Mertens Track bike

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juvela

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
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another question regarding track drive trains have wondered about is when they went from 1/8" to 3/32"


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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Thanks @Jesper for the photos! The lugs do seem similar; perhaps same brand, but different models. Do you know what year your bike is?

I don't know anything about the skip tooth cogs. Perhaps someone else might have an idea as to the time frame they were used. Seems that I've seen them more often on very early bikes circa pre-WW2.
The Baggi (French brand) lugs are on a bike made circa 1935/36 (purchased new in 1936).
I have no knowedge regarding those cogs.
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Here is a BSA ring that matches the general design (w/o the BSA insignia). Notes: "Ubiqutious chainring found on many track bikes and 6 day racers." Yours has a little bit more robust construction. It is possible that BSA produced rings for other brands and didn't use their branding on those rings. Years of production per velobase: 1920s-1950s. What is the BCD of your ring? Velobase entry provides no BCD for the BSA ring so it won't help much unless someone else has a similar ring and knows that dimension. Just trying to help a little.

Photo credit: VeloBase User bikeville
1540980
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
A couple more chainwheels that match your design aside from not being skip tooth cogs. It would seem that the design was relatively common given its use by diverse companies. It might also denote it as being a robust design rather than just decorative. Something you would certainly want for a track chainwheel. I guess the top one is a "La Comete" model, and the bottom one an "R.F.G." model.
I found these examples when I was perusing the Velo Retro Course website for my bike. There are some very knowledgeable folks there so you may want to post your bike on that site also. I suggest posting in French, but you can post in English. I use DeepL translator which has provided good results; certainly a step above google translate.

1552942


1552941

Photo credits: veloretrocourse.proboards.com
 
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dnc1

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Campagnolo stopped producing inch pitch (skip tooth) chainrings between 1969 and 1971 apparently.
This is the last time they appeared in the catalogue. Catalogue#16, 1969.....
Screenshot_20220121-120118_Adobe Acrobat.jpg


...by the time the 'Gruppo Super Record' was first shown in the 1971 catalogue the Pista version was only illustrated in 1/2 inch pitch form.
 

juvela

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
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1642797780420.png


thanks very much for this - 😃

find it interesting that the mfr chose to illustrate a 1969 catalogue entry with a design which had been out of production for some years by this time

note absence of "web" joining lower spider arms and crank arm


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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I find that Campy tended to include items in their catalogs that weren't necessarily in production, but were more than likely surplus stock. Thus, keeping older items in the public eye and helping eliminate on hand stock. Most bike manufacturers were going to use the newest components available, especially on higher end models (exception to when they had their own excess stock of components). Most catalogs and advertisement brochures have "subject to change" and/or "subject to availability" disclaimers allowing for product cessation and alteration.
 

Jake1

Look Ma, No Hands!
I have corresponded with an administrator at Velo Retro Course, and was informed that the marque is of Belgian origin with the frame possibly dating to pre-WW2. I have yet to post on that site, but a search provided no hits for the name. Only search hits I have obtained on any site are for Mertens saddles which may have no relation to the bike. Still it would nice to get a namesake saddle, but I have not seen any racing designs yet.
 

non-fixie

Finally riding a big boys bike
Got some information from a couple of members of a Flemish forum which specializes in bicycle racing history. They link the brand to Fons Mertens of Lier, Belgium. He and his brothers Jules, Paul and Albert were bicycle racers in the 1920's and 1930's.

Apparently Fons opened a bicycle shop in Lier, and also sponsored a team called "Mertens Sport" from 1946 to 1952 with local riders. I have been looking for pictures of the shop and of the team, but so far I haven't found any.

The Mertens family also ran a bar in Lier called "Sportwereld", in which the Lierse Bicycle Club was founded in 1932. LBC would become one of the most important racing clubs in Belgium, counting Rik Van Looy, Ward Sels and Herman Vanspringel among their members. The Mertens brothers were a driving force behind the club in the early years.

The 1959 club champions, with Rik Van Looy in the middle:

Rik van Looy.JPG


Van Looy would go on to become World Champion in 1960 and 1961.
 

Jake1

Look Ma, No Hands!
@non-fixie that seems to be some of the most direct relationship I have heard thus far. If only there was some photographic evidence. I still find it odd that another photo of a bike or even just a head badge hasn't surfaced. I would still assume that the frame was manufactured by an independent builder for Mertens and more than likely some other shops in the region. I was provided a photo example of another bike with a similar head lug pattern, yet still not identical.
Thank you for your effort. I am hoping I will get a reply from the Koers Museum in the next couple of months since they have already replied with a confirmation that it will be investigated. There is an Italian website that I am also using to research this frame and others, but I am having trouble accessing their site even though I am a paying member. It is not a forum, but has archival data on many marques.
 
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