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Restoring the Merlin (or why Titanium is still cool)

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Restoring the Merlin (or why Titanium is still cool)

Old 03-28-22, 12:40 PM
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Restoring the Merlin (or why Titanium is still cool)

I decided to restore my 24 year old Merlin Extralight. In its current configuration it has a mishmash of Shimano 10 speed mechanical components.

A few years back, I added S&S couplers to make use of it as a travel bike. The rebuild will SRAM Force electric 12 speed. The wireless components should be really nice with only one brake cable to futz with in packing and unpacking the bike.

So far I’ve removed the old components and cleaned up the frame. After 24 years use, guesstimated 50,000 miles, a hundred or so crits, a few crashes, and schlepped around the US and Europe in an S&S travel case, it still looks close to new.



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Old 03-28-22, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I decided to restore my 24 year old Merlin Extralight. In its current configuration it has a mishmash of Shimano 10 speed mechanical components.

A few years back, I added S&S couplers to make use of it as a travel bike. The rebuild will SRAM Force electric 12 speed. The wireless components should be really nice with only one brake cable to futz with in packing and unpacking the bike.

So far I’ve removed the old components and cleaned up the frame. After 24 years use, guesstimated 50,000 miles, a hundred or so crits, a few crashes, and schlepped around the US and Europe in an S&S travel case, it still looks close to new.



Love it....
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Old 03-28-22, 01:16 PM
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Looks fantastic!

Watch out for the tube-clamp haters.
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Old 03-28-22, 03:09 PM
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Titanium always looks great cleaned up. Have a very early Merlin that I gave an satin polish versus trying to find someone to bead blast back to matte finish.

Did resto mod with NOS silver Campy Athena 11 speed and matching Mavic wheelset.

Looks great, good luck!
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Old 03-28-22, 08:42 PM
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This resto build is going to look really good. Excited to see the finished build once its all done.
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Old 03-29-22, 07:49 AM
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Hard to beat shiny!
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Old 03-31-22, 01:45 PM
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My build process got slowed a bit by a stuck seatpost. Got that taken care of, and ready to put it together.

with the couplers, the frame and headset weigh just a tick under 4 pounds. ( the original frame was 2lbs 10 ounces, so the couplers added less than 1 1/2 lbs.)

should build up around 17 pounds.


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Old 03-31-22, 03:37 PM
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I hope you can find frame decals with the old Merlin logo(s) - that was a classy font. And the bird (I presume it was a merlin) was cool. The current branding doesn't appeal to me. At all.
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Old 03-31-22, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
I hope you can find frame decals with the old Merlin logo(s) - that was a classy font. And the bird (I presume it was a merlin) was cool. The current branding doesn't appeal to me. At all.

I actually bought a set of the original decals, and I ended up deciding not to put them on. As a travel bike, the decals would just be something I had to worry about scratching. One of the beauty’s to me of the bike is that I can throw it in the S&S case and not worry about scratching it. And the Merlin Extralight provenance is engraved in the rear drop outs
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Old 03-31-22, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I added S&S couplers to make use of it as a travel bike. The rebuild will SRAM Force electric 12 speed. The wireless components should be really nice with only one brake cable to futz with in packing and unpacking the bike.
I can confirm: I had my 2010 S&S coupled bike (originally built with mechanical Ultegra 6700) updated to SRAM eTap 11-speed in 2018, and boy-howdee does the wireless drivetrain make it a cinch to pack or rebuild! Easily cuts 20-30 minutes off the job.
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Old 03-31-22, 09:27 PM
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What a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. I love those welds!

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Old 04-01-22, 11:12 AM
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Ti is fly. (somebody had to say it.)
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Old 04-01-22, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyD
Ti is fly. (somebody had to say it.)
If Ti is fly, and steel is real, what are Carbon and Aluminum?
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Old 04-01-22, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
If Ti is fly, and steel is real, what are Carbon and Aluminum?
Carbon gives me a hardon.

.
.
.


(sorry, I got nothing for alloy...)
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Old 04-01-22, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Carbon gives me a hardon.

.
.
.


(sorry, I got nothing for alloy...)
DUDE! Geez!

