Eddy Merckx MXL contemporary renewal/restoration

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  • Ok, I got this baby from Stefan (Quality Vintage Bikes) last summer and I know it looks a bit scary but the frame is actually very sound. The BB shell has been repaired by Eddy Merckx's belgian factory employees and the fork is in fact new, despite its looks. It has never been painted before and the whole lot was bought together with a dozen or more forks and frames from EM storage, right before the factory was sold for good.

    First thing I've done when the frameset arrived was sand off the excess rust. The fork was dipped into a rust conversion fluid mixture, because it had rust bits rustling inside the blades. Using a homemade air pressure concoction, I was able to clean out the remaining bits and then it was ready for the painter. The frame didn't need anything special since it was really in excellent condition, apart from the BB shell. No dings, nothing.

    After much thinking, I decided that the original paint scheme had to go. To begin with, it was never one of my favorites. I had a Motorola Columbus SL bike before and it was much nicer than this. I also enjoyed the Stuttgart, Telekom and Hitachi team paint jobs, and of course, the Molteni, so in my head, any new paintjob had to feature at least the orange in some way, as a nod to classic EM. But I also wanted black because I never had a black bike and I wanted all black wheels with it.
    So, the first design was this one:

    Black and Molteni orange as main colours, and grey, working as a link between the other two. But somehow this wasn't making it together... I felt it needed something more.
    So, I went through all the classic team paintschemes that I liked, and I noticed that the Hitachi, one of my favorites, also had orange, but it had some kind of red tint that worked as the link to the orange.
    I browsed the RAL range and came across the RAL 3000 (Flame Red, or Fire Red), which works nicely as a bridge to the Molteni Orange.

    Another issue was the original chromed rear triangle. Should I keep it or not? Also, the fork tips should have been chromed, originally, but since it was an unpainted, unfinished fork, the factory techs didn't had the chance properly work it out. So, and since we had a budget, I asked the painter about the possibility of keeping the chromed chainstay and dropouts and work something out for the fork tips.

    And we came to this:

    So it features the black as I wanted, for main colour, the Molteni Orange as a nod to the classic Merckx bicycles and a Red to link and keep the orange under a leash. The chromed bits would also be kept, as a bow to the original classics. I hope this will all work out together.

    Final simulation, with fork crown details:

    The Eddy Merckx branding will be 'stenciled' instead of regular stickers, but everything else like tubing stickers and head tube decal will be regular replicas. I decided not to use the downtube 'E.Merckx' because I feel it would be too much for what I want. I want a nod to the classics but at the same time I want it to convey a contemporary, modern feel.

    The groupset and parts will also be chosen accordingly.

  • I think the lines of the initial drawing look way better than the swooshy transition of the final simulation.

  • I feel you Tijmen, I really do, but then I noticed that it had to feature the classic EM 'chevrons', and this is what we ended up having. Maybe it's not a perfect solution, but I feel it is an upgrade from the first draft, as I felt it to be a bit bland.

  • As for the rest, I'm thinking:

    • Tune TSR 27 wheelset (with Tune MAG & MIG hubs, Sapim CX-Rays, all black)
    • SRAM Force 22, 52/36, 11-28 K7
    • Headset, Seatpost, Stem & Compact Handlebars, all black, as well as the bartape

    Should come under the 8500g mark, or so I hope.

  • I have to agree with Tijmen, I think the original design is 'cleaner' but understand your desire to incorporate the chevrons. Could you not incorporate the Molteni orange and flame red as the two main colours, with the chevrons in grey or silver to match the chromework - similar to the Hitachi colours?

    So similar to this, with the green replaced by red? http://goo.gl/qYe3m5

    I love chrome, it seems a shame to lose it, especially the rear triangle. You could always use black components, as per this scan (although I think chrome looks classier): http://goo.gl/IDy3Xx

    Also, those forks! They look like they are made of chocolate. I'm happy you could bring them back from that.

