Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

23 September 2014

From Blogger To Advisor: A Reader Asks About A Mercian

If you blog about something for long enough, are you an expert on it?

(If you use "blog" as a verb, are you creative or just someone who didn't listen when your English teachers said, "Don't verb nouns!")?

Well, one of my regular readers asked for my opinion about a frame listed on eBay--a Mercian, of course.

Now, I won't tell anyone not to buy a Mercian unless it's the wrong size or has damage that can't be repaired.  The frame in question doesn't seem to fit in the latter category:

My dear reader says it's "a little on the small side" but rideable.  Some people don't mind, or even prefer, a frame that's a bit smaller than what's normally recommended for them.  There are legitimate reasons for that, and I wouldn't try to talk someone out of buying such a bike--especially if it's not available any other size.  (If you can't get the right size, too small is definitely better than too big.) Of course, my reader could get a new Mercian in the right size.  But, I think the reader likes the look--or, perhaps the spirit--of a vintage bike.  Or it may just be that the frame in question could be had for a good deal less money than a new one.

Speaking of which:  My reader wondered whether the price was "on the premium side."  Well, I told him, perhaps it's possible to find a similar frame for less.  But that might mean waiting, possibly for a good long while.   After all, there are only so many old Mercians--or any other old classic frames--being sold at any given moment.

I told my reader that if I were looking for another bike and it were closer to my size, I'd buy the frame in question.  I'd buy it even if I were simply looking for an interesting restoration project:  It looks like the frame has the old British-made TDC headset and, possibly, bottom bracket.  If I had the time and money to do a resto, I'd build it up with British-made parts like GB handlebars, stem and brakes, and possibly even a Benelux or Cyclo derailleur.  

I don't think my reader has any such plans.  I think I gave the best advice I could--although, in my heart of hearts, I think a Mercian is always worth it.

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