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Merlin Rant: Three Strikes You're Out!(23 posts)

Merlin Rant: Three Strikes You're Out!PsyDoc
Sep 12, 2001 3:44 AM
So, many of you know that I WAS in the market for a Merlin Extralight. The first frame I ordered from Excel (around July) was way off on the measurements, sloppy welds at the dropouts (looked like the welds were "crying"), and I sent it back. The measurements were way off compared to those listed on Merlin's website. Merlin informed me that those figures were wrong and sent me the correct numbers for the 56cm and 57cm frames. I then ordered another Merlin Extralight frame. This one was in much better shape and I was excited to build it up. So, my first order of business was to install the Ultegra BB. The BB goes in smooth as butter, but I notice that there is a gap at the top of the BB shell of the frame and the flange of the Ultegra BB. I thought that gap was a bit strange, so I went to look at my other Merlin, which had no gaps whatsoever. Because my other Merlin was built in 1992, I thought maybe perhaps this was a design change, but as a check I decided to fold a piece of paper in half and tried to run it around the gap to check for uniformity, but there was none. So, I flip the frame over to the non-drive side and, sure enough, the Ultegra BB spline was off-center. So, I back out the Ultegra BB and the threads are fine; in other words, I did not cross thread it. I also checked to make sure that the screw that holds the plastic cable guide on the bottom of the BB shell was not hitting the Ultegra BB. As I look inside the BB shell of the frame, I notice that on one side there is about a 2" section where the threads continue into the BB shell another inch or so around the 7-8 o'clock area. So, I call up Excel and speak with one of the mechanics there who confirms what I had concluded...the BB shell was not tapped correctly. So, the frame was been shipped back to Excel. AND, this all happened on Friday the 13th, just in case you are superstitious :) I called Merlin and was informed that this is not the first time since the move from Massachusetts they have had BB shells mis-tapped, but they thought the problem had been fixed.

So, I decided to give Merlin a third try, but Merlin had stopped making 2001 frames as it began to gear up for the 2002 run. The 2002's did not begin shipping until the 2nd week in September. Anyway, I come to find out that there were problems with this frame as well, which failed Excel's inspection. Excel informed me of this yesterday. First, the finish was noticeably uneven. Second, the brushed finish on the seat tube was so deep that you could feel the grooves with your finger nail. Third, where the seat stays meet the seat tube, the right seat stay (I think it was the right one) was 3-4mm below the left stay. 3-4mm may not sound like much, but they said it was very noticeable. Fourth, the frame was out of alignment.

That's IT! I have had it with the poor build quality of the "new" Merlins. I guess if you are going to get the solid build quality of the Massachusetts' built Merlins, then you need to order a Seven!
re: Merlin Rant: Three Strikes You're Out!MikeC
Sep 12, 2001 4:34 AM
That's pretty sad. However, it sounds like Excel has been pretty responsive, and their rejection of the third frame before it even got to you shows some good attention to detail. Do you still feel good about Excel, or did they disappoint you, too, by letting the first two frames get by?
re: Excelbianchi boy
Sep 12, 2001 4:51 AM
I bought a bike (Gios) from Excel in early June and I have had very positive experiences with them. They were very helpful in advising me how to fit and set up the bike, and let me exchange stems until I got the fit dialed in. The frame I bought went on sale a month after I got my bike, and they refunded me $100. I had one mechanical problem about 2 months after I got the bike -- the bottom bracket came unscrewed while I was out riding and scratched up the left crank. Excel sent me a new crank right away and refunded me the labor costs to get the BB fixed at my local bike shop. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another bike from them.
re: Exceldavidl
Sep 12, 2001 1:06 PM
I must second Bianchi Boy's narrative on Excel. I bought a Gios Megalite from Excel and it's worked out fine. I have had nothing but good results with Excel, and I've bought a lot of stuff from them. I recommend Excel highly.
Excel is still cool by me...PsyDoc
Sep 12, 2001 6:33 AM
They have been incredibly helpful. Gregg at Excel has been in disbelief of what has been happening with my quest to get an Extralight.
you can't trust rednecks from Tenn to weld Ti?cyclopathic
Sep 12, 2001 5:26 AM
I won't my Litespeed mtb frame snapped alone headtube and I am only 140lbs!

Merlin is gone after Litespeed bought 'em it is not the same

I will never buy LS product. If I need Ti I'd rather get Seven or Mongoose/Airborne if on budget
Had great success with my Airborne.Chris Zeller
Sep 12, 2001 7:24 AM
Since purchasing the bike I've discovered lots of other companies with good looking budget Ti frames that are probably also good frames: Sampson, Dean, Macalu, Colorado Cyclist Douglas to name a few. Never ridden any of these.

But my experience has been terriffic with my Airborne. Nice looking welds, well aligned, everything fit perfectly, and their online fitter fit me perfectly--unlike any stock bike I looked at at the LBS.

