Every day I am put in a position of whether or not to shell out a bunch of cash for a beautiful bicycle. In this case, a guy came into the shop with a 1983 De Rosa Eddy Merckx decked out with the original Campagnolo C-Record components. The only thing odd about the gruppo being that it didn’t have the delta brakes. He just dropped by to see if we could tell him what it was worth. He wanted to sell it so he could buy a new bike with more modern geometry. As he was completely unaware of what he had, I was tempted to ask him to part with it for a couple of hundred. But then, in a sudden flash of morality, I decided to check on eBay to see if a similar bike was for sale. Turns out, there are quite a few of these. I figured the bike he has, based on its condition, was worth around $1,000.00 US. I told him if he sold that bike privately, he could get a new road bike for sure. However, the new bike he would be getting would be pretty basic. I was thinking like a Specialized Allez Elite with a Tiagra 10-speed group or maybe a Raleigh Revenio 3.0 with 105. Those are great bikes. Certainly they are well built and the componentry is pretty comparable to 30-year old Campy as far as reliability is concerned.
Ugo De Rosa was the frame supplier for the Molteni team starting in 1968. It was through this relationship, that he built several frames for Eddy Merckx. This bike was probably built in Milan by a guy who had a history of associating with winning European cycling teams.
The bottom line is this: If I had this bike, I would keep it. Sure it is pretty old, but the quality of its parts are so appealing: it has the Campy C-Record to be sure (I’m really a Shimano guy), but it also made from Columbus SLX tubing, is made in Italy (not Asia) and it has Eddy Merckx’s name on the side. I could see this bike as my daily rider. About the only thing I would change would be the tubular rims and the saddle it currently has. I’m sure this guy, who doesn’t know a lot about bikes (he knows enough, though) would rather have a less high maintenance ride. To each his own. This thing is a true beauty. But in the end, I opted not to buy the bike for myself. Check out the gallery below.