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Eddy Merckx’s record bike
15 March 2021 - News
Eddy Merckx’s record bike

A study in drilling and filling holes, the bike which Eddy Merckx jumped onto for his attempt to break the hour record (which belonged to Ole Ritter with 48.653km) weighed just 5,750kg. It was made almost entirely using special pieces, starting with the 90g tubulars; 175mm Campagnolo cranks; Campagnolo gears with 51, 52, 53, 54 and 55 teeth; the 13, 14 and 15-tooth sprockets, and the Regina Extra chain with its 100 links each perforated by hand (to gain 95 grams). The Cinelli handlebar had 48 holes (covered with a light insulating tape), and the front fork was made with steel tubes of different thicknesses (0.6-1mm) like the down tube and the rear triangle, with thicknesses of 0.4-1mm. Finally, the beryllium alloy hubs and the titanium stem (one of the very first examples) were welded in Detroit, in the USA.

On the day of the record, Merckx arose at 5.15am, Dr. Angelo Cavalli marks on the medical record: with his pulse at 48bpm, weight 75kg, and blood pressure 50-125. For breakfast, the Belgian champion ate bread with butter and jam, two slices of cooked ham and a long coffee. At 8.45am he took to the track and, pedaling at a pace of 104 strokes per minute, with the 52×14 that realized 7 meters and 89 centimeters for each pedal stroke, he traveled at 49.431 km per hour. Ritter’s mark was beaten by 778 meters.