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Merckx frame details (Grand Prix)

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Merckx frame details (Grand Prix)

Old 04-26-15, 04:43 PM
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fischer, max
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Merckx frame details (Grand Prix)

A few months ago I got this Merckx Grand Prix from a dude on Craigslist. I've looked on the Cadre site and it hasn't been much help, so I'm wondering if any of you have any more information. The serial number is has a left-side H and a right-side C; the C puts the year at 90/91, which makes sense since it does look just like the Grand Prix in the '91 Merckx catalog.

The frame has all the original decals and paint except for the Reynolds 753 sticker (there's no tubing decal at all). But, in the exact spot where the 753 decal would be, there's what appears to be a frame pump peg.

So I have three questions:

1) Does anyone know what the H actually designates?
2) Was there a custom order option back then for things like frame pump pegs?
3) If there was, might the H refer to frames with custom options?
4) And for frames like this, would the Merckx factory ever leave the tubing decal off entirely, or would they place it elsewhere on the frame (on the seat tube just above the bottom bracket, for example)?

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by fischer, max; 04-27-15 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 04-26-15, 05:29 PM
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1) Not really
2) Yes, especially for European customers. Many options and option combinations.
3) Possible, but not probable.
4) Yes for leaving it off entirely, but have never seen one placed elsewhere. Nor have I ever seen one of them with a pump peg there. Tubing decals were applied at the end of the frame finishing process, which is one reason they are so often more tattered than the other decals on the bike. I have seen and owned Merckx frames without a tubing decal or evidence that one was ever applied.

As you probably know, 753 frames are pretty rare. Was talking with Wayne Bingham the other day about his 753 GP, and he confirmed what I had previously been told- that dealers were allocated a maximum of two 753 frames, and often did not even receive that many. I'm sure there were exceptions, and Merckx bikes were never sold in large quantities anyway, but still...a 753 with custom options would be very unusual. Are you positive the paint is original, and that it's a 753?
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Last edited by rccardr; 04-26-15 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 04-26-15, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fischer, max View Post
A few months ago I got this Merckx Grand Prix from a dude on Craigslist. I've looked on the Cadre site and it hasn't been much help, so I'm wondering if any of you have any more information. The serial number is H-C664; the C puts the year at 90/91, which makes sense since it does look just like the Grand Prix in the '91 Merckx catalog.

The frame has all the original decals and paint except for the Reynolds 753 sticker (there's no tubing decal at all). But, in the exact spot where the 753 decal would be, there's what appears to be a frame pump peg.

So I have three questions:

1) Does anyone know what the H actually designates?
2) Was there a custom order option back then for things like frame pump pegs?
3) If there was, might the H refer to frames with custom options?
4) And for frames like this, would the Merckx factory ever leave the tubing decal off entirely, or would they place it elsewhere on the frame (on the seat tube just above the bottom bracket, for example)?

Thanks for your help!
Detailed pictures would really help. But in the meantime, my (maybe) tongue in cheek response:

1) The foreman on that shift, if it wasn't a Monday or Friday or Holiday.
2) Of course
3) See 1) above
4) Of course


HTH

Gran Prix's are fabulous frames. Tube dimensions can be measured and frame weights inferred. Geometry would peg it as a Gran Prix, but a rider could specify tubing, or the factory could recommend tubing, based on the rider.

Enjoy your (perhaps) special Merckx. Looking forward to the detailed pictures.
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Old 04-26-15, 06:31 PM
  #4  
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Thanks rrcardr.

I am positive it's a 753 with the original paint. I ended up having some mutual friends with the seller (who has unfortunately passed away since I bought it) who remember him buying the bike new for his wife. She rode it a handful of times and hung it up in the garage for the intervening ~25 years.

Other than the H, I think I just figured out everything else. I never noticed that the Merckx catalog mentions a pump peg as coming standard on the Grand Prix. In the catalog, the peg is located on the inside of the head tube; since the frame is tiny (49cm) there's nowhere near enough room for a peg to fit between the head tube lugs. The peg must have just been relocated to the seat tube on smaller frames.

If you're curious, here's the catalog image, and an example of a super small Merckx with the peg on the seat tube (and the tubing decal down low!).

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Old 04-26-15, 06:56 PM
  #5  
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I can post pictures, but I've made some pretty massive changes to the bike (that I'm sure are not C&V approved).

