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Question about vintage Mercier build

Old 10-22-10, 03:53 PM
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Question about vintage Mercier build

I just picked up an older Mercier frame, 531 Reynolds with mid to lower grade Dia Compe and Shimano components and Simplex dropouts. Cinelli handlebars and Stronglight crankset. Serial 66625? (last character a victim of a BB shell ding...)

I haven't been able to determine much about the age or model, since there is nothing indicated on the frame. From what I read most 531 steel Mercier frames have Campy components. This one appears to be a more recent model, possibly from the early 1980s, based on the stem and the Shimano bar-end shifters.

Anyone have any idea?

My plan is to cold set the rear stays to 130mm from its current 120 and build up a bike that would be more like a sport touring model with wider tires.

Do you think this would work well for this frame?

The closest examples I could find are on this French blog. http://velosvintage.over-blog.com/ar...-51968310.html You'll need to scroll to the bottom to see a truly lovely example. If you can't read French, the scoop is that this is a Reynolds 531 with Campy Chorus components.

Mine looks quite a bit rougher:





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Old 10-22-10, 04:12 PM
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I have the same frame-70's. Originally came with a pivo stem/stronglight (star) crank/simplex criteria dr/ mafac centerpullsand 27" alloy wheels... So yours has had some upgrades. I'm not sure the stays can be spread that far (130)as it is a 10 speed originally. A question for the pro's. Only serial I could find on mine was on the foil badge. Be interested to see the rear d.o. customization for that shimano dr- possible? As for tires 1 1/4 are a close fit on mine.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:46 PM
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Please post a picture of the dropout with the derailer removed.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:51 PM
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Check out this link - I didn't look really closely, but I think it might be the same bike as yours. This guy has a great resto blog.

http://retrobikerestorations.blogspo...6/mercier.html
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Old 10-22-10, 04:52 PM
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That is a 70's version of some sort. If those are Shimano 600 derailuers, they are not exactly "low end", though they are not Campagnolo either. If they are "500", the dateing for those is compresed to just a few years from the mid to late 70's. The Dia Compe brakes will have a date code on the inside of the levers. Pull the lever all the way and look inside at the top on the side next to the lever fastening screw; 4 digits, month then year. If the "531" label remains on the frame (not the forks) and you can read French, it may tell you if it is plain or butted tubes, the former being lesser and not likely mentioned on the sticker.

The bike will do you just fine albeit with a french bottom bracked and I would bet a french threaded fork. You can go with a Phil Wood ($$) cartridge or a Velo Orange unit for replacement if you care to. Square taper French Campy versions are out there, but they are also expensive and you will not likely be able to run much newer than mid 90's on that. The cranks also likely have french pedal threads (you will want a different cranks if you do not like the pedals unless you want to tap them for 9/16" threads which is sometimes possible). You are stuck with the headset/fork (not normally a problem).

I like it.
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Old 10-22-10, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Please post a picture of the dropout with the derailer removed.
Oops... I am on the road for next two weeks. Will put up another thread at that time.
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Old 10-22-10, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
Check out this link - I didn't look really closely, but I think it might be the same bike as yours. This guy has a great resto blog.

http://retrobikerestorations.blogspo...6/mercier.html
Yes, the frame looks very familiar, but the stem has been replaced. There is a spec list at the bottom of the page that suggests it might be a Model 300, although ... again... the component list is way off. Also the listed sizes does not jive with what I measure for the seat tube.... 22.25 inches
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Old 12-19-10, 08:47 PM
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Ok... months later and I haven't been able to figure out a likely date for this frame. Maybe Grand Bois could give an opinion based on the Simplex dropout?

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Old 12-19-10, 09:36 PM
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I like that frame - a little ScratchX and Meguiars polish - It would pop!

I wouldn't bend it that much though. (I'm just not a fan of "cold setting" and if I was looking for that hub width for a large cassette I'd consider doing a MTB conversion instead.)

the restoration link that Azorch posted really shows what nice potential this bike has.
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Old 12-19-10, 09:50 PM
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Auchen, the link in my original post has a very nice restoration too. I think that bike is closer to mine... at least them stem is closer and its Stronglight crank and pedal closely resemble mine.



http://velosvintage.over-blog.com/ar...-51968310.html
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Old 12-19-10, 10:57 PM
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I've seen this frame built up and it turns out to be one of my favourite colour schemes ever. It should clean up beautifully. You seem to have specific plans for it, but if it were mine I'd build it up with period correct French components and ride it. It would still make a nice tourer, but I wouldn't cold set it - the spacing has got to be 120 on that bike, and cold setting to 130 is too much in my opinion.
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Old 12-20-10, 05:28 AM
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It is a 300-531 frame/the lesser models were not reynolds. I upgraded some components as well (shift levers-calipers and levers) Very nice condition BTW. Mine was in much rougher shape. I like the rather steep headtube angle.
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Old 12-20-10, 09:49 PM
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Hey Juls, that's a nice example you have there. Any idea of the year?
I'm still curious about year, but notice everyone else seems a bit fuzzy on this detail.

