I managed to find some time to put on the finishing touches on this 89 Merlin. This is one bike that really fought being built. At nearly every step along the way some component or another put up a fight. What you see here is about the 3rd iteration of the original build plan. From a unyielding IRD switchback brake to a sticky Chris King headset this thing just would not go together. But finally it's done.
I decided to add a splash of color to this bike and painted the P2 fork yellow as a bit of a tribute to the first Titanium Fat Chance which ultimately gave rise to Merlin.
This bike is serial number #1850, which makes it the sister bike of my Merlin #1849. Kind of neat to have two consecutive serial number bikes in one places. Both Merlins came from Colorado and both are the same size. Very neat.
Cook Bros RSR cranks with Shimano SG chainrings. More often than not I chose black chainrings with black cranks, but the silver rings look pretty good in this built. They break up the monochrome theme too often found on Merlins of this time.
Shimano XT U-Brake may not be as sexy as some other options, but when setup properly it provides some powerful braking power, especially when coupled with Scott Mathauser brake pads.
Wheels are Bullseye hubs wrapped with Araya RM17 rims, coupled with American Classic quick releases and a Sachs Millard freewheel. Panaracer Smoke compe rear tire with a Ritchey Megabite front tire provide great drive traction with a good bite up front.
Custom top tube cable routing was an option available on Merlins during this time.
Shimano XT make for classic controls which just don't seem to go out of style and work great on the trails!!