Now here's a catagorization challenge. My Mercian 'rides' as a single speed. But it actually has no less than 2 chainrings and 5 cogs giving a usable 6 ratios from about 50 to 70 gear inchs. That's a 39/42 crank set, and a 35 year old 'junior' road racer 16-20 Regina straight block. The 39 is used on the 20, 19 and 18; the 42 on the 18, 17 and 16 - all within the axle travel limits of the short Campy horizontal drop out. No derailleur. Manual change, with quick release hub, by the roadside.

I have owned this frame from new in the late '80s, over 20 years. It was originally built up with my best Nuovo Record gruppo, ridden many miles and road raced casually. After a few years I transferred the gruppo to another frame, sold the Mercian to a brother and later bought it back. It languished for years until my son took it secretly, rebuilt it as a fixed wheel and presented it to me as a father's day gift, pretty much in the guise you see - except for the variety of ratios. That was this old man's way of getting a little help out on the road. Works great!

Incidently, virtually everything on this bike was found in my own bikeroom collection of parts gathered over a forty year period - no ebay. Wheels are Campy Gransport hubs with tubular rims and tires from the mid '70s. The Guidons Phillipe bars are off an early '80s Andre Bertin cyclocross bike. (Yes, I still have the Bertin, to be the subject of another entry in the cross bike photos.) Look at the closeup of the bar and you will see an overhead image of a racer bent down and going for it. The dumby brakehoods were originally intended for the stoker's bars on a tandem.

I have always loved the colour scheme on this frame. It took me a while to figure out that the horizontal tubes, top and chainstays, are red. The forward leaning downtube and seatstays, black. And the aft leaning head tube and seat tube, white. Mercian's include some incredible detail work in their frame building. Look at those ultra long points reinforcing the bottom bracket. I understand they are individually brazed on to the BB shell. And they work! This is a stiff, efficient frame. Great for a single speed.

Paul Glassen
Vancouver Island
British Columbia




Mercian - side view
Mercian - Lug and label
Mercian - drivetrain details
Mercian - looooong lug points
Mercian - bars details


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