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Removing braze-ons for the sake of making a "perfect" setup?

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Removing braze-ons for the sake of making a "perfect" setup?

Old 03-15-20, 08:06 PM
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Kilroy1988 
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Removing braze-ons for the sake of making a "perfect" setup?

Howdy folks,

I have a lovely 1979 Mercian Campionissimo frame set. It was meant to be a 10-speed and has a peg on the down tube to hold a shifter boss in place, three shift cable guides, and two brake cable guides. It has stamped dropouts with no derailleur hanger. It was the "low end" frame offered by Mercian at the time and has Prugnat lugs, but is still built fully from butted Reynolds 531 tubing.

The frame is just my size and I really want to keep it, but I have enough multi-speed bikes and other frame projects that are less suitable for modification. I am missing a fixed gear bike in my stable, and I specifically want relaxed road-going geometry and don't necessarily care about track ends. I would like to keep and enjoy this frame, and have a rather elaborate paint scheme in mind for it as well. I can only imagine being bothered by all of the unused braze-ons after taking the time to paint the frame and set it up specifically as a fixed gear.

Assuming I actually pour a lot of time and effort into the paint, and know that I'll surely keep and enjoy riding the bicycle for many years to come, would people be put off by my chopping all of those little bits off of a Mercian? It strikes even myself as sacrilege to some extent but the frame is otherwise perfect for what I want - not to mention the fact that I also just really want a MERCIAN!

What say ye all? Time to let some controversial opinions roll!

-Gregory


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Old 03-15-20, 08:34 PM
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No. In my opinion, it is short sighted and needlessly destructive to remove the braze-ons. I do think a Mercian deserves better treatment.

However, itís also your bicycle.
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Old 03-15-20, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
No. In my opinion, it is short sighted and needlessly destructive to remove the braze-ons. I do think a Mercian deserves better treatment.

However, it’s also your bicycle.
Out of curiosity, what do you think of the guys around here who specialize in adding lots of custom braze-ons for touring setups or extra bottle cage bosses, dimpling stays for 650b tires, etc? That's sort of where I'm coming from when I look for justification - whether things are being removed or added, the original frame specifications are being altered and quite a bit of work necessary to return them to stock again. I still see some beautiful results around here from the custom crowd! Sort of my inspiration for getting "just the right look," if you will.

-Gregory
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Old 03-15-20, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
What say ye all?
I'm going to go with no. Especially with a frame that looks that nice.

This is mostly from my own recent experience. I have a frame with a small crack in the BB shell / downtube braze joint, and one day I got bored and decided to hack off the shift bosses, cable guides, and the derailleur hanger so I could run it as a beater fixed gear. Just a few months later I was wishing I had a geared bike I could put on a trainer for the winter.

If you've got other options for geared bikes available, well then you're in a different situation than me, so you might not end up feeling the same way
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Old 03-15-20, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
What say ye all?
I say do it. Especially if youíre going to have a nice respray. Fixed gears are fun and those bits WILL annoy you.
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Old 03-15-20, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Out of curiosity, what do you think of the guys around here who specialize in adding lots of custom braze-ons for touring setups or extra bottle cage bosses, dimpling stays for 650b tires, etc?
Blasphemers and heretics! The whole lot of them!

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Old 03-15-20, 09:10 PM
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I find it ironic that just after I started this thread a lovely R.E.W. Reynolds "road/path" frame set with track ends and fender eyelets got listed on eBay, and here in the US!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-R-E...kAAOSwsEpebSyL

Pretty much what I'd hope for in an ideal world... But I just bought another frame that hasn't even arrived yet! What a life...
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Old 03-15-20, 09:18 PM
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Well, it's your frame and your paint gun and your angle grinder and everything so if that's what you want to do, it's not something I would do, but, yeah, go for it.

Something you might consider if you want a decent English fixed gear bike with a recongizable name is a Bob Jackson track frame. Current price seems to be about 413 BP, or about $520 at today's exchange rate. You could sell that Mercian for a nice bit of change to someone who wants to set it up for IGH(no hanger) and have the Jackson for probably less than a decent paint job.

