Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Toy - Meet Mercia.

Pending delivery in January.

Green is dead. Long live the king

Two weeks ago I drove to Derby on Saturday. I had measured my legs and decided I'd probably need a 22.5 inch frame. I've been riding a 21.5 inch or 22 inch most of my life. I knew I wanted to buy a Mercian ever since SleazyJet did a number on Green and having exhausted all the cheap options for a replacement frame (OK, I only tried quite hard, not really really hard), I was left with no option than to vanu overland and visit the nice people at Mercian .

I asked nicely if I could please take out a 58cm King of Mercia frame for a ride. The man measured and concluded that I should take out this one.

I went cycling around Derby on a big pink bike. A big, £1500 pink bike.

I was too excited and had to phone TSK who was busy biking 100 miles around Lincolnshire with his Saturday.

But it was too long in the reach for me. Though very nice to have a tall bike for once.

John (pictured above) was on lunch so Gav (left) and I began to decide on the equipment that my new bike needed to have. When I went in the shop I was prepared to order the fairly standard basic frame but Gav helped me to think of a few extras that I would prefer - vertical drop-outs instead of the standard, horizontal (so that the wheel doesn't slip because I'm not that worried about chain tension), the position of my rear lugs for the panier racks for touring and additional braze-ons for front racks and the position of them. Then of course, the critical choice of colour.

The ladies at work had helped me decide on Mauve Pearl and Polychromatic Blue for the detail and contrasting stripes but then Mercian threw in the trick question... What colour the transfers? The blue did not match my blue so the silver was chosen - with input from TSK over the phone. How many transfers? How big the band on the down-tube? Any more bands? A barbers' pole?

All that before Jon returned from his lunch and out came the jig. Jon concluded that I need a 23.5 inch frame. Holy COW! That's bigger than ever!

Jon adjusted the saddle, the stem length and the bar height. He checked the length of the cranks on Green and concluded that I was justified in using 254mm cranks, being that my thighs are so long. So many people think they need it but don't.

I got on the jig, I got off the jig. I got on the jig. I pedalled some more. We chatted about what I ride, how I ride and what I race. I got off and on again. I went and stared at the colour chart and came back and got on and pedalled some more.

Jon showed me the standard dimensions of the bike I had tried earlier and how much he had shortened the virtual top tube (horizontal tube on the bike) to accommodate my female (shorter) body length. He sympathised about how I have been riding over the years with a compensated position - potentially the cause of my shoulder pain.

Finally, with my frame details written down on paper and the settings for all the parts I will be doing myself noted on the back of the paper, I handed over my deposit and reluctantly left the bicycle boutique of my dreams.

Now I have 12 whole weeks to wait. All photos (except mockup of my bike) courtesy of Mercian Cycles Website.


Just a Girl said...

You really get what you pay for hey?

When I was looking (and still haven't bought) they told me a sorted frame size than that.

Tanya said...

Sounds dreamy, a frame sized just for you with the perfect top tube. I have the same problem as you trying to find a frame that is good for my legs without being too much reach. Can't wait to see the finished bike! So exciting! I'm sure you must be counting down til she arrives!