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Help identifying Eddy Merckx Model

Old 11-14-16, 07:44 AM
  #1  
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Help identifying Eddy Merckx Model

Dear fellow bike-obsessed gentleman,

I was wondering whether anyone could help me identify this Eddy Merckx frame, I can't seem to find any information about on the almighty interwebz

My guess is, it's an early 90's (probably 1993) Corsa Extra frame, hence the cables in the top-tube, but I'm not sure and I don't have yet a serial number at hand.

I am much obliged and thankful for your help.

Alex
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Old 11-14-16, 07:50 AM
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SLX usually means Corsa Extra.


I'd put the date a little earlier, due to the entry/exit points of the top tube cable routing. Later frames used entry/exit points that were not both at 12 0' clock. This lessened water entering the frame.


Looks like the original owner ordered up a bunch of chrome!
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Old 11-14-16, 07:55 AM
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Yes, you're right! Entry points changed afterwards, like this one for example: Steel Vintage Bikes - NOS Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra from 1993
So probably between 1987 and 1992 then?
I thought about special order, too...but thought maybe it's not so special after-all....
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Old 11-14-16, 09:56 AM
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Beautiful frame! I'm curious about the paint wear pattern under the bottom bracket. I've never seen that before. Is that from using some kind of funky bike stand? Or was someone polishing up the chrome with too much abandon using a hand tool and took some paint right off (see also bottom of top tube in front of seat tube junction)?
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Old 11-14-16, 10:33 AM
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First I thought it was the cable housing that made the damages. But now that you're saying, I guess it might have been the former, some kind of stand or car rack...But how could he be so careless day after day till it wore off thaaat much is puzzling me...I mean if you care about details and make a special order, why would you neglect it like this...
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Old 11-14-16, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by alex_iacob View Post
First I thought it was the cable housing that made the damages. But now that you're saying, I guess it might have been the former, some kind of stand or car rack...But how could he be so careless day after day till it wore off thaaat much is puzzling me...I mean if you care about details and make a special order, why would you neglect it like this...
The more I look at the pattern, the more it looks like a hand-held buffing wheel was used too aggressively. Look at the way the paint is gone almost to the junction of tube/lug. Something hard, like a stand or a rack or some weird trainer setup, wouldn't wear the paint so deeply into the groove. Also, the wear seems very smooth, and not like an accumulation of scratches built up over time. I think this was done by someone relatively inexperienced at using a hand tool buffing wheel. I've done stuff like this on wood projects.
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Old 11-14-16, 11:09 AM
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Do you think they stripped the paint off of the lugs or it was made like that? In the photo of the front of the head tube it looks like there is still some red on the lug. Can be a beautiful bike either way.
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Old 11-14-16, 11:09 AM
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Well....If that was the case, I will add one more step towards that lonely island...
I work with wood and sell professional electrical tools for polishing & sanding too probably that's why it's even more incomprehensible for me...I mean usually you test a small spot on a similar material, then on the actual workpiece and only afterwards you start working it up gradually...he must have insisted quite a lot )
However...maybe I will restore it professionally...Just not sure whether to keep this colour or not...
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Old 11-14-16, 11:12 AM
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I believe/hope it's the reflection of the red colour in the chrome lug
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Old 11-14-16, 01:04 PM
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You may find once you see it in person that the seat tube lug has had the paint polished off and was not originally intended to be a chrome lug. And that the PO intended to do the same thing on the bottom lugs.

Not unusual for an entire frame to be chrome plated for corrosion protection back then, but not everything was polished beforehand. So the polished bits would be unpainted. I've owned a handful of Merckx frames, including ones with chromed head lugs and fully chromed rear triangles, but never seen one with a chrome seat lug.
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Old 11-14-16, 01:24 PM
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I have a Koga Miyata which has chrome coating underneath the paint, which is very good against corrosion, indeed. If the chrome is nice, do you see any advantages or disadvantages for this? I mean in the worst case I can paint the lugs back, right?
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Old 11-14-16, 01:34 PM
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I suspect that the lugs were originally painted because there are tool marks on the top tube where the lug meets it and tool marks on the upper seat stay where the EM is embossed - it's like a sloppy sanding job. How soon will you be able to get your hands on it?
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Old 11-14-16, 01:37 PM
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Have you seen this website?

