Who can ream/face titanium frames in the UK?

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  • Who can ream/face titanium frames in the UK?
  • jota180

    You’re obviously up for option A so do that and when Merlin fail to fit the headset and declare it a faulty frame, demand 50% refund as a discount on the faulty frame and then take it elsewhere for machining

    Win, win, you get the satisfaction of taking it back and rubbing their nose in it and also get to keep the frame you wanted at a substantial discount

    Premier Icon somafunk

    I guess i’ve just been spoilt in the past by mostly having custom frames, mass produced frames whilst they may be expected to have some flaws at a low price point i could live with, spending this much on what is a Boutique production frame built by one of the best regarded Titanium frame builders there is (jeff jones notwithstanding or potts etc…etc) would lead you to think a little more care and attention would be part of the final production process, and for merlin to ridicule and belittle my concerns about a head tube that is to small to accept a Hope cup without removing alloy swarf from the cup is unforgivable.

    Hey ho never mind, after a decent sleep i can find little desire to drive a round trip of 400 miles just to prove my issue with Andy @ Merlin cycles, i’ll give Ben a call later and see if he would be good enough to fully prep my frame for the build process, ream head tube, ream out or remove 60mm alloy seat post shim and fit a 100mm depth item, face rear brake mount as there is a significant machining ridge where the 160 mm IS to PM adapter plate should sit and face my BB as there’s a ceramic Hope BB to fit and i’d rather it sat square in the frame. I dunno what this will add up to but i’ll be glad to pay someone for their time and skill to do the work involved, i’d have been more than happy for merlin to do this work but i guess it is above their skill level. What you did (martin) to the Titus frames is all i wanted merlin to do but for some reason they are not interested, i guess that’s the difference between a bike shop that cares about customer service and a bike shop that wants your cash then tell’s you to ****-off

    martin : yeah, i’m all healed up up fine but still ugly, despite dental work involving 3 titanium pins and 3 new teeth inserted into a bone graft on my jaw as that was found to be cracked and after two nose jobs i can breath properly which is a relief – one of these days i’ll find a frame builder to repair my soulcraft, it’s still hanging on my living room wall as a reminder of a cracking 10 days holiday up that way for the 2007 sswc and fort bill world cup wi good folk and perhaps too much whisky if that is possible.

    Not been on the bikes or on this forum for 4 years due to an old spinal injury rearing it’s head and causing problems which led me to take the huff with the bike scene totally as i couldn’t ride but i think, or rather the docs think they’ve got a handle on how to control it now thus the new bike build process i’m going through, along wi a new job in a mates bike shop so i’m back. I’ll be heading up your way before the end of the year so i’ll pop in to the shop – you still at Fat Tread?.

    That is one sweet Rc100 Pace you have, although it did rattle my damaged head something rotten that morning but it was so worth it.


    Premier Icon somafunk

    I’ll give Ben a call later, gives me an excuse to further my apple fanboyitis by popping into the store to get a new iPhone as my old iphone 4 is playing up after 2.5 years use/abuse.

    My father did offer to sort my frame out at the Machine shop but he’s got enough work to catch up on after 3 weeks off, they phoned him practically every day so the backlog of jobs he has to do started at 5am this morning for him, 12 hr days for the next fortnight is not what you want after arriving back from a 3 week holiday just 11 hrs previously.


    Well at least get whoever does for you to write a report and see what Merlin have to say about picking up the bill for it

    Premier Icon somafunk

    Well it’s good news for once, I gave Ben a call this afternoon regarding the reaming etc, and i’ve to pop up to his shop at #54 Switchback Road, Bearsden, Glasgow to be exact, anytime next week and he’ll do the work needed there and then – How cool is that bike shop address btw?, it sounds like it should/could be a voice over to a film such as “Life Cycles” or “Roam”….

    …….”SwitchBack Rd is an epic undiscovered trail, hairpin follows hairpin down the mountain with an unforgiving sheer drop thousands of feet to the valley floor below which locals know as Bearsden, pray you do not suffer a mechanical or puncture down here as many have entered, but few come out unscathed”

    Ha!, A bit of artistic licence there but we were watching (or at least had playing in the background) “Life Cycles” in the shop earlier today as i called Ben, always wanted a valid excuse to visit Ben’s shop as he’s been posting on here for years (previously Benkinetics) with all sorts of weird and wonderful creations so i’m very much looking forward to a mope and poke around his shop on Tuesday.

