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Any Merlin buffs out there?(9 posts)

Any Merlin buffs out there?tamjam
Dec 5, 2002 1:07 PM
I am looking at a vintage Merlin frame and have heard they had some quality control issues in the past, maybe in the 80s? I'm not sure what year the frame is, I'm guessing early 90s. When was it Rob Vandermark split to form Seven? Are there any frame characteristics of each era I can look for to help date this frame?

Thanks.
If it made it this far...TJeanloz
Dec 5, 2002 1:45 PM
Merlin did have some QC issues, particularly with lower-end frames that they introduced, notably the RSR. Many of these frames cracked in the rear triangle, and some others cracked up near the shifter bosses. Bicycles from 1991- around 1997 utilized an integrated 'greaseguard' bottom bracket. These went out of style in 1997-1998 or so (could have been as early as 1995ish.)

Vandermark left Merlin in 1996, and began producing Seven Cycles frames in 1997.

Really though, if the frame was going to crack, it probably would have by now- I wouldn't worry about it if it's in good shape.
carefulColnagoFE
Dec 5, 2002 2:33 PM
Some of the early Merlins had "grease guard" BBs...a bad idea and expensive to replace.
Merlin can give you the year with the serial numberInhighgear
Dec 5, 2002 2:36 PM
The serial # is located on the inside of the rear derailleur hanger and you may have to remove the rear wheel to rear the serial #. Just e-mail it to Merlin and I will be happy to help.

BTW-What are you looking at and how much do they want? I already bought three weeks ago myself.
Merlin can give you the year with the serial numberInhighgear
Dec 5, 2002 2:43 PM
The serial # is located on the inside of the rear derailleur hanger and you may have to remove the rear wheel to rear the serial #. Just e-mail it to Merlin and they will be happy to help.

BTW-What are you looking at and how much do they want? I already bought three weeks ago myself.
Merlin can give you the year with the serial numbertamjam
Dec 5, 2002 7:47 PM
Thanks for the helpful info everyone. I have gotten the serial # (5245) and have sent it off to Merlin. Inhighgear, I saw your recent acquisition when I was searching archives before posting. That looks nice. The one I'm looking at is in the same price range, hopefully even less. I don't really know why I'm looking at it since I have a perfectly fine Ibis Spanky sitting in the garage that I've only ridden ~1,500 miles in 2 years. But I've always had a thing for Merlins.

I only got into road biking a couple years ago (been mtb for years) so am not familiar with the 'integrated grease-guard BB' concept. I've heard of grease-guard as it relates to WTB and many of their components, but am not sure how that works for a BB. Can an ordinary Shimano or Campy BB be retrofitted in?

Thanks again.
Brian
nope...grease guard is a proprietary BB--AFAIKColnagoFE
Dec 6, 2002 8:04 AM
Merlin used to charge a bundle to change it out to a traditional BB shell. Personally I wouldn't get one with a GG BB unless it was way cheap.
Merlin 'quality control'the Phantom
Dec 5, 2002 10:08 PM
Merlin discontinued the awefull grease guard bottom brackets in early 1993. (I waited for my 93 extralight til the B.B. threading machine to be complete). As for quality control issues, significant years for concern were pre 1993 and anytime after 1998. Scroutinize any later "Cambridge made", 1999 onward. The ship was sinking fast, the end was near, quality control was questionable in that era. Similarly, early Litespeed produced frame really stunk too, to be avoided. Present production Merlin frames are much improved with production problems overcome. A truly bad Merlin frame of any vintage is immediately obvoius, look for ugly welds and mis-alignments at the bottom bracket and drop-outs. Any frame can be refinished to look like new, look closely for possible issues. Internal strife, poor management and the arrival of the corporate types forced the departure of the "Gang of Seven'in early 1997. (Go Rob.V..) Merlin, as a company, was a very sorry lot shortly afterward.
BTW, I roof tossed my old Merlin for a vastly better Seven.
1993...are you sure?PsyDoc
Dec 6, 2002 4:54 AM
I bought my Merlin Extralight in the summer of 1992 and it came with the traditional threaded BB. Perhaps Merlin released some early. Just like you, I upgraded to a Seven last year.