Jon’s Retro Pro Road Bike | Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra

Jon’s Retro Pro Road Bike | Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra


(upbeat whooshing music) – This is my Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, that I’ve lovingly restored
and paid for with my own money. Now why am I showing you this one then? Well recently we showed
you that excellent video, well at least I think it was, of the Corsa Corsa shop in Japan. And the response underneath that video was absolutely overwhelming
and so many of you want to see bikes from my
own personal collection. So this Eddy Merckx Corsa
Extra is one of them. I got it from the storage container this morning at my own home and well, I’m gonna show you it in all the glory. So a little bit of background
then about this bike. Well, four years ago I
saw it advertised on eBay, there it was up for
auction, Christmas Evening, I thought why not chuck a cheeky bit in. Oh dear, I ended up winning it. Although it wasn’t in the
same state it’s in now. Instead it had been turned
into a fixed wheel bike, if you like, so it had flat handle bars. It had a pair of deep section
alloy wheels on there. Off-color tires and it didn’t really look that good so I went
up, relieved the seller of it, came back and I thought, what on Earth am I gonna
actually do with this bike? So I went to work. I contacted my mate
Allister of Fatcreations, and I said to him, Ali I just want a really plain paint job on this, but make it look classy of course ’cause it is a Merckx, and he went to work and this is the end result of it. Just a plain blue but
I think a plain colored bike looks absolutely fantastic because you could well go
on vogue or on fashion, or on point right now but this bike will always look good
in 25 years to come, say whereas something with flip color paint may or may not, who knows? I’m not a fortune teller into the future. But what about the frame there? Well it’s made from Columbus SLX tubing, which was an absolute
staple part of bike racing for professionals back in its heydays. So I’m estimating this
bike is probably from the late 80s to early 90s. It does have a frame number
underneath the bottom bracket. But as of yet, I haven’t even
contacted the Merckx factory to try and see what exact year it was from because years ago, you
used to have to do that, but since then of course, the Merckx brand has
changed hands a few times, which is quite sad really. The greatest cyclist of all
time, the brand is slowly sort of dissolved, then
re-given a new lease of life. It’s currently owned
by the brand of Ridley. So it’s in size 57cm, and that’s measured center to center and of course it’s got the steel forks on there to match too. What I absolutely love about
this bike is the engraving. So here, where the seat stays
during the top and seat tube, you’ve actually got the EM logo on there. And it’s shaped into a bicycle. And also, on the brake bridge on the rear, the Eddy Merckx, which has also been embossed on there and filled in white. Personally, I think it
looks absolutely brilliant. And the same can be said
here, on the fork crane. And the actual logos on the bike. So the manufacturers name
here, as well as up here, where you’ve got Corsa
Extra on the top tube, that’s all painted by hand. So Ali down at Fatcreations, again he did a fantastic
job of doing that. And when I dropped it off
to him I was so excited I was messaging him almost
daily for updates of the bike. Let’s move on then to what
exactly is fitted on the beauty. I’ve fitted on this frame and forks I’ve got a BBB threaded headset, because of course this has
got a quill stem on it. And fitted inside of that headset, is in fact cartridge bearings, which at the time when this
bike would’ve been used, very unlikely would’ve had a
cartridge bearing in there, instead it would have
had a loose ball bearing, sort of something within a cage, you’d have to periodically
replace the grease in there, and adjust because they have a tendency to work themselves
loose, however these ones tend to be a little bit more reliable. What’ve we got fitted then? What about that quill stem? It’s a 3T stem it’s in a whopping 14cm because again, it’s got
to look period correct. Back in those days, all the pros were long, low, stretched out positions, well maybe not that low, but, stretched out and they
looked absolutely spot on. Fitted into that stem, is a pair of 3T Grande Prix handlebars
and they’re 42cm wide and they’ve got a fairly deep drop on there, but nothing too extreme. The bars themselves,
they’re wrapped in some bike ribbon tape, which is a modern equivalent of what would have been fitted, so it’s, well it’s gotta stand up to the test of time let’s face it because it’s nice and hard wearing the bar end plugs, I did
away with the standard what came with the bar tape and instead I fitted some Supacaz
bar end plugs instead because they tend to hold
in a little bit better because you use an Alan
