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Finally finished my Merckx MX Leader and I'm in love. Ride report, pictures and ?'s

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Finally finished my Merckx MX Leader and I'm in love. Ride report, pictures and ?'s

Old 06-21-11, 10:22 AM
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4Rings6Stars
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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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Old 06-21-11, 10:31 AM
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Great looking bike!
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Old 06-21-11, 10:39 AM
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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.
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Old 06-21-11, 10:46 AM
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Just great! Awesome colour! And yes, its fun just to look at - droooool.
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Old 06-21-11, 11:10 AM
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Such a cool looking bike! Could you shoot some more with the sun behind you?
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Old 06-21-11, 11:11 AM
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Very nice! More pics, please.
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Old 06-21-11, 11:54 AM
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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.
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Old 06-21-11, 01:06 PM
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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
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Old 06-21-11, 05:18 PM
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Wow! That is HOT!!!

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 06-21-11, 06:19 PM
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Looks like there are more of us in love with the same 'girl'.
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Old 06-22-11, 03:59 AM
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What they all say^^

Very nice!
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Old 06-22-11, 08:23 AM
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Looks great...would love a MAX bike myself...congrats, enjoy!
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Old 06-22-11, 10:52 AM
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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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Old 06-22-11, 01:15 PM
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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.
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Old 06-22-11, 03:01 PM
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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.
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Old 06-22-11, 03:29 PM
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Would you ride a MAX/MXL frame on a century? Do you think it would be comfortable at that distance?
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Old 06-22-11, 04:50 PM
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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.
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Old 06-22-11, 04:54 PM
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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.
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Old 06-22-11, 05:29 PM
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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.
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Old 06-22-11, 09:45 PM
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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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Old 06-22-11, 10:56 PM
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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...
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Old 06-23-11, 08:14 AM
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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.
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Old 06-23-11, 09:08 AM
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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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