Sunday, September 23, 2007

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.


Anonymous said...

Very Cool pics Jeremy, you definately seem to know your Merckx frames. I'm just restoring a Corsa TSX, but I have a Q for you. Part way through my restoration a whole bunch of "new, found in a store" frames popped up on ebay. Looking at the close up pics all the custom stamps are there but the finishing isn't quite as neat as I'd expect for a factory Merckx. What do you think are these for real ?

Jeremy said...

I think the problem is, Merckx frames were always pretty mediocre on the frame finishing details, and it got worse as time passed. Most lugs were unfiled, gaps in brazing occasionally. Paint was usually good, though.

I do think they're real...

90/91 in T-Mob colors. Paint looks fine, if a little thick. Lugs looks normal (read: chunky)

This is another of those weird Motorola color scheme frames, with what appear to be incorrect lettering. I don't know what to think of these. This is the third I've seen in the last few months. 90/91 Strada. Since the Strada was the down-market, Cromor frame, I'd expect the finish to be of a lower quality, but to be honest, the head lugs on this one look better than the T-Mobile above.

Late (97+) Strada OS. This is the area where I start not knowing whats up with Merckx steel. The lug paint fill looks a little off, but the rest matches up with the catalogs.

This one is a thick, not terribly accurate repaint. Sort of looks like powdercoat.

The Merckx market has been picking up in the last year -- the price that Motorola Strada went for is pretty ridiculous, as is the Molteni repaint, while the Telekom Corsa Extra seems to be more in the ballpark they're selling for these days, when NOS. Probably $100-200 more than a year ago.

Hope that's of some use. I don't think we're at the point where the profit margin is sufficient to justify forgeries. Course, I never thought Google would be selling for close to 700 a share, so who knows?

Meanwhile, anonymous, you're going to need to tell me about this "Corsa TSX"...I'm not familiar with TSX Corsa's. Century perhaps? Or insidious forgery?! ;)

Johngip said...

Hi Jeremy

Sorry for the anon post, just didn't have a google acc set up at that time. Interesting about the frames - I'm sure you are right, its just the Motorola and Molteni looked pretty poorly done. This seller seems to have hit on a gold-mine of merckx, pinarello, fondriest NOS frames

The "Corsa TSX" I mentioned is in fact a Corsa Extra made up with TSX, that I got on ebay, I'm pretty certain its genuine. Currently Telecom colours and the serial numbers fall in line with your general specs. It needs a respray and (I hope you don't think this is sacriledge) but I was going to go for a Motorola respray as the bike/spec is almost identical to the Hampsten machine:

Just not keen on telecom colours or telecom team.

Any view on bars - in the garage I have trad cinelli stem + bars or ITM Eclypse stem + ITM 260's

Jeremy said...

If you're going for an early Motorola style setup, they were riding Cinelli X-A stems with, presumably, whatever Cinelli bars they wanted. I ride 66's (Campione del Mondo), and like them just fine -- one set of mine have a single groove, which is perfect for Shimano STI -- not as good with Ergo.

Johngip said...

On the issue of forgeries and profit margin. It has reached the point where trad steel frames are fetching $600+. So taking an old gas-pipe cluncker respraying and badging it as a well-known brand could net someone maybe $200-300 per frame. I think there's some assurance where all the fine detail is in place (e.g. the merckx imbossed logo's) as it would be just too tricky/expensive to forge these on a budget. But to be honest the Molteni frame could have been any 1960/70's frame out of someone's garage, sprayed orange. The market for steel frames as collectables is certainly picking up.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone help me identify a Merckx Frame with the serial number L9X-9825-B?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone identify a Merckx frame with the serial number L9X-9825-B?

rtinbe said...

Wow, what a fantastic blog! Thank you for all this very interesting information. I'll keep digging in the links and examining the photos. Wonderful! (I am a great fan of Merckx frames. Best riding I've ever experienced.). RT

Anonymous said...

Hello! Excuse me, could anyone explain the secret of dating the EM framework? How is it possible that in the years 1981-1984 produced the series E (10k -1 frames), then in 1 year (!), 1985, produced a series of Z (10k -1 frames), and finally the series A (again 10k-1 frames) but within 2 years 86/87, B series again in 2 years 88/89 etc. I apologize again, but in my opinion, this is an obvious mistake - the EM factory in no year has achieved such efficiency (9999 frames); It seems that the designation Z series must refer to the years 85/86, which unfortunately outdates the dating of frames above the number Z 5000 (more or less).

Emerxil said...

L9X B9825 - Corsa Extra SLX - 1990

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