When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

'85 King of Mercia

Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture


Finally riding a big boys bike
Wow that came together very nicely (and quickly)! The colors are all harmonious as are the eclectic mix of components!
Can I ask what you use for shift/brake cables and housing? Also like the bell! What maker?
I need pedals that let me ride a frame that otherwise an inch too big ;)


Cruisin' on my Bluebird
@slowride Tad produced the cable housings - he delivered this bike as he had ridden it.
I used new Shimano Dura Ace for the cables I had to replace, when I was ordering from Ben's - Impressive cables that come with a serious coating and high-grade ferrules.
The bell is Lezyne, which I snagged with my pedals from Wiggle (UK) - first purchase I made.
Wiggle has the best price on Blackspire Sub240, which are the best trade-off between thin and price.
I have just slightly thinner (by 2 mm) Atlas Raceface on my Viner Pro Cross, but you can buy 3 pairs of Blackspire for those.
Blackspire is in Canada, and offers rebuild service by mail - I did that a couple of times when I was riding 100 mi/wk - haven't done that in awhile.
The rebuild charge is just the cost of the Int'l Priority post to send them back.

Same Blackspire pedals on my International. My International frame, btw is 1/2" taller than the Merc, and set-up for semi-upright.
The two bikes have the same top tube length (56 cm).
International also has the fork offset (low trail) for carrying a big front load, though the frame is not made for a rear load. Only International and Grand Prix got this fork offset.
The Merc steering is too fast for a big front load.


btw, here's the final position I was able to achieve on the rear rack using Tubus blocks and stays.
It's just a hair tipped down in front from being parallel to the top tube.

On the back is the bag of Gamoh steel blocks I replaced with Tubus aluminum. The Gamoh steel blocks have length adjustment and rotation only around the bolt that squeezes the block.
1584393 1584615
The Tubus blocks are alloy, and have additional rotation 90 degrees from there,
I get more alignment options, and removed a huge amount of weight replacing Gamoh steel blocks and stays with Tubus alloy.
They make the rack more rigid than the blocks and stays that came with it.
The Tubus parts together cost $30, and the whole thing made for a very cost-effective rear rack that hit my use mark.
Last edited:


Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Had a wonderful 24-mi break-in ride with my buddy Lou the other day.
I didn't mention it on the ride thread, but Lou waited for me while I tucked off onto the single-track and landed at Two Bros. BBQ for a half-pound of ribs to go.
The half-pound of ribs fit along with all my break-in-ride tools in the small trunk bag (no jalapeno poppers this time).

Today, the bike is back on the build stand, waiting for the mail lady to deliver my Campy dropout screws arriving on the not-too-slow boat from Barcelona.
I have to have these anyway, but the fenders require the use of rear dropout rear adjustment screws to get the wheel in the right place.

In the meantime, more show and tell.
The frame has a really nice chain hanger, and it does a great job of keeping the chain off the frame everywhere.
1587041 15870421587043 1587134

The freewheel, well it's a dog. Nothing against Shimano, but it drags the bike when coasting, and even free-spins the crank when coasting.
Need to jack it up and put a new one underneath.
I have a really nice Suntour Winner 6 that I used to run on my Grand Prix when I first built a half-step crank on my Sugino Mighty Comp.

I found a NOS Winner body on ebay, already had a few cogs, and ordered a few more assorted, so I'll run the molasses freewheel for awhile, and be back later with a tutorial on swapping cogs on Suntour Winner freewheel.

