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Bonjour

Opening a store is hard work ! We have been selling stuff via eBay for a while now, but thought we would expand into our own website. With eBay it’s fairly simple – buy stuff (new or second hand), sell it (hopefully at a profit).

Opening an online store is a whole different ball game. You have to source reliable suppliers (we have a few of them in France). Our main problem with buying and selling older ‘obsolete’ parts is finding a consistant supply as there are normally only a finite number of items. When the parts do arrive, we have to check the quality of the items – several items we have bought as new old stock, are not.

We have also had to design the site to try and get the right feel to it. I hope you like it !

On a more fun note I dropped off a Peugeot PV10 frame to be restored today. The PV10 is the slightly less glamourous brother of the legendary PX10 frame that was ridden by Tom Simpson, Eddie Mercx and Bernard Thevenet. The main difference is instead of being completely 531 tubing the rear stays are not. It was introduced in the 1979 model year and is branded ‘Super Competition’. The frame is in not bad condition to start with, but I’m intending on using it as my uber best bike.

Peugeot PV10 - Before the respray
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Chapeau a Cav !

Congratulations to Mark Cavendish on winning sports personality of the year.

Love him or hate him Cav winning this award can do nothing but good for cycling and encourage more folks out onto the roads.

There was a debate running on Talk Talk on whether cycling is actually a sport. I would challenge the Talk Talk radio presenter to ride his bike on the Tour and say it wasn’t. Cycling can also be a mode of transport –¬† thats the great thing about the bike, you can use it at whatever level you like.

Whatever your view, it’s great that Mark Cavendish has been recognised for his achievements.

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2012 Vintage Sportives

Whilst it’s fun to ride alone, at times it’s also good to have some company. There are several sportive type events (mainly in Europe) aimed at vintage / retro bikes. Here’s the ones that I’ve found:

Pendle Witches, Lancashire April 12th: http://www.pendlewitchesvintagevelo.co.uk/

Beret Baguette Ride, Paris, May: http://www.beret-baguette.com/

Anjou Velo Vintage, Saumur June 23 /24: http://www.anjou-velo-vintage.com/

Retroronde, Flanders, Belgium, July 1st: http://www.crvv.be/en/museum/activities/retroronde

La Patramonie, Favieres en Brie, France, September: http://www.lapatrimoine.fr/

Eroica, Italy, Early October: http://www.eroica-ciclismo.it/english/home.asp

Tweed Run, London, November: http://tweedrun.com/

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Handlebars

I was finding the existing handlebars a little narrow, plus the brakes were the ‘wrong way round’ so off to eBay again and have purchased a pair of Belleri handle bars. Like my Mercier these bars started off life in St Etienne which was one of the reasons I chose them. They’ve got quite a deep drop compared to modern bars but feel light compared to the existing chrome steel ones.They also have a very slight outward flare.

To finish the job of I’ve fitted some black bar tape and Velox rubber end caps. I’m also on the lookout for some replacement brake lever covers as the ones that are fitted seem very fragile.

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Chainsets

Another find from eBay (this time from a bloke called Jerome in Paris) is a Stronglight TS bis chain set. I’ve always liked the drilled chainsets from Stronglight and was on my wishlist from the start.

Fitting a replacement chainset has thrown up a few quirks about buying an old French bike:

  • I need to change the bottom bracket from the existing one which is on that’s designed for a cottered crank. However old French bikes have a uniquely French thread which means I either fit an old original part or buy a new style sealed replacement.
  • Older Stronglight chainsets have an ISO square taper fitting, however modern square taper bottom brackets have a JIS taper which is slightly shorter. This means instead of using a 122mm bottom bracket I should be able to get away with a 118mm.
  • Stronglight bottom brackets have a unique thread which means buying a specialist tool.
Original Stronglight catalogue page.
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My Mercier’s specification

Specification that I bought my Mercier in as follows:

Frame: 28/26 steel

Bar Tape: kermit green

Brake Levers/Brifters: Mafac
Brake Calipers: Mafac

Shifters: Simplex
Front Derailleur: Simplex
Rear Derailleur: Sachs Huret Eco Mk11

Cassette: 5 speed Maillard  Р14 -24

Cranks: Solida

Pedals: Lyotard

Rims: Lyotard on the Front, Nisi on the back
Hubs: Normandy Luxe on the front – non descript on the back
Hub Skewers: Maillard

Tyres: Rather crusty Hutchinsons

Saddle: Selle Royal Course

Weight: Quite a bit but not as heavy as some.

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Mercier bikes – a French Legend

 

Late 70's Mercier

 

Ok I’ll admit I’m a bike nut / anorak. Ever since I was eight or nine I have had an (un)healthy fascination in racing bikes and the Tour de France.

Looking for a winter project I decided I was going to buy a vintage bike of eBay. I came accross this Mercier, paid my cash and picked it up from a bloke called Dave in Barnsley. Part of my project was not only to upgrade / restore the bike using as many parts from the correct era as possible but also research the bikes history.

This is where the fun starts as their is no definitive history that I could find via Google (or Goggle as they call it in France). I’ve therefore started this blog to share what information I have found to help other Mercier (and French bike) enthusiasts.