Dave Mercer must be one of the world’s most eloquent frame builders, wielding as much talent with the pen — or keyboard — as he does with the torch. His blog posts reveal the consideration he bestows upon each frame which, in turn, inspire their riders.
Stan Engelbrecht was compelled to write a lengthy account of his journey from Cape Town to Namibia aboard his Mercer dirt tourer, a bright collaboration between rider, frame builder, artist and painter.
Buitestander translates to ‘Outsider’ from Afrikaans, and loosely means outcast. It’s the moniker given by Dave to Stan’s Columbus Life-tubed tourer, emblazoned on the seat stay bridge and signature brass plate under the bottom bracket.
That brass name plate, the S&S couplers and the polished head badge are the only places where metal is still visible — the rest being covered with patterns and personal symbols designed by a local street artist and illustrator called Black Koki.
Weeks were spent on the art direction, between Stan, Black Koki and finally, Jared Mahaffey from Cape Town’s Bicycle Maintenance Company. The fade was laid down first by Jared, who sent it to Black Koki, who painstakingly applied the design in ‘paint resist’.
Then it went back to Jared for the coat of black, back to Black Koki for the smaller illustrations before finally returning to Jared for the clear coat. The red right hand refers to one of Stan’s tattoos, and you can make out the face of Julip, his late dog.
A totemic eye on the fork crown cries a single tear of blood because, as Black Koki attests: “Die lewe maak seer”, or Life hurts. The Columbus Dove badge on the seat tube was a special request, as were the S&S couplers and the chain hanger.
Stan did stipulate, however, that he was keen not to use the de rigeur integrated brake calliper dropouts, preferring instead to use classic Ritchey dropouts that don’t cater for discs. No problem, Dave figured out a simple direct-mount solution.
To shake down his new bike, Stan rode a three week, 2200km tour from Cape Town to Windhoek, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. By the looks of things, and from Stan’s description, it was an awe-inspiring journey — on an extraordinary bike.
Special thanks to Bregan Koenigseker, and Stan Engelbrecht for the photos.