I mean, I like my CF bikes and all, but seriously!
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Old 04-04-22, 07:36 AM
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Before:
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Old 04-04-22, 07:52 AM
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After

With Sram Force axs group

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Old 04-06-22, 06:41 AM
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I actually prefer the look of the bike before. However, the SRAM Force group works great; it rides like a new bike, and disassembly, reassembly for travel should be much easier.

,
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Old 04-06-22, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I actually prefer the look of the bike before. However, the SRAM Force group works great; it rides like a new bike, and disassembly, reassembly for travel should be much easier.

,
This is the quandary I'm in with my Litespeed. I built it up with 7410 Dura Ace, partly because I had most of the groupset, and partly because it was 'age appropriate' for a 1995 frame. And it looks REALLY GOOD with it, and of course the shifting is wonderfully crisp, like 7410 always was. But I really wish I had at least two more speeds and a 30t cog every time the gradient goes over 6%. OTOH, the more modern stuff just doesn't LOOK as good.
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Old 04-06-22, 06:51 PM
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Very cool!
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Old 02-20-24, 10:32 PM
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Awesome build. I recently acquired an early 90s Merlin Spectrum frame. I am in the process of doing a similar restoration. It currently has a pressfit bottom bracket with square taper spindle. How were you able to install your bottom bracket and crankset?
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Old 02-20-24, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesf13
Awesome build. I recently acquired an early 90s Merlin Spectrum frame. I am in the process of doing a similar restoration. It currently has a pressfit bottom bracket with square taper spindle. How were you able to install your bottom bracket and crankset?
The OP’s bike looks like a pretty standard BSA threaded BB. Pressfit and square taper sounds … unusual but I just saw a youtube video of a guy servicing a Trek with that.

How wide is the shell and what diameter? I’d have thought you can use standard pressfit bearings for a 24 spindle but a 30 like I think the Force AXS has could be a problem. I imagine the OP used external bearings.
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Old 02-21-24, 05:06 AM
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I have a 2003 or 4 Airborne Zeppelin that I bought used in 2017, stock with 6500 group set. It is presently a 1 X drive train with 12 speed cassette, bar end shifters in friction mode, Tektro brake levers, with a Ritchey Beacon handlebar. It is a shade over 17 pounds with no accessories mounted. I am debating building it back to a 2 X with Shimano 9000 components, including a DA C24 wheel set. I am not really concerned about the weight, but, I think with the DA components, it is going to stay about the same. I got the entire group from a friend of mine. I have not done this yet because I really like the 1 X, it is all I need where I live, and while I am sure the DA performance will be exceptional, I don't think it is going to make a big difference to me. It does have the C24 wheels on it.
I had wanted a titanium frame set for a long time, I got the Airborne at a fantastic price off Ebay, it had very low miles and was, still is, in great shape. The ride and the handling are outstanding. Whenever I get on it after not riding it for a while, it still amazes me how light and responsive it is, but still comfortable for the long rides. Titanium is a wonderful material for building a bike frame, long lasting and easy maintenance for the frame itself. And, I like classic looking frames with modern components.
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Old 02-21-24, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesf13
Awesome build. I recently acquired an early 90s Merlin Spectrum frame. I am in the process of doing a similar restoration. It currently has a pressfit bottom bracket with square taper spindle. How were you able to install your bottom bracket and crankset?
I also have a vintage Merlin with the “Grease Guard” proprietary press fit Merlin BB. So I am stuck with the square taper BB. The little mini zerk fittings on the BB she’ll are cool and I have a Pedro’s micro grease gun that should be capable of pumping some nice grease behind the cartridge bearings. Unfortunately, the zerks appear to be corroded and I can’t get the grease in. Does anyone know if Merlin or any specialist sells OEM service parts for these press fit Merlins?
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Old 02-21-24, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61
I also have a vintage Merlin with the “Grease Guard” proprietary press fit Merlin BB. So I am stuck with the square taper BB. The little mini zerk fittings on the BB she’ll are cool and I have a Pedro’s micro grease gun that should be capable of pumping some nice grease behind the cartridge bearings. Unfortunately, the zerks appear to be corroded and I can’t get the grease in. Does anyone know if Merlin or any specialist sells OEM service parts for these press fit Merlins?
Saw this in another thread, from last year, don't know if these bods can help...
Merlin Pressed-In (pressfit?) bottom bracket
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