For 2016, Eddy Merckx bicycles continues its homage to Eddy’s plethora of victories. Their latest is a rather fine looking gravel bike named Strasbourg 71 after the location of Eddy’s stage victory in the 1971 Tour de France over Roger de Vlaeminck, a great champion and cyclocross specialist, on a gravel road surface with a well-timed bike throw. It was the second stage of what’s considered by some to be the most exciting Tour de France in history. After joining an early breakaway that held their place in front of the peloton for more than 100km, Merckx and Vlaeminck were in position. They sprinted, and Merckx came around him at the end to take the stage and maintain his yellow jersey. While he would lose it throughout that year’s Tour for a bit, ultimately it added another notch to his belt.
Now, about that bike…
The Strasbourg 71 is constructed from triple butted and tapered 6069 aluminum alloy, sharing the same multi-tube shaping and two pass welding process featured in the recently introduced Blockhaus 67 road bike.
The frame is performance oriented but with versatile geometry, featuring high stiffness to weight with excellent compliance. Frames tip the scales at approximately 1250 grams, with the monocoque, tapered composite fork weighing in at 380 grams.
Framesets are available in five sizes, and feature thru axles front and rear, flat mount disc brakes, and internal cable routing for braking and shifting, for mechanical or electronic. Bottom brackets are the BB86 standard, seatpost size of 27.2mm, and clearance for 40mm tires. Additional niceties include threads for fenders and racks – a rare addition on racier gravel bikes, suggesting this bike can double for commuting duties.
The Strasbourg 71 comes equipped with a Shimano 105 11-speed hydraulic disc brake groupset, 50 / 34 chainrings, 11-28 cassette, Fulcrum Racing 5 DB wheelset with Continental Ultra Sport II 32mm tires, Deda Zero stem and Prologo K3 saddle.
As impressive as the bike is on its own, we’re particularly plussed that the man behind the brand can build off his huge historical knowledge base without being stuck in the past. This, and several other recent and upcoming Merckx bikes take full advantage of modern frame construction methods and the latest spec (flat mount disc brakes, thru axles, etc.).
Pricing is yet to be announced.