Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Resurrection of Molly

Back about 1977 or so, i was a  pretty much penniless bike bum in search of a decent track bike. One late winter's day i wandered into the local bike shop and fell in love with a repainted Mercian frameset. The shop in question specialized in repainting and  reselling racers' retired bikes. i was told it had belonged to a local fellow who had been a pursuit specialist. It was a bit tall for me, but i willed myself into parting with $150 and set out to kit out my new track iron.

  It wasn't an ideal machine for track racing- the wheelbase was about 42" and sprinted like a truck (to be fair, I sprinted like a truck.) What i did find though, was it was a fun bike on the road, and soon i was putting more road miles on her than on my road bike.

 Years passed and "Molly" -as i came to name her, eventually was relegated to a hook in the shed, displaced by a series of more aggressive track irons and other road bikes. About a dozen years ago, i grew tired of looking at the peeling Imron on the bike i spent more time moving out of the way than riding. My USCF licence long expired, most of the newer more exotic bikes in the fleet sold off to pay for newer vices and debts, i decided it was time to put her back in service.

  Well, as these projects go, the revival was put on a back burner for another few years. i did finally strip the old paint -only to discover that the frame had a number of battle scars that last painter had skillfully hidden with Bondo. i intended to simply "rattle-can" the frame and be done with it, but never got it together to carry out that idea.

 Finally came the time i was tired of looking at the sad old unpainted dear and decide to go the powder coat route, done -i shouldn't say "on the cheap"- by a local service. It turned out rather well, IMHO.

i managed to find most of the original components in various boxes, almost stalled by the missing seat bolt... try finding a 7/32 whitworth allen bolt! Emails to Derby came to naught, despite the helpful efforts of Mercian's mechs. Somehow, the original bolt was found at the bottom of a bag of random parts in the back of a drawer. Repro decals were located, assembly completed, and last Saturday we took to the street for the first time in over a decade.

 The battle scars were left alone- call it "beausage" - Bondo doesn't play well with powder coat anyway...
   Vincitore lugs:

Wrapover seat stays and a pesky Whitworth bolt:

A few more tweaks to show some retro-grouch cred; Cloth tape & shellac:

Coming soon, a T.A. bottle cage on the 'bars, and maybe a bell. Looking forward to getting back to spring fitness rides in a 68 inch gear... maybe even a brevet. The shakedown ride last weekend reminded me how much fun it is to bomb around on that old war horse. More pics in a later post.

 The stats:
  • Light gauge 531 tubes
  • 60cm, c/c
  • Mercian's Vincitore lugs, wrapover seatstays
  • Campag Pista crankset, 175mm
  • Campag Pista headset, pedals
  • Campag Record Pista hubs, fitted w/QR, 36 spokes, Mavic Module E rims
  • Brooks B-17 saddle on Campag seat pin
  • Cinelli 66/42 bars, 1a stem, 100mm
  • Campag brakeset

Built in 1970, according to the serial number. Go look at the Mercian site at their newest limited edition Path Racer.

1 comment:

  1. That just might be the ultimate "path racer." I love it!