Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Tears for Gears Merckx Team bike challenge

So as I noted in my last post, there are probably a ton of Merckx team frames I know nothing about. There are some main stream(ish) teams I haven't been able to track down, and dozens and dozens of continental teams I've never heard of, let alone seen a picture of.

There are also a couple of frames I suspect are team frames I've just never been able to figure out, including


So here's the challenge. The person who can find and identify the most Merckx team frames which I do NOT have not talked about in my blog posts or in the serial list will win a prize:

A Euro Trafic Merckx team jersey. Its not a new jersey, its actually a former team jersey, so it has some wear and tear, but I bet no one else will show up at your next club ride wearing one! I'll pay shipping and everything...all you have to do is follow some simple rules...

I'm looking for more teams riding Eddy Merckx bikes from 1980 through about 1998. This primarily means steel frames, built in the Merckx factory in Belgium. To positively identify a Merckx team color scheme, you need only send me a clear picture of a team rider on the frame that shows the primary details of the color scheme. A team color scheme means that the whole team rode/rides that scheme. If there's a color scheme i've missed for a team I've already identified, that counts -- I bet there's at least 1 other Kelme. I'll set a deadline of November 1, 2007.

You can send me info at merckxteams AT tearsforgears DOT com. The two frames above are a decent place to start -- that I can't ID them is driving me crazy. The top is from 1986/87, and the bottom from 1988/89. Good luck, and send me what you have! If you're the only person to respond, you just may win!

Still no new teams sent in! All it takes at this point to walk away with the super cool jersey above is identifying one new team. That's it! I'll mail the jersey anywhere in the world, postage paid for by me!

The last of the Merckx team frames...

Wow, today is going to be a 3 post day. I figure, before my little challenge can begin, I need to put out the last of the team frames I know about up. Without further ado...

The United States' first team to make it in the pro peloton ranks, 7-Eleven! After years of having their downtubes sullied with Huffy and Murray decals, they switched in 1989 to Eddy Merckx frames for their final two seasons.

In 1990, 7-Eleven folded and was reborn as...

Motorola. The above is Michael Dernies' team issue Motorola Merckx, in Columbus TSX. Motorola is best known by many as the team Lance Armstrong rode for when he won the worlds in 1993. Here's a picture of Michael Dernies on his Motorola Merckx. Maybe its the same one (or maybe not).

OK, we're on a roll. Here are some of the Merckx riding teams in the last years of steel:

In 1996, Gan rode blue MX Leaders and Arcabaleno's, as you can see in this picture. In 1997, they switched to white frames, that look like steel -- . If they were riding steel in 1998, I'd be pretty surprised.

And contrary to what I thought, they were riding white Arcabaleno's as late as 1998

Vlaanderen 2002 rode yellow MX Leaders, as seen here, here, and here.

Finally, it looks like S.E.F.B. Spaarbank rode the same colors as Domex/Weinmann in 1989.

So thats all of the Merckx team frames I've found. There are a few I know I'm missing, including IPSO/Euroclean, Hueso, Westwood...I know someone out there knows a couple of those. With my next post, hopefully I'll motivate some of you to lend me a hand.

Telekom and Kelme Merckx Team Bikes

The procrastination has gone on long enough! It's time to publish my next installment of Merckx team bike frames. Let's go!

Telekom used Merckx frames from 1991-1995. The above is the color scheme I most associate with Telekom -- you can see it in this team photo from 1994.

What you might not know is, in 1995, Telekom changed its name to Team Deutsche Telekom, and changed its bike color scheme to the one you can just make out in this picture of a young Jan Ullrich. Its a pink head and top tube, with purple points. Its more or less as if they flipped the colors on their previous scheme, and called it new. At least they didn't have to change their jersey colors. They shifted to Pinarello frames in '96, so this color scheme only lasted a year -- so if they were available to the public, it would have been a pretty short time frame.

OK, its Kelme time. Given how long Kelme was around, you'd think I'd have seen more examples of bikes in the public sporting Kelme colors, but you'd be wrong.

In early years, Kelme rode an all white frame, as seen here, as well as a all blue frame, as seen here.

In 1985 and/or 1986, Kelme used the same red/pink/white frames that Lotto and Teve Blad did, as seen here.

In 1987, they switched to what I think is a pretty awesome color scheme, seen here, that matched their jersey's perfectly. I think they kept this frame through 1989.

At some point, for reasons I can't fathom, they switched to this color scheme. The switch was in either 1990 or 1991...I can find pictures in this scheme that I'm sure are 1991, but I haven't found any good shots of a rider on one wearing the Kelme/Ibexpress jersey from 1990. Anyhow, the color scheme looks a lot like Telekom, but with a green bottom bracket and rear triangle. Its fine, but its no '87-89 color scheme if you ask me. Not that you did.

Next team post will cover the 7/11, and two of the last pro teams that Merckx sponsored on steel, Motorola and Gan.

