What's Cool In Road Cycling

Readers’ Rigs: Dave’s Ti Merlin Works

They say once you ride titanium you’ll be hooked for life and that certainly seems the case with today’s reader Dave from Portland. His Merlin Works is the third titanium bike he’s owned – will it be his forever bike?

Name: Dave Chirayath
Location: Portland, Maine
Bike: Merlin Works 3/2.5 Medium/Large
Groupset: Shimano Dura Ace 9000/9001
Wheels: Handbuilt November RFSW3 24/28 spokes, Bitex hubs
Pedals: Speedplay X2
Saddle: Fizik Tri 2
Weight: 17.5 pounds (7.9kg)

When did you buy it and what made you choose this bike?
2010. I love the ride of a well-made ti bike. This is my third titanium bike and I chose this particular frameset for the increased stiffness offered by compact geometry and an oversize seat tube. I do lots of long rides in rural Maine on some bad roads and this Merlin feels great even after 6 hours.

What modifications/additions have you done?
Nothing out of the ordinary. I do run an Ultegra cassette instead of a Dura Ace because of the increased longevity.

What components are you running?
Handbuilt RFSW3 24/28 spoked wheelset built around Bitex hubs using Sapim CX Ray spokes radially laced in the front, 2x/2x laced rear, black Wheelsmith brass nipples. Vittoria Rubino Pros – 25mm in back, 23mm front, November quick release skewers and Bontrager tubes. One of the fastest and most durable wheelsets I have ever run.

How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
Depends on the year and where I am living. This year should be around 3,000 miles (4800km).

What do you love about this bike?
The little details such as the engraving on the seat collar and dropouts and the weld quality are top notch. The handling is predictable and precise. Sprinting is awesome on this bike and I’ve never had the rear wheel touch the brake pads or had the chain rub the front derailleur. I also love the raw finish which I never have to worry about scratching or chipping. I tear down the bike every winter and rebuild it and when the frame is bare I go over it with Scotch Brite to remove any blemishes which is a quick and satisfying process.

Favorite riding area?
It is a tie. I love riding along the coast and in the mountains of Maine and I also love the high altitude riding surrounding Granada Spain. Both places offer some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain to be found for a road biker.

Favorite riding experience on your bike?
When I was living north of Portland and I was closer to the White Mountains I used to routinely do rides into New Hampshire and back through the Bethel area. These often turned into 8+ hour days riding through some amazing scenery.

Future upgrades?
Not sure as the bike is an amazing ride as it is now. Possibly a tubular wheelset built around Chris King or White Industries hubs.

Last words?
Titanium is an amazing frame material, especially for big cyclists (I am 6’1 198lbs). You may not get your bike down to the weight weenie levels you can with carbon, but unless you are a pro with sub 5% body fat you have no need to. That said, regardless of what you choose to ride – GET OUT AND RIDE!!!

Thanks to Dave for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you’re proud of? Well how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to [email protected] and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

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