Il Profeta Progetto

Touched by the hand of Merckx

Mates are supposed to be just that; mates. They are meant to be supportive, to help you out when you need them, to make your existence a good experience.

My mates want to see me suffer.

A couple of these 'mates' (who shall remain nameless, but not shameless) thought it would be a good idea to enter a little race in October. I don't know if it was the realisation that they had shelled out $120 for the privilege of riding 192km over some of the nastiest climbs in the Coromandel, or the need to do some actual 'training' so as not to be reduced to a blubbering mess on the side of the road, but they encouraged me to join them. Encouraged is probably too nice a word; badgered, prodded, levelled all kinds of accusations as to the status of my manhood would be closer to the mark. And, being one to rise to a challenge (or at least just to shut them up) I took up the offer of a six-hour sufferfest with a good dose of false bravado.

That's when the mind games began. Not between them and I, but between me and I. Having ridden and raced over similar lengths of time on both tarmac and dirt, I knew that the actual training and completing the event shouldn't be a problem. Oh no, the mental block I was having was an equipment-based one. I've been happily cruising around on the Bozzie, loving the mix of old-school Kiwi steel and modern Italian carbon. It's probably the road bike I've loved the most. But she's no featherweight, and most of the riding she's been doing doesn't involve long, steep, relentless climbs. My head was starting to rebel against the legs. I needed a solution. A cheap one.

A workmate had a CAAD5 'Dale frame sitting around doing nothing, and at $200 I could build a light , cheap climbing machine that would do the job at hand. But I've never been a big fan of the marque, and although the Simoni styles were cool, I started scouring TradeMe and eBay for something alloy, slightly older, but with a certain amount of 'cool'. A couple of brands sprang to mind; a mate back in Aussie had a Klein Quantum, it was a bike that I liked the look of, and I knew it was light. There were some cool builds floating around the net which were appealing. Of course, a second opinion was needed, so an email to the Big Dutchman was drafted. No more than five minutes after sending it, I had an epiphany.

Alu? Caché? The Prophet!

A second email was on its way to Seattle, but while it was heading Stateside, a rather strongly worded one was returning Down Under. The big man wasn't impressed.

Don't get a fucking Klein!  Jesus. Did someone hijack your email account?  WTF are you thinking?  Get a used Merckx Scandium like Museeuw won Roubaix on for fucks sake or a De Rosa or a Pinerello Prince like Ulli rode if you're going to go Alu.

A fucking Klein.  Jesus.  What's the matter with you?

Could he read my mind? Was he going to track me down and beat me? Are Kleins really that bad?

My suggestion of the Team SC had reached him by now, and I had saved my bacon from another verbal assault. The language was still as 'fruity WHERE `id` = but the sentiment was more at ease with my choice of steed.


YES. Get one of those.


And so the search began. And just as quickly, ended. Merckx was looking out for me. A Domo Farm Frites Eddy Merckx Team SC frame and fork, in my size, was right there in front of me. There was really no choice in the matter. A quick check with the big man, and a stoic “BUY IT” came back, as if I really expected any different. He even offered to pony up some of the cash just to make sure a Klein wasn't getting anywhere near me.

I contacted the seller in Brisbane, Aus, and made an offer under the Buy Now price. We had a bit of to-and-fro before agreeing on a fair price, and the shipping to NZ. Mark didn't really want to send it overseas, but could see how keen I was on the frame and had it boxed and sent before I coud say 'Wilfried Peeters'. After a week I still didn't have the frame, Mark was making enquiries at this end, and we found out it was stuck in Customs in Auckland. Now, we all know that government departments are evil, and this one was living up to their well-earned rep, slugging me with nearly $200 GST… for what? Because they can.

I just wanted my frame. And when I finally held it in my hands, I could feel the spiritual significance of such a lauded piece of cycling folklore. But something didn't seem right. It looked a bit small. The tape measure came out and my 57cm frame was really a 56. Or a 55, depending on where I held the tape. A flurry of emails, a barrage of fit tests with just wheels and saddle and bars, and I wasn't convinced it was going to fit. Mark was convinced otherwise, as he is a good two inches taller than me, and assured me that the slack seat tube angle would put me in the right position. But he also kindly offered to return my money if I wasn't completely happy. A gentleman and a scholar.