key to actually tighten up and expand the plug inside of them. There fitted onto the bars are a pair of Shimano 600 aero break levers which I know some of you are
gonna give me some grief once you see what brake
calipers are fitted but I’m ready for that abuse down there in the comments section because I’ve got justification for this very choice. Right, I’ve mentioned the brake levers, and also I mentioned about the calipers. The calipers I’ve fitted on here are Campagnolo Deltas and
they’re absolutely stunning. When I tell you the
price I bought them for, brand new, back in about 1996, 1997, it was 50 pounds. A bike shop in the UK had an awful lot of stock of them for some reason, were flogging them at that
absurd price, let’s face it so I thought why not, I’ve got to do it, and actually when it came
to building up this bike I couldn’t find them
anywhere, and I searched high and low throughout
my parents house hoping that they were still there and luckily, and this is no word of a lie, they were actually in the last
old ice cream container underneath the cupboard
underneath their stairs and I was absolutely overjoyed. The language I shouted was quite fruitful, but it was more than deserved. Now, you’re gonna be wondering why on earth I’ve paired up a pair of Shimano brake levers with Campagnolo. The simple reason being,
back in those days when I was racing, I didn’t like the feel of the Campagnolo levers,
and I simply couldn’t bring myself to try and adjust to them, well 20 odd years later, so instead I thought I’ll put these
Shimano 600 ones on, that were just lying around at home, so this bike really is built of all things that were just simply well excess in my own workshop, so that’s why. Now the breaking quality of these deltas, it was given a bit of a hard time to be perfectly honest, by many,
many people out there but once they are set
up they’re absolutely amazing, because they’ve got a center pull mechanism inside of it, and when you see underneath these covers you’re gonna be absolutely amazed by
the technology involved. I once decided to try and clean them up, and it took me about a week to build them back together, and what’s super impressive about this too, is you can actually raise and lower the height
of the, so you can get them so close and
aerodynamic to your tires, in fact I once had a
pair of handmade tires from Holland and the
tires were slightly out of shape and they even rubbed
away on the underside of the caliper there
where a little bit of grit was embedded into the
tread, that’s how close you can get them to the caliper, and they still look well, stunning,
I’m sure you agree. Now I asked for a bit of modification to the brake pads on
these calipers because the original ones were really deep so you didn’t have to have the calipers set that close to the actual side walls of the rim so it took quite some time to actually find something which looked as good as the original brake shoes,
so I can’t remember what these came from, I
think they might be some Scott mount-haus-er
shoes, then I had to use some spacers to get them in, but I still importantly, in my opinion, used the Campagnolo mounting bolts here to actually hold them
in place in the caliper. Anything else just wouldn’t
have done, let’s face it. What about those wheels then? Well these ones again, I built up one day and I thought, I don’t
know ever what I’m gonna use these for, but they are a pair of Ambrosio Nemesis rims, so of course that’s recognizable here by
the telltale brass valve surrounding which is
there I don’t believe it’s there for actually what a
lot of people think it’s there for, they think
it’s there to counter the weight of the valve,
if that was to counter the weight of the valve,
it would be opposite. So, no, there will be
a reason behind that, who knows maybe one day I’ll be able to visit the Ambrosio factory and exactly find out why or how they’ve done this. But yeah, an interesting
little fact for you. Now the hubs themselves,
they are Hope Pro 3, so in case you didn’t
know, Hope is a UK brand, and they still make really
traditional looking hubs, and I thought why not, lets just put these on these wheels, because these wheels are designed to be bomb proof, after all they’re named after the Hell of the north, which is Parry Roo Bay, and then I used some Sapim CX-Ray spokes, ’cause they’re ultra light and they’re ultra stiff, and they’re ultra strong, and they also have that sort of really nice bladed appearance to them too. Took me a while to build these wheels. I wanted to get the
exact right components. What about the tires then? Well I’ve gone for some
Vittoria Evo Corsa SC tubulars in a 23mm width,
the reason being gum wall. You cannot go wrong with gum wall on a bicycle, and for
a bicycle of this era, that’s exactly what it deserves. Bottom bracket wise,
I’ve got a Shimano BBR 60 in there, which is the
second generation of the hollowtech two outdoor bottom bracket bearing type, so that means it’s slightly smaller in its diameter, and in doing so, fits in perfectly with the bottom bracket shell on this steel frame. And I like it as well in the black. Just find it looks a bit nicer than that gray color they used to do. Lets take it to the drive
