I had been swooning over eddy merckx frames on ebay for a long, long time. Patiently watching and waiting for the right frame..... I have, what you might call, an affection for lugs and that... which meant I would only settle for a frame with a flat fork crown. To my delight, this time last year, my patience paid off. A lovely man called David was selling his frame and after the wild emotional rollercoaster that is the final minute of an ebay auction, I was delighted to find out I had won!
After arranging to meet David halfway between our homes, off I went to Talgarth on the edge of the Brecon Beacons to collect the frame. Turns out David had owned the frame for a long time and he kindly explained the story of how he came to own the bike. I should have written down the details at the time as I can't recall all the specifics any more, but to the best of my memory it went as follows:
David was living and working in London, when, as he described it, he was sort of forced to buy the bike. A tradesman who was sorting something out where David worked, had come to own the bike and wanted to sell it on. Apparently he had been working a job where he first had to clear a garage or similar. The owner of the space gave the guy license to take anything he fancied and dispose of the rest before getting on with whatever the job was. So the lucky guy found himself the owner of a fine eddy merckx bicycle. Upon meeting David, he was apparently very insistent, for reasons that weren't specified, that David was going to buy the bike. Over the coming days he persisted in telling David he was going to buy the bike, until finally he bought the bike. David then happily used the bike for many years, commuting around London. Wind forward many years and he eventually moved to Wales. By the time I met David most of the bike had been re-purposed elsewhere so the frame was just sat in his garage. He figured it was time to sell it on and let someone else enjoy using it as much as he had.
An eventful year has gone by. Moving house combined with the sack of dicks that is coronavirus has meant Eddy was sat in storage for about a year. Over the next month or so i'm hoping to get Eddy built up and back on the road. I plan on keeping a record of the build here. Hopefully it will prove interesting, any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.
Before we get stuck into the build, I wanted to try and understand a little more about Eddys history. My current belief/understanding is that this frame is a "professional" model.
The flat fork crown and seat stay caps with signatures suggest it's a pretty early model. I think.
Here's the serial number stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket shell:
Which I believe is read as AT8-1396E. From reading here I believe the frame dates from ~1981-84.
You can be sure it's an early (and sought after) frame because it has the signatures on the seatstay caps. Nice frame, looking forward to this build.
Here's my one https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/296458/
@emerxil will give you the low down on age.
Rear mech cable over the bottom bracket so that's my era :)
Looks great. What’s the plan? Period campagnolo SR I presume?
Congrats on scoring a very nice Frame! The merckx signature indicates that it‘s indeed a fairly early frame. However, the short lugs, bottom bracket and the area around the seatpost bolt are all details that weren‘t present on the earliest frames. My guess would be that it‘s from 1981 or 82. This model is often referred to as ‘professional‘ on the basis of an early catalogue where it says: professional road model.
However, in the flamish catalogue, the same model was denominated as
‘Weg beroepstype‘, thus indicating that the term ‘professional‘ was not really a model name as such.
Good luck finding the matching pantographed brake levers, chainring and stem!
Those catalogue pics have portacatena dropouts, I don't think the OP frame has?
2nd & 4th image - Looks like portacatena
AT8 E1396 = Professional 1981
A - EMC employee code
T - a designation which at the time meant using dropouts without Porta Catena...
8 - frame size 58cm (c-c)
E1396 = serial number
Unusual frame, combination of "modern short" lugs and modern BB cover (MI 6 grooves) with "signature ssc" (someone found the "signature" in the magazine and had to get rid of it :))
I was happy to see my photo from the "flamish catalog" - it comes in handy, it's OK :)
Ha! Didn‘t know it was yours. Thanks for the upload.
I really appreciate all the information shared there! Thank you @Flandria, @Sig_Arlecchino, @emerxil. I'm really pleased to have got myself such an early frame!
@SideshowBob your eddy looks awesome, thanks for sharing your post, looking through I can already see it will be helpful to me. My frame is a little rough round the edges! I will share some detailed pictures in a moment.
@Simpson I have been asking myself this question a lot and have decided to use a mixture of modern and more classically styled components. The vision makes sense in my head, a retro sleeper, time will tell if it comes out how I hope! I'm going 1x11 with a downtube shifter. I already have a DA 7400 double crankset i'm intending to use up front. theres a whole load more decisions to make on components.
The frame seems to have been well used which is great, lots of character:
Fair bit of paint missing
Shimano 105 Headset
Tangerine skin plus a little extra blue paint to cover the bare metal.
Most of the chromes looking pretty decent. Nice "eddy merckx" embossing on the drop outs
I don't currently plan on getting it stripped and re-sprayed, I quite like the battle scars. I might need to cover the bare metal to offer some level of protection against further corosion though. haven't worked that out yet...
Quite a few battle scars indeed. In the photos the paint almost looks like it has some kind of marble effect in it. If it was mine, I'd try to take off the touch up paint, especially around the bottom bracket to get a better idea of the pitting underneath. After that, you could do some rust treatment to get rid of the rust and finally spray it with clearcoat to conserve it in its current state. If you're planning to change the 105 headset (personally I'm not a fan of the plastic covers), keep in mind that it has a very low stack height so you're limited in your choice of replacement headsets.
@Sig_Arlecchino I like the sound of this approach, I will clean it up as best I can then clearcoat.
I've got a few bits and pieces together already that I plan on using for the build.
First up is an 11 speed down tube shifter made by Gevenalle. I'm planning on running a DA R9100 rear mech:
Cassette wise, i've gone for a China special SROAD 10-36T:
I borrowed a friends set of wheels to take few pictures, still haven't decided if silver or black rims are the way to go. But planning on getting Ryan Builds Wheels in Bristol to build me up a set, something like this https://www.ryanbuildswheels.co.uk/product/factotum-race/:
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