Eddy Merckx MX Leader

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

At the 2014 Sydney Classic Bicycle Show one bike stood saddle and handlebars above the rest, even though it wasn’t part of the concourse d’elegance. Richard Gearing already owns and enjoys a Baum and a Gaulzetti, but like some of us, the attraction of the classic era of steel was irresistible.

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

Rich tells the story: “This example is a 25th anniversary re-issue of the much lauded Merckx MX Leader. The story (true or otherwise) goes that Eddy Merckx only had enough tubing to make 100 complete frames. All of them were painted in the colours of the old Motorola team bikes.

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

“This is number 77, and in it’s not-quite-ten-year lifespan it had covered less than five hundred miles. A handful of ‘normal use’ nicks aside, it was utterly immaculate. Eventually I cracked. As I began to gather the parts some extravagant accidents occurred and I consequently ended up with a fairly expensive NOS Campag Chorus Titanium seatpost.

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

“I settled on current Athena for the groupset to maintain wheel compatibility. The stem is a titanium Cinelli Grammo and the bars are Cinelli “Giro d’Italia” 64s. The saddle is a NOS Selle Italia Flite Evolution 2 that I picked up a few months back and was waiting for the right bike to mount on (and is genuinely incredibly comfortable).

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

“The wheels deserve their own plaudits – NOS Mavic Reflex Ceramic rims (sourced from Eric of Ergott Wheels in the US), laced to White Industries T11 hubs by Josh of XLR8 wheels in Lennox Heads, NSW. Shod with FMB CX Competition 25c tubulars, they’re an absolute dream to ride.

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

“At 10kg, and for a ten-year old frame, it rides bloody well. At the time of this first shakedown ride my only other built bike was a modern steel custom frame – the Merckx rides very much like that bike, although the weight is unquestionably noticeable.

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

“That said, I was pretty close to some of my best times on some of the local climbs so that extra weight (circa 2kg) wasn’t actually much of a burden.” Maybe not, but I’m sure weight isn’t a consideration for those who consider the Team Motorola Eddy Merckx MX Leader one of the most desirable bicycles in the world.

Special thanks to Richard Gearing for the words.

Eddy Merckx MX Leader

  • jeremynorth

    Beautiful frame! I’m surprised that it turned out to be so heavy when built up. I suppose choosing some better components would sort that out.

    • Albie Ish

      Jeremy, would you care to tell us which components?

      • jeremynorth

        I was wondering if a Record group set would have been more appropriate. Easy for me to say though, that would be a lot more money.

        It’s a fabulous bike as it is, just heavier than I’d have expected.

        • Bike weight is wildly over-rated as a speed factor. Even on hills. Cut 2 kg and you’ve cut maybe 3% from the bike+rider mass.

          But that does not translate to a 3% speed gain because it does not meaningfully alter rolling resistance, wind resistance, or drivetrain friction. So even on a hill, a 2 kg savings buys you — at best — a 1% gain in efficiency.

          Eddie knew this and designed his bikes to (1) be reliable, and (2) to have good handling properties. Why? Because he designed his bikes to win races, and crashed or broken frames don’t win.

          Anyway, nice bike, and of course it’s hella fast.

  • Guest

    Jeremy, care to tell use what components?

  • A real gem!

  • tertius_decimus

    Stunning bike!