37 year old Rik Van Looy was on a training ride on which he met a group of other professionals. He asked them where they were headed to and they told him that they were going for a ride in the Ardennes. Van Looy answered:"Well, then I will just turn back home and hang my bike to the wall for good." - And so he did.
Thus unpretentious was the end of the career of the most successful cyclist of its time.
He only threw a party at home where everyone who was invited was allowed to take anything cycling-related that he wanted with him. All the memorabilia was carried out of the door.
Remaining in his house stayed the retired 'Emperor', the 'King of the Classics' with his beloved wife and children.
From then on he was very unwilling to talk much about his career and when his biography was published some years ago, he had contributed not even one interview or word to it.
Yet he still showed interest in the progress of the famous Flemish Cycling School.
The long success story of this pedaling prodigy would be too much to be summed up in just a few lines. So we do have to cut it short: he was the first person who won all five of the cycling Monuments. World champion twice. Belgian Champion in different disciplines. Stage victories in all grand tours. And so many race wins, that only Eddie Merckx was able to outshine him later.
So how comes there is a Rik Van Looy bike from 1975, when he had already left the circus for some years and was not the kind of guy who would have set up his own brand?
There is a rather surprising answer: Colnago made a handful of Rik Van Looy bikes in the mid 1970s. Later in 1980, they did similar for Roger de Vlaeminck. But then it was closer to a Colnago Super and even showed club cutouts.
Our Rik Van Looy Champion du Monde from 1975 is differing from standard Colnago bikes in many details. Yes there are Prugnat lugs and cutouts where you would expect them to be on a Colnago Super of the same time. The fork crown shows some similarities, too. Also the main tubing and dropouts are the same and the geometry is copied.
But the headlugs are drawn longer. The bottom bracket shell is a different one as are the seat stay caps - The latter ones necessarily because the rear stays are much beefier. A feature that might be interesting for the cobbled roads of Belgium or for stronger riders. Consequently, the rear brake bridge has been soldered on in a stronger way.
What gives the Champion du Monde that special touch, are the small decorative elements. There are sweet diamond cutouts on the fork crown, lower head lug and under the bottom bracket.
Van Looy pantographs are on the seatpost, the stem and the brake levers. The seatpost and stem are additionally milled and layed out with the Belgian colours.
This bike is certainly as nice a ride as it is rare.
Checked and serviced and ready to go, suitable for collections or vintage cycling events.
|Frame & Fork||Rik van Looy|
|Front Derailleur||Campagnolo Nuovo Record|
|Rear Derailleur||Campagnolo Nuovo Record|
|Headset||Campagnolo Nuovo Record|
|Crankset||Campagnolo Nuovo Record; 172.5mm; 53/42|
|Bottom Bracket||Campagnolo Record|
|Stem||3ttt Record; 100mm; milled, pantographed; Belgian colours|
|Stem Bar||3ttt Superleggero; 40cm|
|Shifters||Campagnolo Record; milled|
|Brake Levers||Campagnolo Nuovo Record; milled and pantographed|
|Hubs||Campagnolo Record high flange; 6-Speed freewheel 14-24|
|Rims||Fiamme; 700c tubular|
|Tires||Continental Giro; 700c tubular|
|Seat Post||Campagnolo Record; milled and pantographed; Belgian colours|
|Chain||New YBN hard-plated|
|Handlebar Tape||New cotton cloth|