15 July 2011

First Glance at MM II

OK, Velouria.  I'm going to give you, and everyone else reading this, a quick "just out of the box" look at Miss Mercian II.

I didn't fully assemble it because I am going to change a few things.  I plan to keep most of the components because they're all good, if not at the same level as the ones on my other Mercians.  

The cranks, hubs and brakes are from Shimano's Deore DX line.  When it was introduced in 1987, it was one step below Deore XT, making it Shimano's second-best mountain bike set.  (I hate using the word "gruppo.")  When the Deore XTR came out in 1991, it moved the DX to third in Shimano's mountain bike line.  Then Shimano introduced the Deore LX line in 1994.  It was priced somewhat lower than the DX but incorporated some of the more desirable features of the XT and XTR lines.  Some time after introducing LX, Shimano discontinued DX.

So, I've gotten a first-rate frame with second- to- third-tier (but still perfectly good) components.  That will work fine for me if I'm going to commute on this bike. I'll just ride the components until they wear out.  

The head-to-downtube lug on this bike has a noticeably longer point and larger cutout window than the same lug on my other Mercians.  There's nothing wrong with this; it's just a different kind of look.  I think the lug on this bike works well with the color and the fact that the "top tube" is two parallel tubes.

Finding this bike was utterly serendipitous.  I was looking for something else on eBay and, for fun, I decided to type "Mercian" in the search box.  Mercians don't show up often on eBay and, when they do, they tend to command good prices.   What made this bike even more of a find is that it's a mixte--only a small percentage of Mercian's productions is this model--and it was in a large size.  And, if Mercian didn't offer the finish that's on my other bikes (Number 57, a.k.a. "flip-flop" purple to green) or lilac, I would have chosen "British racing green," which is the color of this bike.

I didn't assemble it completely because of the changes I plan to make.  As an example, I didn't bother to put on the front fender, which was removed for shipping.  Instead, I'm going to strip the Velo Orange "Zeppelin" fenders off Marianela.  (The ones that came with the bike are plastic.  I think they were painted, because the black seems to be coming off in spots on the side you see when the fender is installed.  The underside is gray.)  And, as I mentioned in a previous post, I'm taking Marianela's saddle for this bike. 

Poor Marianela!  I'm so mean, stripping her that way!  You'd think I was a guy or something. ;=)

At least the handlebars, brake levers and chainring I'm putting on this bike are new.  

Don't worry. No bikes are being harmed in this process.


  1. That frame pump also seems unusual for a bike as new as this one.

  2. Nice!

    I recently picked up an old but barely used set of mountain bike wheels with DX hubs. They are really good quality hubs and almost look too nice for use on a mountain bike.

  3. Good luck wearing out DX parts. I've always suspected that Shimano brought out LX and dropped DX because they weren't selling enough replacement parts.

    The only "advantage" that LX or XT held over DX was lighter weight, but that came at the cost of lesser durability.

    Ride that bike with pride, and keep the parts clean. They will last a good, long time, and work as well as the more expensive groups.

  4. Thanks for the preview, I still can't believe what a lucky find this was! Racing green is an unusual colour for a mixte, which makes the bicycle all the more unique. So what is the frame size?

    It will be interesting to see how this mixte's ride quality compares to your newer Miss Mercian. Looking forward to more details!

  5. Kristin: Thanks!

    Jon and Rat Trap: Though I've never used DX parts myself, I have always known about their durability. On this bike, the hubs, crankset and brakes are DX.

    Steve: I know. But it came with the bike. It looks like it just needs some grease on the plunger.

    Velouria: I still can't believe I found this bike. The frame size is 57 cm, while my other Mercians are 56. Pete, from whom I bought it, is about an inch taller than I am. Also, the top tube length (measured as it would be on a diamond-frame bike) is 55 cm, which is 1.5 cm longer than it is on my other Mercians.

    I know BRG is unusual for a mixte. But the original owner and rider (from whom I bought it) is a man. The gold lettering and lug pinstriping actually makes it rather elegant.

    As soon as I have it together and ride it, I'll discuss the ride quality, and other things.