Inside: Eddy Merckx Cycles

The Belgian factory of the Cannibal's bike brand

The Eddy Merckx factory sits in an unassuming unit in a business park in Zellik, on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium. Aside from the distinctive Merckx logo above the entrance, it could be almost any other commercial premises, although closer inspection shows the unusually narrow parking bay next to the front door is labelled “Eddy’s Bike”, showing the very personal connection the great man still maintains with his eponymous brand.

Giant images of Merckx in his racing days cover several walls, and a number of notable bikes from more recently sponsored Merckx teams are dotted around the building, as well as a showroom displaying the current road bike range.

Bikes and jerseys from Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel and Jerome Pineau sit alongside Peter Van Petegem’s cobbled Classic winner from 2003, showing the progression from aluminium to carbon manufacturing.

Down on the factory floor, we passed the assembly area with its custom made jigs allowing workers to set frames in almost any position for perfect access, with no loss of floor space. But next door is the workshop, where aluminium and steel frames are constructed using methods that have changed little for decades.

This jig is where every frame will be welded, with the big man looking on. this isn'the start of one of the eddy70 frames, but an emergency aluminium frame order for a sponsored rider: this jig is where every frame will be welded, with the big man looking on. this isn'the start of one of the eddy70 frames, but an emergency aluminium frame order for a sponsored rider
This jig is where every frame will be welded, with the big man looking on. this isn'the start of one of the eddy70 frames, but an emergency aluminium frame order for a sponsored rider: this jig is where every frame will be welded, with the big man looking on. this isn'the start of one of the eddy70 frames, but an emergency aluminium frame order for a sponsored rider

This jig is where every EDDY70 frame will be welded. The tubes above aren't the start of one of the EDDY70 frames, but an emergency aluminium frame order for a sponsored rider

Every one of the new commemorative and limited edition EDDY70 steel frames will be built here by Johan Vranckx, who has worked for Eddy since 1980, when he was 16. From brazing cable stops on to Eddy’s steel frames, to refining his trade with De Rosa in Italy and Litespeed in the USA, Vranckx has been ever-present on the workshop floor at Eddy Merckx, ensuring quality in manufacture.

We visited the paint shop and watched decals being meticulously applied, again by one man, showing the care being lavished on each of the stainless steel machines.

Finally, we attended the unveiling ceremony of the EDDY70 with Eddy Merckx joined by Jan Toye, majority shareholder of Eddy Merckx Cycles and Valentino Campagnolo, who assisted with the supply of monogrammed Campagnolo Super Record groupsets for the project.

Click through the gallery above for a tour of the Eddy Merckx Cycles factory.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK, Procycling Magazine
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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