Monday, March 12, 2012

A Century Later: Fitra's Somec Mercury

Building bicycles is an interesting business. Sometimes you stumbled a project so interesting that you kind of fall in love during the process. And there comes that feeling when the said bicycle returns to your shop for repairs or fine tuning, and you sort of watch the bicycle grow along with its new scratches and battle scars. It's just a machine, but it has soul.

Let me get this thing straight: the label "a century later" in this post is totally an understatement. After his first Jakarta-Lampung fixed gear ride at 2010, Fitra decided to do the trip again on this Mercury last year. This time it's even longer: he didn't go straight away to Lampung from Jakarta and managed to clock more than 700 kilometers on his four day solo ride.

More than a year since this build rolled out our garage (we still did our business at home back then), a couple things changed. The saddle had to make way for a reupholstered Selle Italia Flite. A Cinelli 1A replaced the Italmanubri stem while a more modern Velo Orange Grand Cru sealed cartridge headset replaced the old Campagnolo one. Shimano 105 5700 brifters provides crisp shifting and braking (while the old Shimano Ultegra 6600 brifters goes here) and the 12-23T Ultegra cassette was replaced with a wider 11-25T 105 unit.

Note how the decal is completely buffed off the crankset.
It's hard not to like this Mercury. Built with Columbus SLX tubing, the fillet brazed junctions are the testament to the welder's craftsmanship. You can imagine how many hours spent just on the seat cluster, it is immaculately beautiful. This Mercury is adorned with "shooting star" graphics, and even the scratches and scars that gathered along the way add to this bicycle's character.

Somec's trademark "Tetris" graphics.

The shooting stars on the chainstay...
...and some found on the seattube...
...and the fork legs as well.

The wheels held up just fine after all those kilometers.
In terms of graphics, you can't expect an Italian frame to be subtle.

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