Vintage Kessels Merckx frame, third generation 1977 - 1979, how to identify a high-end frame?
It is always a subject of discussion. The thread running through every story is: Kessels did not make
frames but imported them from framebuilders. Vaneenooghe in Ruiselede and Gaston Orlans in Gistel, both in West Flanders Belgium were two of the builders.
On the photos below you can see only high-end Kessels-Merckx framesets similar to the ones
Eddy Merckx used in different races between 1971 and 1977.
Fernand Kessels died in 1979, the firm closed in 1980 the year in wich Eddy Merckx started his firm
with help from Ugo De Rosa. Are these 'the one and only'? Probably not, but at least there are five standard criteria to identify these kind of bikes as 1. Kessels Merckx and 2. high-end. You could say that this is a starting point...
How to identify a Kessels 2nd generation frame?
How to identify a Kessels 1nd generation frame?
Information in this article is incorrect. The silver coloured Kessels Merckx frames date from approximately 1977, not 1975.
Kessels sold at least two previous generations of high end Merckx branded frames (He also sold many junk frames with Merckx labelling).
The pictures in the article show 3rd generation Merckx branded frames including some that had been modified. (i.e no Race Number holders were provided by the factory). Frames with slotted cuts in the bottom bracket with no number stamped on the bottom bracket are also suspect.
The first generation had longer lugs and circular holes in the bottom bracket. Typically in Orange colour scheme. Seat stay connection to seat area had an inward curve.
The second generation has shorter lugs and uses a different shade of Molteni Orange paint and a flat seat stay treatment. Also come with Two large holes in the bottom bracket.
Believe the frame to to be a 72 - 73 Kessels frame.
The inward treatment of the stays where they they join seat post and the stamping of the frame number on the stay being good indicators.
So, Yes, it is a first generation frame.
The front fork is not original however.
After Merckx left Molteni, he rode for Fiat which Silver was the team color.