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pining for the merckx. who wants to play devil's advocate?(32 posts)

pining for the merckx. who wants to play devil's advocate?Js Haiku Shop
Nov 13, 2001 7:37 AM
OK, talk me out of this frame. I don't have a money tree in the back yard, I'll be begging and stealing to get it, frame only for now 'til I can afford the rest...but it's awful purdy, and steel, and I'm taking a pretty good beating on AL over long rides, even with the carbon fork on my Bianchi. I figured it wasn't too transient or whimsical if I didn't look at the pic of the frame all weekend, then came back and still get butterflies when I see it. :o)

$575 for the frame. I'm looking for an argument like: You could get X for $X from, same price / higher quality, blah blah blah.

OR: Don't do it! Riding a Merckx will make you bite the heads of chickens!

Js Haiku Shop "relatively, how heavy is 4.5 lb frame 1.5 lb fork, steel? nm" 11/12/01 8:49pm

Js Haiku Shop "what do these specs (angles) say about purpose of frame?" 11/9/01 9:41am

the devilDog
Nov 13, 2001 7:46 AM
*that damn thing is heavy; why carry around an extra 3 pounds?

*steel will eventually rust; carbon or alum wont'

*steel does not give an appreciably better ride than aluminum; that's an urban myth; tires and geometry affect ride far more; if you think you will be much more comfortable on the bike because of the metal, you'll be disappointed

*bike envy IS transient; 80 miles into a ride you won't give a damn what it looks like; also, will you care 6 months from now, after it's all dirty, oily, and scratched up?

That's my shot - sincere or not? I'll tell you after you buy it. :-)

re: Just do it!Softrider
Nov 13, 2001 7:56 AM
There is nothing like the ride of a good steel bike.

To make yourself feel better just think that you could have easily spent 4 or 5 times that much on a carbon or Ti frame.
Nov 13, 2001 8:35 AM
if you are over 160lbs, it's still a frame to think about: it was love at first sight and light steel frames under heavy riders is debatable anyway.
if you are 150 or less and like to climb you will be dreaming of a lighter frame and fork (mercx fprks are notoriously heavy) pretty soon.
another argument: when you get the money to buy wheels, brakes etc... there'll be something lighter around.
steel and lugs give a good vibe though...
re: renaissance-cycles.comdzrider
Nov 13, 2001 8:37 AM
Have some nice Pinarellos (or is it Pinarelli?) of that era for a little less. The overall ride of either should be delightful. They provide qualities that appear contradictory, e.g. stable and nimble, and for anything other than racing the weight will be pretty insignificant. Unless you're trying to build a classic with no anachronisms be sure the dropout spacing is 130m or you'll have trouble with today's hubs and cogsets.
re: pining for the merckx. who wants to play devil's advocate?DINOSAUR
Nov 13, 2001 8:46 AM
What model Merckx? Remember- Merckx's have a laid back seat tube and you might have a problem with fit unless you have a long torso.

Don't get hung up on frame material. A al bike, as Doug said, depends on frame angles, wheel selection and tire pressure. My '99 Klein all al Quantum Race is one smooth riding machine. I like it so much that I might just skip the new bike idea for a while a do a rebuild.

I think you just have an urge for a new bike, I've been lusting over a new bike for a year. My take would to think this thing out more carefully and give a little more thought as to what you want. I've been thinking steel, and I'm edging toward titanium, a material I never considered.

It's true also about what a bike looks like. When I had to replace my rear Rolf Vector Comp rim with a rim of a different color (as that's all that Trek had in stock) I was going bonkers thinking about color co-ordination. A burnt orange/yellow Klein with a blue Selle San Marcos Postal Team replica saddle, and a red front rim and a blue rear rim. Looks like it belongs in a circus. But when I ride I could care less, I'm just thinking about how the bike rides and not how it looks.

My take would be to think this out more, save your money and buy a steel frame like a foco that is just as light as al, but has the ride of steel.

I'm not a weight weenie, but I would think that fit would be my primary concern. Do more research on Merckx geometry and if you really want it, buy it...
re: pining for the merckx. who wants to play devil's advocate?cioccman
Nov 13, 2001 8:51 AM
My opinion is that if I were to ever buy another steel frame, I'd likely go Steelman or Sachs or Land Shark, etc. Something custom, and I'd have it around forever (wow, that's a new idea).
Pay me now & pay me later..........Len J
Nov 13, 2001 8:55 AM
is what it sounds like to me.

