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Jim Merz built roughly 400 bike frames and bikes from 1973 > 1982 from Portland, Oregon, before moving to work for Mike Sinyard designing new Specialized bicycles. Jim worked for Specialized from 1983→1991, and again from 2003→2011. Jim made only a few custom mountain bikes starting in 1980. Despite having a large influence on American bicycle building, he has not been inducted into the Mt. Bike Hall of Fame, probably because his focus has been on touring and racing road bicycles and that his mountain bike output was low. 1)2) The June 1982 issue of Bicycling Magazine surveyed the state of mountain biking art in 1982 and reviewed bikes from:
- Merz - who brought a 650b to that party.
So, Jim Merz was clearly a respected early pioneer of the mountain bike craft.
I would go to the Bay Area to visit Mike [Sinyard] and other suppliers. Mike got one of the very first Ritchey MTB’s, I went down and he let me ride it. So I came back to Portland and made my version, without question the first MTB in the PNW! I knew Mike was going to make his version, what ended up being the Stumpjumper. I wanted him to hire me, so I could be the technical guy at Specialized.
He ended up hiring Tim Neenan, because he didn't want to pay my moving cost! After about a year Tim wanted to get out of San Jose, so Mike hired me. Sept. 1982. The first day on the job was flying from Portland to Japan! It was crazy; I designed everything, bikes, parts and even tires. Jim Merz, Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association, 11/8/2016
See: Merz Bicycles
Jim Merz hand made his fork crowns from solid steel billet using a hacksaw and file.
1980 Merz, facebook
Huret DuoPar Titanium rear derailleur, Shimano Dura-Ace cranks. More info on this specific bike at theradavist.
1981 Merz, facebook
Dura-Ace triple, Jim Merz custom chainrings.
2017 Specialized Sequoia Merz
2017 Specialized Sequoia Merz, theradavist