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Mercian Vincitore - Winter Project

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Mercian Vincitore - Winter Project

Old 11-17-13, 01:53 PM
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Mercian Vincitore - Winter Project

I have had this 1980 Merican since 1994. It was my first forum transaction on the Internet. It was a bikes for sale forum on Prodigy, which was an online service, like AOL, owned by Sears. The guy mailed me pictures so I could decide, and he had to wait the two weeks for me check to clear. It had a mixture of Campagnolo parts and other various parts. It came with Nuovo Record brakes and Chorus or Athena crank and derailleurs. Not sure if it came with wheels I sold or what, but I know I used my own wheels that had high flange Record hubs and Lambda Strada aero rims. I took them from another bike. I had them build at Il Veccio in Seattle in about 1992 and they are still perfectly true, though I have not ridden them since probably 1996/97 or so. The frame is a touring frame, but is outfitted with Campy racing components as I described.

Fast forward to the beginning of this year. I decided to get back into cycling to lose weight and get healthy. I have Secialized Globe "Comfort Bike" I have been riding. While it has helped to get back into cycling, it is not that comfortable. I don't like all the shocks (fork and seatpost), wide sprung seat, and the fact that it so upright I can't stand to power up a hill. Well I can a little with some adjustments I made, but still. Plus its heavy, I know its easier to lose weight on me at this point, but still it feels like a slug.

I plan to get both my Mercian and Bridgestone MB-3 (purchased 1993) ready to ride this winter. I have found old Mercian catalogs and have decided to go vintage touring with my parts. While it might not be outfitted like a Mercian touring frame would have been, I want to make it pretty much period correct. Since even then, Mercian sold custom frame you could outfit as you saw fit, I think it would be more Mercian than the fewer complete bikes they sold, if that make sense.

Here are some pics I took earlier this year of the bike. I love the fancy lugs... Sorry tires are deflated and I have not really cleaned it up.


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Old 11-17-13, 02:02 PM
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The plan is to pretty much replace everything to make the bike period specific.

I have started purchasing parts to make it the way I want and have already purchased a Suntour V-GT Luxe rear derailleur as well as front derailleur from PastorBob. Not 100% sure the FD will be sufficient for the triple I want to run or not, but will try. I also have a Sutour Seven RD as a backup.

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Old 11-17-13, 02:08 PM
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Off of Ebay, I also got some NOS Suntour power ratchet shifters and Dia Compe 610 centerpull brakes. And I purchased some early wheels off of Craigslist with early Specialized hubs (7 speed), with Mavic MA-2 rims. Nice and true, appear to be well built.


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Old 11-17-13, 02:14 PM
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I plan to replace the seat post and bars with SR products, maybe an SR Rando bar set. Still need some Dia Compe levers with quick releases, though may go with new ones from Velo Orange to keep the look, but have modern function. Plan to to get a Brooks B-17 seat and leather bar tape. Pedals, probably MKS touring. Also need some cable hangers since the switch to centerpulls. I think there is room for fenders and 32mm tires.

Biggest issue for me is the triple crankset. May go with a vintage Sugino, but many don't have the range I want 48 or 46 big with 26 or 24 small. Could go with vintage look in a modern crank, like something from Velo Orange, Compass or the IRD crankset that also has a retro look. Opinions on the crankset welcome.
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Old 11-17-13, 02:15 PM
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I plan to start with stripping it down and cleaning the frame, making sure there is no rust and will take it from there.
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Old 11-17-13, 02:17 PM
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That ought to work very nicely indeed. Can't wait to hear about the completed result!
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Old 11-17-13, 02:49 PM
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There's a lot of love for Mercian on these forums. I look forward to seeing your finished build too.
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Old 11-18-13, 10:04 PM
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Beautiful Vincitore, love the color. Keep us posted!
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Old 11-18-13, 10:38 PM
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That's a beautiful frame, and I can't wait to see it when it's done.

Originally Posted by crandress View Post
Biggest issue for me is the triple crankset. May go with a vintage Sugino, but many don't have the range I want 48 or 46 big with 26 or 24 small. Could go with vintage look in a modern crank, like something from Velo Orange, Compass or the IRD crankset that also has a retro look. Opinions on the crankset welcome.
Plain Sugino rings are nice and not too expensive. You can build your own 48/38/X triple if the bigger rings are 130BCD, 46/34/X if they're 110BCD. Used rings with life left in them are super-cheap, too -- somebody in the C&V For Sale forum had a bunch.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:28 AM
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The Mercian is beautiful But, I'd keep it as is, just clean it, lube it and ride it. I think you'll eventually regret changing it's components. Period correct? It already is.
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Old 11-19-13, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
The Mercian is beautiful But, I'd keep it as is, just clean it, lube it and ride it. I think you'll eventually regret changing it's components. Period correct? It already is.
I appreciate the sentiment, but I already have much of the items purchased as pictured. Plus, not mentioned specifically above, I desire to have a triple and a wider range in the rear freewheel. This necessitates a different crankset, FD, RD, and bottom bracket. Considered going modern, but couldn't do it. That I know I would regret. So, I decided to go, as I said, period correct. The campy crank and derailleurs are about 10-12 years newer than the frame (yes that could be fine, but with the desire for triple, won't work for my purposes). The seatpost, shifters, brakes and brake levers are period correct, but would not have been on most touring bikes. While I don't need to change, I already have new brakes and shifters purchased, so silly not to use. And I am hoping to pick up another Itallian racing frame, so the parts will find a spot. I also already bought the wheels, which I wanted because I can put wider tires on the new rims. And again, already purchased. Basically I am committed at this point. I don't need to change the bars, but tried some rando bars and would prefer that style. I also want a more upright position, which requires a longer stem...
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Old 11-19-13, 10:14 AM
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Gorgeous frame, I love Mercians. Looks to be around my size as well. I'll be following with interest.

