Eddy Merckx Cycles have unveiled the 525, named after the number of victories The Cannibal accumulated in his career and set to replace the EMX-7 at the top of the Belgian company’s range for 2013.
The 525 is a significant departure from the EMX-7, with an angular, futuristic frame design which immediately sets it apart from its predecessor. We visited Eddy Merckx Cycles’ UK distributor, i-ride, to take a closer look at the 525, and the De Rosa Super King we brought you last week.
Comfort is the buzzword among bike manufacturers this year but the Merckx team, led by research and development manager Dave Luyckx, have instead optimised the 525 for maximum stiffness and efficiency. This starts at the front end, where a huge tapered head tube (1 1/8″ – 1 1/2″) meets the new Aero II fork; a combination which Luyckx says is stiff, while providing crisp and stable handling.
The tube profiles are angular throughout, with sharp edges and unfamiliar contortions. Merckx have used a continuous carbon fibre layup through the downtube, the BB86 bottom bracket and the chainstays, which, they claim, ensures there are no ‘joints’ in the carbon, thereby improving rigidity where it matters most. Meanwhile, the 525 uses an asymmetric seat and chainstay design on the rear triangle to cope with the different forces created when power is put through the back wheel.
Merckx are looking to the future with the 525 and the frame is designed wholly around electronic groupsets and is only compatible with Shimano and Campagnolo’s Di2 and EPS systems. That results in a very clean finish, with minimal exposed cabling (the cables for the front and rear mechs emerge directly in front of the machinery they power).
The 525 will be available in the UK as a ‘frame kit’ (frame, fork, seatpost, clamp and headset – claimed weight 1,840g) for £2,899.99, or in the build pictured (Shimano Ultegra Di2 compact groupset, Fulcrum’s new Racing Quattro wheels shod with Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres, 3T handlebar and stem and Prologo Kappa Evo saddle) for £4,499.99.
New models for EMX-3 and EMX-1
The top-of-the-range 525 may have hogged the headlines but Merckx have also unveiled new models for their existing mid-range EMX-3 and EMX-1 machines.
The EMX-3 is now a hybrid frame, meaning it can run with either an electronic or mechanical groupset, and Merckx are offering the machine with Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 group, Fulcrum Racing Quattro with Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres, 3T handlebar, stem and seatpost, and Prologo Kappa Evo saddle for £3,599.99.
Finally, the EMX-1 is Merckx’s entry-level carbon fibre machine. We had the Shimano 105 machine in to test earlier this year and were impressed by the bike’s blend of comfort and performance, thanks to a geometry heavily influenced by Eddy Merckx himself.
Our machine was the cheapest (£1,999.99) of two builds (the other equipped with Shimano Ultegra) but, for 2013, Merckx are also offering the EMX-1 Peloton for £1,599.99. The Shimano 105 shifters, front mech and rear mech of its more expensive sibling remain, but cost savings have been realised by swapping in Tektro brakes, an FSA Gossamer chainset, FSA cockpit and Shimano RS10 wheels.