The next day, after a night of web surfing for geometry charts, forum posts, and photos of The Lion on board, I was ready to do some more in-depth testing. I fitted my cranks, and videoed myself on the fit computer at work. It didn't look too bad at all. The Dutchman was also persuading me to 'go small' on the frame, maybe because he can't find one big enough for his own needs? With a 130mm stem mounted, I was happy that I could make it work. The rest of the parts were stripped from the Boz, and The Lion's bike with The Prophet's name was completed. A quick ride up the street turned any doubt into a emphatic 'fuck yeah'.

But what of the reason I undertook this whole process for? The weight… With pedals, two cages and my not particularly light 'Classics' wheels, she came in at 7.8kg. Over a kilo-and-a-bit shy of the Bozzie's mass. All there was left to do was get the right saddle, mount the V-Meter and get riding.

This bike is special. I'd read all the gushing praise from the likes of Competitive Cyclist, Ten Speed Hero and Elcyclista, and its palmares spoke for itself. A bike that could dominate for three years at Roubaix, go on day-long breakaways in Paris-Tours, and climb to victory atop The Giant of Provence. As I sprinted over every rise, I was Freddy Rodriguez. Hammering over anything rougher than smooth blacktop, I was The Lion, Servais, PvP. Up the climb to home, getting out of the saddle and rocking it side to side, I was Reeshard.

Bikes should have special character, and this one does, in spades. The decals on the down and seat tubes say it all. Handmade by The Prophet, in the spiritual home of cycling.


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92 Replies to “Il Profeta Progetto”

  1. Lovely steed, Brett. And there’s nothing like building a bike specifically for a particular event. Spot on.

  2. @brett

    Beautiful, I want one.

    The spacer immediately under your stem looks a bit sqew whiff though.

  3. Cheers on the bike mate, looks a beauty. Hat tip for making a specialized bike for an event, legend. Hope you climb those mountains in Oct like Reeshard.

  4. F**kn A. Thought when I saw the pick of the STA and the setback seatpost I thought you’d gone insane. But that makes sense. Or it would if I could have been bothered to read that article.

  5. Don’t wish to come across all womanish, but the colour scheme looks lethal, and I can only imagine the extra horsepower the Merckx decal must provide – go smash it

    What wheels have you got on it?

    Also, what’s the jackanory about the computer fitting software – is that available online and how does it work?

  6. Ah, Klein. There’s a frame that people are passionate about one way or the other. I’da chipped in with the Dutchman to keep you from getting one of those day-glo tuning forks. Much better choice sir, much better.

  7. Jaysus, Brett! Awesomeness. I really like that build-up. Far too many lads take a nice frameset and bugger it up with a shite build. You’ve pulled off a sweet steed.

    The sticker on the ST is damn cool. I need a Belgian flag on one of my bikes, but they’re all French & Italian.

    Nice saddle. I have that era of Flite on three of my road bikes. Love those, now they just need to re-release them in white and not just black. Cool cages too, have them on one bike as well.

    Good story, fine build, and very amusing scolding from The Big Fellow. (I do have to say however that a friend has a Klein Quantum Pro and it has a slick paint job & the guy can ride too.)

    Damn, I’d love to ride along the Coromandel. Sadly, when I was living in NZ I wasn’t a roadie yet. Also spent some time in Brisbane and didn’t ride when I was there either. Need to get back down there with a bike.

    Nice work, Brett! Any sadness over having to strip the Bozzie or are you too stoked on the new bike?

  8. Has anybody been to Klein’s website lately? Pretty lean. There’s a fan page here. Wasn’t the bike on Seinfeld’s wall a Klein? As I recall, it looked funky for some reason.

  9. Bro, I’ll miss the Bozzie (until I’ve built up mine). But that Merckx cool. And it’ll be a whole lot better for K2. Top effort.

