Grey Mercian

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  • I bought a secondhand Mercian yesterday. 531c, touring geometry, has entry-level bits on it; Campag Mirage/105, Mavic sup(?) wheels that have a sticker saying they were built by Mercian, and a nice Mercian stamped seatpost. I'm guessing it came originally as a full-build from them. I don't know what model it is. Needs a bit of work. Said seatpost appears stuck (at an inch too short for me), so that will be one of the first jobs if it's possible myself. Then to strip and regrease the wheels etc.

    Haven't done a project thread before. I bought this bike specifically to do one and have a bit of fun with it. Pictures to follow...


  • interested to see pics! where did you get it?

  • Managed to take pics today. Had a smash (literally) at removing the seatpost and it didn't budge a mm, so LBS time. Not sure if I want to put a more modern groupset on or keep it period. Tried Shimano wheels on (as in first picture) and like the idea of all black components. Have a Sram Apex group I could donate to it and have been looking at a black Cambium all-weather saddle. The bike cleaned up really well, I was surprised at the condition. Aside from the crunchy hubs it is definitely rideable. @georgeholmes26 it was an ebay buy. The small details on the frame are really beautiful. I think it is an audax model(?) and the BB shell might even read '98', but it's hard to make out. Will to strip it fully next, after the seat pillar is out.

    The stuck seatpost, damaged the underside in mild frustration.

    Bonus stickers

    Wheels that came with

  • Shame about seat post, not seen a Mercian branded one before.

  • very nice bike, the colour imo would also work with gumwall tyres and honey coloured brooks tape and saddle.
    Have you tried gently prising the two seat bolt lugs apart?
    It "might" be enough to free the seatpost.

  • Another lovely Mercian! I've had some success before by removing the bb, turning it upside down, and filling the seat tube with coke. Then in a soft jaw vice, and wiggle/tap with wooden mallet.

  • Boiling water also works. Makes the steel expand.
    Super lovely frame

  • Thanks @TheShipwright, @stedlocks, @Hulsroy, I'm in the process of trying each method. Prised the seat bolt lugs apart gently. They did open up away from the post slightly, but it's still stuck fast. Boiling water then Coke method next up.

    Yes @efb I'm annoyed that I chipped a bit of the metal. Stupid impatience. think it might 'buff out' though if the post can be saved. Want to see the full Mercian decal that's hidden.

  • Never tried it myself but what about plumbers freezing spray on the post and once its good and cold boiling water on the seattube.

  • I put my seatpost in a vice after lots off wd40 inside seattube then i grabbed the frame and twisted the frame left to right until the seatpost came loose .try using a hair dryer to heat frame .have done 2 frames like this .good luck lovely frame :-)

  • Worst thing you can do it clamping the seat post. You will ovalise it and create even more friction inside the seat tube. Get an old saddle on there.
    Bike looks to be in super condition so my guess is that the seat post is just a tad long and has been inserted to far in. I bet that strong grip and boiling water will fix it.

  • Don't clamp the seatpost tube .i meant the top part off the seatpost the seat clamp

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  • After WD40, boiling water, hairdryer and some grimacing the seatpost is still wedged (Coke method yet to come). I decided to let that issue sit for a while and strip the rest of the bike down. Everything else was well-greased so far. BB is still quite smooth, brake calipers springy enough, headset little gritty, will be opening it up next. Ordered a Park BBT-4 and crank puller to remove the chainset/BB as the black Apex groupset might go on. Also ordered a new black Zenith quill stem in 60mm. I will remove the cassette from the rear wheel tomorrow, the wheels are light and strong. Just the hubs aren't too smooth. I think the bb shell stamp now says '96'.

  • Mucho potential here. Following.

  • I assume the hubs are cup and cone? Are you going to have a go at servicing them?

  • @TheShipwright, yes. Opened up headset and wheels to put in new grease and check them out. Front wheel was fine, rear is different. Looks like it is a sealed bearing wheel(?), not cup and cone as I expected. Feels very rough. The hub isn't stamped with Campag like front, so I'm confused becaue the rims are a pair. I stopped there for now as it all needs a clean.

