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.
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!
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.
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.