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I bought a 1992 Merlin titanium yesterday and....

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I bought a 1992 Merlin titanium yesterday and....

Old 09-23-22, 02:16 PM
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masi61
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I bought a 1992 Merlin titanium yesterday and....

Asked almost zero questions prior to bidding on it. Turns out it has a "grease guard" press fit bottom bracket. Not the Suntour Grease Guard that I was previously familiar with but pressed fit bearings that are held in with circlips and there are (maybe) little grease ports where you can take a Grease Guard mini grease gun and shoot grease behind the sealed bearings. So it is designed for a square taper BB axle. In the pictures that I saw on eBay it currently has Dura Ace 7400 crankarms fitted with Dura Ace 7800 chainrings. A bit of a mis-match that I would hope to correct.

Maybe if any other C&V titanium bike owners who have owned a Merlin could speak to how this works in actual practice that would be great.
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Old 09-23-22, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Asked almost zero questions prior to bidding on it. Turns out it has a "grease guard" press fit bottom bracket. Not the Suntour Grease Guard that I was previously familiar with but pressed fit bearings that are held in with circlips and there are (maybe) little grease ports where you can take a Grease Guard mini grease gun and shoot grease behind the sealed bearings. So it is designed for a square taper BB axle. In the pictures that I saw on eBay it currently has Dura Ace 7400 crankarms fitted with Dura Ace 7800 chainrings. A bit of a mis-match that I would hope to correct.

Maybe if any other C&V titanium bike owners who have owned a Merlin could speak to how this works in actual practice that would be great.
I hope you were able to get it at a price that makes you happy. I found a poorly pictured/not at all detailed ad for a Ti Merckx in my size and I didn't ask any questions because I didn't want anyone else to see it and think it was interesting. Got it at what I thought was a good deal, but then found out the BB was shot and fused to the frame. Took a year to get it out(with lots of advice from here), so I was questioning whether it was a good deal for a long time. Almost all of the C&V frames I've bought were like that (poor pictures, badly described ads, don't ask questions in the hopes that no one else finds out about it), because, I'm cheap and always trying to get a "good deal", but about half the time, there's a reason no one else was interested.

Hopefully yours actually was a good deal and/or turns out to be hassle free.
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Old 09-23-22, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Asked almost zero questions prior to bidding on it. Turns out it has a "grease guard" press fit bottom bracket. Not the Suntour Grease Guard that I was previously familiar with but pressed fit bearings that are held in with circlips and there are (maybe) little grease ports where you can take a Grease Guard mini grease gun and shoot grease behind the sealed bearings. So it is designed for a square taper BB axle. In the pictures that I saw on eBay it currently has Dura Ace 7400 crankarms fitted with Dura Ace 7800 chainrings. A bit of a mis-match that I would hope to correct.

Maybe if any other C&V titanium bike owners who have owned a Merlin could speak to how this works in actual practice that would be great.
Funny timing. One just popped up locally for $400 and I thought "Aw yeah", and thankfully did some quick googling. Turns out it has the same goofy bb. Never in a million years would I have suspected this. Just google the issue and you'll find plenty of reading material.
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Old 09-23-22, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I hope you were able to get it at a price that makes you happy. I found a poorly pictured/not at all detailed ad for a Ti Merckx in my size and I didn't ask any questions because I didn't want anyone else to see it and think it was interesting. Got it at what I thought was a good deal, but then found out the BB was shot and fused to the frame. Took a year to get it out(with lots of advice from here), so I was questioning whether it was a good deal for a long time. Almost all of the C&V frames I've bought were like that (poor pictures, badly described ads, don't ask questions in the hopes that no one else finds out about it), because, I'm cheap and always trying to get a "good deal", but about half the time, there's a reason no one else was interested.

Hopefully yours actually was a good deal and/or turns out to be hassle free.
Yeah, I hear ya! I'm rolling the dice on this one. Honestly I sort of like the challenge of envisioning a build and how I might work around the limitations/parameters of the frame and which components might be optimal or coolest/most fun.

So for example, since this bike has a square taper crank I probably will play around with several square taper cranks that I have in my parts closet. I could go old school and run Suntour Superbe cranks and go with 130mm threaded rear hub with a 7 speed SunTour freewheel so I can index with my Superbe downtube indexing levers. Stuff like that.

But actually this bike has what appear to be root beer colored Chris King hubs and headset which he said are functioning fine and require no servicing right now. It has Bontrager seatpost and stem of which I find uninspiring so I most likely will swap these out right away for a more trick steampunky aesthetic that makes the build less dated/more relevant. The bike currently has Dura Ace 7800 shifters, brakes and derailleurs which I am already very familiar with and like.

