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"Barn Find" Merz bike RB057

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"Barn Find" Merz bike RB057

Old 02-24-24, 07:57 PM
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No intention to derail the thread, though hopefully can provide an insight on saving old Scott Matthauser finned brake shoes. Nor do I want to hear of a scolding ... your life depends on... just get another whole new set of shoes... or 'why bother' etc.?! You're on your own.

I've acquired new pad stock directly from Kool Stop yet requires a bit of a process. Order in the raw and uncut length Campagnolo replacement. Razor off the bottom section and that portion will be used. Next, trim to length.

Peel off the old pads. Sand the aluminum base and clean. Note the mount stud is hollow. Thread a small machine screw in that hole (I don't recall what size used). Next, cut that newly inserted screw but leave 1/8" ~ 3/16" sticking out from the face.

Line up the new pad material to the base of the shoe. Depress to make a center mark. Drill partially at the mark and same diameter and depth to the small screw, previously inserted. This done to index the pad plus retains it from any potential slippage under use. There's plenty of adhesives on the market for bonding rubber to metal for high temp and water / moisture applications. Local auto parts store / Loctite products etc..

Three vintage bikes including a tandem with them. Decade plus - dirt gravel, road, cold winters to summer heat, long descents without issues and fully confident. For the heck of it and last year attempted to peel one pad off during a bike servicing. Its really stuck on! So, I just left it and its still back in use.
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Old 02-24-24, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
The guy I built this for was really into riding. But his knee went south and the fix meant he couldn't ride a bike anymore. So this bike did get used and certainly appreciated. Very few of my custom Merz bikes were purchased by anyone other than bicycle nuts! Jim Merz
Isn't "bicycle nuts" redundant?

Fantastic time capsule piece. Just gorgeous. Thanks for letting us in on this, including letting u sin on some of the details that are not so obvious, at least to the relatively unsophisticated among us (me very much included).

Jim, if you don't plan to ride it (and this is one of those relatively rare instances where I agree with that decision), and you don't have a place to hang it up yourself, perhaps see if the Marin bike museum is interested? It would fit in nicely with they cool road bikes they have on display.

Just a thought based on your post. It's your bike -doubly so - to do with as you please.
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Old 02-25-24, 05:08 AM
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Was it designed and built as a sport tourer? Lots of clearance at the seat tube for fatter tires and eyelets front and rear...
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Old 02-25-24, 08:52 AM
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Sportif

Originally Posted by jdawginsc
Was it designed and built as a sport tourer? Lots of clearance at the seat tube for fatter tires and eyelets front and rear...
I don't remember anything about making this bike and the build sheet is missing. The fender eyelets would have been requested by the customer, all Merz frames were custom. The chainstay length is typical for a stage racing bike in 1975. You're correct though, a very suitable design for an all around bicycle. The French call this kind of bike a "Sportif", also similar to a Specialized Sequoia. Jim Merz
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Old 02-25-24, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad L
A blast from the past! It must have been really cool to see it again after nearly 50 years.
Exactly what I was going to write. When I see bikes like this, I wonder if the builder senses a bit of disappointment to see that, after all the communication and work in building the frame, the customer never actually rode the bike very much. With a bike like this, it isn't likely because there was anything wrong with it. You like to think that your effort was more than just to obtain a fee for service. I suppose the bike did serve a function in providing an aesthetic pleasure for the owner, but some chainring wear would also communicate that there were a bunch of happy miles experienced, as well.

Care to weigh in, PortlandJim? You're the only one who can enlighten us.
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Old 02-25-24, 10:17 AM
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Do I worry about how my Merz bikes were used?

Originally Posted by sbarner
Exactly what I was going to write. When I see bikes like this, I wonder if the builder senses a bit of disappointment to see that, after all the communication and work in building the frame, the customer never actually rode the bike very much. With a bike like this, it isn't likely because there was anything wrong with it. You like to think that your effort was more than just to obtain a fee for service. I suppose the bike did serve a function in providing an aesthetic pleasure for the owner, but some chainring wear would also communicate that there were a bunch of happy miles experienced, as well.

Care to weigh in, PortlandJim? You're the only one who can enlighten us.
When I was building Merz bikes, starting around 50 years ago, I don't remember ever worrying about if my bikes were put to good use or not. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, almost all my customers were avid bike lovers. My bikes were expensive, but I didn't seem to get any rich dilliatants as customers. The man who I made this bike for did ride it with great enjoyment for 2 years. He had a medical issue and that ended his cycling days. As far as I'm concerned this wasn't a great outcome for him, but don't loose sleep over the bike not being used during the next 47 years. I was never very emotionally invoveled with any bike I have owned or built, to me they are tools, not art works. Jim Merz
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Old 02-25-24, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
When I was building Merz bikes, starting around 50 years ago, I don't remember ever worrying about if my bikes were put to good use or not. .... I was never very emotionally involved with any bike I have owned or built, to me they are tools, not art works. Jim Merz
That said, there are very good, well-built bicycles and there are less than good bicycles for riding reasonable or appreciable distances. Then there are just some people who take a workman's craft, and raise it to a higher level (a few I have seen could be absolute art). One can hardly slight current (and future) C&V enthusiasts that add in the elements of devotion and adoration - we are chasing more than our transportation/exercise needs, indeed our dreams.

