1991 Merlin Metalworks Elevator Titanium Mountain Bike
This Merlin Elevator mountain bike was originally ordered by Scott Dollmeyer, a professional photographer who had worked with Architectural Digest. Note the studio-quality photo, which was taken by Scott when he first received the bike in its new condition.
Merlin Metalworks reputedly only made 150 of the Elevator (elevated chainstay design). This frame has a serial number of 4225. Except for the 1.375-inch seat tube, the rest of the front triangle uses whopping 1.5-inch diameter titanium tubes. I like the unpolished finish, it's easy to maintain. I do need to apply some new decals. Merlin and WTB incorporated the Grease Guard bottom bracket.
You’ll notice the interesting-looking fork and dirt-drop setup. The fork is the Monolith Rebound suspension fork. The fork has 1.75-inches of travel and a “smart” (before it was referred to as “smart”!) rebound system, meaning, the fork wouldn’t compress until it hit an obstacle on the trail. Spencer Owyang was a genius!
The drop-bar setup consists of a tall custom Ibis LD (goose-neck) stem that gets the WTB / Specialized RM-2 Dirt Drop flared handlebar in a comfortable and efficient riding position. This handlebar/stem combination gives me a lot of flexibility in body position. Complimenting the Wilderness Trail Bikes bar, are the rare WTB thumb shifter mounts with Shimano Deore XT M732 thumb shifters and Dia-Compe brake levers. And keeping this setup turning smoothly is the ever-reliable (Chris) King Components 1-inch no-logo headset. My favorite headset and I try to use them on all my bikes.
The other components consist of a 7-speed Shimano Deore XT M732 drivetrain, Dia-Compe 986 cantilever brakes with WTB brake pads, Hugi hubs laced to WTB Powerbeam rims with Salsa no-logo quick-release skewers. For those of you with a keen eye, you’ll notice I replaced the Dean titanium seatpost with an iconic aluminum IRD seatpost topped off with a Selle Italia Turbo saddle, replacing the Flite.
The bike rides incredibly well, note the modern tires, the handlebars are in such a good ergonomic position and the fork responds well in most situations, soaking up small and medium bumps rather well. It’s a very fun ride!