Eddy Merckx Professional (SOLD) | Road | 57cm (c-t) | 1980 | #E239
The holy grail of Eddy Merckx brand bicycles: Merckx signature seat-stay caps, rare early type lugs and seat cluster, ‘Eddy Merckx’ stamped BB shell and original paint with pantographed parts!
As with most things in his professional life, Merckx was never content to sit back and follow the leaders. Rather than lending his name to another builder’s work he decided to make his own brand of professional racing bicycle. In the 3 years that followed his retirement from professional racing, Merckx used his time to renovate a small farmhouse in Meise Belgium and tool it for bicycle frame production. With the help of his mentor and friend Ugo De Rosa he assembled and trained a team of builders and prototyped his first frames. These initial frames are of varying in quality and design as the materials, details and process were refined.
In March of 1980, the Eddy Merckx Cycles Factory began it’s first production run of frames. They were offered to the european public as full builds. By mid 1981 Merckx frames were available in the north american market.
In a matter of 1-2 years many of the details on these early frames disappeared. First to go were the BB shells and the seat lug, followed by the head lugs and the signature seat-stay caps and finally the ‘Eddy Merckx’ script on the fork crown. Some of these details overlapped with one another in various combinations until the builders ran out of stock and they were replaced with later versions.
Besides the great history it’s a smooth riding and well balanced build. I’m about to replace the saddle with a more appropriate Selle Italia RS model, just like the early factory builds. Also of note, this particular frame was built using Columbus tubing and has a tattered french language Columbus decal on the seat tube. If anyone has a replacement french decal please let me know.
A note about the serial number: A7 E239
‘A’ indicates the ‘Professional’ series
‘7’ indicates ’57cm (c-t) seat tube
‘E’ for early frames this indicates a post March 1980 production model
‘239’ would seem to indicate the ‘239th’ frame produced