I called the first owner of the 89 Merlin today. He was really sad he never know that it was up for sale, he would have bought it back on the double. He was cool about it though, and I didn’t offer him to buy it from me
He remembers most details about the frame and the build. The build took him a couple of years, which explains why some of the parts are newer than the actual frame.
He ordered the frame in -88 but had to wait about 1 year before it was delivered, it came in the beginning of -89. He was quite disturbed that his frame still had the U-brake fittings rather than cantilever ditto. The theme of the build was; Light weight, bare metal and no logos.
1991 he visited the bike show in Atlantic City, where he bought many of the parts directly from the exhibitors. He visited the folks at Merlin, they gave him the envelope with spare decals. As he remembers it, the original decals on his bike were white, same as the ones he got for spares. He also confirms that the frame was designed by Joe Murray (his own hose god).
From Dia-Compe he bought the pre-production 987 cantis and SS-5 levers. They have Titanium springs. He also bought some bolts for them at the SRP stand.
This is the spec sheet as he remembers it:
Frame: early -89 Merlin MTB size 17,5”
Handlebar: McMahon Titanium
Stem: McMahon Titanium w Ti bolts
Fork: Ritchy Logic black (he had it painted red in a Swedish bike factory)
Rear brake: McMahon
Front brake Dia-Compe 987 w SRP Ti bolts
Brake levers: Dia-Compe SS-5
Front derailleur: Shimano XT w SRP Ti bolts
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT w SRP Ti bolts
Chain: Regina Superlegera
Rims: Mavic MA 40 ceramic
Front hub: Silver Bullseye (It came together with the rear hub, that he never used)
Rear hub: Shimano Dura-Ace
Spokes: LiteSpeed Titanium
BB: Ti axle (don’t remember brand)
Scewers: Silver Ringle Ti Stix
Bottle cage: Ringle with Ti bolts
Head set: Silver Chris King
Pedals: Suntour Pro, later sold and changed for -92 Onza clipless with Titanium axles
Saddle: Flite Ti black leather
Crank set: Silver Cook Bros Racing with Shimano XT Biopace with Ti crank bolts and Ti main bolts
It was rally nice to get some intel about this bike, kind of gives it alittle more personality