Eddy Merckx Bicycles is back. Well, at least they want to be. It’s no secret the brand’s halcyon days seemed to be behind them, but recent developments appear to show the Belgian brand is once again on the rise.
Changes in ownership have Eddy involved again and its latest premium offering, the 525, is a beautiful performer with stand out aesthetics, albeit with a high price tag. Taking the 525’s performance and looks to a more manageable price tag is Merckx’s plan with the recent launch of two new bikes – the San Remo76 and the Mourenx69. Both bikes take engineering and aesthetic cues from the 525, but with lower modulus carbons and more price conscious builds.
San Remo76 and Mourenx69
The San Remo76 is a race bike with a low head tube, aggressive geometry and stiff chassis that puts a premium on power transfer – a poor man’s 525. Well, a less wealthy man’s 525. The Mourenx69 is an endurance bike, with a taller head tube, longer stays and square section seat tube for added compliance, although it still features asymmetric stays and the same high volume head tube and tapered fork as the San Remo76 showing lively performance is still on the design brief. In fact, both bikes share the same wheelbase, again showing Merckx’s goal with the Mourenx was to deliver crisp handling with endurance comfort. The San Remo76 and Mourenx69 take visual cues from the 525, giving all three bikes a handsome family resemblance.
What was not a high priority on the design brief was frame weight. The San Remo76 frame weighs 1122grams while the Mourenx69 is 1055grams. Both bikes share the same lower modulus carbon recipe and Merckx, the man and company, feel strongly weight needs to come after stability, handling, safety, power and durability in the design brief. With the right build both of these bikes could be UCI illegal, so Merck reasons they will use the extra weight to enhance features they deem more important. It’s an interesting and unique angle in today’s weight obsessed carbon market.
Eddy puts it this way, “It’s tough to lose a minute on a climb, but on a descent you can lose it all.” It may only be tough for Eddy to lose a minute on a climb, be we get his meaning.
What’s in a Name?
Merckx Bicycles was eager to use Eddie’s expertise and fame to help sell the bikes, but they wanted to be very clear these are modern performance bikes, not vintage bikes or even a ho-hum carbon bike using nostalgia instead of engineering.
The solution they believe was to name the bikes’ after some of Eddie’s greatest wins, wins that speak specifically to the type of riding each was designed for. Eddy won Milan San Remo seven times and he rode it only 10times, defying its current reputation as a lottery. 1976 was the year of his final victory.
Mourenx is perhaps the more fascinating story. During stage 17 of the ’69 Tour his first victory there, with 140km to ride, Eddy rolled away on a descent. When he saw he had a minute at the bottom he decided to press on alone. By the finish in Mourenx, over climbs he had never before seen, he had 7:56 on the nearest chase group. Eddy essentially did a Grand Fondo solo during the Tour, and created a great name for a fondo bike in the process.
When asked what he thinks of the young man furiously pedaling with head buried when he sees the old footage of his massive escape, Eddy responds, ““He must be crazy!”
Both bikes have the details of the great rides they are named for on their down tubes. They offer their riders a bit of motivation from the great man himself. The builds Merckx has chosen range from Shimano 105 to Campagnolo chorus and based on the European pricing already established should start well south of $3000. Merckx finishes the bikes with Rotor cranks and Fast Forward wheels, two partners from its race teams. As US build and spec becomes available we will update accordingly.