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1971 Mercian Olympic - factory restoration (pic intensive)

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1971 Mercian Olympic - factory restoration (pic intensive)

Old 10-06-11, 04:53 AM
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1971 Mercian Olympic - factory restoration (pic intensive)

As a departure from my general bike acquisition modus operandi, I made an impulse eBay purchase of a fully restored bike: a 1971 Mercian Olympic, which the previous owner had sent to Mercian for a full frame restoration. In partial justification for the splurge, I had just sold my restored 1978 Raleigh Comp GS, which I always felt was just a little too small for me. So N= +1-1 in this case, and my wife is pleased with that.

Serial #5971, indicating the 59th frame built in 1971. The previous owner built up the restored frame with a mix of NOS and vintage period-sensitive Nuovo Record. The bike is now in my hands, and after a brief scare from the fork blades getting pinched together during shipping (master framebuilder Peter Mooney realigned them perfectly without marring the paint), the bike is complete and I've taken it on its 'shakedown' ride:



NOS TA bottle cage and bottle












Cinelli stem, Cinelli 'Giro d'Italia' 64-40 bars:


Weinmann levers, hoods and 610/750 centerpulls - all NOS:


New Brooks B17 Special (will replace with period-sensitive Brooks Pro):


I'm not sure if it's the frame or the supple Challenge Parigi-Roubaix 700x27 tires (which measure 29.5mm), but the bike has a very smooth ride, and is very responsive. I need to make a few tweaks to dial in the fit (the Brooks B17 is a little too wide for the bar height, and the stem is about 20cm too long). I'm also a recent convert to clipless, so will be swapping out the pedals. I'm also waiting on some period-correct Bluemels fenders (the bike came with Honjos, which didn't seem fitting for a period build).

Build list:

Frame: Reynolds 531, lugged, double butted, Campagnolo 1010/A forged dropouts, 120mm spacing
Fork: Reynolds 531, lugged, double butted, Campagnolo forged dropouts, 100mm spacing
Dimensions/geometry: 24.25"/61.5cm seat tube c-t, 23.0/58.4cm top tube c-c, 103cm wheelbase
73o ST, 73o HT, 52mm fork rake, 174mm BB height
Finish: British racing green with white head tube and seat tube band, Mercian factory repaint in 2010
Rims: Super Champion Model 58
Hubs: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1035 high-flange, 36H, Q/R
Tires: Challenge Parigi-Roubaix, 700x27C (measure 29.5mm on current rims)
Crankset: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1049, 170mm, w/ 52/42 Nuovo Record chainrings
Pedals: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1037
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1046/A
Freewheel: Suntour New Winner 5-speed (NW-5000) (13-22)
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1052/1
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1020/A (pat. 72)
Shifters: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1014 (w/ red Campagnolo covers)
Brakes: Weinmann Vainqueur 999 (610 front, 750 rear, w/ Scott-Mathauser pads)
Saddle: Brooks B17 Special
Seatpost: Campagnolo Record 1044, 27.2mm (2-bolt)
Stem: Cinelli 1A, 130mm (old logo)
Headset: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Bars: Cinelli 64-40 Giro d’Italia (old logo w/ red Tressostar cloth tape, Velox bar plugs)
Extras: Specialites TA bottle cage and bottle
Christophe toe clips and straps
Campagnolo brake cable housing
Campagnolo 649 top tube brake cable clips
Silca Impero chrome frame pump w/ Campagnolo 1030/2 steel pump head
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Old 10-06-11, 04:59 AM
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Gorgeous.

The Challenge tires have been a pleasant surprise for me, especially after hearing all the issues folks have with flats.

Keep them at 100 psi or so, and that seems to tackle the flatting issue.

FWIW I am visiting a friend this weekend in Duluth that literally has a garage full of 70's bicycles, and I'll see if there are stray Bluemels.

...or did you acquire some already?
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Old 10-06-11, 05:17 AM
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Stunning, you are forgiven!

I have Challenge Parigi-Roubaix on my Mondonico. They are fantastic tires. This makes me lust for another English bike with gold lug lining.
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Old 10-06-11, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by gomango
Gorgeous.

The Challenge tires have been a pleasant surprise for me, especially after hearing all the issues folks have with flats.

Keep them at 100 psi or so, and that seems to tackle the flatting issue.

FWIW I am visiting a friend this weekend in Duluth that literally has a garage full of 70's bicycles, and I'll see if there are stray Bluemels.

...or did you acquire some already?

Thanks! This bike can only fit the narrower 'Club Specials' or 'Tour de France' Bluemels models. I have a set of Club Specials on the way, in black-- not my first choice, so if you find a pair in white, or the Tour de France alloy ones, in good shape, I'd be interested!

I found that 70 psi worked well with these tires on my initial ride, since they seem to have a very low rolling resistance. I didn't know these were flat-prone tires, but I suppose this makes sense since the tread base seems thin.
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Old 10-06-11, 05:23 AM
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Wow! That is really stunning.

I think the re-spray is wonderful. Sometimes, patina is simply drab. This shows what a factory job can do. Very nice build, too.