    Steerer tube showed the frame stamp: '8598, 2'

  • That's a pain but at least the sealed bearings are easy to replace.
    I've had some success in prising the plastic seal off and cleaning the bearings with white spirit.
    If they're not too far gone you get a bit longer out of them.

    Nice you've got the fork to match and it's stamped etc.
    I think with Mercian, the first two digits are the frame "number" so the 85th frame built in 98.

    Those headset bearings look like they needed a bit of clean!

  • Yes, bearings got a good clean @TheShipwright, thanks for the information about the numbering.

    Jobs done since last update: fitted rear/front Apex mech (front is temporarily shimmed with cut up inner tube), fitted Sram chain, cleaned headset now smooth, re-fitted existing brake calipers with Apex cartridge pads and barrel adjusters, fitted Flite saddle (temporary, want to switch for Cambum all-weather), decided to keep ITM Super Italia Pro-2 bars, serviced GXP BB with a ton of lubricant in anticipation of putting on new Apex chainset, got Apex shifters and cables readied.

    Jobs to come: remove Mirage chainset and BB, fit Apex/GXP, fit new Zenith stem, cable-up, test-ride, sort seatpost, grease everything.

    I am then left with a spare mostly-Mirage groupset, so a new build with that might be next on a beater frame. The wheels are undecided currently, the Mercian built ones are so nice and I think they will work best with gumwalls. I read up on the rear Mirage hub and I need to drift out the sealed bearings then fit new ones for smooth running. (Edit: I'll open up the seals first and see if a bit of grease in helps before drifting them out). The front is just a cup and cone job.

    Front mech, with inner tube shim:

    Like the bars a lot:

  • Removed the Mirage chainset today. Came off nice and easy. The BB is a different story. Don't think it has been touched for 20 years and the Park Tool wrench isn't the best to get leverage with. Zenith Stem came in the post and looks good with the ITM bars. I will put on the shifters and do some cabling up next.

  • The Mirage bottom bracket came out today. Used the Park Tool BBT-4, however the leverage wasn't there. Ended up putting the tool on the cup then threading the crank-arm back on to hold the tool in place so it could be hit with a mallet. Worked a treat. BB looks like it hasn't been removed since it was initially fitted. It was stiff, but the threads are clean and accept a new GXP. Added bonus is that I can now try the Coca-Cola trick with the seatpost.

  • Well done on the BB, lateral thinking. I had a mass of chewed alloy splines, someone gave me a tip about threading a quick release through the hollow axle to clamp the removal tool into the splines (shimano type) with a cone spanner. It worked. Good luck with the coke! This little guys a brute...­zE0

  • Cleaned up some of the Campag bits today. The Mirage Chainset has become very shiny and is making me almost reconsider about putting the Apex groupset on. Had another pop at the seatpost. Now the BB was out I could fill the seat tube with boiling water. I did and it didn't have much effect. During twisting using an old saddle I felt something give. The post clamp at the top had crumbled into two. At this point I realised the post was no longer functional and could be sacrificed. I hacksawed the top clamp area off. I then poked a spoke inside it to see how long the post went down inside the frame. To my surprise it swallowed up the spoke. The post is inserted right down, almost to the first bottle cage boss. It's a long post. I am now considering drilling a hole in the protruding post and inserting a rod to get leverage, if no joy then carefully sawing the post out. This approach seems to have a pretty good hit rate. Either way it is coming out soon.

  • I once had this seat post problem and everything I tried came to no avail, finally I cut off the top of the post and then used a drill bit slighly smaller than the diameter, I carfully drilled the seatpost leaving a shim like which popped out, good luck and don't give up

  • Lovely frame!
    I had a VERY stuck post and didn’t want to destroy the paint. After many hours and many hacksaw blades I threw in the towel and sent it to this guy:
    Worth a shot if your really stuck

  • NaOH it.

    F-pissing around with a hacksaw.

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Grey Mercian

Posted by Avatar for Squaredisk @Squaredisk