Bummer about Merlin. I was considering them for my future dream mountain bike. I really liked their "novel" on frame engineering on their site. It really proved to me that they had done the research and their frames must be close to optimum.
RE: can't trust rednecks from Tenn to weld Ti?ZYZBOT
Sep 12, 2001 7:49 AM
Keep your regional bigotry to yourself. People who live in Tennessee are just like people everywhere else. If you don't like Litespeed, then DON'T ride one. I can name you a dozen other manufacturers who have also built bike with frames that occasionally fail.
for what it's worthDog
Sep 12, 2001 5:36 AM
I have a friend that bought a new Seven Odonata Ti in July and it was absolutely beautiful, no problems. Perfect looking welds. He loves it.

But, this is purely anecdotal.

Sep 12, 2001 5:56 AM
Nothin' could finer than a Legend ride(r)!!
There is something about Serotta that I just...PsyDoc
Sep 12, 2001 6:36 AM not like. Granted, this is my own personal preference and is not to say that Serotta is not a beautiful looking bike.
Your Point?grzy
Sep 12, 2001 7:49 AM
What an asinine nonsensical reply. You sound like an ignorant gossip. Might as well say you don't like odd numbers.

Unless you make some attempt to characterize your bias it does us no good. Might as well say there is some ethnic group you don't like for no particular reason. Since you don't think the bike is ugly it must be an image thing conveyed by either the company or the owners. When there's a bike or a product I don't like I provide a slew of reasons, as does most everyone here.

Try this on for size: Hey, there's something about you that I just don't like - but I'm not going to tell you what it is.
Just an opinionk
Sep 12, 2001 8:56 AM
and at least the guy didn't go into a childish rant about the manufacturer like others have supporting or a criticizing the bike and and generalizing the people who ride them. Quite diplomaticly...he doesn't care for them.

I for one am considering one.
Easy Big Guy...PsyDoc
Sep 12, 2001 9:02 AM
I did not realize that I am not allowed to have an opinion. I do not understand how this insignificant post could get someone so exasperated, at least that is how your post came across to me.

I have held two 2001 Legend Ti frames in my hands. On both, the welds on the bottom bracket and at the headtube/downtube junction were uneven and looked sloppy to me. The finish on these two particular frames was poor, in my opinion, compared to litespeed, merlin, or seven frames. Also, I think the 3-D dropouts are unattractive. The bottom line is that if I do not like a frame, regardless of the reason, then I will spend less time riding it.
Easy Big Guy...grzy
Sep 12, 2001 1:10 PM
First, I'm not that exasperated. Second we're all entitled to our opinions. Third - it's way funny how you've changed your position from stating that you held nothing against the frames, but now you've thought of something.

You sound like an a$$ - it's a good thing you don't own a Serotta...
You wouldn't happen to own one?pmf1
Sep 12, 2001 12:56 PM
Hmmmm? Touchy, touchy.
Irrelevant. (nm)grzy
Sep 12, 2001 1:11 PM
It's not irrelevant...tirider
Sep 12, 2001 8:30 PM
... I recognize you from the Serotta message board and you ride a Serotta, hence your amazingly viperous response. I completely fail to understand how personal people get about the bikes they ride. I've owned a Serotta myself but for Christ's sake it's just a bicycle. Moses to my knowledge didn't come down off the Mount carrying a Serotta. I am completely against people rudely criticizing others bikes here but I saw none of that in PsyDoc's post. Why is it there seems to be such a dearth of civility on this board?
Sep 13, 2001 9:20 AM
I dunno, I just don't like him.

Get it?

Yeah, I own a Serotta, so what? I bought it for the ride - something he doesn't seem to mention, understand or even appreciate. Had he made any mention of that he would've had some credibility and some basis. I guess it just wouldn't look good in his display case. You hear me bashing Light Speed? What about Airborne? His happens to be the only post I've read that criticizes Serotta's quality - it could even be true. In the 25 years they've been cranking out frames they've kept the bar quite high and everyone else attempts to meet their level. Serotta is all about quality - to say their quality sucks is an insult.

The guy said one thing (the bikes aren't ugly, but he just didn't like them for some *unknown* reason), I called him on it, he back peddals and says something else (well he doesn't like the dropouts, and two frames he's held had flawed welds, then later in another post ups it to three). How many shops really have two or three bare Legend frames lying around for people to fondle? All I'm really saying is that I think he's full of sh!t. Maybe I just should've said that the first time. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and this is where we get to share it.

Yeah, at the end of the day it is just a bike and, to borrow a line, it's not about the bike. It's about the ride.
My point is...tirider
Sep 13, 2001 10:16 AM
... it's a just a frick'in bike. Your respose is along the lines of someone who's wife was just disparaged publicly. I suggest a little less time paying homage to the Serotta message board and the Jim Jones of Serotta, Bic Mac and his many minions.
welcome to the world of Litespeedxxx
Sep 12, 2001 6:05 AM
I'm quite sure you'll get a expletive filled, incredibly immature response from Lazyrider. Regardless, I don't write in much anymore, and the only time is to 'inform' people of the poor nature of LS quality control. (An oximoron if there ever was). They are: rolling pieces of overhyped, poor quality, false advertising, pieces of junk.
Thanks for the infok
Sep 12, 2001 7:15 AM
I was wondering about that since the price-point seemed interesting. No discredit to Excel.
re: Merlin Rant: Three Strikes You're Out!dan31
Sep 13, 2001 4:35 AM
Moots, and be done.