Help me out on understanding the steel heirarchy
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  1. #1
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    Help me out on understanding the steel heirarchy

    Is their a heirarchy with Merckx's steel frames?

    What is generally considersd the best model, Corsa Extra, MX Leader, Corsa??? Is one better for the size of rider, type of riding, etc?

    I'm looking at an MX Leader. Wondering if I should be lookin at another model. I'm 5'10", 180 lbs of pure mercxle!!! seriously, I'm in excellent fitness and pretty strong. I live to climb and ride all out but with steel bikes, I don't go full throttle. I like to cruise on my steelies, like the proverbial Sunday stroller. Which ones would you recommend? TIA.
    Ordered and Fitted for my Custom DEAN Titanium frame on Sept 17th, 2008. Finally got it in Oct, 2010!!!

  2. #2
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    Best?

    The MXL was the most expensive, so there's that...but best is a tough question to answer.

    In terms of tubing used, the models changed over the years, but generally, in Century geometry:

    1980s:
    Stradas where Cromor tubing
    Corsas were SL tubing
    Corsa Extras were SLX tubing

    1990s:
    Strada were Brain tubing
    Corsa Extra were SLX and TSX tubing (and few with MAX and very few with 753)
    Century TSX were TSX tubing (also 10th Anniversary)
    Corsa 01 were Dedacciai Zero One
    MX Leaders were MAX and then MXL tubing

    Be aware that Merckx production appears to include lots of one-offs, exceptions, and models which use different tubing than specified.

    The "best" stage race bike may well have been the Corsa Extra/Century TSX, in terms of performance vs. weight. That said, many of us absolutely love the ride of our MX Leaders, which I personally attribute mostly to the fork. They all ride very very nicely - one of my early bikes was a Strada and never found it at all lacking, except in the fact that Corsas and MX Leaders were "cooler."

    Big boy like you, though, I'd get a MX Leader if I could find one at a good price. The crazy prices for MX Leaders on ebay would give me pause on those versus a Corsa Extra or Corsa 01. I have two MX Leaders - a rider (gray/pink/teal) and a space (Vlaanderen 2002 yellow). They remain my favorite bikes.

  3. #3
    pmf
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    I've got a Corsa 01 and weigh about 20 lbs more than you. I don't find the bike to be flexy in the least (my other bikes are a Colnago C-40 and a Litespeed Ultimate). It's my favorite bike. I've never ridden one of the Max bikes.

    I've heard that the TSX is a bomber verion of SLX. Probably the most advanced frames were either the Deda Zero Uno, or Columbus Max.

  4. #4
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    There were some Corsa frames in MAX before Eddy came up with the MXL design. They had the standard Columbus lugs and BB that came with the tubes. That makes it hard to identify such frames as Merckx.
    Gran Prix was a specific model in 753, seldom seen.

  5. #5
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    In the 1980s and possibly very early 1990s, Merckx made the Gran Prix with Reynolds 753. I'm fortunate to have one, sadly sans original fork. I'm unsure if its geometry is the standard Merckx upright geometry, as on the Corsa and Corsa extra, or the more laid back Century geometry. Given the expensive tubeset, I'd personally slot it in as an equal in the heirarchy with the Corsa Extra and Century TSX, but that's just me.

    Also, some Anniversary Century models used SLX. I've read where it depended primarily upon which market the frame was destined for. North American bound frames were more TSX, while European bound frames were more SLX. That may very well just be Merckx urban legend, but I have personally seen at two SLX Anniversary bikes. They even used different fork crowns.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I've got a Corsa 01 and weigh about 20 lbs more than you. I don't find the bike to be flexy in the least (my other bikes are a Colnago C-40 and a Litespeed Ultimate). It's my favorite bike...
    Why in particular do you like the Corsa 01 over the Ultimate and the C-40? I'm not trying to start an argument, as they're all fine bikes, but I'm just curious.

  7. #7
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    arcobalenos ?

  8. #8
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    Arcobalenos used Columbus NEURON, I think. Which I think was higher-end than BRAIN, but lower than MAX. I think it had strange internal shaping too - oval on the inside and round on the outside so that some of the walls were thicker than others. Basically, one of the higher-end OS tubesets. Good bike to be sure.

    But I have to be honest the CROMOR, AELLE, BRAIN, GARA, THRON, EL-OS, NEURON years confuse the hell out of me... (Hope I got those in the right order...)
    Last edited by bjorn240; 01-30-2012 at 10:14 AM.

