Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eddy Merckx frame dating ephemera

At least, things of passing interest for some.

The gold name box for Merckx frames wasn't present originally. As far as I've been able to determine, they first appear in the 1987 catalog. Advertising materials first show it in 1989. So I think we can assume that while it appeared in '87, it was inconsistently applied. The center spread of the 1987 catalog shows most of the frames are carrying it, except for the unnamed Grand Prix, and one of the Corsa Extra's, which sports an older name label in red.

The top tube may have a decal with a model name on it. Possibly only on the drive side. Gold label, around 1987. Red label, pre-87, and the earliest probably don't have a name at all on them.

The crown and seat stay caps also might be helpful here. The earlier frames have seat stays capped with a signature cap. The (I think) 1985 catalog shows seat stays capped with the current logo. The sloping fork also has the current logo caps, and the flat capped fork has a block-style Eddy Merckx name on them. Fastback seat stays don't seem to appear in the first catalog, but its hard to say if they were introduced later, or just not seen in the catalog.

I'll work on expanding this and narrowing it down. But I think with this info, its possible to narrow frames down to early, mid and late 80's.
Seat and head tube logos are pretty consistent through the 80's. Bikes with seat tube "points" may lack the upper Italy/France band. Frames with a panel on the seat tube may also lack the traditional upper band, and instead have a 'Made In Belgium' band. The pointed livery seems to have appears in the mid 80's.

The downtube decals are a little tougher. The first frames consistently had the right leaning, block Eddy Merckx, with underlining. Mid 80's sees that logo, along with the introduction of a thin and a thick bubble font. Without a comparison subject, the easiest way to tell them apart is the thin font has an open bottom D.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lazzaretti -- A work in progress

Just picked up this bike recently

Its a Lazzaretti. The frame is (supposedly) 531db. The fork is definitely Columbus, and the paint has faded slightly, leaving a darker patch that matches up in size with a Columbus decal. No helical ridges in the seat tube, so its not SLX. My gut tells me its an SL frame. Eventually I'll get off my ass and mail Cicli Lazzaretti, and see what I can find out. Cicli Lazzaretti, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is a bike shop in Rome.

Anyhow, its a pretty enourmous mutt at the moment. Gran Sport calipers, levers, cranks, pedals and hubs. Nuovo Record rear derailleur, Record front derailleur and shift levers.

Lots of filled in lug work and pantographing on the frame.

Rumored date on this one is 1980. I'm not sure I agree. Both brake mounts are for recessed mounting, and the derailleur cables are routed under the bottom bracket. I'm not sure of an exact date for recessed brakes -- I know that Campy was selling recessed bolt brakes in 1982. I'm guessing the under bottom bracket routing also took over around then. Who knows. When I pop the bottom bracket, that will give me the best information, as I'm guessing its original to the frame.

More pics here.

My Merckx

Eddy Merckx Grand Prix. This one, according to Gitabike, the importer, is an '88/89. It was probably sold as a frameset originally. Its my rider, so its set up with modern(ish) components.

  • Ultegra 600 calipers
  • Ultegra hubs + cassette
  • Dura Ace downtube shifters and brake levers
  • Mavic 631 Cranks
  • Mavic 862 front derailleur, 840 rear derailleur
  • Cinelli Campione Del Mondo Bars
  • Cinelli 1A stem
  • Look 356 Pedals
  • Mavic Open Pro rims
  • Tufo CS33 tubular clinchers
  • Campagnolo Croce d'Aune seatpost.

Yeah. Thats pretty much what its made of.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Early Dura Ace front derailleur. Its the same design as the first generation ones, but I think the first releases had black anodized clamps/upper assemblies. Regardless, the original design for the DA front derailleur. Light, simple. A little ugly, but cool nonetheless.

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