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Re-paint the Merckx or not?(23 posts)

Re-paint the Merckx or not?bianchi boy
Apr 26, 2002 4:20 PM
Not sure if this qualifies as a retro or classic, but I'd like some opinions on whether to repaint a frame or not. I recently bought a used lugged steel Merckx Arcobaleno, circa 1998 vintage. It's a nice frame, perfect size and geometry for me, and reasonably light. I thought the bike was gonna be light sky blue, as shown in the digital photo, but in reality it's a darker royal blue color. I have another bike (a Gios) nearly the same color, so I'm considering having it repainted. Another factor is that the stock Merckx paint apparently is not very good because it has a lot of small chips and scratches (or the previous owner was not too careful).

Anyway, I was gonna have the Merckx built up in a couple weeks using an Ultegra group and Open Pro wheels I'm removing from my old Bianchi. My original plan was invest as little money as possible (frame cost $400) as this would be my backup bike. However, in talking to my bike shop, there is a guy nearby who will strip, prime, repaint and clear-coat the entire bike for about $150-200. That's a pretty good price for a new paint job and I'm wondering if I ought to just delay my plans to build up the bike and have it repainted first. Money is also a factor, so I may need to wait on building it up if I spend $200 having it painted.

What would you do? Instant gratification and cheap backup ride, or delayed gratification and new-looking bike in any color I want? I'm also open to suggestions on color. I'm considering the classic colors for Eddie Merckx -- orange with blue or white decals and trim. Or maybe just a simple light sky blue or bright red.
That is the strangest picture...Ahimsa
Apr 26, 2002 4:47 PM
It looks like a tiny little model of a frame sitting on a handkerchief on a dining table.


the color is way off too ...bianchi boy
Apr 26, 2002 5:12 PM
I thought for a while that the guy who sold it to me had posted the wrong photo, after seeing the bike, but it's for real -- the color just didn't translate right.

Speaking of little tiny bikes, do you know where someone could buy diecast metal model bikes? I saw some at a retro bike swap meet but did a search on yahoo and didn't get any hits.
re: Re-paint the Merckx or not?wooglin
Apr 26, 2002 5:12 PM
You can get paint done a lot of places. The decals might be a bit more difficult, and will add to the price. Just something to think about.
No! Keep it original and go ride. nmgtx
Apr 26, 2002 5:35 PM
Tough callNessism
Apr 26, 2002 5:45 PM
Unless you hate the current color, I say put it into service. Ride the crap out of it and think about the teardown next fall. There's something wonderful about a bike you are not wearing kid gloves around - at least for me.

BTW, very nice frame. Should be nice and stiff - just the way Eddy would want it!

good advice ...bianchi boy
Apr 26, 2002 7:25 PM
Actually that was original intent in buying the bike -- something I didn't have to baby or worry about messing up. Then I started thinking how nice it would look in Molteni orange. Do you know anything about this particular model? It's made from Columbus Neuron steel, with oversized tubes (at least compared to my Gios). I hope it's not too stiff -- I'm more into comfort.
Neuron tubingNessism
Apr 27, 2002 4:13 AM
I don't have personel experience with Neuron but have owned and ridden very similar frames: Columbus ELOS (three different), Dedacciai ZeroUno, and True Temper OXRCX. One thing to keep in mind is that Merckx often specs custom butting for his frame tubing.

That said, Neuron is an oversized tubeset that has very inovative butting configuration. The butt are thicker on some sides of the tube compared to the other side. This is reputed to put the metal where the stress is. Nice concept.

Based on the tube thicknesses and such I would expect it to ride medium stiff with good bottom bracket stability. Most of Merckx frames tend to be like this - making tourist frames is not his cup of tea.

