Brett, I can provide the definitive answer to your question based on several sources. The main one is Frank Clements, brother of Ernie, who visited the Milan Show in 1972. He found a stand selling Merckx frames and asked a chap if Eddy was around. This was Ets Kessels. When Frank took out his Falcon business card, Kessels' face lit up as he had been planning a visit to Falcon to see if the firm would like to produce Merckx bikes for the UK market. He explained that he made all Eddy's race bikes and also a retail range. A deal was struck for 24,000 decal sets at £1 each, this being the licence fee. Ernie, never one to be outdone, later increased the number to 70,000 sets. Production started of a similar range to Falcon, but with Merckx decals applied and these hit the market in February 1973. I have photos taken in Barton, and these must be pre 1974, as this was the year the factory relocated to Brigg. They include Eddy, Ernie Clements and brother Frank and also Kessels. I also have a 1974 price list for Falcon Merckx models and a catalogue sheet. So far as I know the Merckx franchise was not exclusive and there may have been a geographic limit on Falcon's market. Eddy visited the factory a few times and was always well entertained. I also have a photo of him on a shopper bearing Merckx stickers. I recently learned that it was skipped (scrapped), still almost unused, just a few years back. What a missed opportunity, a bike that Eddy had sat on!! So, Kessels was there first - definite! Now to speculation - I think the Falcon Merckx range was dropped in 1975, perhaps someone can confirm this.
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 12:12:41 -0800 (PST) From: Brett Horton <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: [CR]Merckx Cycles / Kessels - Start Date Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Precedence: list Reply-To: email@example.com Message: 1
There has been considerable discussion on the list over the years about the Falcon-Merckx mass produced bikes. What I am trying to detemine is which came first: Falcon-Merckx or Kessels-Merckx mass produced bikes?
I was pawing through a new-to-me crate of cycling paper swag and came across a Kessels-Merckx catalog from what appears to be 1970.
Front Cover: http://www.thehortoncollection.com/merckx1970a.htm Inside Portion: http://www.thehortoncollection.com/merckx1970c.htm Back Cover: http://www.thehortoncollection.com/merckx1970b.htm
San Francisco, CA