Author Topic: Mercian bike fit experience  (Read 5899 times)

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #100 on: July 14, 2018, 07:13:16 am »
quite a few 1" threadless headsets here

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/headsets-1-ahead/

and campag besides.

cheers

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #101 on: July 14, 2018, 10:31:50 am »
Chris King do a 1” threadless - by far the best headset I’ve ever had.

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #102 on: July 14, 2018, 10:54:58 am »
I'll be putting a 1" Campagnolo Record threaded headset on my Mercian Strada BTW
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #103 on: July 14, 2018, 11:07:12 am »
Does it have cartridge bearings these days?  If not, consider a Tange FL250C (Falcon) as this is pretty much fit-and-forget and should never develop "indexing".  Stack height 35.3mm but you can use a thinner spacer and lose another mm.  On a new bike, I'd always specify at least 40mm stack height anyway - those 1990s forks cut right down for Shinano 32mm height headsets are really limiting now.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #104 on: July 14, 2018, 11:25:22 am »
Does it have cartridge bearings these days?  ….

of course not; if it ain't broke, why 'fix' it?  To get the same strength in a typical cartridge bearing construction, you would need to have one about three times the volume.  If it is set up and lubricated correctly a Camppag threaded headset should last the life of the bike.

cheers

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #105 on: July 14, 2018, 01:04:49 pm »
I know you don't believe him but I think Jobst Brandt was right on the money about false brinelling.  Nothing with loose races suffers from this, whether it's cartridges or the loose races of a Stronglight A9.  Headsets really need a plain angular contact bearing interface  to accommodate fork flex.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #106 on: July 14, 2018, 01:34:01 pm »
Would 53/39/30 chainrings and a 13/26 cassette be a not completely insane idea for a road bike like this? Would give a gear range of 30.4" to 107.5", which sounds about right to me. The cassette goes 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26 - so straight through to 19T. Found a set of 170mm Record Triple cranks I might use.

Alternatively a 50/34 compact chainset with a 12-30 cassette would give a similar range - 29.5" to 109.9" or with a 13-29 cassette 30.9" to 101.5", but not sure that the latter would be high enough a road bike/
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #107 on: July 14, 2018, 02:52:56 pm »
I know you don't believe him but I think Jobst Brandt was right on the money about false brinelling.  Nothing with loose races suffers from this, whether it's cartridges or the loose races of a Stronglight A9.  Headsets really need a plain angular contact bearing interface  to accommodate fork flex.

For many years JB had a 1" steerer about a foot long and it flexed so much it would knacker any normal headset because the loads were no longer evenly distributed. What he had (and didn't believe he had; he should have known better) was much closer to real brinelling than he thought. He thought he didn't have real brinelling because he couldn't see a ridge of displaced material around the wear marks, but he hadn't done his sums properly; you can have 10um deep dents and the raised area around the holes might only be about 1um high, which would of course be very difficult to detect.

I have seen endless A9s that are knackered through....you guessed it.... fretting wear and in fact I have not seen one that has been used for any distance that wasn't worn unevenly, because the races move and then sit at a funny angle. Folk have even sent me their 'good' A9 headsets to look at and they have been worn just like the others...  IMHO the A9 is the epitome of a terrible headset; it needs a lot of preload in order not to rattle and once so preloaded it binds slightly, even if the raceways are in perfect condition. If you want a built-in steering damper maybe that is OK but if you don't I think it makes for a horrid bike to ride.   

[BTW there is a simple experiment you can do; at the end of a ride with an A9 headset, stop in a straight line using the rear brake, i.e. without turning the handlebars. Pick the bike up at the front and carefully turn the steering. Very often the first turn will be rather bindy and after that the movement will be slightly more free. This happens because the raceways settle into a new position when the steering is first turned in any new loading situation. Unless the road is as smooth as a billiard table the loading is changing all the time as you ride and the inevitable result is a mixture of binding and fretting....ugh...]

Modern cartridges are often built very weakly (too few balls, too small) but a few use a full complement of loose balls of decent size; these headsets are bulkier and heavier than they need be. The ability of the lower race to articulate can be useful if you have a flexy steerer, but in order not to rattle the preload again needs to be high. Swings and roundabouts....

