Re: [CR]Colnago Shop Drawings-Now Merckx

Example: Humor

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Date: Fri, 9 May 2008 08:40:17 -0700
From: Jan Heine <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Colnago Shop Drawings-Now Merckx
cc: Classic Rendezvous <>

At 2:10 PM +0000 5/9/08, wrote:
>It's certainly frustrating that although even mummies can be
>identified, the real HRB can't-with both the maker and rider
>still available.

Based on all the research, I concluded that the bike shown at Il Vecchio probably was the correct bike. The decals did not match, but beyond that, it was the correct bike. For a moment, I wondered about what looked like an engraving on the fork crown on the actual hour record bike that was missing on the bike at Il Vecchio's, but I concluded that with the superlight fork crown, this probably was a decal. (Also, why would one of two identical frames have the engraving, the other not.)

One thing I wonder about is how Merckx got the bike. Did he always keep it, and take it straight to Brussels with him after the trip to Mexico? If so, then the backup went back to Italy with Colnago. Daniel Rebour visited Colnago's shop/factory a few months later and was shown "The Hour Record Bike." Rebour's drawings (made after photos he took during his visit) show a Cinelli stem and the (later addition) handlebars with holes - see the link I posted earlier

Of course, this might have been the hour record bike, with just bars and stem swapped out (nobody liked that Pino stem in the publicity materials).

If that hypothesis is correct, then the bike Merckx kept is the original hour record bike, unless the frames got swapped around during the packing and disassembly somehow. The bike at Il Vecchio's, which came from Merckx, had the Pino stem...

In the end, nobody really knows, because nobody cared back then. Merckx wanted to set a record, period. Once that was done, the bike dropped off the radar for him. When George at Il Vecchio received it, it was completely dusty and filthy, probably had been lying in a corner for 2 decades. He was rather amused by George's request - as if George had asked to display a locket of hair from the "Cannibal" in his shop.

Only recently, the bike has become useful as a publicity tool again. But for that purpose, it doesn't matter whether it's the real one or the backup...

Then you have the issue of the Windsor stickers. Just before the hour record, the slapped a "Windsor" sticker onto the head tube and the seat tube, because the owner of Windsor had organized and paid for the track. To make the bike historically correct, you'd have to put the Windsor stickers back on.

Interestingly, for a poster of Merckx "on a Windsor bike," they did a montage of the seat tube sticker to put it in a more visible place. However, the sticker does not curve around the tube, but is flat - just glued onto the photo! That one threw me for a while, as I thought perhaps Merckx did not ride with Windsor stickers after all, and that they were added for the photos, but the photos taken during the event clearly show the stickers.

BTW, George Gibbs claims that there still was glue residue from the tape used to attach the Windsor stickers on the bike he displayed, indicating that it was the original bike.

Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122