Eddy Merckx Serial Numbers
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Old 11-14-16, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
I suspect that the lugs were originally painted because there are tool marks on the top tube where the lug meets it and tool marks on the upper seat stay where the EM is embossed - it's like a sloppy sanding job. How soon will you be able to get your hands on it?
I didn't quite understand what you mean. With originally painted you mean in the factory? I think those marks are from the sanding pad touching the frame when polishing the lugs, probably wrong shape and diameter and sloppy worker. Well, I suppose it will take 3-4 weeks till I get my eyes on it. At least the SLX sticker looks original, so I hope it is a Corsa Extra at least. But anyways, for 250 EUR I reckon it was worth the risk.
I know the site with serials, but I don't know the serial and I can't see it in the pictures.
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Old 11-14-16, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by alex_iacob View Post
I didn't quite understand what you mean. With originally painted you mean in the factory? I think those marks are from the sanding pad touching the frame when polishing the lugs, probably wrong shape and diameter and sloppy worker. Well, I suppose it will take 3-4 weeks till I get my eyes on it. At least the SLX sticker looks original, so I hope it is a Corsa Extra at least. But anyways, for 250 EUR I reckon it was worth the risk.
I know the site with serials, but I don't know the serial and I can't see it in the pictures.
For 250 it was a steal.
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Old 11-14-16, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by alex_iacob View Post
I didn't quite understand what you mean. With originally painted you mean in the factory? I think those marks are from the sanding pad touching the frame when polishing the lugs, probably wrong shape and diameter and sloppy worker. Well, I suppose it will take 3-4 weeks till I get my eyes on it. At least the SLX sticker looks original, so I hope it is a Corsa Extra at least. But anyways, for 250 EUR I reckon it was worth the risk.
I know the site with serials, but I don't know the serial and I can't see it in the pictures.
I think what he means is that the lugs were chromed and painted at the factory, and since that chrome was going to be painted over, the lugs weren't filed smooth as they would have been if they were going to be left with the chrome exposed. And that an owner has taken that paint off, exposing the chrome, but without the paint that chrome isn't quite as smooth because the underlying metal wasn't as well finished. I don't think he was talking about the marks in the paint around the lugs.
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Old 11-25-16, 11:54 AM
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Hey guys,
I just received the frame. You were right guys! The previous owner was a nut-job. He tried to expose the lugs and missed the right skills for doing so nicely. But except the paint layer, the chrome and steel are fine.
Overall it looks very good actually. The paint faults are not so obvious and the red is very nice. I will probably ride it a few times and restore it professionally afterwards.
This is the serial number, but I'm not sure how to date it. What do you think?
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Old 11-25-16, 12:05 PM
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The one consistent thing about Merckx serial numbers is that they are not consistent. Here is info from cadre.org:


The left side of the serial gives model and (sometimes) size information. Sometimes there are some other letters I haven't deciphered. But here's the general gist

Letter Model
A (Professional?)
B (Professional?)
P Professional
C Corsa
X Corsa Extra
T TSX (Century)
M* Strada
* On frames prior to, roughly, 1986, the M probably denotes a multisport or other model, and does not necessarily denote a Strada. If there's a Columbus SL style sticker on there (either no tubing type mentioned, or an SL), then its probably not a Strada - which will have either a Strada or possibly a Cromor decal, depending on the year.

Sometimes things don't match up -- there are multiple Corsa Extras marked with an H, for instance. Things to figure out as the sample space gets larger. Originally, I thought an S designated a Grand Prix (made of Seven-fifty-three tubing), but has shown up on a variety of other frames clearly labeled as other models.

The left side number will give the last digit of the frame size. C5, for instance, would be a 55cm Corsa. On some frames, this might show up as 5C, but it means the same.