This post is a little light on the eye light in fact, that later tonight I'm going to post a CHALLENGE! With a really excellent prize! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Still more Merckx team colors...

Still hanging in there? Only 10 or so more teams to go! And this post is going to be a big one...

Panasonic seems to be primarily thought of as a Raleigh team, but in 1986, they were riding white with blue points Merckxes.

The color scheme was a popular one. Another top pro team got the same color scheme, relabled as Caloi, in 1993/1994...that team being Lotto.

Speaking of Lotto...those guys rode quite a few different Merckx color schemes.

No, not all of the above! In 1985, they rode a yellow with white panels color scheme, as seen in this team photo. To be honest, I'm not sure they used the font in the picture above. It's possible it was the same font that...

Europ Decor rode in 1984. Prior to that, they rode blue metallic with white panels.

Back to Lotto. In 1986, they moved to an all red scheme, and kept it (I think!) through 1987. The only thing that differentiates it from the normal stock frames is that the seat tube has vertical Eddy Merckx lettering, while bikes for us mortals just had the EM logo and the France/Italy world champ bands. Here's a mediocre picture where you can see what I'm talking about.

In 1988, they moved to the above, red and white, pointed scheme, as seen here. And in 1989, they moved off Merckx bikes, and on to Vitus.

Michel Dernies seems to have ridden on teams Merckx sponsored for all but the earliest years of his career -- starting in 1985 for Lotto, to Domex/Weinmann in 1989-1991, to Motorola through 1995. Being from Belgium, I guess its not that odd, but I thought it was worth noting. It also has nothing to do with team paint schemes.

Remember that red and white pointed bike I was talking about before that nonsequitor? Well, it was also ridden by Teve Blad, in 1986 and 1987. I highly recommend looking at the pics of their riders -- they did a photoshoot that makes them all look fairly ridiculous. I have no idea what color frames they rode in 1985, so let me know if you do.

Wow, I'm tired! I know I promised Kelme in this post too, but its too much! Panasonic, Lotto, Europ Decor and Teve Blad, combined, rode 5 color schemes. I think Kelme rode at least 3, possibly 4, so they have to wait. I'll get to them in the next post, along with Telekom.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Merckx Rebranding (and another team frame)

Yes, yes, I promised the next post would be more team bikes, but sometimes a guy gets busy, and can't get things together for a proper post.

Luckily, someone who read one of my previous posts sent me me interesting catalog scans. Michele lives over in Sweden, and was the person who let me know that in his area of the world, the Stuttgart color scheme is also know as the PK-Banken scheme. He owns a stunning example of a frame in the same color scheme, fitted out in full Croce d'Aune. He has a few other bikes that are really nice as well.

He sent along this scan from the 1990 Crescent catalog. In it, you can see a Crescent AND Merckx labeled frame in the Stuttgart/PK-Banken color scheme, ridden by Jan Carlsson, who I'm told was the Swedish time trial champion.

In the same scan, you can also see a blue and white fade Merckx. The same color scheme was used by...

Intral-Renting in 1988.

He also sent along a scan of a relabeled Merckx frame from the 1989 catalog...but since its the same color as the frame of 2 teams we haven't discussed yet, it'll have to wait...

Monday, September 03, 2007

More Merckx team bikes...

First up, we have the La William team from 1989. They rode a yellow and blue frame, with a lighter blue point. I've never seen one. I have no idea if the scheme was ever available to the public. Anyone have one?

Domex/Weinmann, and later just Weinmann, were responsible for 2 separate team liveries.

The Domex/Weinmann team frame was a pretty attractive one, in white and blue, with orange accents. While the team photo, in black and white, is entirely useless, a picture here shows it off nicely. Strangely, however, my serial number database doesn't have any examples. I'm almost positive, however, that I've seen them. Do you have one? How is it you haven't sent me pictures and your serial yet?!

In 1990 and 1991, Domex and Weinmann split up. The Weinmann team continued on Merckxs, in a new color scheme, as seen above. To go with the worlds ugliest jersey, they settled on a color scheme that, strangely, works. Course, I'm the guy with the purple and orange blog color scheme, so take that opinion with a grain of salt. For those of you who don't believe anyone would match hot pink with neon yellow and purple, here's just one sample of a team member in a publicity shot. They all look equally confused at how a color blind person managed to design their color scheme.

I finally found evidence of what I've suspected -- that the Weinmann color scheme in 1990 is a little different. You can see it above from a Crescent catalog. It lacks the pink rear triangle and bottom bracket areas, and reverses the green and pink in the points -- as seen here.

You may be noticing, I'm a big fan of de weilersite, aka for those of you who, like me, don't speak dutch, as well as I don't speak flemish either, but the list of teams can be found here, and riders here.

Next up, we'll shift to some of the pretty well known teams: Lotto, Kelme and Panasonic.

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