If you have a good quality traditional loose ball headset (Campag, Tange, etc) fitted to a 'normal' sized bike, IME if it dies it has been murdered rather than natural causes, every time...

cheers

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #108 on: July 14, 2018, 03:11:14 pm »
Would 53/39/30 chainrings and a 13/26 cassette be a not completely insane idea for a road bike like this? Would give a gear range of 30.4" to 107.5", which sounds about right to me. The cassette goes 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26 - so straight through to 19T. Found a set of 170mm Record Triple cranks I might use.

Alternatively a 50/34 compact chainset with a 12-30 cassette would give a similar range - 29.5" to 109.9" or with a 13-29 cassette 30.9" to 101.5", but not sure that the latter would be high enough a road bike/

the first set of gearing is such that I'd end up running cross-chained most of the time. You know what gears you use most of the time; my suggestion is that you use a setup that, if possible, does not leave you running cross chained under 'normal'  conditions.  So for racing having 13-19 in 1T intervals is quite desirable but for pretty much everything else I'd live with 2T intervals in that range if it got me out of a cross-chaining hole.

cheers

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #109 on: July 20, 2018, 08:06:09 am »
Would 53/39/30 chainrings and a 13/26 cassette be a not completely insane idea for a road bike like this? Would give a gear range of 30.4" to 107.5", which sounds about right to me. The cassette goes 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26 - so straight through to 19T. Found a set of 170mm Record Triple cranks I might use.

Alternatively a 50/34 compact chainset with a 12-30 cassette would give a similar range - 29.5" to 109.9" or with a 13-29 cassette 30.9" to 101.5", but not sure that the latter would be high enough a road bike/

the first set of gearing is such that I'd end up running cross-chained most of the time. You know what gears you use most of the time; my suggestion is that you use a setup that, if possible, does not leave you running cross chained under 'normal'  conditions.  So for racing having 13-19 in 1T intervals is quite desirable but for pretty much everything else I'd live with 2T intervals in that range if it got me out of a cross-chaining hole.

Okay, what about 12-27 (12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-27) on 50-40-30 rings, does that look any better? Like this:



One of the problems I'm having with working out what gearing is going to work, is that I've never had a (relatively) lightweight road bike previously, only a touring bike (and a Brompton), so I don't really have anything to directly compare it to. On my touring bike I find 11-32 and 46/34/24 works fine, but I rarely use the 24T ring except for really brutal (over 10%) hills (unloaded) or on moderate hills when loaded touring. On the flat I guess I'm mostly in the 65-75 gear inches range.
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #110 on: July 20, 2018, 02:04:52 pm »
well if you intend to ride using the 15 and 17 sprockets on the big ring a lot of the time (which you might, say, in a fast-ish group ride even if you don't normally) then you can have a perfect chainline.

However if in reality it is more often the 19 and 17 sprockets then the standard chainline isn't so good; arguably the 12T sprocket is redundant for many forms of non-competitive cycling, and (if you have enough larger sprockets anyway) you could be better off with either

a) a 13-up cassette or
b) a shortened cassette/freehub body (i.e. nine sprockets rather than ten) and a less dished (and this possibly lighter) wheel.

You can do the latter with a shimano-based cassette/hub system, but it is a lot less easy with a campag-based one.

cheers

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #111 on: July 20, 2018, 04:57:08 pm »
Thanks Brucey, well as for going for a 13T starting cog, AFAIK the two 10-speed Campagnolo options would be Veloce 13-26 (which I think you'd already dismissed, at least for a 53/39/30 triple) and 13-29:

13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26
13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-26-29

I'm a bit loathe to give up the 50-12 top, though, 50-13 looks a bit too low.

The other option of course is to go for a compact double, which might give a better chain line, though probably only in a narrower range of gears (?). Also would likely mean accepting the servicing issues of Power Torque, unless can eventually find a suitable NOS Ultra Torque compact chainset.
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #112 on: July 26, 2018, 05:12:44 pm »
Okay, I made another trip up to Mercian Cycles in Derby again today to discuss adjusting the frame-sizing, some other minor adjustments to spec (e.g. adding a chain-hanger pip to the inside of the RH seat stay) and the most difficult bit, what colour(s) to paint my Strada Speciale...

