Mercier Road Bike

Before everything else, here is the story behind the story.

The frame ended up in Rafi’s workshop after an old friend of ours, Shalom Dahan, brought it in. Shalom, who is a steel bikes fanatic and a bike builder in his own merits, was given this frameset a long time ago. The man who gave Shalom the frameset is the son of Henri Afargen, road bike country champion in the 1960s. As far as the story goes, Henry brought this frameset from Marocco when he imigrated to Israel.  

A quick inspection of the frame and fork revealed there are no serial numbers present, just the production year – 1965, and the size 54cm. The overall condition of the frame and the fork was not great – a visible ding on the top tube and worn out threads on the steerer. Those issues were fixed and this is how the frame looked before the paint job:

This was when Rafi was tasked to identify the manufacturer and the model of the frameset. A long research session, a significant number of measurements and a whole process of identifying the material used to make this frame resulted in the conclusion that this is a French frameset manufactured by Mercier. The tubing used to make this bike is Reynolds 531, considered by the best available back in the days.

After we knew what to look for, we had to find out how did this bike look when it was new. This is what we found:

First step – primer paint:

Next step – 3 layers of paint matching the original color scheme:

And finally, 2 layers of clear coat on top of the stickers:

The components Rafi and his friends found for this project are a collection of old and rare pieces of cycling history. The hardest piece to find was the bike saddle. The original bike was equipped with a leather saddle made by IDEAL. Shalom, the same great guy who started this whole project by bringing this frameset to the workshop was the one who found the matching saddle for the bike.

Here are some pictures taken during the components assembly phase:

This is how the bike turned out at the end of all this:

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