Few names are more synonymous with bicycle racing than Eddy Merckx. With a career that spanned 1961 to 1978, a sum total of 525 victories including every Grand Tour, World Championships, Monuments and countless other races, he is arguably the most successful racing cyclist in history.
One such race, on May 31st, 1967, on Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia included the ascent to the summit of the Block Haus, an old German fortification. It was here that Eddy Merckx won his first stage of a Grand Tour. Quoting the man himself, “Nobody expected that I could pull this off, winning a mountain stage in a grand tour.” It was the beginning of many things to come.
As is, perhaps, the new 2016 Merckx Blockhaus road bike, a departure from their modern carbon offerings that helps make their lineup as diverse as The Cannibal’s trophy case…
Eddy Merckx Cycles was founded 30 years ago, with the mission of producing the finest bicycles available. Eddy himself is at the heart of the company, instilling his passion for the sport into each model produced, pushing the company to strive for perfection. He is an integral part of the design process, thoroughly testing each model personally.
For 2016, Eddy Merckx Cycles has re-invented itself. With a renewed vigor to rekindle the name that is Eddy Merckx, several all-new bikes are being released during the model year, along with extensive improvements to existing model lines. While we can’t show you everything just yet, the all new Blockhaus 67 model breaks from the current trend of carbon fiber frame construction.
Paying homage to this victory, the Blockhaus 67 bicycle encourages those astride it to “go for the super ascent”. Constructed of 6069 aluminum, this material yields a claimed 30% greater strength than traditional 6061. The bike’s geometry sits between endurance oriented and performance based, with excellent riding characteristics being the highest priority. All the modern wants and needs -weight, stiffness and good overall frame compliance- are addressed.
The frame is designed for optimal power transfer. From the 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2″ headtube, oversized down tube, tapered seat tube and unique, asymmetric chainstays, all of the rider’s energy goes into the drivetrain. Chainstays are ovalized and narrow in the middle, but widen at the dropout connection for improved strength.
One of the more unique features is the twisted seat stays that flatten at the top, giving the otherwise firm alloy a softer touch for your rear end. With the frame’s unique shapes, you would be inclined to think hydroformed construction is at play, with thick and heavy tubes to withstand that shaping. However, there is no hydroforming of any kind with the Blockhaus 67. Rather, the tapered triple butted 6069 tubes are heat treated several times, which allows complex tube shapes to be formed, and resist crinkling.
Further attention to detail goes into the frame’s welds. Rather than grinding the weld to achieve good aesthetics, the Blockhaus 67 is welded twice. The second welding pass creates a smoother looking weld and is significantly stronger. The grinding of metal is left for the skate parks.
Cabling on the frame is internalized, with the brake cable run inside the top tube and derailleur cables running the length of the down tube to an open space near the bottom bracket. Thereon, the derailleur cables are run externally.
The bottom bracket is the BB86 standard, with the seatpost measuring 27.2mm.
Finally, the all-carbon tapered fork features a very high strength crown. There are no sharp transitions around the crown, but a smooth transition allowing the bearings to sit directly on top.
The Blockhaus 67 frame in size medium with all fittings and one layer of paint tips the scales at a claimed 1,150 grams, the fork at 350 grams.
Build kit is Shimano 105 11 speed, full Deda cockpit and seatpost, Prologo saddle and Shimano WH-RS010 wheels fitted with Continental Ultrasport tires. Available in two color options -Silver/Black/Orange and Black/White/Red – and five sizes with top tube measurements of 520mm, 536mm, 545mm, 555mm and 570mm.
Overall, the focus of the Blockhaus 67 is to provide every type of cyclist a high quality riding experience on quality aluminum rather than the dull, lifeless ride often associated with budget carbon frames.
MSRP is $1,999 USD, available September 1. A women’s specific version of the Blockhaus 67 bike is expected soon. Every Eddy Merckx Cycles machine includes a Strict Lifetime Warranty for the first owner.
Photos by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.