Would you rather have this frame now or a custom steel ride in a year?

I think that for $1,000 or so you can get a custom steel ride from an artist framebuilder that will fit you like a glove (& probably be a little lighter also). Only downside is that you are gonna have to wait till you can save the money. My take is that in a year you would be looking to upgrade anyway to a lighter ride.

It sounds to me like you are "smitten". Try to figure out out she will look to you in the morning when you are sober. :)

You are not worthy.MB1
Nov 13, 2001 8:58 AM
You are far too young and haven't suffered enough on the road to appreciate the fine riding characterics of such an elite machine. Stick with aluminum and ride through a few winters till your suffering allotment is fulfilled.

The poetry in your soul is oriental in origin and doesn't mix well with European classics. Get a Fuji.

Eddy never mixed well with head banging rock and roll. Riding a Merckx is like listening to a fine aria. Maybe you should buy it for Dog as a daddie present.

A Merckx frame ain't for no one who likes circus peanut candy-although that orange peanut color is similar to the classic Merckx orange, hmmm....

Euro frames with a picture of a white, Euro male on the head tube don't belong in Memphis, get a Litespeed.

The final telling reason that you are not worthy-Merckx would never even consider wearing nylons.
why <i>not</i>?Tig
Nov 13, 2001 8:59 AM
As long as you can afford it and it fits, then go for it. Have you ever owned a classic steel frame like it before? If so, you know how wonderful a ride it can give (with decent wheels and components). If not, you'll discover what so many people holler about.

It won't be the best, smoothest ride available, but those frames will cost you at least triple what this one is going for. Heavy? Yep! Unless you are doing serious climbing, you won't care. Will it accelerate like the aluminum Bianchi? Nope! But the difference is actually very little. That difference is much greater when we just bought a new aluminum rocket and our perspective is jaded!

I'd love nothing more than to have my old Tommasini back. The "magic carpet ride" it gave was sweet, and the aura of the craftsmanship was something to behold. I ride with a guy who has been on his Merckx for a little over 10 years and loves it. He makes plenty of money and isn't a retro-grouch, but loves the ride and doesn't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon. I think it has TSX tubes and is painted the old Motorola team colors of blue and red.
Get the Merckxtarwheel
Nov 13, 2001 9:02 AM
Haiku -- I was in the same situation as 6 months ago. I had a Bianchi Alloro (aluminum) with carbon fork. A very light frame, the whole bike weighed about 19 lbs. with Ultegra group. It supposedly was a comfortable frame by aluminum standards, but it was beating me up. The more I rode, the more it bothered me. I cancelled plans for several long rides because my hands were so numb and bothering me. What finally convinced me to change was pulling my old mid-80s steel Bianchi out for a long ride one day. I couldn't believe how smooth and comfy it felt. I decided then and there that my next bike would be steel again.

After getting a frame fitting, I bought a new steel Gios Compact Pro in late May. The frame/fork weighs about the same as the Merckx you are looking at, with chrome forks, lugs and stays. Built up with Campy Chorus, it's about 21 lbs. with pedals, computer, bottle cages, etc. The extra 2 lbs don't bother me a bit, but I sure am a lot more comfortable. To those who say frame material has nothing to do with comfort, I say bull. My Gios has a very tight, stiff geometry but is wonderfully smooth on rough pavement. I've put 3,000 miles on Gios since June, including a weeklong bike tour (430 miles) and a number of other rides over 50 miles. I also pulled all the Ultegra gear off the Alloro, sold the frame & fork, and put all the Shimano stuff on my old steel Bianchi for a back-up ride.

I think there is way too much emphasis on light weight in bikes, I guess because you can put a number on it. It's hard to quantify comfort, but believe me there is a difference. I also find that I am riding a lot more and enjoying it much more since I got the Gios. If worried about the marginal difference the heavier weight makes in hill-climbing, lose a little weight. Or do what I did, get a cassette with bigger gears.
Try anything else before the Gios?kenyee
Nov 13, 2001 11:23 AM
It's still on my short list, pending a 2nd fitting, along w/ a Cervelo Prodigy, an Airborne Valkrie, and a used CSI.