In the meantime, I mentioned those sapphires I scattered all over the Merc.
I used titanium fasteners everywhere I could, especially on the rack and fender bosses. Enjoy.
Oh yeah, and a titanium seatpost bolt.
1587047 1587046
Last edited:


Cruisin' on my Bluebird
The bike is back on the build stand, waiting on my last Suntour cog before explaining the freewheel stack, but here's the crowning splash.
(part of this work, I pulled the crank to measure BB for a new Phil cartridge BB)
I had to re-do the fender chainstay bridge attachment. Tad used the wrong kind of clamp - the kind that centers on the stay. He had an M5x24mm socket head facing the tire, big washers, and a stack of washers to fill the gap between the fender and the clamp.
I had the right P-clamp, and was able to re-do it with a x12 mm fastener. EPDM washers to seal the fender wood, a lower-profile cone-truss-head M5, and a flanged M5 nylok, eliminating Many washers. I ordered titanium tor the crown jewel.
Wow that is looking great! Thanks for the gear chart and practical experience with this set up! Can you tell more about the fenders? Is the wood for aesthetics mostly or is there a performance advantage?
and found the woody's fenders mark when I went looking for it.

note the beautiful oval 531 chainstays without crimp - same as my International - part of what makes this bike ride and climb so well.
Here's the clean, low-profile sandwich across the fender width.
Last edited:


Finally riding a big boys bike
Goodness gracious man! You’ve got to share your fastener source ! any tips on how to learn more about the right fastener for given application?

Those fenders are the cat’s meow! I absolutely love wood. wonder what it’s sealed with? Marine varnish? Shellac does not like moisture.
Last edited:


Cruisin' on my Bluebird
I've always hated aluminum crank dust covers, because they get badly marred by tools, to tighten and loosen. Before '20, Toronto Cycles was the source for titanium bicycle parts, and I've had the dust covers around, both bright and blue, for 5 years-plus. Unfortunately, Toronto Cycles website has not been back. China sources and Amazon warehouses have taken up the slack for titanium fasteners. Amazon is the cost-effective choice for titanium if you can find the right fastener. E.g., search titanium bottle cage bolt on Amazon. The seatpost bolt came from Titanium Planet on ebay, and his website by the same name is really unimpressive with limited applications. The trump card for the perfect titanium fastener, the cone-head, flanged nylocks, colored fender washers, is ProBolt-USA - no bargains here, expect to pay about $8/pc.

While we're talking about fasteners, Bolt Depot is the world-service-center for piecemeal fastener sales - go-to for metric stainless, all head configurations, all washers from NordLock to nylon spacers and rubber seals, shoulder bolts, sex bolts, button-head socket. You can put an amazing $2 order together here, they treat small piecemeal orders with the same respect as giant orders. They post first-class - no handling charge - I don't know how they can do it, but their service is over the top. Bolt Depot has been my source for bike fasteners and all kinds of fancy kayak-rigging fasteners since 2009. At $0.07/pc., if you don't know what exact size will work, buy pairs in several lengths to try and keep the spares in your fastener bin.


On bicycles, some things to keep in mind between metric and US-standard machine screws, M4 and No. 8 share the same pilot hole and washer size, M5 and No. 10 the same, and M6 and 1/4" - of course you have to match threads, but the hole sizes are common between US and metric. E.g., if you need a rubber washer for an M5, you can use a No. 10. If you need an M6 bellville washer for brake pad shim to adjust caliper alignment on rim width, you can use 1/4"


my Suntour L13 cog is out for delivery today - I'll be back later with freewheel, but first, a bike ride with Lou - taking out my '74 International...
Last edited:


Finally riding a big boys bike
Excellent, excellent primer on fasteners and sources! In fact I copied your notes and pictures in it’s entirety into my bicycle notes for future reference! I’m no expert, but from what I have seen , you are among the best at meshing old and new ! 😉


Cruisin' on my Bluebird
@slowride - most of this bike is period 1985. Half-step triples were big then for getting everything out of a wide freewheel. The Suntour BL GT rear derailleur was introduced in 1984.
Suntour made two types of freewheel bodies.
The Winner and Winner Pro used splined cogs and spacers in two diameters, with threaded cogs only in the outside positions (small-t).

The New Winner is different than above, and was designed to put 6 cogs in the same width as 5, and work on 122 mm rear dropout spacing (OLD).
Of course the '85 Merc has 126 mm OLD, room for 6 gears on wide spacing, or 7 on narrow spacing.
This freewheel body has splines for the 2 inner cogs, and two diameters of threads on the rest - note the marking NWN, which identifies it.
1595187 1595188

My original narrow-6 was 13 to 28t, and this would be the gear chart - damn good gear chart, but I wanted more.
Also had more than enough room between the dropouts.

