Below is a list of serial numbers and descriptions for a variety of Eddy Merckx steel frames.

Serials are of the form <driveside>-<non-driveside numer>-<non-driveside letter>. When looking at the bottom bracket, with the frame veritcal and the headtube at the top, read this as upper left, lower left, lower right, upper right. Sort of a U shape. Why? Because it sets a standard way for me to record this info, no other reason.

Only when either a frame has been date verified by Gitabike or the Merckx factory do I add a verified model year. Model year bikes are begun production the year before, and as such its possible for their date code to be somewhat different than what the pattern suggests

Pattern? Right, the patterns.

The left side of the serial gives model and (sometimes) size information. Sometimes there are some other letters I haven't deciphered. But here's the general gist

LetterModel
A(Professional?)
B(Professional?)
PProfessional
CCorsa
XCorsa Extra
TTSX (Century)
M*Strada

* On frames prior to, roughly, 1986, the M probably denotes a multisport or other model, and does not necessarily denote a Strada. If there's a Columbus SL style sticker on there (either no tubing type mentioned, or an SL), then its probably not a Strada - which will have either a Strada or possibly a Cromor decal, depending on the year.

Sometimes things don't match up -- there are multiple Corsa Extras marked with an H, for instance. Things to figure out as the sample space gets larger. Originally, I thought an S designated a Grand Prix (made of Seven-fifty-three tubing), but has shown up on a variety of other frames clearly labeled as other models.

The left side number will give the last digit of the frame size. C5, for instance, would be a 55cm Corsa. On some frames, this might show up as 5C, but it means the same.

The right side of the serial is less easily defined. The numeric portion seems to be at least semi-linear. The two identical Grand Prix differ by 1. Other frames from the 88/89/90 time frame show numeric portions radically different. Its possible the number portion is sane for a given model type.

The final letter, however, seems to be at least a somewhat reasonable marker for timeframe. Its possible that the letter corresponds to the catalog which the model comes from -- Merckx didn't necessarily issue a new catalog for every year, so the letter may indicate the catalog year to which the model is designed.

In general, the letters from 1986/87 and on seem to follow a somewhat recognizable pattern. 84/85, part of 86 maybe, also seem semi consistent:

LetterDate Range
Z85
A86/87
B88/89
C90/91
D92/93
E94/95*
F96/97
G98
H99

* The E is a tough thing to deal with -- a misdating of a frame in the table below as a 94/95 by Gita, when it is very clearly early 80's, strongly points to E as 94/95 when its an appropriate looking/constructed frame. But the E also appears for frames in the early 80's. So use the list wisely. If you have over-bottom-bracket cable routing, you don't have a 1990's frame.

Some bikes seem to slightly predate or post date the range. These may be bikes manufactured to the new specs in the year prior to the model year -- Gitabike indicates, for example, the Grand Prix's in the list to be 89 model year, while a 10th anniversary TSX frame also carries the B. Might be a late 89 build?

This list is (roughly) in the order that they were probably produced, based on the letter, claimed date, as well as look + model. As earlier frames seem less likely to follow a pattern, I've placed them first. At some point I'll make tables that break out by frame-type, where identifiable or strongly guessable.

I'd also recommend reading this blog post I wrote about using frame details for dating. As in, figuring out what time frame a frame is from. Last thing I need is for the wife to have written evidence suggesting I take the bikes out more than her.

Something else worth taking a peek at is a series of blog posts I did for team color schemes. Merckx has sponsored a slew of teams over the years, in a variety of liveries.

Have a Merckx to add to the list? Mail me all the pertinent info you have, and if possible, pictures, including the bottom bracket. Use merckx.serials@ the domain this page is hosted at (lop off the www part, and everything following .org).

