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Pre-production Merckx Pro early 70's

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Pre-production Merckx Pro early 70's

Old 12-31-15, 12:10 PM
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77abc
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Pre-production Merckx Pro early 70's

We have this signature merckx pro and it hard to date it correctly.

The main issue are the different lugs being used compared to the first production bikes from 79/82

There is no tubing decal and only 2 decals about eddy's world record in 72 his 49,431 km.

The bike is gun metal grey like the production ones.

We have reason to believe it's a pre production model, but we like to hear it from you as any info is very welcome.










Last edited by 77abc; 12-31-15 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:50 PM
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Those lugs look identical to the ones on my early Merkcx Professional "signature" frameset. What are the numbers on the bottom of the BB shell? Also, does it have the Merckx BB shell?
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Old 12-31-15, 12:57 PM
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I had seen other lugs on the 79/82 production models, but again this is just a matter reading others peoples experiences on these early ones.

There is no serial number/letter combination than just a number 2 that's all it reads.

There is a Eddy Merckx bracket and i will maken a pix asap as this wil make more clear i hope
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Old 12-31-15, 01:16 PM
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What about a full bike picture for those of us who just love looking at Merckx bikes but can't provide you with the info you seek?
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Old 12-31-15, 04:15 PM
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Looks like the early production frames in the first catalog.
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Old 12-31-15, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
Looks like the early production frames in the first catalog.
Yes. It is an early production frameset, but certainly not early '70's. The 2 stamping on the bb shell is most likely the size, as that head tube looks short.
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Old 12-31-15, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
Yes. It is an early production frameset, but certainly not early '70's. The 2 stamping on the bb shell is most likely the size, as that head tube looks short.
Right. Merckx retired from pro cycling in the spring of 1978 and spent quite a few months wondering what to do next. The bicycle company was established in 1980. There may have been some prototypes built in the interim, but the Merckx-liveried Molteni bikes were Colnagos and DeRosas. Ugo DeRosa is said to have personally helped Merckx get started.
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Old 12-31-15, 09:03 PM
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jiangshi
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
Right. Merckx retired from pro cycling in the spring of 1978 and spent quite a few months wondering what to do next. The bicycle company was established in 1980. There may have been some prototypes built in the interim, but the Merckx-liveried Molteni bikes were Colnagos and DeRosas. Ugo DeRosa is said to have personally helped Merckx get started.
In the first catalog:



Last edited by jiangshi; 12-31-15 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 12-31-15, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jiangshi View Post
In the first catalog:
A picture is worth a thousand . . . Thanks, jiangshi, we needed that.
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Old 01-01-16, 09:19 AM
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Ok thanks everybody for the input and knowledge it's appreciated.

Wonderful pix of the era the bike was made and very much appreciated for sharing.

Realizing that one used lugs from what was available this could be certainly a plausible reason for the different ones i have seen on the 1st gen merck's.

Nevertheless the biggest question mark remains for me the lack of serial number info as this is by no means what i would call a normal way of doing as seen on the picture.

Just a number to indicate a frame size is doubtful in my eyes to introduce to customer frames, but that's me

So is the bracket pix the clue to if was or was not een regular handwriting dealer sold merckx or not.

Also there is no decal on the tubing being used and i'm sure that that was part of buying a merckx as i'm sure it was top tubing being used so it's not logical there is none on the bike as all the decals are in very fine condition.

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Old 01-01-16, 09:33 AM
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It is entirely possible that this is one of the first Merckx frames, and brazed by Ugo himself. There is no way to say for sure. The tubing is most likely Columbus SL. The steerer of the fork should have a dove on it, and be rifled. The lugs appear to be the same as shown in the picture above. Later frames had the shorter microfusion lugs.

The lack of a serial number means nothing.
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Old 01-01-16, 09:40 AM
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The lack of a tubing graphic I think is not a big deal. Other builders left them off, their reputation inferred they would only use the best tubing available. When these frames first arrived, there were flavors of Reynolds and Columbus of different thicknesses, but not the wide spectrum of a bit later, leaving the tube set label off was less important to a consumer.

Of course, the frame could have mixed suppliers of tubing... So the result, leave it off.

A friend bought a reasonably early Merckx. It for example, had no markings on the fork crown.

Back then there was no requirement to have a serial number. The Italians were famous for leaving them off, probably was not a big item for Ugo to suggest they implement. Any number I would guess would be a batch or fixture code, something to assist during the building process.

From the original images, I would get a bigger diameter seat post, remove that shim stock, and you may no longer need the washers to prevent the seat binder bolt from bottoming out before the post is tight. One thing we did way back was to file one side of the binder bolt a mm or two back in any event, prevented a gorilla mechanic (customer) from breaking the binder bolt.

Last edited by repechage; 01-01-16 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 01-01-16, 09:43 AM
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Jiangshi

I absolutely understand that it's very difficult to say it's a pre production or ugo de rosa brazed frame.