  9. #9
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    I would not hestitate to buy a Merckx with any tubing they built with. They know how to build frames and they will all be fine machines. I have an MXL and a Strada and either one of them are miles better than any other bike I've ridden. I don't have a preference for one over the other unless there is going to be a lot of climbing, in which case I'd take my Strada because it feels lighter on the road. I have no idea whether it is actually lighter as I've never weighed a bike in my life.

  10. #10
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by HigherGround View Post
    Why in particular do you like the Corsa 01 over the Ultimate and the C-40? I'm not trying to start an argument, as they're all fine bikes, but I'm just curious.
    It's mostly that I've had the C-40 and the Ultimate for 10+ years and I just acquired the Corsa 01. It's new to me. It's pretty. I love the wheels I had built for it. The Ultimate is my go to bike -- no paint to worry about scratching. I ride the C-40 least of all, probably because the other two bikes have mountian bike pedals while the C-40 has road pedals, and 90% of my riding is commuting.

    You're right -- they're all fine bikes.

  11. #11
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    I have what i believe to be an 1985 Merckx 753 Professional model . I know for a fact it's a 753 frame and according to the serial numbers it's 1985 and stamped P which means Professional according to the Cadre site.
    I've found very little on this model but I have seen a picture of the bike in it's original paint scheme with the 753 decal.
    Anybody know more about this model?

  12. #12
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    I also have a 1985 Merckx and believe it is a combination of professional/753 and Corsa Extra SLX. Original paint job had an SLX sticker on it but the stays and seat cluster are clearly 753 style. Mine is all chrome on the stays, with a chrome slope top fork and chromed head lugs. Somebody paid a lot back in '85 for this bike to be built, and I'm glad I found it. Had it refinished by Al Wanta in San Diego last year. Best bike in the stable. Unfortunately, not enough posts yet for pics or links.

  13. #13
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    Yea. Mine's a pretty nice riding bike too. I had it stripped and powder coated Molteni Orange, then decaled. Looks real nice and with modern running gear it's easy to ride. I did not do a period correct restoration on it. I've done that once and while the bike looked nice, I wasn't riding it as much as the other bikes I have mainly because of the running gear, shifters mainly.
    if you have pics of yours posted on the web you could post the link even if you don't have enough posts to post pics difectly on this site
    Quote Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
    I also have a 1985 Merckx and believe it is a combination of professional/753 and Corsa Extra SLX. Original paint job had an SLX sticker on it but the stays and seat cluster are clearly 753 style. Mine is all chrome on the stays, with a chrome slope top fork and chromed head lugs. Somebody paid a lot back in '85 for this bike to be built, and I'm glad I found it. Had it refinished by Al Wanta in San Diego last year. Best bike in the stable. Unfortunately, not enough posts yet for pics or links.

  14. #14
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    There is no "753 style" seatstay treatment. Some came with seatstay caps and others were fastback style. With that much chrome it is unlikely to be made from 753 tubing.
    I posted an old Merckx ad in a thread further down that had both variations in the same photo.

  15. #15
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    I stand corrected. Every 80's merckx I've seen without the EM logo on the seat stays was characterized as a 753. My five other Merckx Corsa and Corsa Extra frames all have the logo stays.

    At any rate, and no matter which tubing it's made from, it's a beautiful and wonderful riding bike.

    Tried to post both a link and a pic, but site won't accept until I have more posts. It's on Photobucket, my username is rccardr if you care to do a search.

  16. #16
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    My 753 has the EM logo seat stays up at the seat tube end. in that regard it looks just like my 90's Corsa. The seat stays measure up to a different OD on the two bikes though. Sizes are not the same, don't know how much that matters, my Corsa (SL tubing) is a 58cm and the 753 is a 60cm frame.

  17. #17
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    I have owned a Corsa until it rusted out then an MXL. I found the corsa tended to flex a bit at the bottom bracket when sprinting or climbing hard, while the Leader is more rigid. They are bother really nice bikes.

  18. #18
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    My 753 Gran Prix has the "753 seat stay" treatment, or whatever; no Merckx seat stay caps. Oddly, my 753 Peugot Chorus is the precise same way. I've seen some other 753 frames with that same method of joining the seat stays to the seat lug. Perhaps this was the preferred (though not the only) method with 753?

  19. #19
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    And what about Corsa Extra´s "SLX NEW"?

  20. #20
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    Thats great detail

    Quote Originally Posted by bjorn240 View Post
    Best?