So, if you've been following the discussion, the main contentious points seemed to be the frame sizing (52cm centre-to-top) in particular perhaps too much seat post showing, for this style of road bike, and the perhaps ugly 10mm extension to the head tube above the top tube that was specified. Also as a reminder, I'm about 5'8", with a 29-30" inside leg, and about 74kg.

The sizing of the frame is also influenced, though, by:

 a) Me not wanting quite as bent over a riding position as "standard" (I am almost 50, with some moderate chronic back pain), hence not wanting the bars too low (though a bit lower than my tourer)

b) Having enough space between saddle and rear wheel to fit a small saddlebag, for longer day/weekend rides. BTW will likely be using a Gilles Berthoud Aspin/Aravis leather saddle, as my bum seems to like these, though I might go for something lighter.

c) Having sufficient standover height to not do myself an injury (the lugged top tube is horizontal), obviously only an issue when stationary and if not actually on the saddle.

So, Grant set the jig up with my previous measurements, I hopped on it and span the pedals and all felt good (re-assuringly) - sporty, but comfy. Then for comparison he increased the frame size by 1cm to 53cm, but lowered the seat post by basically the same amount. Unsurprisingly, the riding position felt exactly the same.

Increasing the frame size would mean - 1cm less seatpost showing (obviously) and no need for the 10mm extension to the headtube. On the flipside, it allows a little less space for a saddle bag or seat pack, though I think a Carradice Barley or similar would probably still fit.

Regarding standover height - they had a 52cm frame in store for me to check this on, but not a 53cm one. With 52cm I could *just* feel the frame touch the bottom of my cycling short fabric, but not pressing in. I was wearing very thin-soled Addidas trainers, though, not 3-bolt cleat cycling shoes, which is what I will be wearing when riding the bike, which I guess would probably raise my standover height slightly.

If I bent down roughly a cm, the 52cm frame still did not quite actually touch *me*, but was very close.

I had to make a call on this, so in the end I said to go for the larger 53cm frame. I hope the standover height will not be a problem in practice... Does it sound like it will be too close, or do you think I'll be okay with this, based on what I described?

Next update post by me in this thread will be about the paint job etc...
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #113 on: July 26, 2018, 05:19:26 pm »
I think it will be fine. For me, stand-over height is practically irrelevant. There is never a situation where I need to or even wish to have both feet on the ground while straddling the perfectly upright bicycle.

In the old days and in poorer countries today, ten-year-olds learn to ride adult roadsters with the top tube a foot taller than their inseam!

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #114 on: July 26, 2018, 05:31:26 pm »
I think the 53cm frame will be fine, too.

BTW regarding the gear ratios, a 12T vs a 13T will enable you to pedal to a speed ~2mph faster, probably down hills only. If you really feel you need a 12T sprocket, you can add it to a 13 up cassette in place of the 13T. You will be left with 12-14T gap but that is probably preferable to the other possibilities.

cheers

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #115 on: July 26, 2018, 05:41:49 pm »
Sorted. Hit us with the paint job details!

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #116 on: July 26, 2018, 06:00:32 pm »
I think the 53cm frame will be fine, too.

BTW regarding the gear ratios, a 12T vs a 13T will enable you to pedal to a speed ~2mph faster, probably down hills only.

Of course 12T for down hills only, I can't push that gear at any sensible cadence on the flat. That extra 2 mph downhill can be quite fun, though, and possibly needed if trying to keep up with a group downhill on a fast club ride. Not so needed for sportives etc. though.

Quote
If you really feel you need a 12T sprocket, you can add it to a 13 up cassette in place of the 13T. You will be left with 12-14T gap but that is probably preferable to the other possibilities.

Now a 13T cog is definitely something I would not want to loose, think that would be about 101.5 gear inches (109.9" for 12T), assuming a 50T big ring.

BTW this is the list of all Campagnolo Veloce and Centaur 10-speed cassettes, though the Centaur ones I think are being slowly discontinued (though most are still easily available). The Centaur ones have a different/nicer finish (some sort of matte-silvery grey coating, the Veloce have a shiny silver finish), are a little lighter than the same size Veloce and have aluminium carriers, which I'm not sure the Veloce cassettes do. But I guess a cassette is a cassette...

