Folks often ask about the Eddy Merckx hanging above the counter at the store and why it is so special. With today being Eddy’s 70th birthday, we figured it would be fitting to share with you just why this bike is so coveted. Happy Birthday Eddy!
You cannot find a bicycle much more iconic or coveted than this 1970’s Eddy Merckx. Ridden by a teammate of Eddy at Molteni, this bike’s instantly recognizable orange paint, Mavic OR-7 rims, and Campagnolo “drilled-out” components speak of an era of steel frames ridden by the hardest of athletes. The name on the downtube is none other than Eddy Merckx, the winningest racer in the history of the sport. Though Merckx still has a company bearing his name, the carbon-fiber creations they now produce will never reach the iconic stature of this lugged-steel racing machine from Eddy’s heyday.
Famous Italian builders such as Masi, De Rosa and Colnago had all been tapped to make bikes for Eddy Merckx as the Belgian rider exploded onto the world stage. We learned more about the heritage of this bike during a visit at Contender with former Belgian professional racer and United Health Care team director Henrik Redant. Henrik listed a number of features on this frame that identified it as a frame made by Kessels in Belgium. As a kid, Henrik watched Eddy destroy his competition every weekend on bikes like this. This Kessel-made bike was built in Belgium and raced in the glory days by a long forgotten domestique. Molteni racing is the team most associated with this bike’s orange livery while the seat tube sports yellow and pink stripes in commemoration of Merckx’s numerous Giro and Tour wins as a member of that famous squad. Adorning the headtube is a mugshot of the man himself.
The components tell a story as well; A mix of Campagnolo Super Record and Nuovo Record parts show their hard use but are surprisingly in-tact due to the constant maintenance by team mechanics. Everything from brake-pad guides to dust caps on the pedals and gum rubber brake hoods is still there. As was the custom those days, the chainrings and rear derailleur cage have been carefully drilled-out to save weight. Even the mounting bolts for the clip on cable guides and downtube shifter clamp are hollowed out for the same reason. One surprising feature is the presence of fender mounts front and back allowing a racer to train on the same bike year round.
Without a doubt our Eddy Merckx is a conversation starter and one that riders of all ages are enthralled with. This wonderful museum-worthy piece is on loan from the owner and we are proud to have one of his prize possessions hanging in our shop.