Saturday, 11 June 2016

Re-building the Mercian Olympic - the challenges / the way forward

When looking to transfer my 1980s kit onto a 1970s Mercian Frame I might have expected things to be fairly straight forward; after all some of the kit is the same as that used on my original Mercian.

However looking at the details there are a number of differences in frames from the two eras that will require extra work or equipment. Realistically I won't be able to have the Mercian on the road for Eroica Britannia next week so have reassembled my MB Dronfield and will take my time with the restoration/updating. I intend posting pictures with my MB from Eroica following next weekend's festival and ride but here's one from last year.

The issues that have come to light quite quickly include the following:
  • Gear levers for the down tube need to have a band fixing. My favourite Simplex Retro-Friction levers don't have such a band but I do have some basic Shimano ones
  • No cable stops on the top tube - fortunately the original chromed clips were supplied with the frame
  • The front gear mechanism needs to be one with a band so could swap my Dura Ace mech for a slightly older but suitable SunTour mech
  • Bottle bosses are not present so to carry a bottle needs an old-fashioned cage with clamps or some form of adapter
  • Older hubs with 5 or 6 speed gear blocks (before cassettes) were significantly narrower than modern hubs. To fit a modern hub in the stays would need to be stretched significantly (9 or 10mm). The solution may be to find an older hub either in a complete wheel or to build with new rim and spokes
  • The 1980s brakes I have use Allen key fixings whilst the 1970s frame needs traditional nuts 
  • The Mercian being a more relaxed frame that the purely race designed MB needs an extra few millimetres of reach on the brakes
  • The saddle clamp uses a traditional and imperial sized nut and bolt rather than the newer allen bolts. The old style are vulnerable to damage and I had the one on my original Mercian Olympic replaced by the modern type
Some of the above fixes can be achieved quite easily but for the future there is always the option to have the frame itself updated by Mercian. Yes I am now considering an element of updating to the frame - the advantage with a steel Mercian frame is that I can get minor alterations and updates made to it by the company who built it and end up with a superb frame for much less than the cost of a new one.

I'd be interested to know what my readers think and would appreciate any comments on this blog, thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment