Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mercian Olympic redux.

My latest rebuild of my Mercian.

My Mercian Olympic had been hanging in the garage for some time, unused because I had to move the fixed gear drivetrain that I had on it to Gordon's Nishiki so he could have a fixed gear bike for school. I decided to go back to a multi-geared configuration using as much of my old Campagnolo Nuovo Record equipment as I cared to. I put it that way because I feel there are a few features of the old NR stuff that I don't want to use anymore. Mainly the 42-52 chainwheels and the old record headset. I also had some pretty nice 5-speed Japanese wheels with cartridge bearings on hand so I didn't go with the Record hubs, maybe I'll build some new wheels up with them, as I do have a large and small flange set. I did find that the rear SunCR18 was dented and there were several damaged spokes on the rear wheel, so I had to replace that rim and the spokes. For tires I installed brand new Pasela TG's 28c's.

Note the huge clearance for the rear brake. This bike was happier with 27 inch wheels.

One issue I've had with the Mercian is the wheel clearances. The rear N.R. brake won't reach a 700c rim without modification. You could use a drop bolt, if you could find one and afford it. It's not a huge amount of space you have to make up. I finally found a way to make it work. I simply filed the bolt hole in the brake bridge, forming something of a slot, just by removing a few millimeters, I got the reach I needed, and the mod is invisible. No work was required on the front brake, a 700 fits fine there.

 The Nuovo Record Rear Derailleur
The drive train was pretty straight forward. I have a lightly used NR RD, front D, and a grab bag of NR shifter parts.  I added a Sun Tour freewheel with 14-26 cogs. 26 is close to the N.R.'s max capacity. I wanted the advantages of a compact crankset, so I used my old Deore MTB with a 110 BCD. It has a 34 and a 46 tooth chainwheel combo.
A look at the front end.
I installed the classic N.R. brake levels and used fresh brake and derailleur cables and taped up the bars. For now I'm using the MKS touring pedals, but I may overhaul my Campy's and use them someday.

It certainly makes a nice looking bike. It rides very well, almost like a racing bike. I plan to use it more often this summer.

Finally, here's a 1981 catalogue page courtesy of the Mercian web page, showing the very model of my bike!

 My 1982 Mercian, as of May, 2012!