    I should have a complete Bike next week, happy days indeed.


    Well I hope you sobered up and decided not to drive south! Nah,I work elsewhere now. Left Aviemore over 2 years ago.

    Good luck with getting the bike built. I have ridden a hummer for a short distance around a trail up here and with a really basic wheelset,it felt amazing. Also tried one singlespeed and again,it was something else. It’s still a frame I’d like to own one day.

    Drop me a note and I’ll let you know where I am these days.
    martinbothy at aol dot com


    I’d try a headset that wasn’t made by Hope. If still no joy, i’d then get the file and rubber mallet out. It’s only a mountainbike.

    Premier Icon somafunk

    Finally the saga is over, I decided the 400 mile round trip to the shop where i purchased the Cove Hummer frame was pointless as their idea of customer service was to blame myself for my inability to press the headset into place, according to Andy @ Merlin “it must be your fault the headset will not fit, we’ve sold lots of those frames with no problems, other folk have fitted Hope Headsets without any problems and it’s pretty suspicious that you’ve had two frames and both have been faulty” those were his words exactly so i for one will not be using merlin cycles ever again and i’ll advise everyone i know to give them a wide berth, shame as i’ve used them for over 20yrs with no problems but after that sort of treatment they can go take a flying ****.

    Anyway…I took the frame up to Ben at Kinetics, Glasgow as he sounded a decent person to deal with and i’m so glad i did, a proper treasure trove of a bike shop, a small but spotlessly clean shop and packed to the rafters with unusual biking exotica and an immaculate proper frame engineering workshop and more specialist tools than i’ve ever laid eyes, and my hands on before. Any fears i had about handing over my Cove Hummer frame were soon alayed as Ben set to work with military prescision, He first measured the headtube and found it was undersized and also not not very round at all so that was reamed out and faced as below – check out how much titanium swarf is on the reamer seats.

    Lower headset cup seat being reamed.

    Amount of titanium removed, lower headset cup is now sized and faced correctly.

    Upper headset cup being reamed – note reamer will not even fit into upper cup.

    Large amount of titanium swarf removed from upper cup – now sized and faced correctly.

    Brake mounts also needed facing and were very slightly off position – Now faced and sorted.

    Bottom Bracket needed a slight amount of work to the threads but to be honest they weren’t that bad.

    Bottom bracket being faced, only a small amount of swarf removed but as i’m fitting a Hope ceramic unit it was necessary.

    So after 7weeks of delays and countless phone calls and disputes with merlin i am £100 out of pocket as i obviously paid Ben for his top notch work which came to £40 of which i am extremely grateful and more than happy with and of course….i took him up a freshly baked sponge cream cake from my local bakers (every bike shop runs on cake) along with the £60+ i spent on petrol for the 220mile return journey……..

    …….But….I now have a fully built Cove Hummer.

    In 140mm travel mode

    In 110mm travel mode

    Naturally every steel or alloy bolt has been replaced for Titanium 😀

    Yep…i even aligned the goodridge gear cable logo’s 🙄

    Pauls chain device – nice bit of kit and my only sticker on the entire bike – i hate stickers on bikes along with flashy graphics, my new place of work but i had bought everything online (DOH!) before i started work in the shop.

    Middleburn shiney works of art.

    I ran out of Titanium bolts for the thomson face plate but they’re ordered.

    I’ve only ridden it round the car park and up and down the street but it’s fast…very fast to accelerate and just as quick to stop with the formula brakes. Weighs well under 23lbs in it’s current build which i’m very happy with as no component was choosen for lightness but rather for strength and robustness, gonna get a pimpy rigid carbon fork for the front and i’ll prob run that over winter as i imagine i’d be servicing the Fox Talas every week otherwise, the grit n’ shale n’ mud we have up here in galloway and on the 7 stanes trails can eat a forks stantions in a matter of weeks during the winter as they use either granite or whinestone dust on the 7 stanes trail surfaces which can turn to a grinding paste when wet, with a pimpy carbon fork on the front it’ll be well under 20lbs which will help on the hills as i’ve not rode a bike in anger for near enough 5yrs.