I'm just curious what other bikes you've tried. I'm worried the short chainstays on the Gios would make it harsher than one of the others on my short list and there's no Gios dealer in Boston. Why did you get the chrome steel fork instead of a carbon fork?
The Gios also seems to be a relatively old design (found dejanews posts on it back to '94) w/ no changes in the last few years.
re: Giostarwheel
Nov 13, 2001 12:22 PM
I tried a lot of different bikes before settling on the Gios -- including LeMond Zurich, Trek 2300, Specialized Allez Comp, Bianchi Alloro. I got the Gios after having a frame fitting and finding that my ideal frame had a shorter top tube than seat tube. Gios is one of the few stock frames with that geometry. I have always felt too stretched out on most bikes, so it makes sense. I also have an old Bianchi with standard "square" Italian geometry, ie 57 x 57 ctc seat/top tube. (The aluminum Bianchi I sold, was more stretched out, 54 x 56 ctc.) Gios do have short chain stays, but several models (including the Compact Pro) have adjustable dropouts, allowing you to lengthen the stays about 1.5 cm, which is the way I have mine set up. The Compact Pro is a retro or old-school design with a chrome fork, lugs and stays. I got the chrome fork because the Gios carbon fork has a carbon steerer, which limits your ability to raise the stem/handlebar height. (I am more concerned with comfort than lightness.) Gios makes other models with aluminum, oversized steel, and al/carbon frames. The aluminum Gios models compare favorably with other current designs for al frames. To my knowledge, Excel Sports in Boulder, Colo., is the only US dealer for Gios (
Nov 13, 2001 9:18 AM
Me and my bud Tony D. from Imperial County, San Diego had the hots for either the Merckx or Ritchey back in 1993 or so. Tony bought the Merckx and enjoyed it. Top tube is a bit longish, etc. I was riding my Specialized steel db Allez with the pos alum fork. Tony now rides rides the Litespeed Vortex frame-set full Dura-Ace, while i am stuck with my follow-on happenstance opp OCLV mix-n-match Shimano, one more pony for the stable as it were here on the ranch with two six-stall barns and no horse flesh.

My bud Campy Man has the twin down tube Colnago full Chorus; Road Dog the Calfee w/ Metronic; other bgcc member's with their fav-o-rite's including Otis Guy Soft Ride, Klein, Salsa, Giant, Alan, Holdsworth, C'dale, Merlin, etc., etc. well represented and when the frame size and pedal choice match we trade off on occasion. Most of us have mucho bikes; Road Dog mebee 7 or more as he takes his candy business customers on rides rather than the golf course as he's a 1999 Iron Man finisher so get to meet the Big Tri Boyz now and then. We have one Mercury team rider just aboard from Pine Valley but as yet to meet him.

Go with your instinct if your pocket book allows.

Shooting Star Ranch
Julian, Ca.
if you're patient...gtx
Nov 13, 2001 9:26 AM
you can pick one up used for half of that. I got a Merckx Century frameset that was barely ridden for $300--and it has the snazzy Reynolds 653 tubing (I think it retailed for $1200 in 1990). People are selling off their "heavy" steel bikes to jump on the ti bandwagon all the time. Then again, it is nice to have a new frame, and I do like that color combo. As others have mentioned, you better check the fit. The Merckx geometry isn't right for everyone.
When You Look at the frameMe Dot Org
Nov 13, 2001 9:34 AM
...You see it in the vacuum of untested expectations. It looks beautiful because you envision it in world of perfection which does not exist. The light of reality is a flickering fluorescent tube which will make the most beautiful woman look like the ticket taker at a bus depot at 3AM.

Besides, I want to buy the same frame, and I don't want you taking it out from under me.

Bike Lustgrzy
Nov 13, 2001 9:38 AM
There is no known cure. Kinda like the fascination of a new relationship. Life is too short to be miserable - not that buying things will make you happy per se. It's just very satisfying to have a ride that speaks to your soul. I couldn't afford buying my Serotta when I had a perfectly good OCLV, but I've never regreted it. Not having done so would have forever put that bike into "the one that got away" category. I never miss the OCLV even though it was a bit lighter. Anything that brings up the passion and makes you want to ride more is a good thing. I have yet to lust after another bike since getting the one that spoke to me.
It's not about the bike....Mystic
Nov 13, 2001 10:15 AM

Actually......Yes it is.

