.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Glad you didn't! I got it for a song (comparatively).

Maybe not enough tall people interested.

No clues on the tubing though. No "dove" on the steering tube.
Well that makes at least 4-5 of us that were looking/aware so you got relatively lucky IMO.

This is pretty early so 531 is very possible I think.
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Old 02-22-24, 12:03 AM
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Don't think I can get Mafacs tandems for this. Will have to see what cantis are a good replacement.

Luckily I have the 26.8 ITM seatpost pictured here, although the black flutes aren't the best match.

I may be able to get it on the road this weekend with just my parts bin, but it may be a bit ramshackle for a while.
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Old 02-22-24, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Don't think I can get Mafacs tandems for this. Will have to see what cantis are a good replacement.

Luckily I have the 26.8 ITM seatpost pictured here, although the black flutes aren't the best match.

I may be able to get it on the road this weekend with just my parts bin, but it may be a bit ramshackle for a while.
Yeah, they can be spendy, regular ones too, I think others will work, you should be able to reach out to Jim for advice, he's usually glad to help if he can.
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Old 02-22-24, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
The tag said 700; I'm really hoping that's the case because I didn't check. That said, I've never had a 27" frame that couldn't be converted to 700c. The canti posts on this are quite narrow though.
​​​​​​
Hey, you know your way to the Atelier, bring it by and well see if we can answer your questions.
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Old 02-22-24, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Glad you didn't! I got it for a song (comparatively).

Maybe not enough tall people interested.

No clues on the tubing though. No "dove" on the steering tube.
Oh, I was definitely aware of it, by happenstance of course! They wanted real good money for it, which, I understand. Even offered it to me for well off the listed price. 66x59 was perfect. Alas, I remain happily awash in vintage Treks and would have wanted to put serious money into making that Merz good for the next 50 years. Couldn't do it! I'll have to "settle" for the purple '80 510 frameset I picked up from them November of '22 for a healthy $200 (with no decals or head badge, no less). On it now hangs some real fancy parts, which suits my type of bike-building insanity.

I am glad you got a freaking sweet frame, regardless! (always!) You have a flippin' Merz! And a suuuuper tall one at that! Very, very special.
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Old 02-22-24, 02:39 AM
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Not sure if it's widely known: Mafac Tandem canti is 2 mm taller than the short-arm Criterium canti. So ideally, for Tandem brakes, the posts should have been put on 2 mm lower, for the pads to hit the rim just right. So if you're putting 700c in a bike made for 27" (unlikely in this case but it happens...), then Criterium brakes will fit better than Tandem. 2 mm is a noticeable amount, but Mafacs can usually adjust that much by the "nod" angle adjustment of the pads. It's not a true up/down translation adjustment, but as long as the angle you adjust them through is small, using angle as a height fine-adjust is OK. It's just in the edge cases, like where the posts are too high b/c they're for 27", that the extra 2 mm on Tandem arms can be a deal-breaker.

The lack of any up/down adjustment is just about the only thing I don't like about Mafac cantis. When the posts are at just the right height, I rank them up there with the best modern rim brakes.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
The tag said 700; I'm really hoping that's the case because I didn't check. That said, I've never had a 27" frame that couldn't be converted to 700c. The canti posts on this are quite narrow though.​​​​​​
Cantilever brakes can be a bit trickier to convert from 27" to 700C. MAFAC cantilevers, for example, don't offer any reach adjustment for the pads. Shimano MC-70s have a few millimeters of reach adjustment, which may or may not be enough, depending on where the posts were brazed.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:08 AM
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Bravo! Looking forward to the build thread on this Merz. Congrats :-)

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Old 02-22-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Cantilever brakes can be a bit trickier to convert from 27" to 700C. MAFAC cantilevers, for example, don't offer any reach adjustment for the pads. Shimano MC-70s have a few millimeters of reach adjustment, which may or may not be enough, depending on where the posts were brazed.
And the posts on this look quite narrow. But chances are that this was made for 700c it sounds like. Here's hoping at least; I'm away from home until late tonight so I can't check!

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Old 02-22-24, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Hey, you know your way to the Atelier, bring it by and well see if we can answer your questions.
Ya, recommend doing this. Gugie will be able to test fit or measure to figure out the kit needed. Need to confirm BB threading in the very low chance it's 753 with a French threaded BB shell. And is 26.8 the right size pillar? Probably but worth checking.

Due to the down tube decal, may be an earlier one, but good to connect with Jim Merz, he lost some early build sheets, but if he doesn't have access to it, he often remembers the customer, promising that he will as how many 65cm frames did he build?
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Old 02-22-24, 12:19 PM
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Wow, great score! Build it with what you can for now and gradually upgrade as your finances allow. I'm so glad to hear you got this frame after pining for it for so long.
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Old 02-22-24, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by VRJAKE
Ya, recommend doing this. Gugie will be able to test fit or measure to figure out the kit needed. Need to confirm BB threading in the very low chance it's 753 with a French threaded BB shell. And is 26.8 the right size pillar? Probably but worth checking.

Due to the down tube decal, may be an earlier one, but good to connect with Jim Merz, he lost some early build sheets, but if he doesn't have access to it, he often remembers the customer, promising that he will as how many 65cm frames did he build?
I had seen elsewhere that he doesn't have the build sheet for this one, but I agree: how many frames this size did he build this early? Hopefully he remembers a little about it.

Haven't checked the BB threading yet. 26.8 fits great (just barely slides down with gravity with the bolt open), but I don't have a 27.0 to check.

Boy would I love to discover this was 753. Is that likely? I'm assuming it's 531 or SP at this point. Not sure how much Jim mixed and matched, but no tubing sticker (or traces of one) might indicate a "maker's blend."
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Old 02-22-24, 12:28 PM
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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.
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Old 02-22-24, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I had seen elsewhere that he doesn't have the build sheet for this one, but I agree: how many frames this size did he build this early? Hopefully he remembers a little about it.

Haven't checked the BB threading yet. 26.8 fits great (just barely slides down with gravity with the bolt open), but I don't have a 27.0 to check.

Boy would I love to discover this was 753. Is that likely? I'm assuming it's 531 or SP at this point. Not sure how much Jim mixed and matched, but no tubing sticker (or traces of one) might indicate a "maker's blend."
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.
This one is MM073, Jim doesn't have the build sheet for it but it is between 2 that were built in Jan 1976.

Not sure if he remembers much else but now that you have the frame I'm sure he'll tell you what he can.

Here's a timeline, doesn't look like it would have been 753 although Jim was the first American builder to use it, so you never know.

https://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com...nolds-753.html
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Old 02-22-24, 02:02 PM
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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.

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Old 02-22-24, 02:09 PM
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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.
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Old 02-22-24, 05:12 PM
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If frame date is 1976, 753 was reportedly launche then, agree with Bulgie, 26.8 post likely means thicker gage tubing to support a large frame. Caliper to the diameter of the seat tube would help, if 28.6, not metric.
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