I think I may have finally solved the Merlin equation for myself (not that others haven't)... These bikes are notoriously hard to build up such that they don't look boring. By design are they are very monochromatic looking machines and don't fare well with many custom and blingy parts people often attempt to dress them up. More often than not they look best with traditional grouppos like XT, XTR or XC-PRO. But the moment you start tacking on the choice components things go wrong really quickly. I think the following build represents what a pretty much fully dialed in Merlin can look like without going over the edge and making it look like a Honda Civic with a big wing on the back...
You just can't go wrong with Cook CBRs, They look great on any bike and even better with Action Tec Titantium chain rings.
One of the hardest decision for any Merlin is what fork to pick. Made easy here by using an IRD Titanium expedition fork. Damn near impossible to find, but works perfectly!
IRD macaroni stems is one of the more recognizable components made by IRD back in the good ole days.
Such a beautiful union of metal... really doesn't get a whole hell of a lot better.
I wonder who had the job of forming these little brake cable guides and were they all mandrel bent?
Lucky wondering when I'd be done...
Bike looks sharp from any angle!
IRD progressive U-brake. This is a very neat design which actually seems to work rather well.
Another great build comes to a close. I will admit that this one will be hard to let go, lots of amazing parts and all of them coming together to make something truly amazing!