New?
(Since Apr 15, 08)
SerialVerified Model YearClaimed YearModelColorSizeNotes
 B4-771-E Early '80s Blue54cmover bb routing, old lettering, flat crown fork. Gitabike misdated as 94/95
 5-4653-E 1981 blue55cm 
 A5-4799-E 1981 pink/pink/white pointed55cmReynolds 531
 6P-9122-E 1983ProfessionalSilver56cmdesc
 M-5983-E 1983 Dark Grey seller confident in year
 ?-5306-E Early '80s Grey chrome lugs, early 80's claimed, over bb routing, old lettering
 ?-8829-E 1982 Grey57cmanthracite with chrome fork + lugs, 57cm. 1982 (claimed)
 M5-5317E 1984 Red Red SL, 53cm claimed, 1984 strong.
 A-6961-F      track, blue progressional
 5A-979-Z19851985 Red 1983 pantod drive crank, pat 84 SR rear. Gita confirmed 1985
 P-3744-Z19851985/86Professionalwhite/red fade56cmGita confirmed '85 build. Brought from Belgium 2006
*P-2612-Z 1985CorsaBlack/yellow/red/white pointed Time trial frame
 C5P-4628-Z   Red/white points55cmSL. no seat tube bosses. (pro?)
*?-5167-Z 1985SLX (Corsa Extra?)Red/White Panel55cm 
*XOA-5460-Z 1985Corsa ExtraBlue/blue/white pts (Team Panasonic) team issue frame
*O-6052-Z 1985Corsa ExtraYellow50cmSuspected repaint
*X4P-6721-Z 1985Corsa ExtraBlue/blue/white pts (Team Panasonic)54cm 
 M6C-7688-Z 1985ProfessionalTeam Panasonic 1986 Professional decals on chainstay
 7X-7598-Z19851985Corsa ExtraBlue/white points57cmSLX. Gita confirmed 1985 build Corsa Extra
*CX9-7931-Z 1985SLX (Corsa Extra?)Pink59cm 
 E-4727-A      unknown, 7 on steerer (57cm)
 8C-0218-A 1986 Magenta back, white front  claimed 86, magenta back, white front. Columbus SL
*0CP-0318-A1986/87CorsaBlue w/white panel50cm
 6C-1512-? 1988Corsawhite w/red56cm 
*A-1648-A1986/87(Corsa Extra?)Red/Yellow/Green points57.5cmSLX frame. Number hanger.
*5XY-1869-A1986/87Corsa ExtraMetallic blue55cm
*?-1926-A19871986/87CX Criterium
*7CXT-1938-A1986/87 Red w/White Panel55cm
*6MT-2118-A1986/87StradaPink56cm
 4X-2724-A  Corsa ExtraOrange/Yellow/White Purchased new in 1989. Team Hitachi colors
*OX-3150-A1986/87Corsa ExtraRed/pink/pink/white points (Lotto/TeveBlad Team)60cm
 3X-3241-A 1986/87Corsa ExtraTeam Hitachi53cm 
 C4-5717-A  CorsaBlue54cm 
 7XY-6097-A   Orange/Yellow/White SLX.
 C5T-6292-A 1986 White/Red fade SL
 C7T-6304-A 1986 White/Magenta fade SL. Purchased in 87 or 88.
*A-8005-A1986/87Corsa ExtraNavy blue/red/white points56cmNumber hanger.
 S-8170-A 1986/87Grand PrixWhite   
 L0X-8349-A 1986/87Corsa ExtraTeam Stuttgart  
 7XS-8833-A 1986/87Corsa Extra?57cmREPAINT
 DXC-8968-A 1986/87Corsa ExtraUnknown Team Orange TT, Orange/Green Pts, white middles, green bb
*S-9490-A1986/87Corsa Extragreen/blue/pink/white points (Team Stuttgart)
*4MA-038-B 1988/89StradaPurple/Lavendar/yellow/pink pts54cmCatalog calls this color scheme "tutti frutti"
 8X-321-B 1986/87Corsa ExtraRed58cm 
*F-1160-B 1988/89 Red Number hanger
*OXA-1198-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraGreen/blue/pink/white points (Team Stuttgart)50cm 
*6X-1217-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraBlue/white/blue fade56cm 
 H6M-1284-B 1988StradaBlue/Mintjens Team Karel Mintjens team livery + decals
*F-1761-B 1988/89Corsa TrackGreen/blue/Pink/White Points (Team Stuttgart)  