You make a good point, I think, about people doing modifications to old bikes like adding brazed fittings for canti brakes, adding bottle bosses, etc. I'm having trouble justifying approval for one without approving of going the other way. Still, I wouldn't do it, not to a Mercian.
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Old 03-15-20, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
Something you might consider if you want a decent English fixed gear bike with a recongizable name is a Bob Jackson track frame. Current price seems to be about 413 BP, or about $520 at today's exchange rate. You could sell that Mercian for a nice bit of change to someone who wants to set it up for IGH(no hanger) and have the Jackson for probably less than a decent paint job.
I've heard some incredibly contrary things about the quality of Bob Jackon's paint work in particular. Stories of bubbles forming and fisheyes and peeling clear coats, all while the paint was still relatively new. I'm not sure I could risk that. One of the online reviewers quoted management as literally saying they "didn't pay for a quality job" considering their pricing!
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Old 03-15-20, 09:24 PM
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I'd do my painting at my uncle's hot rod shop:

https://doublezhotrods.com/

It'd be done for the price of the paint in a professional booth with equipment they use for $20k+ paint jobs.
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Old 03-15-20, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
would people be put off by my chopping all of those little bits off of a Mercian?
Yes I would. In fact if the paint was original Iíd be struggling to remove it - or at least Iíd be planning a trip to Derby, England once current viruses have subsided.

Having said that itís your bike that you can do whatever you want to, but I donít see why you canít run it as a fixie with the braze-ons in place.
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Old 03-15-20, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by P!N20 View Post
Yes I would. In fact if the paint was original Iíd be struggling to remove it - or at least Iíd be planning a trip to Derby, England once current viruses have subsided.

Having said that itís your bike that you can do whatever you want to, but I donít see why you canít run it as a fixie with the braze-ons in place.
Well, like I said, I plan to do a pretty elaborate paint job on it. But I'm getting the feeling that I just need to find another frame for the fixed gear project, especially after I saw that rather perfect R.E.W. Reynolds frame pop up on Ebay. It won't be that one - I can't afford it now - but obviously they're out there.

And the original paint is actually in poor condition. Lots of fading, scratches, light rust around the bottom bracket, and peeling decals. I already have a new decal set ready for fresh paint.

The frame only cost $150. I won't be investing several hundred dollars in a Mercian respray for a Campionissimo - perhaps a Vincitore!
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Old 03-15-20, 09:44 PM
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I have a Jackson World Tour that I bought in 2003. The paint job is pretty decent, simple enamel, and for what it is, I'm happy with it. My experience, overall, dealing with the purchase was ok. I've encountered people who eren't happy with the customer service, but I've never heard of someone being sold a bike with a poor quality paint job and being told to live with it.

Good luck in finding a suitable candidate. It's nice to have access to a proper spray booth with the features to properly and safely spray modern paints.
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Old 03-15-20, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
Good luck in finding a suitable candidate. It's nice to have access to a proper spray booth with the features to properly and safely spray modern paints.
Thanks! Whether I remove the braze-ons or not, I'll definitely go through with restoring and riding this frame. It's the first Mercian I've had in my possession and although my dream is to get a Vincitore, I won't let this one go so easily. Good to hear about your positive experience with Bob Jackson. I've heard a lot of that as well, but by way of comparison I've never come across any complaints about quality from most other shops... But the again, most other shops also charge more for (seemingly) similar end products!
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Old 03-15-20, 10:14 PM
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If youíre going to paint it, go ahead and do what you want with the braze ons. Itís not a museum piece. And the repaint departs
drastically from original, so why not take
it the rest of the way?
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Old 03-15-20, 10:17 PM
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Adding or subtracting braze-ons seems to be less of a crime today than it was some five or six years ago. I blame/commend @gugie for this, at least as far as I'm concerned. Things were removed/filled in/added on my 83-ish Casati and it's a better bike for the mods. Sounds like the OP has a solid plan in mind for restoration, not some half-assed Drew-job, so add me to the "go for it" crowd.

OP: please post pics of the final result one day. I for one would love to see how it comes out.