train then shall we? Well, I’ve fitted to
this bike a pretty rare, well at least I think it is, pro-light one piece billeted aluminum casette, it’s in 12-23, don’t really need the 11 on this bike, ’cause I don’t really ride it very often, in fact, I only ever ride it when there’s guaranteed no chance of rain, and its gonna be on an almost dust free road, ’cause I just simply don’t want to destroy this bike. I know, I know, bikes
are made to be ridden, but I do ride it, I’m just very careful about where I ride it. So that cassette weighs in, probably just over 100 grams and I
bought it for the pricey sum of just £1.99 from Ebay. Someone had listed it incorrectly, get in. Always like a bit of result like that. Right, lets get on then. So probably the most controversial bit of the bike, and I know
you are watching this and thinking, why has he done that? Right yeah, I’ve put Shimano onto a bike with Campagnolo, I’ve put
Shimano onto this bike, I know loads of you out
there won’t be liking it because this group set is the 7900 model, its probably not the most
aesthetically pleasing model of Dura-ace that’s ever come out, but again it was just
lying around at home, and one day maybe I’ll put
a different group set on it but, and this is my big, big but here, I want the bike to
work, and loads of those old period correct parts, in my opinion, don’t work quite correctly, they’ll be seven speed or eight
speed, something like that and if I want to take this bike one day up Mount Ventoux, or something like that, I can do it, alright maybe not with a 23 cassette on there, but if I put a 25 or a 26 cassette
on there, I’ll be able to do that, whereas many of those older group sets, they didn’t
have gearing as low as that. I hope I’m getting my point across just why I’ve chose it, I want it to work, if and when I do ride it. Right so, I’ve got that across. And we’ve got Shimano
Dure-Ace 7900 chain set on there too, and that
comes in 172.5mm cranks, and it’s got 53-39 chain rings. Right, the front mech then. I’ve thrown a little
spanner into the works here ’cause I didn’t have
one of these 7900 ones laying around, and well I wanted something maybe a little bit more polished because eventually, I guess ill put some more polished components onto
the rest of the bike, but either sides are fit Shimano 105-5700 front derailleur, used
some acetone, which is a great product if you want
to do something like this. What did I do though? I removed the logos. Just give them a little
polish and off it came, and the result I think is pretty nice. Nice mirrored finished front neck. Then those pedals,
iconic to many out there, my heroes rode them, Greg
Lemond, Laurent Fignon, Pedro Delgado, top three in fact at the ’89 Tour De
France, those are the time pro magnesium pedals, you
can’t get those cleats anymore. Now they’re a two part cleat, the back one was always brass, the
front originally brass or aluminum I believe,
I know someone who got some forged out of brass,
or at least I think they were forged out of brass. Then they went to
plastic, the plastic ones didn’t last very long,
still got some of those aluminum ones lying
around though somewhere. Great pedal, it was like
riding on ice initially, loads and loads of flow. Saddle wise, I’ve opted
for a turbo in white. Of course, you’ve gotta
put white saddle with white bar tape haven’t you? It’s the rules, after all. Certainly in my bike vault. Now, these saddles quite often they used to get a little bit mucky, many of you will remember, because
the dye from Lycra shorts quite often ran and it
would kind of stain it, which wasn’t the most attractive look, with this one, brand new old stock, so it’s still looking all good, and then the seat post,
originally I wanted to get a Campagnolo fluted one. I do have one lying around at home, but unfortunately, it was
all scratched up where someone once put it in and out of a frame, and didn’t pay a lot of attention, and I couldn’t bear to put it onto a bike which was brand new looking, so instead, I managed to pick up a cheap copy of one somewhere and I think it still looks alright personally. Now what about the finishing touches then? Because there’s a few on here that I wanna point out, and
there’s a couple of things which I do actually need to replace. Annoyingly, these rubber grommets or little bits of rubber washers I guess you could call them, which are around the brake adjusters,
cause they tend to perish and this bike like I say has been away in storage for a while
now, embarrassingly. And to replace them, it does mean you actually have to take
out the brake cables, you’ve got to undo the mounting bolt, which is inside underneath this plate, and that’s a three and a
half millimeter Alan key. Imagine trying to find