  10. @brett
    have you already mastered to manage the ‘excessive amount of coolness’
    that this bike will give you?

  11. Pedale, that’s great!

    Yeah Brett, how are you handling being suddenly & vastly cooler? Hopefully all the local ladies have notice!

  12. Wow! Awesomeness. I guess your movin’ on up to Awesomeville. Don’t forget the old neighborhood.

  13. Klein’s are amazing and beautiful bikes built by one of the most forward thinking engineers in cycling. Sadly, Trek’s ownership diluted the image of the beautiful brand and amazing bicycles with the best paint ever.

    Gerolsteiner rode Klein in ’00-01. Best looking team ever.

  14. Nice Bike mate. Well done.

    I’ve been looking into getting my old Bridgestone RB-1 back and doing it up kind of Nuovo Retro with modern parts and painted in Velominati colors. But recently I saw a friend at the LBS and he had a steel Merckx frame in his hand that he had just purchased from a chap in Germany that restores old frames. It was painted in Molteni colors and looked like it had just come out of the factory. In fact it looked just like this…

    I really would like something old and steel and a Merckx sure would be nice.

  15. @Cyclops

    +1 to that and this bike.


    Very nice bike and build and, agreed, it’s nice to put something together for a specific race. Good luck with the training. At least now you know the training will be as much fun as the race itself. Perhaps more fun, which is as it should be.

  16. Exchanging bicycle component purchasing choices with Frank is one of the joys of being a Velominatus. I could write a short screenplay (or maybe and Xtra Normal cartoon) with the texts and emails we’ve shared over the years. Most of which include the word .FUCK. .FUCKER. and .FUCKFACE. It really takes consumer decision making to a new level.

    That is a lovely machine, bro. I’m happy to see that aleumineeum still holds a place of esteem in your stable. It really is a fantastic frame building material when done correctly. I had a ‘whale mtb back in the day when they were really the shit. It was as harsh as you are at times. However, my Serotta alu is a joy to ride. I can only speculate what the factors are that make the difference but as we all know the blanket statement of aluminum rides harsh is no more accurate than saying all carbon bikes are stiff.

    The competitive cyclist write-up and story are fantastic. They have some good writing over there and the piece is rich. Not to mention the other links in the article. You’ve really got a well regarded frame there.

    Nice choices with the saddle and bars. The rotundos are new to you, no? They look way cooler on that bike than the ergo early 2000’s bars often seen on those bikes. Add to that the saddle and wheels and you’ve got yourself a breakaway special straight out of the Arenberg trench. Badass.

    Let us know what you think of the ride.

  17. Great one Brett! I have heard so many good things about the TeamSC frame, you couldn’t have done it better. Chapeau! great write up

  18. Cyclops – #1 Each Velominatus should have an older steel bike in their possession. Some days you just feel more steel than carbon. I have a few myself. Do I need to send you a Frank-like email “encouraging” you to get going with your project?

    #2 What the hell is going on with all those frames? Too many I want in one photo. Cut it out.

    Marko – my first real road bike was an R900 1998 ‘dale. I hated the ride of it, but then again it was also way too big for me. Last week I rode a pal’s Colnago Arte. I just jumped on and started riding, hadn’t been for a ride in a week, eager to get going, moreso than even talkin’ shop about the bike. About an hour into it I said, “Wow, this thing rides really damn well. It’s…” and flicked a nail against the TT, “aluminum?!” I was convinced Al offered a shitty ride. I stand corrected. That bike was awesome.

    I’d like to give the Rotundos a go. Riding some Deda Newton shallows & some Deda Zero100s. Those look very similar and think they are, though would have to check the reach/drop.

    Gerard – a pal of mine just picked up a Parlee. The thing is awesome. He put on a stellar build and it looks great. Barely over 14 pounds. Jaysus, that’s crazy. Makes my Look seem fat by comparison.

  19. @Cyclops
    I just soiled myself.