 H7C-1779-B 1988/89CorsaTeam Panasonic 198657cmTeam Panasonic livery 1986
*D-1944-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraGreen/Blue/Pink/White Points(Team Stuttgart) Number hanger
 S-2078-B1988/19891989Grand PrixCarolina Blue56cmGita confirmed 88/89 build
 S-2079-B1988/19891989Grand PrixCarolina Blue  
 ?-2524-B 1989 Team 7-11 Jeff Pierce Team 7-11 issued frame
*D7X-3372-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraBlue57cm 
 L7X-4261-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraTeam 7-1157cm 
*L9X-4552-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraBlue/orange/yellow/white points (Team Domex/Weinmann)59cm 
 F4X-4710-B 1989/90 Team 7-11541989 or 1990 7-11, 55ctc claimed
 H9X-4826-B  Corsa ExtraTeam 7-1159cm 
 ?-4972-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraRed/Blue Unknown team livery?
*S6C-5637-B 1988/89CorsaWhite/blue fade 56cm 
 H-5742-B  Corsa Extra TrackGreen/Pink/White56cm Corsa Extra track, 56cm, bb unseen
 7CR-5765-B 1988/89CorsaTeam Weinmann 90/9157cmTeam Weinmann livery
*L5X-6170-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraTeam Stuttgart55cmCrescent import
 D-6871-B  Track 56cm unknown track, 56cm
 71T-6661-B 199010th Anniversary TSXBlue back,white front, points  10th anniversary produced late 89 + 90
*H5X-6861-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraBlue/orange/yellow/white points (Team Domex/Weinmann)55cm 
 L7X-6984-B  Corsa Extrablue front, white back, green/red point57cm 
 L-8334-B  Corsa Extra   
*5X-7482-B 1988/8910th AnniversaryWhite/orange/blue points55cmNOT TSX like most 10th, this is clearly in SLX.
*L3X-9131-B 1988/89Corsa ExtraGreen/blue/pink/white points (Team Stuttgart)53cm 
*L4TT-9850-B 1988/8910th Anniversary (TSX)White/orange/blue points54cm 
 H2X-C711  Strada 62cmstrada (?), 62ctc (corsa extra?)
 DC5-1483-C  CorsaTeam 7-1155cmPurchased on closeout, 1993
 N(1X?)-4134-C 1991 Team 7-1161cm61cm ctc, 59cm tt ctc
 H-4306-C  Corsa ExtraTeam Telekom57cm 
 H7X-5290-C  Corsa ExtraTeam Telekom Columbus SLX, 130mm spacing
 L6M-6071-C  StradaPearl White/Grey Columbus Strada tubing, 130mm spacing
 L7X-6455-C  Corsa ExtraTeam Telekom57cm Telekom 57cm, Corsa Extra, SLX (?)
 L9X-6164-C  Corsa ExtraMotorola49cmMotorola 50cm claimed
 L7C-8275-C 1990/91Molteni Replica (Corsa)Molteni Orange Molteni replica Corsa, 1990/91
 ?-9446-C Early 90'sTrackMaroon58cmchrome lugs, 58cm ctc, 57cm tt ctc. track frame
 ?-1079-D 1992/93MX LeaderTeam Telekom  
 H(ww1)-1400-D 1996Stradablue/white point61cm1996 claimed (unlikely) 61x59
 L2X-2018-D 1992/93Corsa ExtraYellow52cm 
 D8X-2952-D 1992/93Corsa ExtraTeam Weinmann 90/91sizedesc
 ?-4819-D 1992/93CorsaMolteni Orange61cmMolteni replica
 L-5188-D 1993Motorola Team Issue SLXTeam Morotola59cmMichel Dernies team issue SLX frameset. 59cm seat tube, 58cm top tube. More pics here
 P2X-5886-D 1992/93Corsa ExtraTeam Weinmann 90/9162cm 
 ?X-7342-D 1992/93Corsa ExtraTeam Motorola  
 4X-8059-D 1993 blue/red/green/white point54cm1993 possibly, no earlier than 91/92
 H-9383-D 1992/93MX Leaderseafoam green64cm 
 ??-44??-?  Strada 58cm unknown strada, 58cm
 8-5904-? 1996MX LeaderMotorola motorola MX leader. entirely suspect serial. 56cm claimed, 1996