Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to find out some info on the bottom brackets that Merlin used back in the Somerville days. Info out there is pretty limited, and it seems that some people have paid a fortune to have a new threaded shell welded on. I can't seem to find out any serious info about the real cons of these brackets and whether or not there are other options to ripping out the old shell. Are parts available? Does someone like Phil Wood make a high-quality option for these shells? I'm thinking about buying a dream frame of this era, but it probably has one of these shells. Should I stay away? I do all of my own wrenching and am not averse to a challenge, but I don't have the capacity to make my own tools. I would prefer to put a brand new BB in if something worthy of the frame is still available.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
610 Posts
I still have a Merlin with a grease guarded proprietary BB. With it, you're stuck with square taper cranks. They use sealed cartridge bearings, which so long as you pop off the inner seals, and inject grease every now and and after riding in rain, can provide a lot of trouble free miles.

If you want a different BB, you'd have to get Merlin or someone else replace the BB shell with a standard shell. That's major job that, and you might want to find out if such a job will weaken the remaining tubes form the additional heat cycles.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
I also have a mid 90's merlin that I just built up.

I ended up getting a new spindle and bearings from Phil Wood. I think that's your only option other then a new shell.

Getting the old one out was easy. Since I do all my own wrenching as well I wanted to install the new BB but it ended up being a total headache. So, luckily a shop around me has the old Merlin press in BB tool.

I'm debating on bribing one of the machinist at my work to rig me up a copy on the tool, or I'll just have to go to that shop to get new bearings put in.

Also a heads up. When I got the bearings from Phil Wood they were totally sealed and not open on one side like the old bearings. The mech said the grease guard was kind of a messy hassle anyway and the sealed once should be just fine...
 

· Registered
Joined
·
610 Posts
The bearings are easy to press in/out. They are retained by a circlip at the rim of the BB shell. Assuming you are replacing the bearings, push them out with the BB spindle. I use the old bearing and oversize washers or metal bars to press the new ones carefully.

The bearings used to be factory installed by Merlin with both seals still in place, as did official replacement bearings from Merlin. If you don't remove the inner seals, GG is kind of pointless, as it fills up the BB but hardly any of the grease can get past the seals to the bearings. The seals weren't too good at keeping out water. I went through several sets of bearings with relatively low miles before I tried popping the inner seals off a set. With the seals removed, the bearings last a very long time (in fact, I might not have had to replace them since with huge amounts of miles ridden), and it is easy for the ejected grease to escape from the outer seals.

As you mention with the convenience of GG, you get a mess of dirty grease spewing form the bearings to wipe up. I orginally built the Merlin up with GG'd Suntour hubs too. My Merlin is a mtn bike frame, so GG made sense. Other than touring, commuting, ro CC, I'd think GG is kind of overkill for a road frame.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
320 Posts
I have a 92 Merlin and have replaced my bearings only once although I do think I'll need another set soon. I'd stick with the original design. Cartridge bearing size is standard and available anywhere. Pick up an extra axle or two search the forums for a couple of square taper cranks and you'll be good to go for at least 25 years. I just picked up a new 1" Marzocchi fork for mine last year. My 4th fork for it. First one was rigid, then I bought a Manitou 2, third fork was a Judy SL finally the Zoke.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top