However if there is proof that the very first dozen or so customer 1ste gen frames/bikes had also just a number on the bracket indicating the size than that will be a good proof of accepting this is a regular sold frameset.

However up until this moment i have never seen that wich does not mean it's not so

Columbus SL is indeed very likely being used, but than again that was a pricy tubing and every manufacturer would advertise that on a frame and here is none.

I could tell that it was removed but it's doubtful if that had happened.

So until now despite all good info i still lack THE proof this is a regular frameset

Last edited by 77abc; 01-01-16 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-01-16, 10:00 AM
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Masi rarely used a tubing transfer. To find one with is the rare exception, as one example.

The bigger hill to climb would be to find many willing to believe it was special.
It is a nice bike. It has original paint it appears. From a producer who earned a great reputation quickly.
Be happy with that.
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Old 01-01-16, 10:01 AM
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Repechage

Ok point wel made.

Looking back and trying to find a answer that fit's the question marks is not easy and contains many if's, could be's and maybe which is part of the fun.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this subject and that go's for all
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Old 01-01-16, 10:37 AM
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Interesting reading, not sure I have anything to add, other than some pices of two early EMs frames picked up years ago (just down the road from Eddy's factory). Anyhow, maybe the pics with the SNs could shed some light to the early SN plan or lack there of? The first one has a partial Columbus sticker, different BB SN style than Cadre.org, and no signature BB. The 2nd one is a repaint, has the signature BB and SN in format unlike noted @ Cadre.org
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Old 01-01-16, 10:46 AM
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BB pics of 2 cursive seat stay frames, oops, neither have the signature BB but I have seen that on early 80s bikes
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Old 01-01-16, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Belg-Ital Steel View Post
BB pics of 2 cursive seat stay frames, oops, neither have the signature BB but I have seen that on early 80s bikes
The images show the sound conclusion that the Cinelli sourced Bottom bracket shell came later, and that the Columbus sticker if there was one was on top of any clearcoat, those transfers were notoriously fragile.
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Old 01-01-16, 12:16 PM
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What are the date codes on the components the bike is wearing? Post up a few pics of the entire bike.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:07 PM
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Ah things are coming together wonderful to see the input of all.

The bike as is was bought as a frameset so the parts on it are not a good clue on dating the bike.

I guess it's fair to conclude that it's a 1st gen merckx which in itself is special enough.
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Old 01-01-16, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 77abc View Post
Ah things are coming together wonderful to see the input of all.

The bike as is was bought as a frameset so the parts on it are not a good clue on dating the bike.

I guess it's fair to conclude that it's a 1st gen merckx which in itself is special enough.
Exactly. Count your blessings on owning a fine frame. Some questions never get answered. It matters not.

Treat it well.
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Old 09-12-19, 01:14 AM
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excavations, sorry again: Eddy Merckx spent most of the year 1979 on "training" at Ugo de Rosa, building frames was only one of several skills that he had to learn then; the main framebuilder in EMC was to be Johan Vranckx (then 16 years old...), who also passed the training at de Rosa (2 months). There is no evidence that the frames they built at de Rosa's then were later sold under the brand name "Eddy Merckx". (there is, however, such a possibility). The EMC factory started on March 28, 1980 (the 40th anniversary is imminent), the first bikes were available in mid-April. The first series (which should probably be called "prototypes") did not have serial numbers (that is, marks on the right side of the BB cover), some did not have any marks.All frames had long lugs, 2 types of SSC ("signature" and empty flat) and 2 types of BB cover ("Eddy Merckx" and "=") were used. The pace of bicycle construction was not high (as it was at the beginning of the activity), only 6-7 people were employed, the factory did not have a paint shop yet and the plans were to debut the brand in TdF 1980 (team Marc - IWC - v.r.d.). Probably in the summer, serial numbers appeared on the EMC framework - they can probably be included in the "trial" series; the letter denoting the series (E, Z, A, etc.) has not been added yet, but some early copies have the letter V next to the serial number. All frames are already marked with seat tube (c-c) length (I know 1 exception), the absolute majority have a worker code (A,G,B, maybe ".") - these markings were placed on the left side of the BB cover (exceptionally - in the middle of the shield).The frame design elements were the same as in the "prototype" series, but all SSCs were "signature". The highest (known to me) number of this series is 967. There are many indications that the end of this series coincides with the end of 1980. The next series got its letter code - E (in each "letter" series 9999 frames were produced). The initial copies of the E series did not differ from the "trial" one. The details were changed soon: the old BB cover designs ("Eddy Merckx" and "=") were replaced by the new "MI 6 grooves". similarly SSC "signature" was changed to "EM logo" and long lugs were changed to short - all these changes were made to ~E500-600 (there are earlier copies with new, short lugs). The "old" parts were also used later (e.g. BB cover "=" was mounted on Corsa and 3-Athlete in 85/86 !). The first "white" catalogue contains photos from this "transition period".





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