Sunday, January 23, 2022
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Merckx Machines, Present and (Recent) Past

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As we said the other week, it’s always nice to get feedback from readers – even when we get slapped wrists.

One of our Scandinavian readers wasn’t happy that in our ‘Six Day Hardware‘ piece we missed out the frames of a certain Baron Merckx.

We hope the following rectifies things as we look at Merckx machines present and recent past.

Merckx Machines
London Six warm-up. Photo©Ed Hood

The Merckx vibe is pretty much in tune with the line of the times; matt black carbon, over-size decals, big section carbon, especially around the bracket and wide aero ‘dropped’ seat stays.

It’s the weapon of choice of the Topsport team and their growing band of quality track riders – De Ketele, De Pauw, Van Hoecke, Vergaerde all look mean on their black beauties.

Merckx Machines
Brent gets the polish applied. Photo©Ed Hood

And whilst lots of things have changed about the Six Days, the stars desire to have their machines gleaming isn’t one of them.

Here, mechanic Brent Van Ballenberghe makes doubly sure there’s nothing for his clients to moan about.

Merckx Machines
London Six solo warm up and concentration. Photo©Ed Hood

When you’re working at a Six Day you often miss good photo opportunities because you’re in the middle of some menial task – so you try to grab the interesting shots as and when you can – in this one, Kenny and Moreno can’t stand to look at each other…

Merckx Machines
Gijs Van Hoecke. Photo©Ed Hood

Van Hoecke looks good on a track bike – but was second in the World Junior Madison Champs in 2008 so has had plenty of time to get that perfect position.

Merckx Machines
Nico Eeckhout’s bike didn’t survive De Panne in 2007. Photo©Ed Hood

But once you’ve seen one matt black Merckx Six Day bike…

So we dug back into the archives for some interesting Merckx shots of the recent past.

This was Nico Eeckhout’s nicely sprayed Belgian Champ’s machine after a stack in the 2007 Three Days of De Panne – we don’t think that even Dave Yates could have fixed that one?

Merckx Machines
Iljo’s ride from Gent in 2009. Photo©Ed Hood

In age when carbon is king, there’s still much to be said for the lines of Iljo Keisse’s over-sized aluminium Merckx track machine – one of which still resides at his dad’s ‘Café De Karper’ bar just five minutes from the track.

And ‘Friend of VeloVeritas‘, Edinburgh’s Dave Martin (theBicycleWorks) put together a nice ‘Iljo replica’ just like this one.

Merckx Machines
Dave Martin’s beautiful Iljo tribute track machine. Photo©three pockets.blogspot.co.uk