edit: I refrain from posting pics of my dreams - it's a Merz thread.
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Old 02-25-24, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
I don't remember anything about making this bike and the build sheet is missing. The fender eyelets would have been requested by the customer, all Merz frames were custom. The chainstay length is typical for a stage racing bike in 1975. You're correct though, a very suitable design for an all around bicycle. The French call this kind of bike a "Sportif", also similar to a Specialized Sequoia. Jim Merz
Definitely looks more versatile!
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Old 02-25-24, 03:07 PM
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You mentioned that the Clement del Mondo tires look perfect. Just out of curiosity, would they still be rideable? They're the ones with silk casings, right?
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Old 02-25-24, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Gorgous, and structurally efficient in the extreme. No extra milligrams anywhere. The beautiful appearance comes from the structural excellence, not ornamentation for style's sake or product differentiation. Just make it light and strong, and the elegance pops out naturally.

Those Nervex crowns are under-rated, they're nice and light and 100% reliable, but a bit crude looking as-delivered. Jim filed off all the ugly!

I always thought this was one of the areas where the folks in the Schwinn factory showed their mentality, as they didn't thin these crowns at all on the inside of the blade. There's a lot of extra steel there.
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Old 02-25-24, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandjim
When I was building Merz bikes, starting around 50 years ago, I don't remember ever worrying about if my bikes were put to good use or not. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, almost all my customers were avid bike lovers. My bikes were expensive, but I didn't seem to get any rich dilliatants as customers. The man who I made this bike for did ride it with great enjoyment for 2 years. He had a medical issue and that ended his cycling days. As far as I'm concerned this wasn't a great outcome for him, but don't loose sleep over the bike not being used during the next 47 years. I was never very emotionally invoveled with any bike I have owned or built, to me they are tools, not art works. Jim Merz
There's a certain Zen involved when you put more focus and work into something than required, especially when it's likely that it won't be noticed. A workman is loathe to put in more time than necessary, because "time is money," as the saying goes. An artisan does something a certain way because they think it's the "right" way it should be done. I'm reminded of long ago reading that the Shakers would finish the backs and undersides of drawers as carefully as the fronts, noting that "God sees those parts, too." Pull most furniture away from the wall and it's downright ugly.

(Edit) Like aligning the Columbus stamping on the steerer with the front of the fork crown!

Last edited by sbarner; 02-25-24 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Added a line.
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Old 02-26-24, 08:08 AM
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You made my day!

Originally Posted by sbarner
There's a certain Zen involved when you put more focus and work into something than required, especially when it's likely that it won't be noticed. A workman is loathe to put in more time than necessary, because "time is money," as the saying goes. An artisan does something a certain way because they think it's the "right" way it should be done. I'm reminded of long ago reading that the Shakers would finish the backs and undersides of drawers as carefully as the fronts, noting that "God sees those parts, too." Pull most furniture away from the wall and it's downright ugly.

(Edit) Like aligning the Columbus stamping on the steerer with the front of the fork crown!
This is just about the best way to wake up on a Monday morning just before I have to drive into Monterey to visit the DMV! Exactly decribes my bicycle frame building goal. Thank you so much! Jim Merz
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Old 03-07-24, 04:14 PM
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I just finished a total inspection, cleaning and regreasing the Merz RB057 bike. It really looks nice! More photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/t8u5z2Be5RJNeAXH8


The measurements are: C-T seat tube is 58cm, top tube C-C is 57, stem is 11cm, BB center to ground is 275, chainstay 43cm. The bike has original paint and decals, Columbus SL tubing with no dents or other issues. All of the Campagnolo parts are original to the bike. All of them are NR except for the Super Record first version headset and a fairly rare Super Leggera seat post. The pedals are also SL and show no wear from shoe cleats. The pedal dust caps were both damaged where they screw in, so I replaced them with Merz aluminum reproductions. Binda Extra toes straps are original, they look sort of ragged but the function is unaffected. All the cables are original, I installed new reproduction brake lever hoods and new bar tape. I completely disassembled every component, cleaned and reassembled them with new grease. All of the Campy parts are virtually like new and they cleaned up nicely. The original wheels were completely disassembled, cleaned, reassembled with new 1.8/1.6/1.8mm DT spokes and new Specialized Hell of the North 28mm tubular tires. The 14-22 5 speed Zeus aluminum cog freewheel, original to the bike, looks barely used. The Regina Oro chain has the gold color faded, but it's in good condition. Original TA alloy cage and Silca pump. The very nice Brooks pro saddle was installed by the owner, I think it had a Cinelli leather covered saddle from new.

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Old 03-07-24, 04:35 PM
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Ooookay, this bike belongs on the 'Vintage steel bike colors" thread: Vintage steel bike colors (what do you think looks best)

Gorgeous, looks brand spanking new. Ride report soon? And what's the weight? Lots of nice weenie parts on there
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