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My new Mercier

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My new Mercier

Old 08-02-11, 08:05 AM
  #1  
Tychom
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My new Mercier

I just picked this up in the deepest darkest French countryside:



Here's more images on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tychom/...7627338824926/

Now I don't know much about Merciers, there's little info I can find when compared to larger marks such as Peugeot however from what I can gather parts wise it's entirely original spec:

Mercier Service des Courses (Vitus 172 "Série légère special" double butted tubing)
Stronglight 105 bis Crankset
Mavic Module 3 rims
Normandy hubs
Simplex derailleur (model?)
Unknown stem
Mafac "Racer" brakes
Belleri handlebar
Selle San Marco saddle (rubbed off text along the sides may say "Mercier Sport")

The frame has barely a chip on it and all the metal parts should clean up very nicely too. There's a little rust on some bolts towards the rear and an amount of drive side mud but I'm not expected to find anything horrid underneaf.

I don't believe it's seen any oil in 20 or more years so I'm currently working on the brakes, then I'll look towards the headset (no idea yet how to dissasemble this particular french headset), derailleur and wheels.

Looks to me like perhaps the front wheel is on back to front? (sure the hub should be the other way - but then the skewer and cyclo computer mount have both been put on the wrong around).

Does anyone have any knowledge about these particular Mercier models? I can't tell much about the ride quality yet and won't until the brakes actually work
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Old 08-02-11, 08:25 AM
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Nice score. Can't help you on any info, though.
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Old 08-02-11, 08:42 AM
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I wouldn't ride it until you have serviced the wheel hub, crank, and headset bearings as well as the brakes. It appears to be in great shape and will clean up well. Very cool bike.

The front wheel appears to be reversed (the Mavic rim label should read right side up from the right side) but this is minor. It is more important that the tire label locate on the right side adjacent to the valve, and it appears that it does. The lever on the skewer belongs on the left side as you have it.
I have never mounted a computer so I can't comment on that.

If that is plastic bar wrap, you might consider new cotton bar tape from Newbaums.

I love the backdrop for it in the photo by the way. Magnifique!
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Old 08-02-11, 09:08 AM
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I wouldn't ride it until you have serviced the wheel hub, crank, and headset bearings as well as the brakes.
If it rubs on, rolls on or slides through, it needs to be opened up, cleaned, inspected and serviced, as required. That is how I approach every bicycle before I ride it!

As far as Merciers go, I have been lucky enough to run across one or two in my travels, and there are a half dozen hanging in The Old Shed at the moment, I believe. Sadly, the only one unique enough to capture my attention was the Gentleman's Mercier (my nick name for the bike) I found a few years back.


This is how the new owner built the bicycle up. He is planning to send me pictures of the completed bicycle, once he mounts the fenders. Pretty good job - eh?


The OP's pink bike is a beauty. Though the construction quality of French bicycles has rarely impressed me, the ride quality often manages to amaze me. My guess is that the pink one will become one of the OP's favorites.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:47 AM
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I have a Mercier too...Of course, mine is made in Taiwan. ;-) That's a sweet bike. Let us know how it rides when you get it fixed up!
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Old 08-02-11, 10:39 AM
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I love the look of pink Merciers.
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Old 08-02-11, 10:41 AM
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If that is plastic bar wrap, you might consider new cotton bar tape from Newbaums.
Yeah I'm already considering pink cotton wrap (possibly even pink+white diamond) shellaced (transparent) but so far I'm in two minds over whether to replace it as the pink plastic tape is in superb condition (as are the cork plugs).

It would be nice to leave it as is, however I'm not inclined to ride any long distance on such a skinny handlebar with only thin plastic tape

I'd also like to rotate the bars down (have the ends running almost horizontal) and that's going to neccesitate moving the hoods higher up thus requiring a complete rewrap.

The brake cabling I intend to replace, the tubes are cracking at stress point and are (possibly) discoloured. The cable housing for the final loop to the front and rear derailleur isn't particularly nice either so I need a solution there too.
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Old 08-02-11, 11:19 AM
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Nice bike! Looks to be in fantastic shape. If I were you, I'd carefully remove the tape, reposition the levers to where you want them, and then do a layer of cotton UNDER that pink tape. It would give you some cushion while still maintaining the look you have there,, which is pretty cool.
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Old 08-02-11, 12:13 PM
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Beauty!

I have owned a couple pink BMX bikes over the years. The more I see pink road bikes they more they are growing on me. I just looked at the pink bike thread, lots of nice bikes in there.
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Old 08-03-11, 08:28 AM
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Congrats! That is a great find, and I envy you.

True, there is not a huge amount of info that is easily available, but the archives such as magazines of the era when Mercier was a racing contender should have stuff about them. They were ridden by great riders in the European tour. If your bike has a label "Service de Course" on it, you have a machine that was assembled and pampered for racing. I suspect yours is not one of these. No matter! You have the tubing I've always wanted to try riding, the Vitus 172.

Only the other day I was researching Woodrup of Leeds, England and apparently Woodrup made frames for Mercier. Since all Woodrup frames have been made by only a few builders (perhaps only three) there is no compromise there. I don't think that yours is a Woodrup frame, though.

My daughter has a Service de Course version that she had made up as an urban SS. It may be a tad large for her, but she loves it. It was bought in auction from a French seller as a frame only. Hers is in Reynolds 531 and can be seen on the thread you also put yours: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...k!-Bikes/page4

I agree with others. Don't ride an inch until all the bearings come out. I'd replace them with the best quality replacements out of hand. Just be sure to mike them up to be sure you get the correct size. If you don't replace them, remember which side ... which race they came out of and reinstall them in the same place after cleaning and renewing the grease.

Enjoy and hold onto it.

BTW, I'd wrap the bars in white, which is what the Mercier team did, I think.
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Old 08-03-11, 08:34 AM
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Really sweet find! Would love to take a trip to France and do a little searching. Think customs would mind an extra 300 lbs of carry-on baggage on return trip?
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Old 08-03-11, 03:02 PM
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Lenton 58,
Actually it does have the label "Fait Main, Controle Service des Courses" on the downtube. Looking around at the various mercier equipe photos I'd noticed the white bar tape on their bikes and have been considering that too.

devinfan,
With those Mafac brake hoods I assume that once upon a time the rubber would have been able to fold back exposing the levers allowng to bar tape under. Now they're solid and brittle so I'm not sure how they should be moved.

I need to work on getting myself a Stronglight crank extractor at less than exhorbitant price now and I'm thinking I may need something for the headset as there's no place for a standard headset wrench.
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Old 08-06-11, 09:54 PM
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I may need something for the headset as there's no place for a standard headset wrench.
Is that so? In my experience — however limited — French machines of all kinds can have parts which demand special tools. The Mavic 310 headset (a pro piece of kit) on my Vitus uses a proprietary tool that engages striated detents — or maybe you say indented splines — on the locking bolt. After I bought the machine years ago, I had to go back and ask the seller if he still had the tool. He opened a drawer in his tool box and produced it. WHEW! Without it, I'd have been reduced to water-pump pliers and a rag! Good luck! If you have to abandon the set, Tange makes some nice ones that have a very retro look to them.
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Old 08-07-11, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
I love the look of pink Merciers.

I agree it is a great looking bike
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