  • I like the swoosh since it's recognisably "Merckx", but the only thing I'm not so sure about with the final simulation is with the Molteni orange being used only as an accent, makes it look a bit like the Belgian flag; all well and good but presumably not the intention? And I like Molteni orange, so I agree with the idea of making it a main colour. Also agree with keeping the chrome. Gotta love a bit of chrome.

  • Yeah, totally!
    In my mind the Molteni orange was the main colour all along in this new paint scheme, but the more it grew in my mind the more I realized that orange could never be the 'main' colour in this shit. No, it couldn't be.
    Even with the black, which is big (which is to be a semi-matte black, not shiny, should you know...), the orange would come to be too much present, too much in your face. I didn't want that. I wanted the orange to be a 'respect' to classic EM, not more. Orange is a very strong colour, even when combined with other related colours.

    So I decided to use an 'orangy' red as the front colour, together with the orange as bridge to the black. I don't know if I will regret this choice in the end, but alas, the decision is made and the painter will make this happen. No turn around from now.


    Chrome will not be forgotten as I chose to keep the rear triangle chromed ends and driveside chainstay, along with new chrome on the fork tips. :)

    Thanks for the input, guys.

  • I wasn't aware of the swooshes being recognisable Merck, I can see the value in conserving the history of the frame and looking at the final design some more it starts to grow on me. Chroming the fork tips promise to be a nice touch, looking forward to seeing it all on the frame!

  • Yeah, me too Tijmen! Thanks!

    I'm a bit certain this will be somewhat true to the Eddy Merckx spirit, even so much now, that the old factory doesn't exist anymore and all the frames are 'china made' like so many others.

    And I hope this will ride true to the myth, as so many MXL riders have been testifying so...

  • That Tune wheelset is amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing this built up too!

  • Looks like this is going to be one sweet ride! Looking forward to seeing the painted frame.

  • I would be tempted to do the respray back to the original RAR paint scheme

    1 Attachment

    • Merckx.jpg
  • Quite like the idea of not going for a full on restoration to the original.

  • Me too, I say modernise it a bit. Looks like you have the skills to give a nod to the classic look as well so go for it.

    Are you going to keep a quill stem or use an adapter?

  • @Skull_&_Biscuits

    Marvellous, now I've seen that Alu Team RAJ and want one for myself!

    Surely this will have a quill stem, to retain the classic look?

  • Yup, that was the whole idea.

    I'm going to use a quill stem, yes, and it's already on its way. I ordered a black anodized SOMA Sutro, which is made by Dia Compe, I believe. Seems to have good enough quality.
    I have used a-head stems before, with an adapter, but ended up being a poor choice... the stems accumulated some slack from time to time, around the adapter, and I had to constantly keep an eye on it... I'd rather not repeat that experience.

  • +1 for the quill stem

  • Another plus for the quill. I asked because I've seen a load of recent "modernresto"s where the quill's been replaced by an adapter. Mainly on slightly more modern looking frames with fatter alu tubing though.

  • the grey orange and black first drawing was hideous, so relieved you went with red / orange / black! :)

  • +10 for quill, the adators you see look awful.

    What stem?

  • @Skull_&_Biscuits SOMA Sutro, it's ordered already.

    I was going for a Bontrager SSR handlebar, spotted on ebay, but it slipped... think I'm going for the Procraft one instead, looks decent enough.

    @winnifred1849 just my thought man... black and orange was there from the start, you know, but it wasn't cutting it. I knew I had to throw in something more... a friend keeps telling I should add some tad of white somewhere but I think I'm done...

  • OT, but in defence of adapters, they can look good no the fatter tubed frames:

  • First chevron test. New chrome is done.

  • Nice - is that vinyl?

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Eddy Merckx MXL contemporary renewal/restoration

Posted by Avatar for The_Caped_Crusader @The_Caped_Crusader