Anchored by one of the greatest names in cycling, Merckx bikes has taken their frames to a new level of notoriety in the past few years. With a sponsorship deal with the Belgian Quick-Step ProTour team, the frames appeared under the likes of Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel during his brief yellow jersey run at this year’s Tour de France. Just one year into their three-year deal, Merckx is still working to deliver exactly what their riders want, taking input from their pro riders in designing their top end road bikes. See what the Quick Step pros will be on next year after the jump, with a full run down of the Eddie Merckx line up for 2011.
EMX – 7
A new model for 2011, the EMX-7 will serve as Merckx’s top tier racing machine, designed for pure speed to handle the demands of ProTour riders. Merckx prides itself on their ability to find choice raw material to build their all-carbon frames, something they say many manufacturers don’t take the time to do. A majority of the frames on the market today are constructed using what is called PAN based carbon, the traditional composite mixture to create carbon layups suitable for bicycle frames. This year, Merckx is trying out a new carbon mix, called Pitch Based carbon, which has an almost identical strength-to-weight ratio as PAN based carbon, but is noticeably stiffer and more rigid. The EMX-7 is the only frame in the line to use the technology, mostly because of the pr0hibitive high cost of the material. It may be cutting edge, but with a MSRP of $6200 for just the frame and fork, the technology is still out of reach for most amateur riders.
Aside from the new material, the EMX-7 has everything you would expect in a ProTour race bike, with touches like a tapering headtube (1 1/8″ – 1 1/2″) and an asymmetrical rear triangle with the non-drive side beefed up, to compensate for the uneven pull created on the drive-side of the bike. An integrated seat mast makes the bike a slight bit stiffer while in the saddle, improving power transfer but limiting adjustability, making the bike tough to fit for some riders.
The EMX-7 leaves no detail unaccounted for, with a beautiful high-gloss paint job and internal cable routing throughout to keep the bike looking clean. Cables for the rear derailleur run all the way along the inside of the chainstay, poking out just above the rear dropouts.
A press fit BB86 system fits into the massive molded bottom bracket, a new addition the the Merckx line this year.
The EMX-7 also uses its own front fork design, different from anything else offered by Merckx. A little bit thinner, the design was adjusted by engineers to take full advantage of the new carbon composite material.