Eddy Merckx Team Panasonic 1985, a classic reborn

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by booze and cake, 4 Jan 2018.

  1. booze and cake

    booze and cake probably out cycling

    2017 was my biggest cycling mileage year, I clocked up over 10,000 miles and as such felt a reward was in order. I've been squirrelling away shiny parts acquired throughout the year from eBay like a cycling Golum, and when a frame came up locally that ticked all my cycling boxes, steel, blue with lashings of chrome, a new project was on and a Belgium was welcomed into the stable.

    I managed to get the last of the parts I needed just before Xmas, and as @raleighnut suggested in the self builds thread, putting it all together was going to be better than any jigsaw
    I'm no cycling history expert so since getting the frame I've done a bit of internet rummaging. Thanks to the brilliant website http://cadre.org/Merckx/ I was able to date the frame as being from 1985. I was 13 in 1985, and the very first thing I saved up and brought with my own money was a Panasonic 'ghetto blaster'. I lived in rural Wales at the time and though I did'nt have a ghetto to blast, I blasted tunes out across me yard, the farm yard. As a 13 year old do you know what features I was most impressed by? It was the high speed tape to tape 'dubbing' and the amazing soft eject. After years of top loading VHS recorders and cassettes that ejected in a violent and startling fashion, the silky smooth and silent eject wowed my teenage country boy self more than any other feature, how tragic! I've just spent ages and amazingly I have found the model on a Youtube vid, I love the internet! Feast your eyes on this, check from 1 min 30 for that eject, oh the memories!

    This bike was seemingly my destiny. Team Panasonic was born out of the ashes of the old Ti-Raleigh team, and it appears they rode Merckx bikes like mine from 1986-87. Robert Miller, now Phillipa York signed for them in 1986, he won the King of the Mountains jersey in the 1984 TDF. Here's a pic
    I'd not seen it before but I found a film on Youtube done by Granada TV following his last year at Peugeot, called 'the high life' in which he mentions planning on leaving the following year to the Panasonic team. The film is worth watching to see how far cycling has come, it seemed so amateurish then, no team buses, Miller flops exhausted after a stage finish onto the folded down tail gate of one of those 7 seat Peugeot estates, and they are very openly scathing of their Peugeot team and team mates in a way that would never happen today.

    Another famous Panasonic rider who looks the Don of cool in most pics was Australian big Phil Anderson, who was the first non European rider to wear the yellow jersey of the TDF. Those goggles…. that helmet….
    Here's Phil in TT mode, both bike and rider looking totally awesome
    Phil obviously really liked his Mercks Team Panasonic as fast forward 30 years and back in Oz he's packed his car with his prize possessions to escape approaching bush fires in 2015, look there's the bike on the roof, the bike seemingly saved before the rest of his family
    And here's the brilliantly named Henk Lubberding in TT mode, its obviously the early days of cycling aero kit yet riders were still rocking mullets, think of the drag from a full Michael Bolton cut!
    This bike also won Paris Roubaix in 1987 thanks to Belgium Eric Vanderaerden, in what is regarded as one of the most brutal editions of the race ever with only 47 of the 192 starters making it to the finish. Some pics and brief interview with Eric about the race here:
    Equipped with all that history I'm keen to get to work building my own version. Mine has a full chrome rear end which seems pretty rare and though the paint has a few chips its in really good condition considering its entering its 33rd year. I had many more dents and scuffs in my frame by the time I was 33.

    My bikes are not show ponies and will be ridden extensively so I was not interested in a full period correct build. Those old campag delta brakes may look cool in a Dr Who's Cybermen kind of way, but the common consensus is they offer the unpalatable combination of being expensive and functionally a bit rubbish. I also want to have STI shifters rather than down tube shifters and use more modern 10 speed cassettes for wheel inter-changeability with my other bikes . The Columbus SLX frame has had the rear re-spaced to 130mm to allow this. Somewhere a purist is probably crying at the thought, but despite the more modern touches I'm not having any carbon fibre and I hope to maintain a classic looking steel bike.