    Can’t wait to get out on it at the weekend…..Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 😀


    Glad I could help – and the cake was much appreciated, thanks 🙂


    I love those pictures – you can see that’s a man who knows what he’s doing and does it well.

    Premier Icon somafunk

    T’was my pleasure ben, to watch you turn my collection of tubes into a completed frame i could finally build up was an exercise in how a bike shop should work, i’ll be up within the month with my broken soulcraft frame for you work on at your leisure – looking forward to getting it repaired and having the s&s couplings fitted.


    What a beautiful build.

    Glad you got it sorted too – my mate (the one who does Astons) read this thread and had a good chuckle – he said he’s had to do loads of little bits to his bikes over the years that are apparently “fine”, he’s been told in the past by a certain online store that he didn’t know what he was on about………hmmmmmmm

    Premier Icon somafunk

    Cheers andy, Yeah it’s amusing how a bike shop are quite happy to sell you an expensive frame that is not prepped for sale, then when you politely point this out to them they have the cheek to abuse you for wanting it reamed and faced to accept a headset.

    I’ll write to the manager or boss of the shop along with a note to the importers detailing the work that needed doing before i could build it up, i have Ben’s work sheet here detailing what needed done so i’ll include a photocopy of that as well as the above photos, don’t really wish to involve Ben in any way possible other than to say he did the work necessary, I’ll give them a chance to reimburse me to the sum of my costs for the work involved but if Andy’s response is anything to go by i don’t fancy my chances of getting anything out of Merlin.

    Something good did come out of the past 7weeks debacle as if it wasn’t for my first dodgy headtube hummer i wouldn’t have wandered into the local bike shop to see what they thought of it and i ended up leaving with a job offer 😀 .

    Premier Icon somafunk

    I’d like to offer a public apology to Andy @ Merlin Cycles, it was childish, abusive and way out of character for myself to suggest that if i visited Merlin cycles that i’d most likely attempt to fit my headset using his face as a headset press, whatever grievance i may have had, suggesting violence of this magnitude was out of order in the circumstance involved.

    Andy, I apologise to you personally……but…, please do not treat paying customers with such disdain and disrespect in future, it only takes one bad experience to sully the name of a business.

    I was annoyed that you clearly made out it was somehow my ineptness rather than a problem with the received replacement frame, your chosen words words directed at myself along with the tone of your voice in conversation at the time along with absolutely no desire to investigate further led me to question my own mechanical knowledge, and it was only the saving grace of a friends wise words that did stop me driving down to the shop to watch you attempt to press in the headset cup, i glad i did not follow through on my ill-conceived plan otherwise i would not have had an excuse to visit Ben in Glasgow and thus meet a true artisan who will shortly resurrect my Soulcraft back to better than new condition.

    For future reference please remember that sometimes….however unlikely it may sound at the time……that the customer may actually be correct in his concerns regarding a product.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride

    I have only just read this, did you get anywhere with Merlin in the end?

    Nice bike BTW 🙂

    Premier Icon somafunk

    To be honest i never got back in touch wi them, after initially receiving such poor service i decided that i’d rather just forget about merlin for any future business, it was a drain trying to deal with them which was unusual as i’d had nothing but decent service for near enough 20 odd years, we used to drive down from Galloway to go their shop in the early 90’s and buy kit n’ parts then go riding in the lakes on the way home but hey-ho…..lesson learned yadda….yadda.

    I’m not fussed bout’ the expense of paying Ben to get the frame prepped at all, nor about getting the money back from merlin, Ben obviously cares about what he does and treats every bike as if it’s his own which is refreshing to see so it was a pleasure to get the frame prepped beforehand – and i know it is prepped and fit for purpose which counts for a lot.

    There has been a few Cove Hummers with cracked headset cups posted on various forums which is due to the frames having non reamed head tubes that have had cups forcibly pressed into them so i’m happy that i can rest easy knowing i’ve done all i can to make sure this frame will last a long time, it’d better as i can’t afford owt’ else.

Viewing 16 posts - 41 through 56 (of 56 total)

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