Maybe a vintage TA/Stronglight 50.4 bcd wide range double would get you the gearing you want as well?
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Old 11-19-13, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Orrery View Post
Gorgeous frame, I love Mercians. Looks to be around my size as well. I'll be following with interest.

Maybe a vintage TA/Stronglight 50.4 bcd wide range double would get you the gearing you want as well?
Thanks! I have considered something like that, but may be happier with triple. Though I would have to go to Sheldon's website to look at what I can get. I know with a triple there may be a lot of close ratios. Was thinking a Sugino AT or similar with 110/74 BCD to try and to like a 46 36, with a 24 or 26 small ring. I am going to have a 30 or 32 large in the back.
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Old 11-19-13, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for all the kind comments about my frame. When I purchased, I really did not know too much about Mercian, just that it had touring geometry and the look I wanted. I was amazed at the lugs when the guy sent the pictures. I just had to have it.
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Old 11-19-13, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by crandress View Post
I appreciate the sentiment, but I already have much of the items purchased as pictured. ...................... And I am hoping to pick up another Itallian racing frame, so the parts will find a spot........... I also want a more upright position, which requires a longer stem...


Why not then keep the Mercian intact and buy a Rando frame and build that up instead of doing the parts swap and a second frame?
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Old 11-19-13, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Why not then keep the Mercian intact and buy a Rando frame and build that up instead of doing the parts swap and a second frame?
Thank you for your opinion. My goal is to make the Mercian my main bike next year and to outfit it as I described. Really the decision has already been made and with more thought than I care to admit. The goal of this thread was not to rehash my decision process. Besides, its not that big a deal to me even if I decide I don't like it. The bike has been sitting for years, so it needs to be serviced. I will strip the frame regardless and I will build it back the way I want. If I don't like it, I can go back as long as I keep the parts. What I would regret is selling the Campy stuff (a shop owner told me to sell cause "the prices are good on ebay" and to go modern, he's not getting any business from me). I may sell some of my duplicates, but have no thought of selling my Campy stash which goes beyond this one bike in fact if go back I will go all nuovo/super record, which would be period correct for the frame.
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Old 11-19-13, 01:30 PM
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Wow, that color really pops. The lug lining is sweet too.
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Old 11-19-13, 02:03 PM
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I plan to detail the frame. Do I just use auto rubbing compound and wax? Or is there a better solution? I will see how it looks after a good cleaning before doing that regardless. It may not need rubbing compound, but wax would help to protect the paint I think.
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Old 11-19-13, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by crandress View Post
I plan to detail the frame. Do I just use auto rubbing compound and wax? Or is there a better solution? I will see how it looks after a good cleaning before doing that regardless. It may not need rubbing compound, but wax would help to protect the paint I think.
Don't rub off any clearcoat.
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Old 11-19-13, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Don't rub off any clearcoat.
Does that mean don't use rubbing compound or don't rub too much? This is an area I am not real familiar with. Thanks - Chris
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Old 11-19-13, 04:58 PM
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Bee-yoo-tee-full Mercian. As for how you want to set up the bike, I am a big advocate of the "it's your bike, make it the way you want to" school of thought as long as you don' start hacksawing stuff. That is especially so with a Mercian, as I believe (and you note) that they were more often sold as frame-and-fork than as complete bikes, at least by Mercian itself. And with the VGT RD and the p[ower ratchet shifters, you have what is on the short list for all-time functioning friction shifting components.

Two thoughts. As to the cranks, IRD or Velo-Orange are likely your best bets. Rivendell has a triple that would be exactly what you wan functionally, but may not get it done from an appearance standpoint. Ebay is always an option, but as you know, that is kind of hit-or-miss.

As a general thought, keep all the stuff you take off unless and until you are absolutely certain you will never ever want to hang them on the Merc or anything else. I don't advocate becoming the subject of an upcoming episode of "Hoarders," but there is no harm in being certain if finances permit.

Oh, a third thought - Ride the hell out of that Mercian. It is what is was made for.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by crandress View Post
Does that mean don't use rubbing compound or don't rub too much? This is an area I am not real familiar with. Thanks - Chris
I find rubbing compound to be too aggressive:


Polishing cream works well:

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Old 11-19-13, 05:47 PM
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That is a gorgeous gorgeous Mercian. I have sort of a thing for Mercians, and while they're all great, your's is a real keeper.

I have a Mercian KOM from around the same time in a similar geometry and it is by far the best bike I've ridden. It does everything that I ask of it, and does it well, particularly long all day rides. I've found mine to be particularly sensitive to changes in saddle position, stem length and height, as well as gearing. I have it dialed in now, but in the course of experimenting with components it went from from comfortable and laid back, if a bit sluggish, to quick and responsive while retaining the predictable stable handling. I have it set up with a front rack and handlebar bag, and even with a full front load can ride and turn no handed without much problem. I'm sure yours will have a similarly satisfying ride.

I second the recommendation to start out with the least aggressive polishing compound to rejuvenate the paint, if needed at all. The clear coat they use is particularly thin, and can be rubbed through if not careful, especially around the decals.

Clean it up, build it how you like it, then ride the snot out of it! Then post more pictures!
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Old 11-19-13, 09:48 PM
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Another Mercian fan here (even though I never yet owned one) will be waiting for the completed project to be shown off.
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Old 11-30-13, 04:47 PM
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Found some brake levers at Recycled Cycles in Seattle. Functional. The hoods are decent, but could be replaced.


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