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late 80s? Mercier, ID please?

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late 80s? Mercier, ID please?

Old 09-19-13, 01:52 PM
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late 80s? Mercier, ID please?

After a little game of phone tag and the possibility being beaten to the deal, I returned from la banlieue with this.
I'm a 60s Nottingham Sturmey 3 speed nutter, so road bikes are out of my field of reference.
Like how poorly I speak French, I understand enough "columbus" & "super vitus" to get myself in trouble.
So the specs, for a little as I know: Shimano 600 Arabesque group on a Super Vitus 971 frame with (lug id help please) Bocama Competition 78 lugs. Nicely reinforced chainstay & brake bridge. Vitus dropouts and a little cutout in the bb shell.
I think the fork crown might have the clue to which model this is.
Lugano, perhaps?
Can post more photos upon request.

Any clues?



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Old 09-19-13, 03:41 PM
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The forkcrown logo is Zeus, AFAIK, not the engraved "crown" or "M" we'd expect to see on a Mercier from the '80s...don't know if this is 100% a replacement fork or if there were some Merciers that used this forkcrown, complete with logo, from Zeus (doubtful, but dunno).
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Old 09-19-13, 03:48 PM
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Could be a replacement fork, but the original looking Vitus decal seems to match things on the frame (that also has a Vitus tubing decal on the seat tube) like the Vitus rear dropouts....
But still kinda weird seeing a Spanish fork crown on a very French bike... I was expecting to see the usual stylized "M" with the crown and the tiny circles on it. Unless there was a Mercier/Zeus connection at one time
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Old 09-19-13, 04:03 PM
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yeah, I noticed that too. Dunno from Zeus at all.
The enamel matches the rest of the bike, but that fork crown did make me scratch my head a little. Just a little, cos I got it for pretty cheap. I was more concerned with it's mechanical condition than it's AOC.
I got the impression that it had belonged to an amateur team rider from Cesson out in Seine-et-Marne.
It's quite possible the local sponsor/shop was able to organise a replacement Zeus fork and have it color matched.

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Old 09-19-13, 04:46 PM
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well, here's a pic I found online here in France (a forum called "velotaf") it has a Campy group, but has the same lugs. Pity we can't see the top of that fork crown, but the side profile sure looks the same.

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Old 09-19-13, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by yellowbarber View Post
well, here's a pic I found online here in France (a forum called "velotaf") it has a Campy group, but has the same lugs. Pity we can't see the top of that fork crown, but the side profile sure looks the same.

I can't enlarge the pic enough to make out anything, but my limited knowledge of Merciers from the '80s has been that they nearly always have the image of a crown and the full name engraved on the top of the forkcrown. It's not unheard of to see a Zeus- branded crown used on a non-Zeus frame, but I've never seen one on a Mercier. Strikes me as odd that they'd only use the crown and no other Zeus frame parts such as their drop-outs.
FWIW that particular logo showed up in print as early as '78 and the '82 Zeus catalog shows that crown (part of the Zeus 2000 line) it has plugs for insertion into the fork blades.
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Old 09-20-13, 07:00 PM
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Zeus fork noted. I'm settled on confirming that what I have here a nicer than average frankenbike.
Took a closer look at the enamel (in the same manner as looking for overspray on vintage acoustic guitars) and noticed a slightly unsightly drip. So, I'm pretty sure it had been repainted so the fork & frame matched.


Then they applied some appropriate decals (the frame itself has all the right Mercier engravings); and the shop, I guess, placed their own logo on the head tube. Hard to tell from the photo, but you can see the shape of the Mercier engraved logo underneath it.

"J. Bertrand 77 - Cesson" does that ring any bells?

Here's some detail of the fork ends & crown. Is that pretty standard Zeus fabrication?


Thanks again for your input guys.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:05 PM
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Hmmm......The angular shape of those front dropouts make me suspect that they are Vitus dropouts.... So at least there could still be still some Frenchiness on that fork.
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Old 09-20-13, 10:36 PM
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I agree^, so then we have to allow that it might be a Mercier fork that happens to use a Zeus forkcrown and Vitus ends. Maybe it's been repainted, but the frame and fork likely are a matched set.
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Old 09-22-13, 03:40 AM
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Thanks for the input guys.
Whatever it is, it's a pretty sweet ride that I paid less than $200 for. Like I'd said earlier, I'm a heavy sturmey 3 speed weenie. & the only other bike I've had in this style was use of a friend's mid 80s ALAN with the whole Campy C Record thingamajigs. This bike has the same feel on the road, but is mechanically much more understated. My opinion about Shimano has officially changed.
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