Bare metal build. Merlin Works XLM.


Senior Retro Guru
So, it appears I have a Merlin fetish. This is Merlin number 4, of a current stable of 5x titanium bikes. As advertised on eBay a few weeks ago:-


It had a high starting price and no interest. I contacted the seller and managed to chip the price right down.

I'm not going to lie, the moment I saw the package, the disappointment started. It appeared to be wrapped in some old curtains and a tent.


In fairness, the packing was ok, I think it had protected the bike well.

I set about stripping the entire bike down that evening, simply to asses the condition of everything. As it turns out, although some parts are good condition and serviceable, others are not. This leaves me with the task of finding a suitable fork, easier said than done 10 years on. Most forks from this period weren't particularly well made, and most have had a hard time.

The stripped frame. Very grubby. Most decals damaged, but thats no problem, as I can get decals made.



Of note, one of the bottle cage bosses was seized, so I carefully drilled it out and have ordered some replacement inserts as I cant seem to find my stash. The headtube, dropouts and BB shell are engraved, similarly to my Oreas but with the 'Works' logo.




I have 3 to 4 hours invested in cleaning and preparing this frame so far. It had quite a few deep scratches and the down tube was pretty pebble dashed, obviously it has had a good life. In my care it will undoubtedly have an easier time. New decals will make it look fantastic.

I didn't like these when they first came out, and I particularly chose to have an older Oreas frame as I strongly disliked the shouty Merlin logos. But, as time has passed, I have grown to appreciate and quite like them. Plans include cleaning and making good the usable parts from the bike, and sourcing some new/better condition components to complete the bike, including the forks.

Any top condition 100mm forks out there from 2009/2010?


Senior Retro Guru

It's a bit sleepy 'round here isn't it.

The m5 inserts arrived today, and we have a lovely tool to attach them at work.


And fitted.


That's about as much as I can do until some supplies arrive, covid and import delays mean that some things might not arrive for a while.


Senior Retro Guru

I found some decals on the website. They seemed well priced, so I bought them. They arrived quickly, but weren't big enough. By this point I had already stripped the old ones off of the frame, so had to dig through the bin and piece them together to get a measurement.


After a bit of toing and froing, they came through with some revised sizes.

I fitted them this evening. They look mega.



It's a step closer.


Senior Retro Guru

Parts are starting to come in. The local bike shop can get Thomson stuff easily enough now they are distributed by DMR, they are one of the original customers of Upgrade and have stocked DMR parts since the late 90's. Luckily Thomson settled on a lasting design, so a new post and stem are identical to those available 10+ years ago. Also picked up some Hope parts, again they've stocked Hope parts for years and had some parts with the older logo etched on.


These Raceface cranks are going to go on, they're not perfect, but they wont stop me riding the bike. The chain is a new Wipperman 9sp, I don't remember how I am left with it, but it's ideal for this bike.


I though I would take a look inside the forks. I knew I wasn't going to use them as they are, the coating has worn on the uppers, and the lowers look pretty second hand. I was thinking about stripping them and rescuing the air shaft and both dampers, but upon looking, theres not too much that can be salvaged.


It was obvious that they had been neglected. The steerer is corroded, potentially dangerously so.



But on stripping the lowers off, the damage is worse than I imagined. The air shaft is even corroded, something I have never seen before!



A small bonus is that the compression damper is the expensive titanium version. I think I will strip this down and check to see that this is salvageable, then perhaps search for some replacement parts to complete a rebuild.


Senior Retro Guru

IKR. Amazes me how simple maintenance is missed, even on such high end kit.

Found a Hope BB for sale on here. It obviously hasn't been used much and was a great price. I made some tools years ago to make servicing these simple.


I'll reassemble later.

Mr Scruff

Old School Hero
Always wanted a Merlin, just one of those brands that has stuck with me through time. One day perhaps...


Senior Retro Guru

Some details of the frame.

Merlin Works XLM, Medium.

Seat tube, 1&3/8 od, 17&1/2 actual, 15&3/4 c-c.
Top tube, 1&3/8 od, 22&1/4 actual c-c.
Down tube, 1&5/8 od.
Head tube, 37mm od, 118mm long
Seat stays, 3/4 od.
Chain stays, 7/8 od, 16&3/4 long
BB 68mm English


Frame number M111512. Also mentions '17.5' and 'J', along with the previous owners name. I guess he had a bmx in the 80s....

Talking of the previous owner, it seems a quick search on google shows the bike in a few images. This pic from 2009 shows the bike wearing a Fox F80 or F90


And this pic from 2010 with the Rockshox Sid forks.