Neuron tubinggtx
Apr 27, 2002 9:37 AM
I watched that auction on eBay. Nice looking frame. I wonder what it weighs compared to my late 80s/early 90s 653 Century. Merckx will sometimes use light tubing, but in such a way that doesn't compromise durability--I've never seen a broken Merckx. From the ones that I have ridden I would say that they all have a pretty similar ride (I'd love to try one of the new Team SC bikes). Once a shop I worked at got in a Merckx that wasn't quite straight in the rear triangle--dropouts didn't line up. Took two of us yanking on it to straighten it out (not sure how long that would last). Tough, overbuilt race bikes.
I'll see if I can weigh it ...bianchi boy
Apr 27, 2002 12:42 PM
Waiting on some parts before I build it up, so that will give me something to do. It feels very light, but then again most bare frames do.
I'll see if I can weigh it ...gtx
Apr 27, 2002 12:59 PM
I never bothered to weigh mine. It's my winter/rain bike, so when it gets it's yearly tear down this summer maybe I'll weigh it (though it would have to be the bathroom scale method). I'm guessing frame and fork around 6 pounds for a 57cm but who knows. Let us know what you think of it after you get some miles on it.
Here's the weight ...bianchi boy
Apr 28, 2002 1:21 PM
Put the Merckx on some scales today and the frame weighs just a hair under 4 lbs., perhaps 3.9. The fork is a porker -- 1.5 lbs. So the frame and fork together weigh just under 5.5 lbs. It's a 56 cm frame.

This is lighter than I expected, as Merckx frames seem to run on the heavy side and my newer Gios Compact Pro weighs 4.4 lb. for the frame alone. Built up, it will probably weigh about the same as the Gios, because the Merckx will have an Ultegra group and the Gios has Chorus.
sounds rightgtx
Apr 28, 2002 8:26 PM
and that porky fork is part of the Merckx experience! Enjoy!
sounds rightNessism
Apr 29, 2002 4:59 AM
Merckx specs a lot of offset on his forks, which as GTX stated, is one of the Merckx signiture design elements. I'm not sure about this model in particular, but the older models with "Century geometery" all used 5.2 cm offset. Steering is on the fast side because of the low trail number. In my experience, this type of geometery is very nice to corner with because the bike turns into corners very readily.

Regarding the weight, 1.5 lbs. for a fork is really not too bad. Heavier than the new carbon two prongs but durability should be very good.

hey, i'm not a weight weenie ...tarwheel
Apr 29, 2002 6:28 AM
Or I wouldn't have bought the Merckx. I actually prefer the ride of a steel fork to carbon, at least the carbon with aluminum steerer fork that I had once. I talked to a guy riding a steel Merckx on a century ride who told me he had bought a carbon fork but removed it and reinstalled the original fork. He said it just didn't handle right with the carbon fork -- probably due to the wrong rake or offset, I guess.
Merckx 653 Centurymerckxman
May 17, 2002 1:01 PM
gtx: how does that Merckx 653 Century ride? A friend has an unbuilt frame (white/red panels)with box crown fork. Very nice looking.
re: Re-paint the Merckx or not?Walter
Apr 28, 2002 5:57 AM
Orange and blue would be a fine choice of colors indeed.

The fact that I have a degree from the U. of Florida has nary a thing to do with this opinion. :)
woof, woofbianchi boy
Apr 28, 2002 11:53 AM
As a UGA alumni and fan, that's a cause for concern...
repaint it...merckx56
Apr 28, 2002 6:54 AM
regardless of the original color/team affiliation, it's still a merckx. i have a corsa 0.1 that was the vlaanderen 2002 colors (yellow/red/black) that was still in great shape, but the paint was shot from commuting through a winter of rain and crap in florida. i got it painted as a molteni replica and am very happy with the job. just make sure you send it somewhere that paints bike frames, not just a body shop! mark schroeder at frame finish in tampa did mine and it is still lusterous and in great condition, after 4 years.
very nicebianchi boy
Apr 28, 2002 11:55 AM
That's what I was thinking of, something along those lines. Nice looking bike. Where did you get the decals?
Apr 28, 2002 2:33 PM
I got the decal set from gita. they are the sole importer of merckx frames in the u.s. they were not cheap! merckx did a factory replica in 96-97 and they got the decals as extras. they were about $50 for the whole set. you may want to email them at to see if they still have the decals!
I second the kudos...bigdave
Apr 29, 2002 11:45 AM
That bike looks great... I hope my Schwinn looks as nice after I get it back from Spectrum Powderworks.

re: Re-paint the Merckx or not?Frank
May 2, 2002 10:39 PM
I have a 1989 Merckx TSX Century and it is a beautiful shade of blue. It truly looks as nice as a brand new one...they did a great job with the paint and chrome!