Re: [CR]Inventory of Merckx teambikes Molteni, FIAT and C&A

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 06:12:17 -0800
From: Jan Heine <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Inventory of Merckx teambikes Molteni, FIAT and C&A

>I found the reference to a Merckx hour record bike being at Colnago's
>museum. The owner of AW Cycles (of the UK) wrote about his visit in 2003:
>"The factory, under Mr. Colnago's house, is itself a mixture of up to date
>modern production technologies and a museum of the past masters who have
>made Colnago's name great. The bikes on display included those belonging to
>Andrea Tafi, Johan Museeuw, Giuseppe Saronni and even The Pope! Eddy
>Merckx's hour record machine of 30 years ago was present, weighing in at an
>incredible 5 kilos! Who says lightweight is a modern thing?"
>Angel Garcia

There has been some discussion of the Merckx hour record bike in the past. Vintage Bicycle Quarterly dedicated an article (Vol. 3, No. 2) and additions/corrections (Vol. 3, Nos. 3 and 4) to the bike.

It appears from a Colnago interview and from the photos that Merckx had two bikes in Mexico. One was the hour record bike with numerous special parts. Daniel Rebour reported that it weighed 5.75 kg. This bike appears to have been exhibited in Seattle at Il Vecchio Bicycles years ago, and also was featured in Bicycle Guide. A second bike did not feature most of the special components and served as a backup bike. In one photo, Colnago is standing with this bike on his shoulder, while Merckx is circling the track.

I have no idea which bike is where today. In photos, the Belgian bike looked real enough, discounting the repaint. I suspect it is the real one (or a good replica). An Italian magazine featured a "Merckx hour record bike" which clearly was not the one Merckx rode during the event (even the geometry of the frame was different). It may have been the backup bike or a completely different machine.

Neither Merckx nor Colnago seem to have any interest in unraveling this history (I contacted Merckx several times while working on the VBQ article), and both are happy to claim that the bike they exhibit is the real one. Who can blame them? The "hour record" bikes are marketing props.

Which brings me to another question: In 1990, I saw Greg Lemond's Tour-winning Bottechia time trial bike in numerous places, including New York and Bonn, Germany, on exhibit. I suspect rather than a single bike travelling around the world, there were several "LeMond's" bikes. Does anybody know where the real one is today? (Let's call it a KOF bike, it was steel, carried an old name, etc.) -- Jan Heine, Seattle Editor/Publisher Vintage Bicycle Quarterly c/o Il Vecchio Bicycles 140 Lakeside Ave, Ste. C Seattle WA 98122