This French Mercier bicycle has captured my attention. It is made from “duralumin“ – the same stuff blimps were made with – by Meca Dural using a unique procedure to join the tubes with aluminum lugs and wedged steel internal expanders. The Meca Dural company produced aluminum frames from the 1930’s through the 1950’s on behalf of a number of cycling manufacturers, Mercier being one of them. A Mercier Meca Dural is included in the Embacher collection (which was sold in its entirety at auction, earlier this year). The blackbirdsf site also has photos of a variety of duralumin frames of various manufacturers, including Aviac and Barra, as well as Meca Dural.
This Mercier Meca Dural is a “ladies” bike with a step through frame, although it is not a mixte frame as it lacks the set of extra chain stays typically used to stiffen the frame. Depending on many factors, this may or may not be a good thing.
The bike features a Stronglight crankset with 46 teeth, CLB 700 brakes with useful and ingenious quick release mechanism, Atom hubs, Samir Saminox 700c rims, Huret plunger/pushrod derailleur, a 4 speed freewheel, and a serial number on the left side rear drop out – 16822. Here are some photos of the components:
The bike has a number of issues which will affect the restoration process. The steel fork was horrifically spray painted gray – so the paint will need to be removed. Upon closer examination, I have concluded that the wheels are not original to the frame. There is a 1975 date code on the Atom hub, and not only that, their diameter suggests that this bike was built for 650b wheels and not 700c – the fork crown and rear brake bridge daruma bolts foul the 700c tires. Clearly the bike was built for 650b wheels, which I confirmed after measuring the CLB 700 brake reach. And, some features are missing – the fenders show that the bike originally had a rear and front rack, and the fork mount dynamo is absent, as well as the original chain guard.
Even so, I am looking forward to restoring this machine and to its first test ride, as I want to experience the feel of the aluminum frame and steel lugs, and to judge the frame stiffness for myself. Stay tuned!
That bike is incredible!
Are you saying that the bottom bracket shell is removeable by mean of that underside bolt?
Were you able to match the serial number with a date-of-manufacture?
Aluminum with steel lugs reminds me of my Raleigh Technium.
Those CLB calipers look very strong!
Is that a Cyclo Mk 7 shifter?
The BB shell is a separate aluminum tube, and does appear to be removable. Shifter is a Simplex, but rear derailleur is Huret. Haven’t had luck with the SN yet.
I was wondering about the finish on the frame. It looks quite good. Did you have to polish it when you got the bike? Also, are you going to keep it as a rider?
I polished it minimally for the photos on this post (using NEVRDULL), but will do a more thorough job as part of the restoration. I plan to keep the bike for now, as I am curious how the aluminum frame feels.
Did you finish restoring this? Do you have a pic? I have acquired the same bike myself. Not sure how in depth I I should go!
Still working on it. See my latest posts.
first,sorry for my poor English:i’m French…
did you finished to restore it?
those frames need 650 wheels.and alloy rims Ménal 51 will be perfect.
the rear dérailleur must be a Simplex.
the best will be all accesories in alloy.it looks so nice…