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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:26 pm 
BoTM Winner
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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:18 am
Posts: 1992
Location: Toronto, Canada
Here's a '89 Merlin Project I have just finished off.

It came to me free ... goofy set of circumstances there. It was complete with a XT 730/2 group and Fat Chance Box Crown, which I thought was just the coolest. This was not an uncommon setup for east coast merlins BiTD apparently. Overall, this one really just came together will a whole lot of chance opportunities and luck.
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I am not really one for the WTB hype, but a group had made it's way into my hands and I thought this would be a fun bike to put it all on.
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(Yes I have the rest)

I thought the box crown was a super cool option for the frame until this fell into my lap. This is a c1988-9 Titanium Merlin "Rubber Fork". Named for its flexy performance in early testing. Gary Helfrich, and Mike Augspurger both wanted to have a ti fork to go with their frames and other ti kit. Only a handful were made. As luck would have it (again), the fork was the perfect size for the frame with a CK headset. This one features a steel steerer spot welded/epoxied into in an attempt to stiffen it up a bit. I haven't had a trail test on it yet, but it seems no worse than my all Ti Dean/Litespeed fork bike. The dean was a a terrifying bike on fast single track so I suspect this thing will stay on the dirt flats.
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The rubber fork has a stubby similar to a type II or early ritchey/fisher,. but because the ti tubing ID is greater than a steel steerer the stub is not the normal size. There would have been a custom ti stubby stem for this fork back in the day, but that's likely not coming my way. I had Mark Beaver (owner of Tamerack in Nova Scotia) modify the salsa stem I got with the bike to fit ... perfect job :)
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It' done ... gotta get to pics.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:51 pm 
BoTM | Gold | PoTM
BoTM | Gold | PoTM
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:20 pm
Posts: 10882
Location: Sunny Cornwall
Great project Jim


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:17 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:20 am
Posts: 1176
Location: Hardwicke.
You're a lucky guy.

Nothing wrong with WTB imho.

They put quite a lot of money into development.

The old stuff is particularly good.

Look forward to seeing how you get on with it.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:18 pm 
.o.T.M Triple Crown Winner
.o.T.M Triple Crown Winner
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Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:59 pm
Posts: 3634
Location: Sunny South of France
Yes, nice and sexy project.
Fat Chance Box Crown fits fine one that frame. Merlin and Fat were near and got Gary Helfrich in common history
But those ti forks ! 8)
:D


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:40 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:06 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Cologne
Wow, what a find.

I´m looking forward to the further steps.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:29 pm 
BoTM Winner
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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:18 am
Posts: 1992
Location: Toronto, Canada
Few more pics hiding on my phone ...

Salsa stem post plating with a good ol' silver canadian coin topper :)
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And some other luck. Finding a '90 Kona Explosif in southern Ontario is always cool. Finding one modified by local bike dude Tony Beeks ... even cooler.
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Finding the above with a OG WTB Rollercam on the rear ... basically unheard of lol. It now resides on the back of the Merlin.
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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:28 pm 
BoTM Winner
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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:18 am
Posts: 1992
Location: Toronto, Canada
Here she is all done ....

Frame: 1989 Merlin Mountain Titanium

Fork: Merlin "Rubber Fork"

Headset: WTB Chris King
Stem: Custom Salsa
Handlebar: Merlin Titanium
Grips: ODI
Barends: None

Brakes: Marinovative Ti Decelerator Front, WTB Rollercam Rear
Brake Pads: Mathauser
Brake Cables: Shimano
Cantilever cable hangers: WTB/Shimano
Brake Levers: XT 733

Shifters: XT 732
Front Derailleur: XT 732
Rear Derailleur: Dura Ace 7400
Derailleur Cables: Shimano
Cassette: Sachs
Chain: Shimano
Cranks: Cooks
Crank Bolts: Shimano
Chainrings: XT 730
Chainring bolts: Shimano
Bottom Bracket: Merlin Ti
Pedals: XT 730

Hub Skewers: NOS American Classic Ti
Rims: NOS Mavic 231
Hubs: NOS WTB Classics
Nipples: DT
Spokes: DT
Tyres: Red Ritchey Z-Max Mega-Bites
Tubes: MEC

Saddle: Campagnolo Electa Titanium
Seatpost: American Classic Ti
Seatpost Binder: American Classic Ti

Weight: Def light, but not sure :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:44 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:02 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: Hayling Island
A very tasteful build- well done! Looks like it will ride very well?


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:50 pm 
BoTM Winner
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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:18 am
Posts: 1992
Location: Toronto, Canada
Disco Drive wrote:
A very tasteful build- well done! Looks like it will ride very well?


It’s a rocket around the block lol. It’s a bit chilly up here in Toronto so I haven’t take it for much of a ride yet.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:55 pm 
.o.T.M Triple Crown Winner
.o.T.M Triple Crown Winner
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Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:59 pm
Posts: 3634
Location: Sunny South of France
BoTY !


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