You used to be able to walk into a bike shop and pick up any of these cogs, but the mid-diameter threaded cogs for New Winner are getting really hard to find.

The narrow-6 did not use spacers between the threaded cogs (except on the right), with thick spacers on top of each of the 2 splined cogs.
BTW, pulling one of these apart, you need a pair of chain whips.
1595192 1595193 1595340
On the right, the stack of thin shims was between the two largest threaded cogs - doesn't match anything on the diagram, but was a boxed factory freewheel, and I rebuilt it the same way.

The only original cogs I used on my rebuild were the threaded 17-t and 14-t.
I already had the splined cogs I needed, bought the 21-t mid-diameter thread from Yellow Jersey,
I made it into an Ultra-7 by swapping the original 13-t cog (F-13) for an L-13 and U-12 - sourced these on ebay.

Here's my stacked new freewheel body with the 5 inner cogs, 14-32t. And next to it, the 7-sp freewheel with the ultra gears added
1595195 1595196

A lot of room on the rear dropout, and perfect chainline on the big 50-T ring and small 12-t cog

You don't use all the gears on the gear chart because of chainline, and also because of practical need.
So here's the gear chart again with the pointless gears blanked out. And next to that, the chainline on the full practical range of the small 32-T chainring.
1595200 1595201
My chain length is adjusted so that 32-T ring, both the rear derailleur spring and chain are fully relaxed on the 14-t cog.
Can't even go into those missing gears without the chain slapping the chainstay.
The reason you want to work in these good chainlines is to maximize life and minimize wear on your chain, and the teeth on your rings and cogs.
The reason you don't want to go to Big-big on an over-short chain is to not overwork the spring on your RD and give it good life.

Again, in practical use of a half-step triple, you can ride all day in rolling hills only using one rear cog.

You use the adjacent cogs to adjust pace in group rides, and the really big cogs on the bail-out ring allow you to climb grades up to 20% without getting off to walk.
Last edited:


Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Show and tell on my Berthoud mud flaps, which arrived from France with DHL morning delivery - not the p/u truck size flap they sell here, but narrow to match the fenders and tires.
Of course, knew I would be putting them in wood, and already had the extra hardware I needed - 4-mm-longer fasteners for the wood thickness, and rubber washers.
Very happy with the result.

I made the holes normal to the sharp curve in the wood at the outside of the fenders. Knew I couldn't install the screws that way, and walked the insides of the holes closer to but not quite parallel, which made them oblate cones. Sealed the wood with urethane.
Of course can't use a metal washer inside - that will dig and split the wood - so I used stout EPDM rubber washers inside, which also seal the fenders.

The oblate cone holes, as you tighten the hardware, and the fastener gets shorter, it stretches the leather across the outside of the fender for a really good fit.
Had to install them first without the rubber washers, just to be able to get a nut on the screw, then went back and installed the rubber washers.
Clean result, and gorgeous color, which is the leather color on the bags.

If you've ever ridden a fender bike in the wet, you know full fenders are wonderful (Honjo's below). They keep your whole body dry, especially your feet. They also keep your drivetrain and brakes dry and clean. The problem with short fenders (Clipper's below), they don't keep your feet or drivetrain dry. That's solved with a front mudflap. The rear mudflap is to be nice to the guy behind you. One wet day, Tad followed my Lenton and complained about the spray coming off my rear wheel - I was cozy and dry.

@slowride - thanks again for your kind words.
While I try to keep my bikes looking right, my drivetrains are usually custom. I like touring platform pedals for the fit and convenience factor (and also like toeclips with the right frame fit and right shoes).
The one thing that's always going to be new on my bikes is wheels and tires. They change the nature of a bike compared to steel rims and hard heavy tires.
Good wheels make all the difference in climbing, because of lower inertia.
Last edited: