Mercier Formule 1, 80's aero road bike


Dirt Disciple
I picked up this bike a while back and as it's an unusual one I thought I'd make a thread. The bike was put up for sale locally at Facebook marketplace for £10 (!). I ended up paying £80 after a short bidding war, but still a bargain. :)

The bike is a Mercier Formule 1 and was Mercier's contribution to the aero-wave in the early 80's. The frame is made from Super-Vitus 971 tubing and several tubes have been altered:
- Seat tube: Oval at the top and becomes round at the derailleur clamp.
- Toptube: Oval
- Downtube: Oval at the top and becomes round towards the bottom bracket.
- Seatstays: Oval/flat.
- Chainstays: Oval/flat
- Headtube: Flattened sides.
I have not been able to figure out if Vitus supplied tubes in these shapes or if they were adapted by Mercier. As both companies were based around St.Etienne it might have been a collaboration project?

There is no seatpost bolt, so the frame takes an oval seatpost with a quill to fasten it. Thankfully it was not stuck!

The Formule 1 was launched in 1980, supplied with either Shimano 600 EX or Gipiemme, and cost 2000 franc. A second version with Dura-ace AX was launched later. (this model had a seatpost bolt) The only Mercier catalogue I've found is from 1983 and there is no Formule 1 in that one, which makes me believe that the model was only made for a couple of years.

My bike has Simplex derailleurs, Gipiemme brakes and crank and Shimano 600 arabesque shifters. I've read that Gipiemme used rebranded Simplex derailleurs in their groupsets, but the ones on my bike are branded Simplex. Suppose they might be original to the bike? I'm not too fond of the mismatch in components so I'm thinking about building it with an arabesque groupset I have instead.

That's about all the information I have been able to find about the Mercier Formule 1, most of it google translated from various french forums. Still have a lot of questions though. How many bikes were made? Did the Mercier sponsored teams race these bikes or did they become sort of a gimmick?

If anyone has any additional info (or maybe a catalogue scan? :shock: ) it would be much appreciated.


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rBoTM Triple Crown
rBotM Winner
I do like that and Mercier pink as well.

From memory Gipiemme at that time used a few different peoples bits so yes they did badge the better Simplex Mechs but also some Campag technology along with other peoples before making their own, I suppose you can think of them at that time along similar lines to Spidel although Spidel were a coming together of only French manufacturers.


Senior Retro Guru

Afaik Gipiemme were strictly Campag. copy chainsets and pedals in the later '70s, before branching out into groupsetism, which, as with Mavic, seems to have just meant getting your brand engraved on existing products.

Those 'Gipiemme' brakes upthread are rebranded Modolos.


rBoTM Triple Crown
rBotM Winner
Yes Gipiemme did start out as strictly Campag re productions with Campags blessing but then branched out using other brands like Simplex and Modolo with their name on before making their own complete groups in house before scaling back at the end of the friction lever/screw on freewheel era. Now I think they just make wheels.

In the early 90's there was a guy that did new old stock and end of line gear in Essex somewhere and he had a lot of Gipiemme stuff when some was other peoples and some their own. I did have a complete Gipiemme group from him back then which was quite nice for it's time, from memory the crank, hubs and brakes were their own but the mechs were Simplex and the brake and gear levers were Modolo, I think I have a set of brake calipers left somewhere but that's about it.

You didn't see it much here in the UK but you do see it on bikes in French and Italian bike manufacturers catalogues with Mercier obviously being one.


Dirt Disciple

Made some progress on the bike over the last couple of weeks.

The frame has a couple of areas with some rust bubbles, so I decided to treat it with Owatrol inside and out. Hopefully, that will slow/halt the process. A respray is not really an option as the metallic pink would be really difficult to get right. Besides, the paint is only original once right? I ordered some new decals but turns out they're not a good enough match. The original ones have a shimmer, just like the paint, but the ones I got are plain. So I'll stick with the originals even though they are quite faded.

I decided to swap the big chainring with a drilled one I had. Think it's a good fit for the bike and who doesn't like some drillium? :)

As mentioned before I was thinking about swapping the groupset for a 600 arabesque I have, but I decided to keep the original. The weird thing about the components is that it has 600 arabesque shifters with Campagnolo screws. I have a pair of Simplex shifters that I thought I could use but turned out they didn't fit the braze-ons. The shifters I have are smooth on the sides but the brace-ons have a small metal piece to stop the shifter instead of using a plate between the shifter and frame. I'll go with the Shimano shifters for now and see if I can locate a pair of Simplex ones that will fit.


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