    Brett, you so suck! Shouldn’t you be saving up for your children’s college educations? That is a beauty of a build. I’ve never owned an Al bike but I test rode a friends Bianchi Al with carbon fork and it was awesome; lighter than my Merlin and stiffer too.
    You have done well with the Prophet. May it keep the chunder down on the Coromandel

  20. @Ron
    Yeah – I stroked on at the North American Handmade Bike show – matt black with black decals and light as a feather…. but a remortgage may be required to purchase one lol

  21. @Dr C
    The wheels are Ambrosio Excellence rims on Chorus hubs, DT Revolution/Comp spokes, 32h 3X, handbuilt by @Oli.

    The computer fit jackanory is in store, most good shops should have something similar.



    The Bozzie is going nowhere… the online scouring for older Campa bits has started! Oli, if you know of any…


    Coolness is not a problem for me, ie I’m not cool! The bike is though…


    Yeah, I still love the look of the G’Steiner Quantums…


    I’ve thought about painting the Team SC in Molteni/Minati livery down the track, but that Domo paint is sweet… maybe the Bozzie could get the orange treatment?

  22. @Cyclops
    Okay. Where’d that picture come from? And when are they gonna get built up? It’s not like they’re making old Campa anymore. Such beauty.

  23. Cyclops – #1 Each Velominatus should have an older steel bike in their possession. Some days you just feel more steel than carbon. I have a few myself. Do I need to send you a Frank-like email “encouraging” you to get going with your project?

    I got mine. Just fixed it up. Writing the story now. Bought a camera (finally) so I can attach pics. I’ll send the story to Frank in a couple of days. Road it two nights ago. Mmmmmm.

  24. The way I see it, just thinking about getting a Klein is a little like watching kiddie porn on the internet.

    Whilst you haven’t ‘done’ anything its still pretty fucking bad.

  25. Sure those Merckx steel frames are sweet. But how about some Italian steel in the form of an OLMO?

  26. Great story Brett and I am now officially suffering bike envy.

  27. Hey Brett- bel mezzo! What’s the gruppo, did I miss that? Did you turn that baby up to 11?

    Quit feeding my obsession with vintage steel; I’m following several things on eBay right now, and you’re all going to put me over the edge!

  28. I’m reminded of Trapper John in M*A*S*H. He looks at HotLips and says “Sex! Sex! Bring me sex! That one there! The sultry bitch with the fire in her eyes – take her clothes off and bring her to me!”


  29. Beautiful Team SC and build. I had a Klein Quantum (a real one from Washington, USA), got it in exchange for designing a website for a local bike shop. Scrapped the Shimano gruppo and built it up with Chorus 8spd, then Record 9spd. Climbed and sprinted like a rocket, descended and cornered like a brick. Was always fun when it would “stand up” coming out of a corner during a criterium. After selling it, I couldn’t afford the Team SC so I settled for a silver/black Race with the (apparently needless) carbon seat stays. Absolutely blew away the Klein in all aspects of performance. However following every other, if not every, ride I had to re-set the headset. After several exchanges with Competitive Cyclist the frame went back on a warranty; they went way out of their way to make things work but it was just a terribly designed fork/headset interface. Despite the potential for a repeat of the headset issue, for which I’m sure there’s a solution, one of my wishful project bikes is a PVP Team SC, the 2004/2005 version with a longer top tube. The Team SC is simply an iconic frame. Congratulations Brett!

  30. beautiful job with the Merckx, I think it actually found you, not the other way around

  31. @brett

    I think you gotta admit though, this is pretty hot… in V orange too.

    That thing is sexy as a really sexy thing. Mmmmmmmmmm.

  32. I’ve got a 2007 Merckx Premium Scanduim that I just adore. Absolutely the most amazing bike I have ever ridden. I finally took a few photos and will figure out how to post them in the near future. You have a real beauty there!

  33. @Marcus

    The way I see it, just thinking about getting a Klein is a little like watching kiddie porn on the internet.
    Whilst you haven’t ‘done’ anything its still pretty fucking bad.

    WOW! That’s a powerful statement…but fucking awesome. Well stated, Marcus!

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