I've marked in bold the only ones possibly of interest to me - 11T is a pointless cog for a 50T chain ring and 23T is too high a bottom gear for me. I would prefer to use a genuine Campagnolo non-custom cassette ideally.

Veloce

• 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25
• 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23
• 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25
• 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26
• 13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-26-29


Centaur

• 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23
• 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25
• 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25
• 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-27
• 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30


Chainrings will either be a 50/34 compact or 50/40/30 triple - I haven't fully decided yet, but am actually leaning towards a compact currently (this bike won't be a heavy load carrier, I'm not even having rack mounts...), though would prefer Ultra Torque to Power Torque, and UT Centaur or Veloce chainsets in 170mm are not easy to find... I guess Power Torque is not so bad if I get my local bike shop to do bearing changes.

My current thinking is 12/27 or 12/30 or else 13/26 or 13/29...

Anyway - will start putting my thoughts to keyboard about paint etc. shortly...
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #117 on: July 26, 2018, 07:29:55 pm »
So - onto the complex and (for me) difficult to decide matter of paintwork colours and other finishing options.

Merican's colour options are here, though some of them actually look a bit different "in the flesh" on the actual bike frames I saw:
https://www.merciancycles.co.uk/frames/colours/

[click to expand]



I should perhaps state that both my current bikes are British Racing Green, my Hewitt Cheviot a *very* dark green, my Bromption quite a bit lighter. I like green, but want this bike a different and probably lighter colour.

As a reminder, all components will be silver and will probably have a brown or honey leather saddle and possibly bar tape too..

I initially was going to get it in #63 - orange pearl (flamboyant) and silver (much like here: https://www.merciancycles.co.uk/frames/strada-speciale/ ), the Strada does look pretty nice in that, but think I've changed my mind...

Instead, I'm now thinking of a light-to-mid blue - #12 - Metallic Blue Polychromatic in fact, though I was a little dissappointed to see it looks quite a bit lighter on the bikes I actually saw in this (apparently the actually shade can vary quite a bit). Never-the-less, this is what I've now asked for...

Other colours I quite liked were  a bianchi-esque turquoise e.g. #15 Green Polychromatic or #35 Bianchi Blue Enamel), or somewhat differently, flamboyant red (which is actually quite dark, not bright). I'm still not 100% decided, argh!

I definitely don't want just a single solid colour, I want a contrasting colour head tube and seat tube - for the later with either a "barber's pole" or panel and stripes (contrasting with the main colour) - see below for more on this... For the contrasting colour I've now decide to go for #46 White Pearl (instead of silver or just flat enamel white), also for the main lug lining and also to fill the clover-leaf lug cutouts and fork lug cut outs. I've asked for the lug cutout lining and headtube lug lining (against the white at the front) to be in gold, instead of the more usual black.

I've also asked for the gothic Merican downtube logo to be in white, with gold edging.
 
Other options:

1) Barber's Pole or just panels and stripes on the seat tube? I guess this one is a bit 'Marmite", but for me a barber's pole spiral stripe on the seat tube is so classic Mercian, I just had to go for it (in white pearl, with gold edge lining), though I also do really like the look of one big panel and a smaller stripe top and bottom too - for comparison:

Barber's Pole:



Panel and Stripes (BTW I think this was done in #41 French Blue Enamel - quite like this, actually...)




2) Headtube transfer/badge options - Modern "World Over" Mercian transfer (or enamel badge) or retro "Olympic" one (or enamel badge). I chose the retro "Olympic" logo, though just as a transfer, not enameled badge - easier to clean and less likely to rub on cables on a small frame, I'm thinking. Also cheaper. Though the retro "Olympic badge" *is* rather nice... BTW if going for the Barber's Pole (which is what I've asked for) I *wouldn't* put a second badge/transfer on that (which is what they do standard).

