Firstly, I hope I’m posting this in the right spot. It’s more of a general advice needed thread with the potential to turn into an actual project.
I picked up this incredible Mercian off Ebay a few weeks back (Shoutout @Jingle_Jangle for posting on here). I think it's one of the raddest frames/bikes I've ever seen. It's practically never ridden, has all the original parts, Deerhead groupset, handbuilt wheels, Nutrak tyres etc etc.
My original plan was to modernise it and turn it into my commuter / weekend ride / potential tourer (the classic do-it-all). First and foremost I wanted to make it lighter. It’s very very heavy at the moment. Secondly I was keen to make it as nippy on the roads as possible (for an old steel mountain bike that is).
My plan was to:
However, having done a bit more research, I’m beginning to feel like:
A) It’s more of a collectors item than I had initially realised. I’m guessing it’s probably worth more than the sum of its parts, and perhaps it should go to someone who would appreciate and use it how it is.
B) Probably more importantly, if I commit I could end up fighting a losing battle trying to shoehorn the frame into a build that’s always going to feel pretty sluggish. I’ve heard the 80’s 531 all-terrain tubing is considerably heaftier than what was used in the 90’s.
I’ve only ever really ridden track bikes aside from one three week biking holiday, so am a bit out of my depth with mountain bikes, especially this old. Hoping to gauge a general consensus on whether it’s feasible to turn this beautiful frame into something I would love and ride every day, or whether I should cut my losses and go back to the drawing board.
its hard to look past leaving it as it is tbf, its a stunner.
I know right. I reckon I'm not the first person to have been in this predicament with this bike.
A) probably. Especially if you think you want something light, seems like the frame is not a good starting point. As you say, as it is, it's pretty much a museum piece as it is, complete.
A - I'm not sure you will be able to realise your plans with this bike and far better to leave it in it's current condition.
You won't struggle to sell it.
What size is it ?
100% option A
Option C: Can you not use it as it is? Yes it's beautiful, but I think if you want to use a bike, then all well and good that's what they're for. It looks perfect for all-round day trips and touring - just add a rack or two.
fair... I have a 90's mtb which is very nice for exactly what you are describing,
Option A :)
I would just use it to cruise around on sunny days winking and doing finger guns to people.
20” (50.8cm) Seat tube, 22" (55.8cm) Top tube
New, fatter gum wall tyres and some v brakes and it’s finished I think.
A for me
It's beautiful. I stopped myself from buying it as I couldn't justify owning it on an A) basis which, imo, is the best thing for it.
Completely understand the excitement, of course :)
Fix those mudguards!
No dov, those muguards are correct, clearance for mud. Rough stuff innit
I reckon if you do modernise, why not strip everything off, keep it all minty, fit totally new parts, decide it’s not right later and rebuild for sale as was, all museumy.
... and put your new parts on a nice 853 hardtail
A for me then get something else more fit for purpose.
It is really cool though, nice purchase
...but trim the front stay or find end caps, unless you like getting poked in the legs.
Keep it as is. It won't get lighter by modernizing it. And why bother about weight anyway, you only feel how heavy/light a bike is when you have to carry it. So don't carry it, just ride it.
I’m sure any amounts of people over on RetroBike would pay good money for that. Beauty of a piece.
In regards to having a modernised mountain bike, Late 90s frames are definitely the age you’re looking for, the only modern standards they’re usually missing are disc brake mounts. I’ve got a Saracen from 95’ that I’m building up with the same aspirations atm
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