Karel Mintjens was a very decent amateur cyclist who became good friends with Eddy Merckx through his youngest brother, Frans. Frans Mintjens was one of the lieutenants of Eddy Merckx from 1969-1977, riding along his side at the Faema, Molteni and Fiat era.
Karel Mintjens and his brothers took over the family business producing high quality oak furniture. After his cycling career, Karel Mintjens started a local cycling team, riding blue Eddy Merckx bikes labelled with the company logo ‘Karel Mintjens’. Karel Mintjens bikes are nowadays considered real collector’s items amongst Belgian and international connaisseurs because only about 250 of these bikes were made over 2 decades. With some luck, you might find versions with different steel tubes, titan, aluminium or even carbon fibre. The Mintjens family tended to give them away to their customers on special occasions. So if you come across one, make sure to buy it since it is worth saving!