The paint was in pretty bad shape, and in urgent need of a respray. I didn't have any particular allegiance to the original paint scheme (and my Cinelli is a much nicer version of the exact same color), and period-accuracy doesn't matter to me at all, so I took the opportunity to have Allan Wanta put one if the classic 4-color paint jobs on it (I selected the colors ) and recreate the decals.

Then I built it up with a 2014 Record 11-speed group. I haven't weighed it, but it is just about the lightest steel bike I've ever ridden. I absolutely love neo-retro bike projects (my Cinelli is also a '91, with a 2003 10-speed Record group), and when I finally found a Merckx frame in my size I decided to really make it my own.

I'll try to take some photos tomorrow.
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Old 04-26-15, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by fischer, max View Post
I can post pictures, but I've made some pretty massive changes to the bike (that I'm sure are not C&V approved).

The paint was in pretty bad shape, and in urgent need of a respray. I didn't have any particular allegiance to the original paint scheme (and my Cinelli is a much nicer version of the exact same color), and period-accuracy doesn't matter to me at all, so I took the opportunity to have Allan Wanta put one if the classic 4-color paint jobs on it (I selected the colors ) and recreate the decals.

Then I built it up with a 2014 Record 11-speed group. I haven't weighed it, but it is just about the lightest steel bike I've ever ridden. I absolutely love neo-retro bike projects (my Cinelli is also a '91, with a 2003 10-speed Record group), and when I finally found a Merckx frame in my size I decided to really make it my own.

I'll try to take some photos tomorrow.
Good on you. A modern drivetrain on a classic bike is as good as it gets, IMO.

It's your bike, paint it for you. Looking forward to pictures.
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Old 04-26-15, 07:13 PM
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Thanks. I've got a 753 decal on the way from Reynolds that will be the last piece of the project. Now that I've found that 10th anniversary Merckx I posted, I feel better about locating it near the bottom bracket. Seems a shame to leave it off entirely when the tubing is part of what makes it such a special frame.
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Old 04-26-15, 07:19 PM
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I had 10 speed Campy groupsets on three of my EMs.

Really fun stuff. In fact, I still have a Merckx AluCross with Centaur that I ride all the time.

Can't wait to see your pics.
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Old 04-26-15, 09:14 PM
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Several years ago, I facilitated the acquisition of an EMs 753 Gran Prix for a friend. Once I acquired it, I needed to take it on a couple test rides. It was light, responsive and fast. My normal route time was faster on this bike than any other bike I took on this route (many), to include carbon, ELOS, SLX, Tron, SL, etc. Enjoy.
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Old 04-27-15, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
1) The foreman on that shift, if it wasn't a Monday or Friday or Holiday.
See here. The serial numbers aren't just random nonsense.
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Old 04-27-15, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by fischer, max View Post
See here. The serial numbers aren't just random nonsense.
That is very true, but the H in this case does NOT mean 1999.
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Old 04-27-15, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
That is very true, but the H in this case does NOT mean 1999.
The H in question is from the left side of the bottom bracket. The right-side C in the serial corresponds (in the chart you're referencing) to 1990/1991, which is correct.
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Old 04-27-15, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by fischer, max View Post
The H in question is from the left side of the bottom bracket. The right-side C in the serial corresponds (in the chart you're referencing) to 1990/1991, which is correct.
I stand by my original comment. No one knows what the H stands for.
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Old 04-27-15, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
I stand by my original comment. No one knows what the H stands for.


I mean, it probably does mean something, right? Looking at the handful of H frames on the Cadre registry, they seem to be primarily frames in team liveries (though they're all different models). Unlikely, but it'd be pretty cool if they had a separate designation for frames that were actually built to be ridden by sponsored pros.

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Old 04-27-15, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by fischer, max View Post


I mean, it probably does mean something, right? Looking at the handful of H frames on the Cadre registry, they seem to be primarily frames in team liveries (though they're all different models). Unlikely, but it'd be pretty cool if they had a separate designation for frames that were actually built to be ridden by sponsored pros.
Though a lot of the H frames were painted in team colors, they were not actual team bikes.
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Old 04-27-15, 05:39 PM
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Yeah, I figured as much. Just spitballing possibilities for what the H might be since it spans so many different Merckx models.
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Old 04-27-15, 08:09 PM
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Reversed pump peg is common on smaller frames:

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Old 09-12-19, 01:26 AM
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Mister H is an EMC employee responsible for the careful finishing of the work on the frame before chrome plating / painting. He really didn't care what type of frame he was working on (the H mark can be found on every type of frame produced since 1988). The same applies to all his colleagues, whose markings can be seen on the left side of the BB cover.
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