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Found an early Ti unique Merlin at an antique store...

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Found an early Ti unique Merlin at an antique store...

Old 02-23-13, 11:59 PM
  #26  
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You owe your dad big time for giving you the "heads-up" about the bike. That is one heckuva nice find.
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Old 02-24-13, 01:27 PM
  #27  
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Having it signed is a GREAT idea, I'll float it by him.

The seatpost is a DuraAce and the stem is Mavic.
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Old 02-24-13, 03:52 PM
  #28  
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Similar situation

I have a thread going with a similar head scratcher but you have been fortunate enough to find your frame builder. I have a Litespeed Classic that I can't pin down because the decals do not match up with the photos of the 1990 and on catalogues. My frame is numbered 2485 and its Litespeed. My fork is the same as yours and the cable routing is the same. Geometry looks pretty similar too. The thread is the 1990ish Litespeed and here are some additonal photos to show the fork and cable routing.
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Old 02-24-13, 04:29 PM
  #29  
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Did you contact Tom at Spectrum?
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Old 02-24-13, 05:10 PM
  #30  
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I haven't. I would not have even known to do that until I saw your thread. I will send him some photos and see if he has some ideas. My seatpost is also DuraAce. My wheels are Mavic Open 4CD with what looks like Campagnolo Athena but the Chorus and Athena hubs and cranks look so similar to this neophite. I am just getting into the vintage bike stuff and am still pretty ignorant. I saw mine on CL about 2 weeks ago. Bought it because I liked the fact that it had Campy on Ti. I have a 200? Litespeed Teramo which doesn't fit me very well and a Douglas (Colorado Cyclist House brand) Ti Fusion w/ Campagnolo Record and it has identical geometry to the 1990ish Litespeed. I could have never predicted that. The Douglas has been my faithful bike for about 19000 miles and I love it dearly. I bought it from a man who custom built it but could not ride it. He was an engineer and had made some removeable modifications to the bike to try to get the fit to work. He sold it to me with 10 miles on it. I rode a friends Eddy Merckx Ti and that was all she wrote. I had to have a titanium frame and the friend was not giving up the Merckx I have really enjoyed your pictures and story. Keep us posted!
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Old 02-24-13, 05:50 PM
  #31  
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Merlins and Litespeeds are beautiful bikes indeed! That antique shop Merlin is definitely drool-worthy.

I'm a recent convert to titanium after scoring an apparently very rare Ciocc Titan on eBay last November. My bike is also a mystery - I haven't been able to find anything about this bike other than what was provided by the seller. I know that Ciocc built titanium frames prior to the current Misfit, but that's all I know. Regardless, like other Ti bikes the Titan is an awesome ride: stiff and light yet amazingly comfortable on less than smooth roads. I just wish that I knew more about its history.

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Old 02-24-13, 06:01 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by hikerinmaine View Post
Did you contact Tom at Spectrum?
Nice bikes, I sent you a PM, about both of your bikes..
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Old 03-06-13, 09:41 AM
  #33  
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Just an update, I dropped the bike at Spectrum and they're super nice. I took a tour of the facility and was amazed at how hands-on everything is. When they saw my frame in person, both said "wow" a bunch of times. Tom said it was the earliest frame they had seen returned, the previous number was around 200.

They were wondering who built the frame, at Merlin specifically. They said the early frames had cracking issues by the rear chainstays where the cross bar attaches, since the welds there were small and weak, but mine would not have those issues wince the welds were super wide and sturdy. The cross piece is the original, so it was not swapped out for a thicker one which is what would have happened if the frame had come back for repair at some point for the cracking. In fact, they discussed the welds specifically because all of the welds on the frame were not only wider, but thicker, which was never seen on a factory build. They were done preofessionally and not by someone with a TIG welder, so they said whomever did the welding was very good at welding titanium. They noticed the seat concave cutout and top tube recessed cable routing that was mentioned before, but also picked up on the hand dressed rear dropouts, one of which was out of specification, which they'll correct to get the wheel true. I asked if a previous owner would have filed this, and they said it was unlikely from the way it was done. It is definitely a Merlin but one that is truly unique, and this is why they think someone at Merlin built this frame for themselves, since extra care was taken to build it differently from the rest of the standard frames at the time. They said they'll think on it and try to come up with a name as to who might have built it. It was really cool to see the forensic analysis of the frame from some long time builders, and both said I had a unique one.

The new Ti frames are less than 1/2 the weight! I couldn't believe how light they were, and the finished bikes are works of art.

