New handmade, steel frame bike coming soon

My commuter bike is again out of action being patched up for further winter abuse on the grimy roads. Which has left me with a choice – get the special bike out of its winter hibernation and subject it to the mud and grit, or just drive the car. I went for the first option.

Mud-splattered Merckx

Mud-splattered Merckx

But what if there was a third option? If cycling has taught me one thing, it’s that you can generally buy yourself out of most problems. So I finally pulled the trigger on that handmade, steel frame bike I’ve been yammering on about for ages.

After a series of emails and phone calls with Mercian in Derbyshire, last week I travelled up to their shop to make my choices. Unlike buying a ready-made bike from a shop or the internet, I was able to specify every individual part of the bike making it a completely bespoke end product. Mercian have been around since the 1940s making mostly road and touring bikes. They produce about 300 – 400 bikes a year.

The Mercian shop

The Mercian shop


Hand made frames adorn the walls

Hand made frames adorn the walls

Gothic or modern text on the frames

Gothic or modern text on the frames

As I will be mostly using the bike for commuting I opted for an audax setup which is a little more comfortable and less aggressive than the racing setup. The geometry of the bike was established based on my body measurements and then I checked these against measurements I had taken of my current bike. I chose to have two bottle cage mounts on the frame as well as front and back pannier lugs.

I went for Reynolds 725 steel tubing and in terms of the finish went for it in pearl red with pearl white details. The name in gothic text, a few white bands on the down tube and a proper head badge.

The full choice of colours

The full choice of 63 colours

I knew I wanted red, but almost changes my mind for a nice, sexy beige

I knew I wanted red, but almost changes my mind for a nice, sexy, metallic beige

I am looking at having it built up as a complete bike, but for now have just paid a deposit for the frame building and spraying. I thought I had finalised the components and finishing kit choices, but a few last-minute, concerned emails from my wife’s Uncle about why on earth I was choosing Campag Veloce rather than Athena, and the problems of trying to squeeze mudguards with tyres larger than 23mm through Campag brakes have lead to further discussion with the Mercian shop! Further details to follow, however the groupset and finishing kit will all be in chrome to ensure it has the classic bike look.

A computer-generated image of my choices

A computer-generated image of all my choices

I’m looking forward to having a beautiful, hand-crafted object for everyday use. I’m going to love riding this bike.

5 thoughts on “New handmade, steel frame bike coming soon

  1. Pa says:

    Fascinating stuff. Looking forward to hearing how you complete this dream bike. There will be no excuse for that blue line not crossing the red line on the graph in 2013!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s