Eddy Merckx 1986 corsa extra

Restoring and building a 1986 Eddy Merckx corsa extra

Acquired on the vintage bike fair of Dessel in 2017 from J.Wuyts. Traded it for a repainted Merckx MX leader Telekom frameset (painted in bright yellow and used for racing), I could not spend anymore but could not walk away from this beauty either, so I had to give that one up. The frame set was sold to me with a bottom bracket that was stuck  (bb is already out). 

Eddy Merckx 1986 corsa extra 0XT 5514 A

Determination of the bottom bracket:

Mid 80s investment cast steel bottom bracket, fixed cable guide:

0= 60cm cc seat tube

X= SLX tubing

T= person who finished the frame and prepped it for paint (can’t reveal name due to privacy)

5514= 5514th frame build that year

A= 1986

At Merckx bicycles you could order anything you wanted, there was a whole list of options you could choose from. Following is the list this one came with.

Ordered options:
  • Rear brake cable trough top tube
  • Full chromed rear triangle
  • Custom silver / red ‘fishnet” paint job
  • Full chromed fork
  • Non panto’d seat stay attachment (this is rather rare)

Because this frame is custom made, there will probably be no other frames like this one.

And now the big question!

What to build it with?

I am seriously considering Croce d’Aune, minus the brakes, I have a pair of mint condition chorus brakes laying around and an almost complete CDA drivetrain. But after the time it takes to restore the paint and steerer tube I might have changed my mind, who knows?

Building spec list

  • Cinelli XA Merckx panto cockpit
  • Mavic mach 4CD rims
  • Campagnolo CDA hubs, derailleurs, cranks, pedals, seat post, bb and headset
  • Campagnolo Chorus “monoplaner” brake set
  • Tires? whatever I can find that looks good

first update!

It has happened, it’s a complete bike now, i ended up searching for parts to complete the CDA groupset, had to buy a rear hub and a brake set, for now i don’t have the delta brakes yet. the good news is that i can ride it already but i’m not yet satisfied with the bike

still to do:

  • find fresh, non cracked hoods
  • mount some toe-clips and straps
  • repair the paint on the headtube

it looks slightly better in real life than on the photo’s by the way


last update 

finished and sold

it got to a new home as a showbike in a bicycle shop in flanders

Build specs:

  • Campagnolo Croce D’aune groupset from 1988
  • Mavic ma2 rims
  • Vittoria open corsa tires 25mm
  • re-upholstered turbo saddle
  • sachs sedis chain
  • maillard compact 7vit freewheel
  • 3ttt handlebar combo from ’88
  • bike ribbon handle bar tape

And yes shame on me, i lost the cable adjuster for the rear derailleur… (well spotted if you saw it).

Did you miss this one? Keep your eyes on the website, sometimes they come up for sale.

Recent Posts



    December 12, 2020

    This was an option available since 1984, not for a specific model, you can find it in Corsa Extra, Mx Leader, Grand Prix, Century… If you give the manufacturer’s markings we will specify more details

  2. Carlos Reyes
    December 11, 2020

    I have a very similar frame. The paint has chipped in some parts otherwise the frame is still very nice. I wanted to fix the paint and replace some parts but been thrown off because the seat stays connection with to the seat tube does not have the classic Eddy Merckx design with the em logo like this frame, so I wasn’t sure it was a real Eddy Merckx frame. Do you know if this was a design future of a specific model or of personalized frames?

