Monday, December 5, 2011

Classic Merckx retro mod...

As we get older (okay, some of us), we still like to ride our bikes. Sometimes we like to ride our old vintage road bikes. And if it's a vintage road bike like a vintage road bike should be (I'm talking 70's and 80's) it will have a double crank and a close ratio freewheel. The crankset will have rings of 52 and 42 or 52 and 45. The freewheel will be a 13-21 or a 13-23.

Today, there is a plethora of gearing options and sometimes the gearing options make it easier to pedal a bike uphill with lower gears. Back when we were riding 52/42 with 13-23's, we had time to ride more and had the strength to push those bigger gears. Today, with jobs and less time to ride, fitness isn't quite what it used to be.

Today, there are a lot of gearing options for road bikes. However, converting a classic road bike to these new-fangled cranksets doesn't always maintain the same feel of the original bike. Until now.

This classic Campy equipped Merckx came in recently for a lower, easier to get up the hills drivetrain. To maintain the original look, we went with an IRD Defiant 50/34 crank, IRD 6-speed 13-28 freewheel, and a new Campy Veloce rear derailleur. The Defiant crank has a similar design to the original Nuovo Record crank with the fluted arms and the large chainring design has a similar shape and cutout to the early Nuovo Record rings. The rear derailleur is important because the old Super Record derailleur will only go up to a 24t cog. Additionally, the new Campy Veloce 10s derailleur has limit screws that and limit screw stops that allow it to move across 10 cogs and this set-up only had 6 cogs. A longer limit screw took care of that and stopped the derailleur right on the 6th cog.

Turned out pretty sweet.


Eddy Merckx

Eddy Merckx

New drivetrain

New drivetrain

Chainstay decal
The story was that this bike was originally purchased at Freddy Maerten's brother's bike shop, Maerten's Sport in Belgium.

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RoadieRyan said...

Beauty. I like the look of those defiant cranks and have filed them away as a good candidate for a good "retro look" crank with knee friendly gearing, and less expensive than the VO option. Nice to see it implemented with the IRD wide range freewheel, I am thinking of the 13-32t defiant 6 speed to get around my hilly Seattle neighborhood. Thanks for the post.


Guitar Ted said...

That's a great conversion. Glad to learn about the IRD cranks. You'll have to check out my blog post tomorrow for my classic roadie.

(That's right- a road bike!)

Dan said...

With the new Campy 10 speed derailleur do you need to use a 10 speed chain?

blackmountaincycles said...

Dan, no. It's not necessarily the derailleur that dictates the type of chain to use, it's the freewheel/cassette. This is a 6-speed freewheel so I used a SRAM PC-870 chain. The width of the 6-speed cogs are wider than a 10-speed cog so a wider chain needs to be used.