Just thought I'd throw in an update. I have some pictures I'll post later.
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Old 03-06-13, 09:55 AM
  #34  
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Let me say "wow" too. What a fun experience for you - this will make the bike precious to you, and you'll never let it go.
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Old 03-06-13, 10:09 AM
  #35  
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I had one almost exactly like this branded as a Spectrum Super until last year. I'd wager you'll find that the seat tube angle is more slack than most (mine was 72 degrees). Its a really, really nice long distance bike!
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Old 03-06-13, 11:57 AM
  #36  
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What a cool, cool find. Please post some hi-res photos once you get it back from Spectrum. I'm a sucker for TI welds.
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Old 03-06-13, 10:06 PM
  #37  
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WOW! Talk about a dream come true, a once in a lifetime find. And you got it for something you could afford. Truly awesome.
Please take out some serious insurance on that ride. It stands out, and would be difficult to replace.
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Old 03-06-13, 11:06 PM
  #38  
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Insurance on a bike? Please tell me more, I've never heard such a thing. (Seriously).

I bought it for $500, which I thought was pretty steep for an old bike, but I justified it to the wife since it was titanium and my size, even if it was old.
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Old 03-06-13, 11:13 PM
  #39  
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$500?? Good Lawd! What a deal. I haven't been around C&V long but even I know that find doesn't happen very often. don't forget to have him sign it, what a cool story for a cool bike. Color me jealous.

Edit: Oh yeah, as far as insurance goes, I have my bikes covered under my renter's insurance. If you are a home owner then I'm sure there is a similar policy for you. Just go to your insurance company and ask.
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Old 03-07-13, 09:06 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by hikerinmaine View Post
I bought it for $500, which I thought was pretty steep for an old bike, but I justified it to the wife since it was titanium and my size, even if it was old.
it might make your wife feel better if she knew that I sold my frame for $900 last year...just the frame.
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Old 03-07-13, 09:10 AM
  #41  
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Man, this story is getting better and better. Very nice of the folks at spectrum to show you around the facilities, I'm looking forward to the pics.
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Old 03-07-13, 09:28 AM
  #42  
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Great story, congrats! Late 80's Ti bike, that's Concorde (airplane) stuff. Mavic gruppo is pretty rare in Maine I bet, or does it come across from Quebec from time to time?
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Old 03-07-13, 09:40 AM
  #43  
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Great find! I'd love to find a 60cm Merlin. I live a little south of Tom and had him re-finish my 82 Merckx after the paint was damaged during a relocation back in 2003. They do wonderful work. I'm guessing he is still in the old stone 18th century barn?
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Old 03-07-13, 10:22 AM
  #44  
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I thought $600 was too high so I talked them down to $500, which I still thought was high, but acceptable. It wasn't until later I found out its history, but a search on my iPhone while standing there did reveal an original price of $3,300 just for the frame in 1988. I took a chance and it paid off. I'm going to contact the previous owner when I get home (I'm in Florida now on vacation) and see if he was the original owner. I'm not going to mention what I've found because I don't want regrets or to throw salt into a potential wound.

I will look into the insurance thing when I get home and see what my homeowner's says. My wife and I own two homes since we had them from previous lives before we were married last fall. We're going to consolidate the insurance this year and see what we can do for a price, and I'll ask about the bike and additional riders. Is there a way to get it appraised, which I'm sure they will ask about?

I asked Tom to sign it, but he says there is no good way to sign Ti and his signature is very shaky now due to his age (he and Jeff are both in their 60's and have been doing this for about 40 years each). I will ask about some simple initials though. And yes, he is still in the barn in the middle of nowhere (even my GPS had trouble finding him).

I have no knowledge on Mavic stuff, is it good? It seems to work fine so I was going to keep it. It's 7 speed downtube indexed, which is the same as my Cannondale Black Lightning (Shimano), so I'm already used to the shifting.

Many thanks for the insight on here, you guys are a huge help.

To the pictures:

This is Jeff Duser, who works at Spectrum and used to work for Ross back in the day. He was the one who noticed the rear dropout was out of alignment, by eye, and it was confirmed with some equipment. He said it's not out much and that he'll get it 'true' before it's shipped back. That's my fame in the vise and on the wall to the right rear is the jig the use to bend front forks, that one specifically does the vintage forks and the modern fork jig is out of the picture to the right. I wish I'd taken more pictures while there.




This is upstairs in the main part of the barn. Note the different frames on the right. Some were Ti, some steel, and some aluminum, some painted and some not. One was a vintage restoration that was absolutely stunning.




And some new titanium & steel frames, the Ti were 1/2 the weight of mine. I could not believe how light they were. Jeff hand makes the removable racks/pannier mounts in the picture, also in Ti, and they are spectacular in design and function. Very impressive.




Like I said, I wished I'd taken more pictures, hindsight is always 20/20. I'll have to stop by again sometime and spend more time. Tom rides a sweet Spectrum with electronic shifters, Id never seen such a thing, but it's self-aligning. He still races as well and has a race to attend on Sunday, which is why we're not stopping by on the way home and will have the frame mailed back instead.

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