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  1. #1
    Señor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Finally finished my Merckx MX Leader and I'm in love. Ride report, pictures and ?'s

    Well it's almost finished. Still need to fix a few things but is a bike ever really finished? Waiting for new tires to show up and in the market for newer and nicer pedals.

    I'll start with some pictures (sorry crappy iphone shots only for now, can't find my camera charger...) and a build list.





    - MX Leader frame and fork. Serial #: 5184 with a Z on the non-drive side and an H on the drive.
    Not sure if paint is original, some red shows through in a few paint chips but that might be primer. I haven't seen this green color on another Merckx--forest green with a metal flake that sparkles in the sun.
    - Campagnolo Sydney 2000 rims laced to mystery silver Campy hubs. (Thanks Richard, they're fantastic!)
    - Record Headset (missing the seal on the outside of the bottom cup, anybody know of a source?)
    - Cinelli XA stem, NOS
    - Mystery handlebars (logos long since polished off)
    - Chorus rear 10s shifter, Daytona front (identical as far as I can tell save for the logo)
    - Chorus front and rear derailleurs
    - Record crankset, Chorus BB
    - Veloce brakeset (plan to upgrade to Chorus or Record for snob reasons but they stop very well so no rush)
    - Ultegra seatpost with logos polished off
    - Brooks Professional saddle

    Rides like a dream. Much stiffer in the BB than my Ti Merckx in the same size and geometry and stiffer than my previous 531 framed bikes. Climbs very well but is not at all harsh. Extremely stable at high speeds and confidence-inspiring on descents. It is almost as much fun to ride as it is to look at...
    Last edited by 4Rings6Stars; 06-21-11 at 10:25 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member DisplayERROR's Avatar
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    Great looking bike!

  3. #3
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    +1

    Just got back from a short ride on my Century.

    I would love to find a MX Leader some day.

  4. #4
    Senior Member javal's Avatar
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    Just great! Awesome colour! And yes, its fun just to look at - droooool.
    the rider makes the bike - steel club member 198

  5. #5
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    Such a cool looking bike! Could you shoot some more with the sun behind you?

  6. #6
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Very nice! More pics, please.
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  7. #7
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    Wow. Great bike! It looks fantastic. I esp love the colour (non-colour, I suppose) choices for bartape etc you've made - it really makes the rims and decals pop.

  8. #8
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    FABULOUS!! it looks great. I love the look of the lugged MAX bikes and I would love have the chance to compare the ride to mine sometime.

    Welcome to the MAX Club
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris W.'s Avatar
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    Wow! That is HOT!!!

    Cheers,
    Chris

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    Looks like there are more of us in love with the same 'girl'.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Elev12k's Avatar
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    What they all say^^

    Very nice!
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  12. #12
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    Looks great...would love a MAX bike myself...congrats, enjoy!
    85 Andy Gilmour |85 De Rosa |85 Spectrum |91 Panasonic |92 Chesini |94 Vittorio |95 Batavus |95 Iron Horse |95 Reus |02 Calfee |02 Serotta |04 Serotta |06 Look |11 Meech

  13. #13
    Señor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    OK a couple questions. My serial number: H ---- Z 5184. The Z seems to suggest that it is a 1985. I don't know anything about the history of the MXL's but it seems all of the examples I have seen online are newer than that.

    Also, In all my searching I still haven't found another Merckx witht he same paint scheme. Has anybody seen this paint before? Repaint?

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  14. #14
    Senior Member stevenc's Avatar
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    Nice build!
    Your MX Leader does have the chainstays in the old-fashioned way: flattened and attached to the side of the seat tube (I'm sure there is a proper word for that). Later they became 'fastback': round and attached at the back.
    Also, it doesn't have the eyelets at the front of the headtube to hold the shifting cables and prevent rub. Those were also added in the later version I think. Or was this an option, just like the number hanger? Not sure when these small changes were introduced but it was before 1990.

    Never seen the paint scheme either, and it just doesn't look "right" to me: the Columbus sticker overlapping with the yellow line in the seat tube for instance. Maybe it was a custom order?
    I do have one that has the dark green as part of a yellow/red scheme, so definitely a color Merckx used.
    Hope this gives you another piece of the puzzle.
    Last edited by stevenc; 06-27-11 at 01:51 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    I've seen that paint scheme before - in my garage. Mine is a 2001 MX Leader in what's called British Racing Green.

  16. #16
    Paceline Lead Blocker
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    Would you ride a MAX/MXL frame on a century? Do you think it would be comfortable at that distance?

  17. #17
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I don't think MAX was around in '85. I believe the first year is was available was '90 but I am not sure when the MX leaders came along. I know I sold a lugged MAX Merckx in '93 in Telecome colors but I don't recall if it was a just MAX them or the MX Leader.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  18. #18
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P4D View Post
    Would you ride a MAX/MXL frame on a century? Do you think it would be comfortable at that distance?
    Absolutely.

    Also, your chainstays are both chrome and mine only the drive side is chrome.
    Last edited by longbeachgary; 06-22-11 at 04:58 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Sorry, is there an "M" on the stem. I think that stem is a Modolo.

    Strike that. It looks like a "C" for Cinelli.

  20. #20
    Señor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments.

    Longbeachgary - thanks for posting the pic, now I feel more confident mine is not a repaint. However the chainstays being different makes me wonder.... Also the stem is most definitely a Cinelli. I unpacked it from its original packaging to install.

    PFD - I think the MXL will be very comfortable for long distance rides and I plan on testing it with a century in a few weeks.
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  21. #21
    Paceline Lead Blocker
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Rings6Stars View Post
    Thanks for all the comments.

    Longbeachgary - thanks for posting the pic, now I feel more confident mine is not a repaint. However the chainstays being different makes me wonder.... Also the stem is most definitely a Cinelli. I unpacked it from its original packaging to install.

    PFD - I think the MXL will be very comfortable for long distance rides and I plan on testing it with a century in a few weeks.
    Let me know how it goes. I sorely need to get mine on the road, and have a century in September I am looking to do. Maybe I need to get it up and running for Tour de Big Bear...

  22. #22
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    The MXL is very comfortable for long distance rides. I just did about 60 miles a few weeks ago and was very pleased with it. I will be using it on a century soon.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Rings6Stars View Post
    Thanks for all the comments.

    Longbeachgary - thanks for posting the pic, now I feel more confident mine is not a repaint. However the chainstays being different makes me wonder.... Also the stem is most definitely a Cinelli. I unpacked it from its original packaging to install.
    Not specifically referring to Merckx bikes here, but I feel like I've seen quite a few steel road bikes from around the same time (mid 80s to 90s) that are the same brand, model and paint scheme, but have different chrome accents. For instance, everything from only the DS chainstay being chromed, to both chainstays, to full chain AND seatstays. I've seen it with Merckx bikes, but with a few other brands also. Maybe that was up to the whims of the builders working that day?

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