    Firstly I crack open the white diamond, no its not a tramp beer, but metal polish, and I set about polishing all the shiny silver parts. I've decided its going to be running with a choice of 3 different wheels depending on what I fancy on the day.

    I finished putting the finishing touches to it today. First up its the dazzling silver Shamal reflecto death ray version, blinding the sighted and making the blind see, well at least they can feel the heat from the sun reflected off it.
    Next up is the slightly more stealthy black Shamals, which I've fitted with my first ever pair of gumwall tyres, which I must admit look great on classic steel builds.
    And finally wearing some more traditional looking shoes.
    I'm very pleased^_^, I think it looks beautiful whatever the wheels, and more importantly I've just been on a quick maiden 20 mile voyage and it rides great, it was a bit windy though. This bike was made to devour miles and I look forward to putting many more on the clock in some nicer weather.

    And the final pic is of both my shiny bikes together, Eddy and Brian looking good.
    I am going to be spending a lot of time dodging puddles and polishing by the looks of it:laugh:
    AuroraSaab, Smudge, CarlP and 39 others like this.
  2. ChrisEyles

    ChrisEyles Veteran

    What a cracking job you've done there! Looks gorgeous and nice to know it's going to be ridden hard :biggrin:

    ... the photoshop sparkles made me grin too ;)
  3. Specialeyes

    Specialeyes Über Member

    Desperately looking for a 'love' button but a 'like' will have to do. That's lovely. I had a pair of Shamals that I've regretted selling ever since! ^_^
    booze and cake likes this.
  4. BSOh

    BSOh Senior Member

    I think that is my favourite of all the builds I've seen on here. That is just beautiful. I love it :wub:
    booze and cake likes this.
  5. OP
    booze and cake

    booze and cake probably out cycling

    Thanks folks, glad others like it too:okay:
  6. Hugh Manatee

    Hugh Manatee Veteran

    Lovely! Gumwall tyres definitely look best. The Millar through Indurain era was my favourite time.
    booze and cake likes this.
  7. OP
    booze and cake

    booze and cake probably out cycling

    @Hugh Manatee I agree, its a shame 'the high life' film is in such low resolution and not HD as there was so many lovely bikes in the peloton then but you just can't see them properly.
    Hugh Manatee likes this.
  8. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider

  9. woodbutcher

    woodbutcher Veteran

    S W France
    Inspirational booze and cake, thanks for taking the time and making the effort to share all you work.......it was more than worth it !!
    booze and cake likes this.
  10. dan_bo

    dan_bo How much does it cost to Oldham?


    Shamals are wikid. Two great builds.
    booze and cake likes this.
  11. gareth01244

    gareth01244 Über Member

    Loving this. I have a few bikes now running modern 10 speed campag and yours looks fantastic with the Shamal wheels, must try and find some for mine.
    booze and cake likes this.
  12. BalkanExpress

    BalkanExpress Guru

    Ooooooooohhhhhhhh, that is :okay::wub::okay:.

    There are obviously a lot of Merckx, where I am (about 10km from the old workshop) but yours is as nice as any.

    The shiny Shamals look great!

    You need one of these. https://www.prendas.co.uk/products/panasonic-retro-cotton-cap

    Thanks to family across the Atlantic, I had a pair of those Oakley Eyeshades, :becool:. They were reissued as a heritage line a couple of years ago, you may still find some online
    booze and cake likes this.
  13. Mrs M

    Mrs M Guru

    Stunning looking bike :wub:
    Very well done :notworthy:
    Love it when an old frame is brought back to life again to be well ridden and looked after :okay:
    booze and cake likes this.
  14. BalkanExpress

    BalkanExpress Guru

  15. deptfordmarmoset

    deptfordmarmoset Full time tea drinker

    Armonmy Way
    I prefer it with the ''old shoes'' to look at. Maybe I'd prefer riding it with the newer wheels, though. Gorgeous looking, anyway.
    booze and cake likes this.
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