On the 17th of June Eddy Merckx will turn 70 and the company he founded (Eddy Merckx Cycles) is celebrating this milestone with a very unique bicycle. Only 70 will be made and number 1 was given to Eddy Merckx at the event. This limited edition EDDY70 is a forerunner of a new ‘Heritage’ collection which is set to launch in September. Heritage you say? Yes, it’s a bike that goes back to the era of steel frames. However, I can assure you it’s a modern, high tech racing bike. I’ve lifted the bike and it’s much lighter than my current carbon Merckx. More about the actual weight later. That it had to be a modern interpretation fits with the philosophy that Merckx himself had for this bike.
— Eddy Merckx
Everyone knows that I was always obsessively focused on the equipment that I rode on. That is still the case now. And as a result, I wanted only the best and most modern components and materials for this bike. The aim was absolutely to make a high performance, contemporary racing bike and not a replica of my old racing bike.
Completely handmade in Belgium
It’s kinda unique that a bicycle is being built from scratch all on Belgian ground. Eddy has laid down the specifications for this frame and it is being welded by Johan Vranckx. Johan has been a bike welder for 35 years and learned the trade at De Rosa in Italy and Litespeed in the USA. Johan needs about two days to build one EDDY70 frame, that includes shaping, filing and welding each tube
The EDDY70 frames are built with Columbus XCr seamless stainless steel tubes, TIG welded in the Eddy Merckx Cycles workshops and paired with a carbon Columbus fork. After that is done the frame is being painted on site as well. The rest of the bike is being fitted with high-end custom-edition parts such as Campagnolo Super Record components and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels with Vittoria tires. The unique EDDY70-signature logo is also emblazoned on the cockpit, seat-post and saddle. I’ve told you earlier that it was a lightweight bike. To put weight into perspective the steel bike that Merckx became world amateur champion with at Sallanches, France weighed 11,4 kilograms. This new EDDY70 weighs only 7,7 kilograms.
The design of the EDDY70 refers back to his days at Faema, the Italian espresso machine maker that sponsored Eddy from ’68-’70. The color scheme also resembles the bike where Eddy won his first Tour De France with.
Classic look with modern accents
This bike combines an authentic classic look with modern accents, when looking at it from a pure esthetic point of view. The beauty of the design lays in the attention to details and finishing touches such as the Belgian stripes on the seatstays, the world champion lines and its position on the seat tube, and the personalisation of the Eddy Merckx branding on the different components such as the stem, crank, rims, saddle etc.
The design of the frame is really well done. Every element is aligned into the perfect position with precision. The images below show some of the steps of the design process of the bike’s frame. Only a few of the many are shown here, but as you can see each element and detail of the bike has been thought through.
Initial design loop
This is one of the designs presented (by Achillesdesign), going for a white frame with red elements. In this initial loop, a lot of different configurations in terms of wheels, saddle, handlebars etc. were all presented on the table. This was one of the many.
2nd design loop
In a next loop the option of combining the white part with an alloy part was also presented, apart from the option of keeping it white. The typography also got an update, and the team decided to leave out ‘Eddy’ on the down tube. The world champion colors below the red part on the seat tube were also removed, and the red part is made shorter.
3rd design loop
The Belgian flag is added, and some more ‘Eddy Merckx 70’ branding elements are added. The decision was made to put alloy in the mix, but less drastic than in the previous design.
4th design loop
The team decided to remove the alloy on the down tube, and keep it mainly on the chainstay, and seatstays. In the final phase, the Belgian flag was moved.
In the movie we see Eddy with a ruler. Well, I can only conclude that the man has an eye for composition and layout. Nothing is too heavy or too bold. There is this right balance which results in a light and stylish look. I also really like the pure alloy look on the chainstay and seatstays. That is a lovely detail. The metal plate with the number finishes things off.
The only thing I’m not such fan of (pure esthetically), and this very personal of course, are the rims. The lettering of the brand just spoils things. That, and the arrangement of the spokes of the back wheel. But again, that’s just me and I bet a lot of people just love this. The rims add a bit of flashyness to the bike. To me this feels more like a colission with its overall classic look.
Exclusive means expensive
As you might have expected this exclusive bicycle comes with a high price too (€14.000). Like I mentioned earlier in the article each of the 70 bikes will be numbered and signed by Eddy himself. If I had a very fat wallet I would go for number 69, the year I was born in and the year that Eddy won his first Tour De France. The first bicycles will be delivered on June 17th, Eddy’s birthday. In case that you want one of these limited edition EDDY70 bikes you need to head to this special web site.