What's your front and rear derailleur?I have a Shimano Titlist RD, which I think dates it to the mid-1970s and a Shimano 600 FD. Brakes are Diacompe. I wonder why no French components?
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Old 12-21-10, 07:02 AM
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+1, it's a Mercier 300. The Simplex dropouts indicate this was not a Camapgnolo equipped model. Original derailleur would have been Simplex Criterium as previously stated. Circa 1971-1974.
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Old 12-21-10, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Please post a picture of the dropout with the derailer removed.
I'm sure I had a reason for asking for the picture, but I can't remember what it was.
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Old 12-21-10, 08:41 AM
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Lots of people change out components-either for upgrade or function. I still have the simplex criterium on there/with the jockey teeth worn down to about nothing. Too cheap to spend 35 dollars on new wheels-when I don't care for the plastic dr anyway. Also not about to ruin a good Suntour for them. Brake shoes for the mafacs are like hens teeth-and they were in bad shape anyway-so went with side pulls. Ditto on the half hoods for the levers/so I used some old carlton hooded levers. The pivo weighed a ton and wasn't polishing up too good, so replaced with a sr stem. FD had a crack-and the levers were also sketchy-so they got replaced as well. Do you still have the Stronglight crank? I'm told the 300 was on par with the PX 10. Worth restoring. I agree with auchen-that is a slam dunk with the mercier blog bike. I wouldn't go past 7 cogs in the rear. Your paint is in GREAT condition. You could sell it and find an 80's frame more fit for your project-frame is rare enough to be coveted by the french bike lovers club.

Last edited by juls; 12-27-10 at 04:04 PM. Reason: used wrong persons handle
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Old 12-21-10, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
I'm sure I had a reason for asking for the picture, but I can't remember what it was.
Probably because you suspected the Shimano derailleur wasn't original and that a Simplex was, just like me.
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Old 12-21-10, 01:05 PM
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Right you are. Was curious how that went on there-but I see no filed stop (could've been retapped tho-I suppose) Gonna ride mine till it breaks then worry about replacement.
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Old 12-21-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
+1, it's a Mercier 300. The Simplex dropouts indicate this was not a Camapgnolo equipped model. Original derailleur would have been Simplex Criterium as previously stated. Circa 1971-1974.
Thanks T-Mar.

Originally Posted by juls View Post
You could sell it and find an 80's frame more fit for your project-frame is rare enough to be coveted by the french bike lovers club.
Well... I was hoping it would become a "rider". First thing to do is make sure it fits. The seat tube is 56cm by my tape measure. I normally ride no more than a 55cm... but we'll see.

I have a set of wheels with a 120mm hub in the rear which will fit. I'd like to get it in riding condition before making any decisions about either keeping it or "upgrading" it. I guess maybe I should re-think cold-setting the frame... if I can find some functional hubs, I'd build some wheels for it.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:23 AM
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My point was you recieved it 'upgraded'. I agree get it rideable and photos a must.
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Old 12-22-10, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Probably because you suspected the Shimano derailleur wasn't original and that a Simplex was, just like me.
You are correct.
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Old 12-22-10, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by juls View Post
Lots of people change out components-either for upgrade or function. I still have the simplex criterium on there/with the jockey teeth worn down to about nothing. Too cheap to spend 35 dollars on new wheels-when I don't care for the plastic dr anyway. Also not about to ruin a good Suntour for them. Brake shoes for the mafacs are like hens teeth-and they were in bad shape anyway-so went with side pulls. Ditto on the half hoods for the levers/so I used some old carlton hooded levers. The pivo weighed a ton and wasn't polishing up too good, so replaced with a sr stem. FD had a crack-and the levers were also sketchy-so they got replaced as well. Do you still have the Stronglight crank? I'm told the 300 was on par with the PX 10. Worth restoring. I agree with gerv-that is a slam dunk with the mercier blog bike. I wouldn't go past 7 cogs in the rear. Your paint is in GREAT condition. You could sell it and find an 80's frame more fit for your project-frame is rare enough to be coveted by the french bike lovers club.
You don't need to spend $35 on pulleys! I've paid less than that for two sets of Bullseyes.

There's nothing rare about Mafac brake pads. You can buy new Kool Stops in black or salmon.
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Old 12-22-10, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by juls View Post
You could sell it and find an 80's frame more fit for your project-frame is rare enough to be coveted by the french bike lovers club.
+1
If this turns out not to fit, I would be interested in buying it as it's the right size for me and I have been looking for a 300 for a long time.
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Old 12-22-10, 12:33 PM
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Good to know GB. I've only looked on ebay for vintage stuff.
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Old 12-22-10, 03:02 PM
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I wouldnt hesitate to coldset the rear from 120 to 130 if you want a more modern drivetrain, just be sure to align the dropout afterwards as they will no longer be parallel. If you have ever seen how steel forks are made (massive amount of cold-set bending) then a 5mm each side rear cold set is nothing by comparison.
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