Monday, November 19, 2012

Anton's bike from Somerville U.S.A

Dear sir,

I had the good fortune of becoming the owner of a 1971 Mercian Olympic and thought I'd share a photo of it.  Its history is largely unknown, but its previous owner had bought it from his local bike shop as a used frame of unknown origin-- the original decals had been sprayed over. After building it up and deciding it was a really nice riding frame, the owner stripped it to give it a proper repaint.  It was then that he discovered it was a Mercian, and upon verification of the serial number, sent it to your shop for a complete restoration. Apparently it needed a lot of repair:  a new bottom bracket and several dents filled.  The frame came back beautifully restored, new Mercian decals, classic two-tone paint scheme, and christened with the original serial # (5971) stamped on its new bottom bracket.  The bike was built up true to its vintage with a nearly period-correct Campagnolo Nuovo Record group, Cinelli stem and bars, new old stock Super Champion rims and lots of little period-correct extras like Silca Imperio pump and TA bottle cage.  When the bike came into my hands, I swapped out a few parts-- namely I replaced the 52/42 Campy crankset for a more versatile vintage TA compact double and also added a period-correct Brooks Pro saddle.  I also added a pair of Bluemels Club Specials to round out the package.

I love this bike!  It fits me perfectly and it's proven to be my favorite all-around rider. This one's a keeper.


Somerville, MA, USA


Justine Valinotti said...

Such a timeless classic!

Piam said...

Very nice! One of my customers that moved away a few years ago, named Kirke, had a Mercian just like that.
I finished putting it together for him after he had it refurbished.
Did you happen to buy that from him? It really looks great in person. Photos don't quite do it justice.
I'm sure you'll enjoy that bike for a long time.
I wonder what's up with Kirke these days...
West End Bicycles
Houston TX

somervillain said...


Yes! I bought it from Kirke, and noted upon unpacking the bike that the build was very nicely done :). And I agree, the bike is even better than I had expected based on the pictures I had seen. Kirke was very honest and understated the bike's condition.


Piam said...

yeah, he's a good guy. We always enjoyed seeing him at the shop. Please pass along my best regards if you talk to him.

Kirke said...

Hey this is Kirke!

This Mercian was probably the most beautiful, well crafted bike I have ever owned. Unfortunately, due to moving around quite a bit and being unable to ride it, I was forced to sell it. I am so glad that it ended up in your hands and that you are enjoying it and giving it it's fair share of time out on the road.

Like I menioned, I hated to pass this bike on, but rest assured your handywork is being appreciated by Anton for sure. After spending the last few years up in Pittsburgh, I am moving back to Houston in a few weeks. I have been riding tough winter proof bike up there, but will be aching to get a fast Houston commuter together when I get back. I am thinking a custom Mercian Vincitore, built up for commuting. Expect to see me soon, I will looking for advice on the build.

Tell the West End crew I said hello!