Just my opinion, but the OP could probably do without the increasing speculation exhibited above
, A bit of measure, folks -prior comment
This does indeed seem like a good time to come back with an update! ...
First of all - I owe you all a big apology for stringing this out so so long under dubious circumstances! I've been duping you all week, you so - I collected the bike last Saturday and it's been safely stored since in my cave. I was intrigued to see if the collective wisdom of RB would be able to identify it from the complete lack of useful info - how naive of me! It was pretty impressive actually just how quickly it was spotted and called out, even down to the year of manufacture from the components!
So to cut to the chase - it is indeed a Merckx Titanium AX, build with primarily 8-speed Chorus components and some 'upgrades' along the way. I'll take some pics over the weekend and start a new thread in Readers' Bikes.
I was speechless when I arrived at the seller's place and actually saw the bike. I really couldn't tell much from the listing or the terrible pic - I personally couldn't even verify absolutely that it was indeed a Merckx - but it was obviously not junk. I was open minded about what it was going to be, but when I walked into the garage I was wary - they were obviously a horsey family, not a bikey one! Loads of saddles and boots and stuff all over the place, plus a bunch of omafietsen and other newer town bikes.
And there in the corner, a vision of brushed, bare-metal beauty ... fortunately, the one that I'd agreed to pay 200€ for! I did the first check - EM headbadge - check! Then still playing a bit dumb, did a basic weight test - check, nice and light (though not feathery with the build). Sat on it to confirm size - check! Better than check in fact, he mis-measured and it's actually a 56 not 58, which suits me a bit better normally. No obvious frame material stickers so I did a quick scan and scoped the one hidden by the drivetrain at the junction of the seattube and BB shell. I didn't linger on it any longer than needed to pick out the word 'Titanium' and decided to keep a straight face and pay up and get out before I gave the game away. So I made small talk and chatted in my least-bad Dutch, counted out four crisp 50€ notes, smiled politely to moeder and wheeled it out to the car. Once out there and while taking the wheels off I scrutinised the sticker closely; it reads
Built in the US by
I'll take a pic for posterity, and to use as a forum avatar I think! The toptube decal is pretty much gone but you can still make out 'AX', which ID's it positively as the Titanium AX as correctly stated on the first page.
So, to cut a long story short, I did indeed pick up a Merckx Titanium AX for 200€. Not many people can claim that! I'm happy enough that the sale was genuine. They're horse people not bike people, and they're rich so had no idea of the value of the bike and didn't care. The guy selling the bike said he'd got it to ride to keep in shape while recovering from a hernia which meant he couldn't ride horses. He said he never felt comfortable and didn't really like it - which isn't totally surprising as it was too small for him, and set up all wrong for him. So now that he can ride horses again his folks (who I'm sure bought him the bike) said to sell it and keep the money. The luxuries that accompany affluence!
I haven't ridden it yet - not even up and down the road - but will go around the park this weekend at the bare minimum. It's pretty much ready to go but I want to change some stuff - I have a complete 10-speed Record/Chorus drivetrain and transmission to put on, and the back wheel is a cheap replacement so I'll need a decent one instead. Nothing really wrong with the stuff that's there - I just want it to be better!
Thread to follow in the other place. Right now, I'm a very happy man!
ps oh, and apologies again for stringing this out!
pps and perhaps as karma for this, I got hit with 150€ in speeding and parking fines this week, ironically one en route to collect this bike! Or perhaps that was inevitable ...