Also it is a 57 top tube frame on what is described as a "56" size frame. Also it has a titanium head tube extender pressed onto it and the steer tube is all jacked up with an upward rise stem right now. I may stick with the headtube extender but then run a horizontal stem with minimal spacers for a less dorky look. Should be fun.

But then there is the question about the ride of this particular spec of titanium tubing in this frame: is it going to be too flexy, will I love the ride or find it not to my liking? Got to try it out. Hopefully it does not ride like a Teledyne Titan (wet noodle). I can post photos when I get it and document what build specifics I plan to stay with and which changes really make the build that much better...

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Old 09-23-22, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Funny timing. One just popped up locally for $400 and I thought "Aw yeah", and thankfully did some quick googling. Turns out it has the same goofy bb. Never in a million years would I have suspected this. Just google the issue and you'll find plenty of reading material.
Yeah, story of my life. Buy first and ask questions later! From what preliminary reading I did on it, the proprietary BB design is well implemented and I saw no mention of creaking issues as you get with the the unhappy Cannondale BB30 owners out there. It does appear that I would be stuck with the square taper crank choice though which is not a deal breaker for me. I plan to check the width of the bb shell when I receive the bike and remove the current cranks just to inspect the works. I may even try to use my Pedro's micro grease gun to put some grease into the Grease Guard fittings.
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Old 09-23-22, 04:30 PM
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I take it that the bb shell is of a small diameter….smaller than BSC or Italian for example? Those early Merlin’s had their proprietary bb. If it does not have its axle, that may pose a challenge as well. As I recall, Merlin had a program where they took the frames back, cut out the old bb shell and welded in a new BSC dimensioned shell. It sounds like the OP’s frame may have been one that missed that program….
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Old 09-23-22, 05:31 PM
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Well cant help you with the BB but as for the frame, i got an Extralight wich is comfy and not noodley, great smooth ride
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Old 09-23-22, 05:57 PM
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I personally never worked on one of these the BB setup is pretty straightforward, and was similar to other BB setups of the era like Fat Chance used. The spindle of course has corresponding flanges to hold it in place. Once You remove the circlips you can tap the BB out from one side the use the spindle to remove the other. I don’t know exactly how the grease guard worked I’ve only watch Kenny working on these across the work area doing his thing.

you sure about the model year? I thought they had threaded BB shells by ‘92
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Old 09-23-22, 07:14 PM
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I had a Merlin Ti with one of those grease guard BBS. Fortunately it spun smoothly and the spindle length was fine for the Campy Veloce crankset that I ran. I loved the ride of that rig but sold it off because it was a tad too small and barely fit 25mm tires.
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Old 09-23-22, 08:06 PM
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'94 Extralight owner here. I bought mine thru eBay over ten years ago.
Crappy photos and descriptions on the auction (not disclosed as a '94).
Looked closely as possible and guessed correctly about the threaded BB.
Still my daily driver with 11sp Dura Ace. Such an excellent bike.
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Old 09-23-22, 08:54 PM
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https://web.archive.org/web/19970301....com/bbgg.html

​​​​​​https://www.flickr.com/photos/kadave...ld/5515418156/
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Old 09-23-22, 09:14 PM
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I can’t remember the details but there is a Phil Wood bearings that fit that bb. Also 91 and older have the grease guard.
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Old 09-24-22, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I personally never worked on one of these the BB setup is pretty straightforward, and was similar to other BB setups of the era like Fat Chance used. The spindle of course has corresponding flanges to hold it in place. Once You remove the circlips you can tap the BB out from one side the use the spindle to remove the other. I don’t know exactly how the grease guard worked I’ve only watch Kenny working on these across the work area doing his thing.

you sure about the model year? I thought they had threaded BB shells by ‘92
The seller told me it is a ‘92. Maybe he bought it in 92 and it is an earlier year of manufacture.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/28496785239...mis&media=COPY

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Old 09-24-22, 05:21 AM
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masi61 maybe my thinking is off.

after I posted a did some poking on the YouTube and while the position of the circlips the BB30 on a Cannondale was about as as close as I could get to yours. Instead of the clips holding the bearings against a ridge in the shell like yours the clips keep the bearing from moving through the shell and cranks keep them in place. But the basic idea is about the same

Kellog’s involvement with Merlin was very interesting. I believe he was the one that developed the process of pumping inert gas into the frame tubing during welding negating the need for a clean chamber. If you’re on FB steel is real group we had brief discussion about him. He unfortunately laid down his actirch a few years ago but quite the figure in the bike world for around 40 years.


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