Sorry, no dice - buy it or miss it forever.
Ride qualityNessism
Nov 13, 2001 11:24 AM
The Merckx Strada frameset, which uses Columbus Brain tubing and a steel fork, will NOT ride better than your Bianchi w/carbon fork. Brain tubing is thick walled and oversize which will lead to a fairly stiff ride. This is not to say that it is a bad frameset, it isn't. Only that it is not going to ride like a magic carpet. One good thing is that it should be hell for stiff through the bottom bracket.

As far as the Merckx geometery characteristics that some talk about, his frames have a seat tube approx. 1/2 degree more laid back than standard. When coupled with a medium short top tube, these frames are actually quite compact and have a short front center. The trouble comes in when you have to push the seat forward to achieve the proper setback, now the short top tube just got shorter. Keep this in mind. Good luck.
Experience the Merckx ride, never look back...guido
Nov 13, 2001 12:24 PM
Get that bike, son. Ride it for two years. It'll take you that long to discover all the things you can do on it.

What is this "magic carpet" ride that steel alone possesses? It is the ability to absorb road vibrations and shocks, WITHOUT being noodley. When you go really hard, violently whacking up a hill, it answers, "More! I like it! Let's go! Harder!" This comfort and stiffness at the same time is what steel can do best. A good steel frame will take all the abuse you can dish out, take you the distance without beating you up, and last years and years.

Rust? Every year or two, when regreasing the bottom bracket and headset, spray light oil into the frame tubes. Keep it clean and touch up paint over scratches. It won't rust and it'll last forever. Top quality steel is also really crashworthy: it deflects to absorb impact shocks, then springs back into shape, having a high modulus of elasticity. This means also that a bent frame can often be straightened, "cold set." The material maintains its strength and is rideable for many more years.

And what better road bike maker to provide you with your steel ride, than Eddy Merckx? Like Colnago and the Italians, Merckx builds bikes to go the distance, day in and day out, without protest, without punishing the rider. This forms the basis for a life long relationship, don't you think?

Two years from now, your Merckx will become the standard of comparison for every other bike you ride. The money won't be an issue.
Experience the Merckx ride, never look back...merckx56
Nov 13, 2001 2:33 PM
merckx,merckx,merckx! i have a 6 year old steel merckx and have torn ot down to build something else twice! the parts always seem to make it back on the merckx and the other frame goes away! who care if it's heavy! a 17 lb. bike is of no benefit when you aren't climbing in the alps! my steel merckx weighs 19 lbs. with dura-ace a ksyriums and i get to wait on the dicks with light bikes! i'm getting a new race rig, but the merckx will always be ridden! check out the drilled out 40 tooth inside ring! a merckx gives passion!
Experience the Merckx ride, never look back...merckx56
Nov 13, 2001 2:37 PM
sorry, here's the pic!
que bella...que bella!guido
Nov 13, 2001 7:43 PM
Readers may recall that Eddy's early team mechanic was Ernesto Colnago. Eddy rode Colnagos, and DeRosas later. Hugo DeRosa set Eddy up in his shop. Eddy's bikes are his interpretation heavily influenced by the Colnagos and DeRosas he raced on.
The Maestro? EM!cyclequip
Nov 14, 2001 3:28 AM
It's not only the Merckx steel frames that rate as the SOTA. This year post Paris-Roubaix, no less a light than J. Museeuw remarked that the Scandium Merckx frames they rode were FAR superior to ANYTHING he had ridden from Colnago, while he was still at Mapei.
re: pining for the merckx. who wants to play devil's advocate?Frank
Nov 13, 2001 8:41 PM
I bought a pristine Eddy Merckx TSX Century frame and fork and built it up. It is very well made, looks nearly as good as when it was new (is a true classic...made in 1989!) and if it was 1 cm taller (is a 53 c-c) I wouldn't sell it. The workmanship is so nice, as is the paint, and I imagine the newer Merckx you are looking at will be nice also. I also have a Tommasini SLX that rides so well and fits so well I doubt if I will let it get away. It may be heavier than a newer steel or ti or carbon or aluminum bike, but the ride is so nice I wouldn't trade.
the deed is for components!Js Haiku Shop
Nov 14, 2001 6:06 AM
thanks to everyone for the input. i agree with all (most), and appreciate every bit. bike lust..."mmmmmm...donuts!"

it'll take me a few months to get it paid-for, and a few more on top of that to get the grouppo and wheelset in the works, but i seem to have negotiated an increase in cycling allowance on the homefront (perhaps the pending BIG 3-0?), and that'll help some.