The right side of the serial is less easily defined. The numeric portion seems to be at least semi-linear. The two identical Grand Prix differ by 1. Other frames from the 88/89/90 time frame show numeric portions radically different. Its possible the number portion is sane for a given model type.

The final letter, however, seems to be at least a somewhat reasonable marker for timeframe. Its possible that the letter corresponds to the catalog which the model comes from -- Merckx didn't necessarily issue a new catalog for every year, so the letter may indicate the catalog year to which the model is designed.

In general, the letters from 1986/87 and on seem to follow a somewhat recognizable pattern. 84/85, part of 86 maybe, also seem semi consistent:

Letter Date Range
Z 85
A 86/87
B 88/89
C 90/91
D 92/93
E 94/95*
F 96/97
G 98
H 99
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Old 11-25-16, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by alex_iacob View Post
This is the serial number, but I'm not sure how to date it. What do you think?
Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
Have you seen this website?

Eddy Merckx Serial Numbers
From that web page and your pic, it appears to be a 1985 Corsa Extra. I think.
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Old 11-25-16, 12:56 PM
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@ longbeachgary: Yes, indeed...definitely maybe consistently inconsistent )) Hmmm...It doesn't quite add up...100%

@ CO_Hoya: Yes, might be

So for the sake of the game, correct me if I'm wrong/please add your input:

4 = 54 size
X = Corsa Extra
M = ??? Multisport ??? (Columbus SLX sticker)
Z = 1985 (but the top cable entry holes through the top tube...even for 1st generation for this kind of cable system, 1985 is a bit early...isn't it?)
4663 = ?
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Old 11-25-16, 05:16 PM
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Sigh...Merckx serial numbers. Sure do wish they could have been consistently, well, consistent.

I think 85 is indeed too early, as I've seen/owned a number of Merckx frames from the mid 80's that still used top tube cable guides.

Likely a 54cm SLX Corsa Extra, but probaly more like 87-89.
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Old 11-26-16, 09:08 AM
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The bulgier website has some pics from the '85 catalog. My "z" stamped Professional is shown in it.

http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/catalog..._merckx3/2.jpg

http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/catalog..._merckx3/4.jpg

That is a nice frame, I'm a sucker for a chrome seat stay. BTW my Pro looks like the one on the far right in second link. Interesting thing about the second link is it shows 2 Corsa Extras, one with internal cable routing, one without!
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Old 11-26-16, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for that link, had seen the pic before but never noticed the internal routing on the far left. Same frame also has a different seat stay/seat lug treatment, more like my Corsa Extra which is also from the same general period, although my stays are chromed.
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Old 04-13-19, 08:41 PM
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Well this is a little late, but here's my thoughts about this EM frame.
4 - 54cm
X - a Corsa Extra
M - a production code. Does not denote model.
Z - 9,999 frames produced 83-85
4663 - puts it in the middle of the production of Z frames

I'm calling it as an 84, probably mid-year.

Investment cast BB, standard lug set, sloping crown fork - looks like a standard production frame in SLX, but confirm the seat tube has the SLX riflings via the BB to be sure.
But an 84 frame with internal TT cable routing throws the fox in the hen-house. I'd say this probably fingers it as a custom race frame, but there's no number hanger. Don't rule it out though, plenty of teams returned their frames to the EM factory for repaint and removed the number hanger to hide their race use. I've seen it all. Top entry and exit for the routing was normal at this time, plus it was (and still is) possible to retro-fit internal routing before a repaint.

Hope you're riding it and loving it.
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Old 04-29-19, 01:24 PM
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Hi! Ladies and gentlemen, let me try to help: M = code designation of the employee responsible for preparing the frame before chroming / painting (M appears in 1983-1986, the Multisport model never existed, M since 1987 marked Columbus Cromor in the Strada model); 4 = 54cm seat tube (or 64cm, it happened); X = Columbus SLX; Z = fall 1984 - fall 1986; 4663 = summer / fall 1985. To sum up: this is Eddy Merckx Pro SLX (the name Corsa Extra appeared at the earliest in late 1986). Beautiful thing Best Regards - Jacek
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