1988 Eddy Merckx Corsa
This Eddy Merckx Corsa is the absolute perfect bike for an American racing fan of a certain age. If you happened to be into bike racing in the 1980’s and early ‘90’s you already know why. For everyone else who wants to know, I’ll try to explain.
First of all, Eddy Merckx was the greatest bike racer who ever lived, and upon retiring from the circuit in 1980 Eddy started his eponymous bike brand. Eddy Merckx Cycles quickly became one of the most prestigious labels out there.
Now, if Eddy’s name and reputation wasn’t enough to draw you in, sponsorship of the Panasonic racing team in 1986 and 1987 might be. Panasonic was a Belgian team, true, but the team had Australian Phil Anderson on it, and during Greg LeMond’s 1987 absence from bike racing Phil was likely your guy.
It could be that in those years an American bike racing fan would get behind 7-Eleven Team riders Andy Hampsten or Davis Phinney. So what did 7-Eleven ride? You guessed it. 7-Eleven rode Eddy Merckx bikes (bikes that were outfitted with Shimano and Cinelli parts in almost exactly the same way as this one).
Of course, the paint on this bike isn’t 7-Eleven green & red, and it’s not quite Panasonic blue & white. Nope, this one is a patriotic American in red, white & blue (which is almost better).
Skip ahead to 1991 and the 7-Eleven team switches title sponsorship to become the Motorola team. The team bikes are this exact color scheme. Phil Anderson, Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney and a young Lance Armstrong all ride bikes that look like this one. Perfect!
Some other awesome things about this bike is of course the parts. It has Shimano Dura-Ace 7400 components that are modern and traditional at the same time. The parts are new enough to give you indexed shifting but the bike’s old enough that the shifters are still on the frame. You get a futuristic “aero” seatpost and the rear hub features the modern “cassette” freewheel option, but the handlebars and stem are classic Cinelli (classic because these models remained available for about 40 continuous years).
The brake levers have the traditional cable-out-the-top routing, and the tires are sew-ups (the traditional racers’ choice) but the pedals changed the game. They’re the original Look ski-binding style that made toe-clips obsolete and were first introduced by Greg LeMond.
Sure, the frame is the “Corsa”, not the “Corsa Extra” that the more powerful racers used, but that’s alright. It’s built with the flexible Columbus SL tubing instead of the super stout SLX, a distinction that makes pretending you’re a pro all the more comfortable.
I lived and breathed bike racing in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, and this bike would have been the perfect ride had I thought of it back then.
Are you 5’10”-6’ tall and a nostalgic bike racing fan? Buy this bike. You know you want it. Only $1988