Retro transfer:



Retro badge (would be screwed, not riveted these days)



Modern transfer:



Modern badge  (would be screwed, not riveted these days):




So to summarize - what I've now asked for (unless I change my mind *again*) is -

a) Main colour #12 - Metallic Blue Polychromatic

b) Barber's pole (#46 White Pearl, with gold edge lining) seat tube, against the main #12 blue (with the Reynolds sticker at the top, just below the top tube)

c) #46 White Pearl headtube, with gold lug lining

c) #46 White Pearl main (and fork) lug lining and lug cutout fills, with gold inner lug cutout lining

d) Gothic Merican downtube logo to be in white, with gold edging

e) Retro "Olympic" headtube (-only) logo transfer

How does that sound? If the blue is quite light, maybe black, rather than gold edging would stand out better?
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #118 on: July 26, 2018, 08:54:48 pm »
Thoughts on the paint job etc.? BTW wheels will be silver Mavic Open Pros on silver 32 hole Campagnolo Chorus hubs from 2001 (NOS). at least that's the current plan and I showed the hubs to Grant and he seemed to like them!
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #119 on: July 26, 2018, 09:20:42 pm »
Thoughts on the paint job: It's highly subjective so anyone's opinion other than yours may not mean much! Personally, I'd always go for a solid head badge rather than a transfer, given the choice; it just seems more, well, solid. More like a permanent part of the bike, as opposed to something that's liable to wear off. And three-dimensional!

I'd probably prefer panels or even just a plain seat tube to a barber's pole, but I think your reasoning – that it is quintessentially Mercian – makes sense. So much so that if I were ever to have a Mercian made I'd go for the same!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #120 on: July 26, 2018, 09:22:59 pm »
I heartily recommend a barber's pole - it's what I went for on my tourer when I had it resprayed at Bob Jackson, and nothing says 'classic British' like it. WRT colours, metallics are more fragile than standard enamels, but for a best bike they make sense. If it were my bike, I'd possibly go for something slightly lairy; to my mind, part of the classic lightweight look (and Mercian in particular as exponents of this) is a metallic or flam paint scheme in colour combinations that you'd think might look horribly loud, but in practice work beautifully, e.g. 57/26; 36/30; 16/7* - the orange/silver falls into this category for me. I'd possibly be tempted by a solid headbadge, too.

*See also the Paul Smith Mercian frames.

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #121 on: July 26, 2018, 10:01:54 pm »
I heartily recommend a barber's pole - it's what I went for on my tourer when I had it resprayed at Bob Jackson, and nothing says 'classic British' like it. WRT colours, metallics are more fragile than standard enamels, but for a best bike they make sense. If it were my bike, I'd possibly go for something slightly lairy; to my mind, part of the classic lightweight look (and Mercian in particular as exponents of this) is a metallic or flam paint scheme in colour combinations that you'd think might look horribly loud, but in practice work beautifully, e.g. 57/26; 36/30; 16/7* - the orange/silver falls into this category for me. I'd possibly be tempted by a solid headbadge, too.

*See also the Paul Smith Mercian frames.

I think you might be right, the colour scheme I've suggested is perhaps too "tame", more suited to a tourer? I do like the white headtube and barber's pole and lug lining, though... The bike will have very skinny, non-oversize tubing BTW.  It's also quite a small frame. Will have a think.
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #122 on: July 26, 2018, 11:02:29 pm »
Btw regarding the solid headbadge, when I saw it on a non-oversize headtube (1" steerer) it looked too big and didn't wrap around the tube properly, had gaps either side - think it's shaped for larger headtubes. I might be mistaken, but this put me off a bit.
Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #123 on: July 27, 2018, 12:42:09 am »
Increasing the frame size would mean - 1cm less seatpost showing (obviously) and no need for the 10mm extension to the headtube. On the flipside, it allows a little less space for a saddle bag or seat pack, though I think a Carradice Barley or similar would probably still fit.

Er, why? Space for a saddlebag is dependent on the gap between the top of the wheel (or mudguard) and the saddle - this won't change because you've got 1cm more seat tube and 1cm less seatpost.

I can see that a shorter exposed length of seatpost *might* limit your choice of seatpack, depending on how exactly they mount, but I'd have thought that wouldn't be too much of a constraint.

Re: Mercian bike fit experience
« Reply #124 on: July 27, 2018, 08:50:47 am »
Depending how the saddlebag hangs, it could also rub on the top of the seat stays. More likely with one that loops round the saddle rails than hangs from saddle loops.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)