    The MXL was the most expensive, so there's that...but best is a tough question to answer.

    In terms of tubing used, the models changed over the years, but generally, in Century geometry:

    1980s:
    Stradas where Cromor tubing
    Corsas were SL tubing
    Corsa Extras were SLX tubing

    1990s:
    Strada were Brain tubing
    Corsa Extra were SLX and TSX tubing (and few with MAX and very few with 753)
    Century TSX were TSX tubing (also 10th Anniversary)
    Corsa 01 were Dedacciai Zero One
    MX Leaders were MAX and then MXL tubing

    Be aware that Merckx production appears to include lots of one-offs, exceptions, and models which use different tubing than specified.

    The "best" stage race bike may well have been the Corsa Extra/Century TSX, in terms of performance vs. weight. That said, many of us absolutely love the ride of our MX Leaders, which I personally attribute mostly to the fork. They all ride very very nicely - one of my early bikes was a Strada and never found it at all lacking, except in the fact that Corsas and MX Leaders were "cooler."

    Big boy like you, though, I'd get a MX Leader if I could find one at a good price. The crazy prices for MX Leaders on ebay would give me pause on those versus a Corsa Extra or Corsa 01. I have two MX Leaders - a rider (gray/pink/teal) and a space (Vlaanderen 2002 yellow). They remain my favorite bikes.

  21. #21
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    Hi guys Iam from South Africa Cape Town and found a eddy merckx corsa extra 753 I need some info on this bike Iam new to the bike scene and found this bike at a old bike shop between 50 other bike standing outside bought it because it just look so cool rides like dream didn't no what I had till someone wanted to look at it didn't even no the name on the bike when I bought it
    but now I do I will try to load photos or if someone wants to help please send me your emails and I will send the photos

  22. #22
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    From what Gita and others have told me about my 753...
    - Its likely a mid-80s frame, although the Merckx workshop was so open to building whatever that you should perhaps check the serial number against the Cadre/Merckx site to try to narrow the date range (Eddy Merckx Serial Numbers). I believe they made a few in the early nineties.
    - The 753-tubed frames were usually called Gran Prixs, however, there were a few labeled as Corsa Extras, as your's seems to be.
    - There is some debate over how the seat stays attach to the seat lug. Some believe that attaching them more to the rear of the lug instead of the sides is a 753-specific trait (mine comes that way), while others see it as just another way of attaching the stays with nothing really unique about it. I tend to think that 753-tubed Mercks tended to have this feature, but it wasn't a definite thing; there are variations and exceptions to the rule. It may have been a preferred thing, but it wasn't exclusive.

    PLEASE post some pics! The 753 is likely the rarest of the Merckxs, and its always great to see them.

    Hope this helps,

    Bob

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by aptivaboy View Post
    From what Gita and others have told me about my 753...
    - Its likely a mid-80s frame, although the Merckx workshop was so open to building whatever that you should perhaps check the serial number against the Cadre/Merckx site to try to narrow the date range (Eddy Merckx Serial Numbers). I believe they made a few in the early nineties.
    - The 753-tubed frames were usually called Gran Prixs, however, there were a few labeled as Corsa Extras, as your's seems to be.
    - There is some debate over how the seat stays attach to the seat lug. Some believe that attaching them more to the rear of the lug instead of the sides is a 753-specific trait (mine comes that way), while others see it as just another way of attaching the stays with nothing really unique about it. I tend to think that 753-tubed Mercks tended to have this feature, but it wasn't a definite thing; there are variations and exceptions to the rule. It may have been a preferred thing, but it wasn't exclusive.

    PLEASE post some pics! The 753 is likely the rarest of the Merckxs, and its always great to see them.

    Hope this helps,

    Bob
    thank you for the info how much do you think it is worth?i am attaching photos for you
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    That looks to be a Team Telekom bike. Nice! Its also slightly rare to see it chromed. There is a general thought on the web that 753 shouldn't be chromed for metallurgical reasons which I don't pretend to understand.

    No idea on price. The frame and fork alone would likely go for over $400 USD in the nice condition that it is, but the bike as a whole I don't know. I'm sure others will chime in who will know more than I.

  25. #25
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    Telekom, I'm thinking early 90s. 753 is rare, super cool but not good for bigger more powerful riders. I've heard of some early 531 Merckx's as well. Let's not forget the Professionals (first Merckx's) which were built with a variety of tube sets
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    still not figgering on biggering

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