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Old 03-15-20, 10:29 PM
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I vote leave it alone. Grinding stuff off is not going to be an aesthetic improvement. Let it be. If you ride it as a fixie for a while, a redundant shifter stop is going to be a lot less of an aesthetic hit that grinding it off, ruining the the history of the bike, and adding some cheap powder coat or whatever will destroy it completely. I'm not hardly a purist, but in this case, what's the point?

Is that shifter boss going to slow you down or something?
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Old 03-15-20, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I vote leave it alone. Grinding stuff off is not going to be an aesthetic improvement. Let it be. If you ride it as a fixie for a while, a redundant shifter stop is going to be a lot less of an aesthetic hit that grinding it off, ruining the the history of the bike, and adding some cheap powder coat or whatever will destroy it completely. I'm not hardly a purist, but in this case, what's the point?
I'm not sure about cheap powder coating. As mentioned, I'll be painting it at my uncle's professional paint booth with automotive paint, and plan to do a scheme involving at least three colors, as well as lug and box lining. The problem would be going through all that trouble to build my dream road/path fixed gear bike with six little unused pokey things still on the frame.

But like I said, perhaps I just need to find a more suitable candidate.
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Old 03-15-20, 11:15 PM
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For me the reason to buy a vintage bike is because it is precisely that. The original braze-ons, paint, and even components are part of that appeal. So the question you should ask yourself is, do you actually want this Mercian, or do you want a "vintage-looking" fixed gear with new parts and paint?

If you've found a bike that tells a story, don't obscure its heritage. This frame can easily be cleaned up, waxed, polished, and built with periodish parts as a fixed racer. A lot more appeal there than flashing it up with new everything.
​​​​​
Just my opinion, of course.
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Old 03-15-20, 11:25 PM
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The one thing I hate to see is a hacked off derailleur hanger by some fixie idjit. Make it a fixie, fine, but don't handicap it for future use.

Of course, this one never had one. Lots of old English lightweight frames with cheap stamped dropouts in the rear. I've got a super cool one in my shop right now with some holes in one of the seat stays (?), wondering what to do with it.

Other than that, have at it.
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Old 03-16-20, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I've heard some incredibly contrary things about the quality of Bob Jackon's paint work in particular. Stories of bubbles forming and fisheyes and peeling clear coats, all while the paint was still relatively new. I'm not sure I could risk that. One of the online reviewers quoted management as literally saying they "didn't pay for a quality job" considering their pricing!
ive only bought one new bob jackson. It was about 3 years ago and the frameset was outstanding. Its my forever bike.
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Old 03-16-20, 02:43 AM
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I can imagine downtube shifter bosses getting in the way. Perhaps a front derailleur boss. But your frame has neither.

The rest all seems to be minimal bumps that I'd leave alone, although personally I wouldn't be using the pump pegs as they are, so I might consider removing those, but might just leave them as a unique bit of history.

I'm surprised that frame has top tube cable stops. Are you planning on using brakes? Again, I'd just leave those in place in case you chose to do something different.
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Old 03-16-20, 02:47 AM
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I will admit that I have the opposite problem on a project frame. The frame is from the 40's or 50's, but has a bunch of braze-ons that were added much more recently. And, if I build it back to something similar to the original specs, then newer braze-ons will be absolutely unnecessary. Unfortunately, it also has rather nice paint.
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Old 03-16-20, 07:52 AM
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The frame will work perfectly well as a fixed gear/single speed without going through the destructive bother of removing those bits. Removing them won't magically transform a Mercian road frame into a svelte hard-core track frame; nobody will be fooled.
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Old 03-16-20, 08:04 AM
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The problem with this Mercian is even though it's low end, it's so nicely preserved that it'd be a shame to undo the look it has now. There's something to be said for the nicks, light fading, and thin paint of the era that doesn't come through with a nice, shiny paintjob.

You could build up virtually the same exact bike starting from a rusty Raleigh Grand Prix - and nobody would care what you cut off of a rusty GP.

Either way, I'd recommend building it up fixed and figuring out if you like the quality of the ride and the experience in the first place before committing a lot of time, effort, and money to modification.

-Kurt
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