My eyes are as green as that bike!

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Old 10-06-11, 05:24 AM
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Stunning bike!
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Old 10-06-11, 05:27 AM
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Fantastic looking bike, I have a feeling your avatar may be changing.
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Old 10-06-11, 05:44 AM
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Nice ride! I had a question on those Challenge tires. A brand new set came out of the garbage last week and the only thing I can figure is that the guy couldn't get them mounted. They really look too small for a 700 wheel. Did you have trouble mounting them?
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Old 10-06-11, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender
Nice ride! I had a question on those Challenge tires. A brand new set came out of the garbage last week and the only thing I can figure is that the guy couldn't get them mounted. They really look too small for a 700 wheel. Did you have trouble mounting them?
No, no real trouble at all mounting them.
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Old 10-06-11, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender
Nice ride! I had a question on those Challenge tires. A brand new set came out of the garbage last week and the only thing I can figure is that the guy couldn't get them mounted. They really look too small for a 700 wheel. Did you have trouble mounting them?
They are $100+ per set, so that seems like a really rash way to handle "challenging" tires.

That being said, I had both of mine mounted in under fifteen minutes.

Zero issues, but remember to get the correctly sized inner tube.

Don't try to get by on a smaller tube. They'll expand too far in the tire, and make it susceptible to pinch flats. imho
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Old 10-06-11, 06:19 AM
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Wow! That is perfect. I wouldn't feel any pain selling the Raleigh with a replacement like that.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:15 AM
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As I mentioned before:

1. Stunning bike!
2. Glad it is working out w/ the frame repair etc.
3. If I had consumed another IPA or 2....that bike would be in Berwyn w/me.

BTW, what pedals will you be using?
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Old 10-06-11, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fender1
As I mentioned before:

1. Stunning bike!
2. Glad it is working out w/ the frame repair etc.
3. If I had consumed another IPA or 2....that bike would be in Berwyn w/me.

BTW, what pedals will you be using?
Not sure yet. I may get a new set, but for the time being I have a set of cheap Nashbar LOOK compatible pedals, which I actually like a lot.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:42 AM
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Great work Anton! You really set the standard with your projects. It helps we have similar taste
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Old 10-06-11, 07:51 AM
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Very nice. Very Beautiful.
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Old 10-06-11, 08:25 AM
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Incredible Southpaw. I am in awe.
- The accents in red really work so well. ( I cannot imagine it was easy finding a matching bottle cap, insert for the seat clincher bolt, and shift lever covers. )
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Old 10-06-11, 08:29 AM
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That is a stunner. I'm so enamoured with Mercians as of late! Spend hours on the configurator.
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Old 10-06-11, 08:52 AM
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My ENVY is as green as that paint!!!!!
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Old 10-06-11, 09:17 AM
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Ahhh! Simply gorgeous! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
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Old 10-06-11, 10:31 AM
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I have a 1982 Mercian Vincitore, original finish. I thought it was from the 70's because of the derailleur routing, the rear dropout spacing, and other points of construction. However, I learned something from this thread. I found the serial number, 24182 and that makes it a 1982. Mercian does not make a lot of drastic changes to it's model lineup. They still make the Vincitore.

The beautiful OP's Mercian makes me want to get mine refinished.
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Old 10-06-11, 10:55 AM
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Mercian has a fantastic paint shop. That bike is gorgeous.

Classy touches as always, Anton. That's such a cool machine. The tapered seat stay caps, the frame pump and the clean and shine of the whole package is just really striking. Bravo!

Originally Posted by southpawboston
No, no real trouble at all mounting them.
This is so interesting.

The Parigi Roubaix tires are the most difficult I have ever mounted. Now that I've had 5 flats (four on the rear) the tires are "broken in" and much easier to mount. I recall you having trouble mounting the Grand Bois Hetres. I mounted a pair a few days ago and it was the easiest tire I've ever mounted. Seriously.

I've experiemented with the air pressure on my Parigi Roubaix tires and while 75 psi was the most comfortable, I have since returned to 80/85 (front/rear) in an effort to avoid flats. I've simply encountered a lot of broken glass lately and a small piece imbedded in the tread was responsible for two of those flats.
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Old 10-06-11, 11:00 AM
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Super nice!
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Old 10-06-11, 11:07 AM
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Perhaps it's predictable that I would approve, but that bicycle is supremely beautiful. Thanks for sharing, and feel free to post more photos. I'm using your lead photo as my computer screen background.

I have no plans to restore mine, which I've owned and ridden since about '74. I think it's bea-used-iful, and the nicks and touch ups are part of my long history with the bike.

But a new one? Mmmmm!
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Old 10-06-11, 11:24 AM
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Holy smokes! The Brittish racing green is more than fitting, and I really like the little red accents. I'm curious to see what it looks like with fenders. I quite liked your Comp GS, but this is certainly a suitable replacement.

How does it feel to have all the hard work (read: fun stuff) already done?

By the way, what tool roll is that?
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Old 10-06-11, 11:35 AM
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Well done!
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