OK--the difference between daytona and chorus? i've never even put hands on campy, aside from the old friction set hung on that garage sale bike i turned over on ebay.

I can easily look it up, but i'm asking about the ACTUAL real-world difference. i have the tools and stuff to work on shimano, but not campy...but i suppose it would be a crime to put other than campy on this most beautiful and sultry european vixen...
the deed is for components!DINOSAUR
Nov 14, 2001 8:11 AM
You really enjoy opening Pandora's box don't you? Good choice on the Merckx, it's always best to just go with your gut feeling.

The main difference between the Daytona and the Chorus will be weight. The Chorus is actually Campy Record minus some cf and ti parts.

I'm in the same boat. I've had real good luck with my Ultegra, however the right sti is getting kind of sloppy after 15K. The Campy has a different feel and takes awhile to break in. The Campy can be rebuilt, the Shimano sti levers must be purchased as a complete unit. If you do your own work you can overhaul the Campy stuff yourself. If you drag it down to your LBS it can get expensive.

This is a Campy vs Shimano debate and there is no correct answer. I'm stuck between Dura Ace and Chorus and the nod might go to Chorus due to the price difference.

Mapei equips their Colnago's with Dura Ace. I think the italian thing is out the window.

I think it all comes down to feel. You might want to check GVH bikes for prices on groupos or cambria bicycle outfitters.

I missed the pic on the Merckx how about reposting it? I'm thinking about a Merckx Majestic for my next ride. And if it wasn't for wanting to keep the home front happy I'd be riding one now and not logged on this stupid computer.

I think you might set the record for the longest tread, this is going to open up some discussion.

Hey I was 30 in 1972! The only choice back then was Campy..
wait!!! it's not campy vs. shimano! it's daytona vs. chorus!...Js Haiku Shop
Nov 14, 2001 8:23 AM
nooo! not the flame war / ultimate debate! just looking for a difference between daytona and chorus really worth the extra bucks, and comments...

i'm getting it from gvh, and the grouppo and the rest, too, if the money holds up. here's the pic (and be sure to scroll down to the next image, too):

and, did you see this? $1295.

wait!!! it's not campy vs. shimano! it's daytona vs. chorus!...DINOSAUR
Nov 14, 2001 8:31 AM
Oh I misread your post! This is what happens to old brain cells early in the morning.

Yes, I saw the Majestic on the GVH website. Good price!

I had a Guerciotti SLX with a chromed front fork and chainstays. It was one smooth riding machine.

The owner of my LBS just bought a Mondoncio with a steel fork and he loves it...
Mix and matchMcAndrus
Nov 14, 2001 8:41 AM
Personally, I'd mix-and-match the components.

My 7-year-old Bianchi - which I still ride when I ride alone - has Campy Veloce and it hooked me on Campy.

I built up my newer Giant CFR - with a little help from my LBS on the BB - myself. It has a Daytona group except for the shifters, which are Chorus.

The front derailleur is seldom used so I went with Daytona. The Daytona brakes are flawless and the only advantage with Chorus there would be weight. The Daytona rear derailleur shifts very, very well but if I had it to do again, I'd fork out the dough for Record there.

The Chorus shifters are smooth and easy. There's actually a very pleasant tactile feel when shifting. And some folks complain about different things with Campy (or Shimano for that matter) that I just don't see. For instance, I haven't had to adjust my rear derailleur cable since late spring - it just doesn't go out of adjustment.

Don't know if this helps but it's my experience. Good luck with yours.
Oh, and by the wayMcAndrus
Nov 14, 2001 8:51 AM
Anyone who claims it's not about the bike .... well I beg to differ. It's at least partly about the bike.

There's a huge difference trying to hang in with a pack of Cat 3s on a 22-pound steel rig and an 18-pound carbon ride: particularly uphill.

I know this opinion was unsolicited but hey - sometimes you just have to say things :-).
the deed is for components!gtx
Nov 14, 2001 11:43 AM
get Daytona (they just changed the name) but upgrade the cranks and bb to Chorus. But yeah, you better factor in the added tool expense. I have Shimano on my Merckx. So did Motorola and 7-11.

Now that you have that bike you better go watch "A Sunday in Hell" and "Stars and Watercarriers." Have fun.