Thursday, October 4, 2012

1989 Merlin Titanium

I have been searching for a vintage Merlin for a very long time and although they are not hard to come by, for some reason I could never really find one that was either a good deal, the right size, the right year or whatever. Well it seems that finally the stars have aligned and with a little help from a good friend I managaged to get right one; a roller cam equipped 1989 basic Titanium frame.


This bike was definitely worth waiting for. It's hard to tell based on the serial number alone, but it appears to be a late 1989 model, pre GG bottom bracket but has the thicker downtube. The frame came with all the decals stripped off and so was not being sold as a Merlin but just a lowly Titanium frame, which helped keep the price down. 

I am very impressed with the quality of welds and overall workmanship on this frame. It looks like a lot of thought and effort went into the design and fabrication. All of the details are exactly as they need to be to do their job, no extra material used, the welds are smooth and precise.





The bike will be built with a mix of WTB components including a WTB/CK headset, WTB RC rear brake and WTB GG hubs laced to Mavic MA40 rims and NOS Specialized Ground Control yellow label tires. The drivetrain will be mostly Shimano XT M730/2, probably 6-spd as there were a few of those pieces that came with the bike.  Ideally I'd try to get some nice Cook Bros cranks, but I might just stick with a pair of M730s. At the moment I'll be using a Ritchey Logic fork in black and still have to sort out the stem, bars and seatpost.

Next I need to clean up the frame with some Scotchbrite and apply new decals. I ordered some new Phil Wood BB bearings which will hopefully get here soon.

2 comments:

  1. Are you going to reuse the BB spindle? I've got one waiting for a rebuild as well. It's a 91, and I've just been staring at it waiting to get it going. I know the Phil bearings I need, but was debating if I need a new spindle.

    From what I've gathered, you pull the clips and knock it all out with a hammer and wood eh?

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  2. Yes, I plan to reuse the spindle and only replace the bearings with new ones from Phil Wood

    You can knock the spindle out with a hammer during removal, it ought to come out pretty easily.

    FWIW my bearings were not held in with clips but with collars like a FC BB, so perhaps ease of removal, etc is different from bike to bike.

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