one of those in a rush. You aren’t gonna find one, I keep mine under lock and key. Thinking about that, actually I don’t know where it is, anyway, that’s by the by, but importantly, trying to actually get these cables to fit into the mounts on the tube wasn’t easy. I had to really look quite, well, for ages in fact, I remember going into bike shops and going
through their feral box and finding something
that actually fit inside of them because its a
totally different fitting to what’s on modern frames. And then, I finished off the outer cable with these Eddie Merckx
rubber frame protectors which I think look absolutely brilliant just because it’s got his logo on it. Okay, its got the new logo on it, but it’s still got the
Merckx logo on it too. Now down there on the chains there, you can see I’ve got a self adhesive chrome chainstay
protector which is because many of these frames around these times did actually come with chrome rear ends. This one didn’t, but they
came with chrome ends not only to look absolutely
fantastic but also protect against any chain slap on there. I’m kinda glad that mine didn’t come with a chrome rear end because that would have required a lot more
maintenance in the long run because they tend to
become a little bit pitted, and not look good if
you don’t take a lot of care of it, and like I
say, this ones been in storage for a while, so in my case, it wouldn’t have looked that good by now. I’ve got an Eddie Merckx
bottle on there of course because you have to, he’s
the greatest of all time. I don’t know if I’ve
already said that but he is. His record will never ever be smashed. And there’s something I’d actually really like to point out its the 108 number here. So, sadly, I lost a friend
of mine during the 2011 Giro D’Italia, Wouter
Weylandt, and the frame it came with a frame
number mount holder here on the top tube so I thought, well its a Belgian frame
and this is a really fitting tribute to a
friend of mine who I lost. Now other finishing
touches include this chain capture down here, so it’s from K-Edge, alright it doesn’t look
great, but I simply don’t want to risk damaging this
paintwork, if the chain was to dislodge and find
it’s way onto the bottom bracket shell down there,
’cause that would make one awful looking mess of this bike. Now one of my own little modifications, or hack, which I’ve done
underneath the bottom bracket shelf here, is
to actually run a thin bit of black tubing, so it’s line a liner for the gear cables to
run through in order to get slightly better shifting and also protect the paintwork there too. Yeah, I’m really fussy about these things. Gear levers, well, down
here on the down tube many of you, maybe the first time you’ve actually seen something
like this, and I don’t mean that as an insult
but, these things were absolutely treacherous to race with. The thought of putting
your hand down there into the front wheel when the race was on, yeah it did happen from time to time with some people out there. These Shimano Dure-Ace 7900 ones. They actually fit in perfectly with this group set and well, they’re indexed. So, there’s no fumbling
around hoping you’re in the right gear, click,
you’re in the right gear. Spot on. Seat binder bolt, it’s gotta
be Campagnolo hasn’t it? Also, importantly too to
protect that paintwork, I’ve got some little
rubber donuts on the inner rear break cable here on the top tube, just to stop it from
banging and doing away with any of the paint,
which was such a common problem with bikes back in the day. Right, what about my measurements then? Well from the top of the
saddle, to the center at the bottom bracket, that’s 79.5cm. Tip of the saddle to the
center of the handlebars, 59.5cm, remember it’s all about having a long reach on one of these bikes. What about the weight then? I’ve never done it up
until this very moment, I was a little bit
nervous and I’m struggling a little bit, it does weigh 9.79kg, which was probably about right for bikes back then in the day,
probably even lighter because remember it’s got
modern components on it in some cases, of course
the saddle that weighs a fair bit as does the seat post. Those break calipers and
those pedals, they weigh an awful lot compared to
modern day components. Right then, what about the moment you’ve all been waiting for? The free hub sound check. Some of you are really
gonna like this one. (Bike tire clicks and spins) Right, I do hope you’ve
enjoyed checking out my Eddie Merckx Corsa Extra with me, its a bike which was built with passion as well as, well, quite
a few old spare parts I had laying around at
home, but nonetheless, I think its an absolute beauty of a bike, and it always gives me a smile when I look at it and also when I ride it. And I hope you’ve enjoyed that. Now remember to like and share this video with your friends, give
it a big old thumbs up and don’t forget too to
check out the GCN Shop at shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com and now for another great video, this time Corsa Corsa which was a bike shop in Japan where I went to check out. And when I showed the owner of this bike, he absolutely loved it,
click just down here.