    • Bart Suykerbuyk
      December 11, 2020

      This was an option that had to be ordered, it’s slightly lighter but needs a bit more measurement and notching in order to get it properly brazed to the seat lug. Not many frames came with this option as far as i have heard from one of the employees

  3. Jacek Makarewicz
    November 5, 2018

    It is simply hard to believe that the production of frames (and their markings) has been precisely adjusted to specific years 🙂 ok, I am going to e-mail

  4. Jacek Makarewicz
    November 5, 2018

    EM catalogs in the years 1980 -1990 were at least 6, the letters E, Z, A, B, C do not refer to dates (ie specific years) only the next series, “EM alphabet” (letters placed on the left side of bb and not marked) type / type of tubes) is a code that you have deciphered without error (cadre.org – no). I’m jealous 🙂 contact with people from EM, photos and stats must be enough for me, but I have fun; btw: why did all teams in 1985 use Professionals (Columbus SL) if it was available for Corsa Extra (SLX)?

    • Bart Suykerbuyk
      November 5, 2018

      Can you send an email with the specifics on what you think those series would be? E should be 81-84ish ie does seem strange as those letters seem to accodomate the years very well. There was someone who kept aaaaall the records of frames and framenumbers and customers but those were all thrown away when brantano bought merckx in 2002? I only know of one small sheet of serial numbers with motorola team riders that is in france (@parisroubaix on instagram) but he wont share the whole piece only the part of your serial number unfortunately as for the tubing, no idea, preference? A lot of team frames used flat fork crowns even tho the newer aero crowns were already in use but the flat ones were just a bit lighter, they came back later on the century model with a new logo i have an excel with all the letters i have found on bottombrackets, some have been determined but most arnt yet so if you have some more insight that would be great (but let’s continue on email or this might become an extremely long list of comments haha)

  5. Jacek Makarewicz
    November 5, 2018

    I am sorry, but at the moment I can only use information (within 2-3 days I will send photos), nevertheless: there were 3 types of brake bridges (non-cube as in Professional, 3-Athlete, Corsa 1-gen and Strada 1-gen) : 1) “flat bottom” + 2 arches at the top – ~ “Z” 0800-5000 (all team frames in the 1986 season had such); 2) 1 bow at the bottom + 2 arches at the top – ~ “Z” 4500- “A” 6,500 (all team frames in the 1987 season had such); 3) like yours: without flattening at the top, but with a semi-circle under the screw from the bottom ~ “A” 3000- to the end of the world 🙂 — I have a frame with type 1 (Pro SLX – narrow and Corsa Extra – normal) and 3 (Criterium), type 2 is the easiest to find on the frame in painting Panasonic or Kelme / Teve (original) – best regards – Jacek

  6. Jacek Makarewicz
    November 4, 2018

    Hello! a beautiful bicycle 🙂 I am worried about a trifle: how do you determine the date of the frame’s production? based on bb labeling? If so, then: “A” does not mean the year of production, but the next production series (between “Z” and “B”) and corresponds to the years 87/88 (more or less); 5514 is the frame number in the series (ie the turn of the year). The most important element identifying the year of production is … brake bridge 🙂 this model appears for the first time in the 1989 catalog (it was started to be produced at the turn of 87/88 – this is confirmed by the appearance of this model of the bridge in “team” bicycles in the season 1988). 10k frames produced in one year? “Z” does not equal 1985 (sorry cadre.org), “A” does not equal 1986 (sorry, again) – best regards – Jacek

    • Bart Suykerbuyk
      November 4, 2018

      The cadre website is not interely right indeed but it comes close on some years, as for catalogs merckx only did about 3? Catalogs vor the 80s and early 90s and now they make one every year. I am in contact with some of the people that worked at merckx. A is the initial of the person who prepared the frame for paint and the letter above the serial number is always the datecode. As for the brakebridge i dont know when that silve brakebridge has been introduced but it first came on the corsa extra frames in late 84

    • Bart Suykerbuyk
      November 5, 2018

      However can you send an email with all the info you have gathered and those photos of team bikes and those brake brigdes, who knows you might be on to something, in the mean time i’ll check a couple of 85-89 merckx frames in storage to see what bridge is used where (howevere im pritty sure they all have silva brake bridges. The corsa extra models at least I don’t have any corsa or other lower end models (those should have cinelli brake bridges as far as I know, like the older professionals)

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