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Merlin Extralight info wanted!!(8 posts)

Merlin Extralight info wanted!!xxx
Oct 25, 2001 7:06 AM
I am in the market for a new ti frame and was hoping to get some insight on the Merlin Extralight. How would you rate the frame overall? Is it stiff in the BB area (I weigh 160lbs)? I am looking at either the Extralight or the Litespeed Classic and am hoping to get a better idea of the ride of the Extralight.

Extralight vs. ClassicBipedZed
Oct 25, 2001 7:33 AM
I currently ride a 2001 Merlin Extralight (7K miles) which replaced a 1999 Litespeed Classic (10K miles) both in a 53cm C-T. They both have fairly similar geometries, but the Extralight is a bit more aggresive with a longer top tube and shorter chainstays. Compared to the Classic the Extralight is about a pound lighter and much stiffer in the BB. Whether that is worth the extra money depends on your use. IMO the Classic is a great century bike but is not particularly light. In fact many Reynolds 853 steel frames weigh the same for much less cost.

I went to the Extralight primarily to get a very light frame that could be raced seriously for many seasons without fear of frame fatigue. It rides extremely nice and feels very agile. Frame alignment is the best I've experienced and build quality is excellent.

All that being said, the Merlin Extralight is an extremely expensive frame and carries a lot of esoteric "poser" baggage. Since my goals in a bike are ultimately racing performance if I could do it again I would probably get a much cheaper Scandium/AL alloy frame that would be lighter and just as stiff that I could use a few seasons until I buy something new anyway.

Just my opinion.
re: Merlin Extralight info wanted!!PsyDoc
Oct 25, 2001 8:40 AM
The Extralight provides a very nice ride and is stiffer in the BB than the Litespeed Classic. I had problems getting an Extralight frame that was "right." Excel, in particular, notes that prior to Merlin being sold they would have problems with 3-4 frames a year. After Merlin was sold, they indicated that they have problems with 3-4 frames a month. I would suggest buying from a shop that does a solid once-over on the frames it receives (e.g., check alignment, finish, chase all threads, etc.). But, the ride quality of a Merlin is pretty sweet and I do not think you will be disappointed.
re: Merlin Extralight info wanted!!Eric
Oct 25, 2001 8:39 PM
It is interesting to hear of the quality problems since Merlin moved down to Tennessee. The Excel remarks seem to contradict those made by Tom Kellog, who has gone on record to say that the "new" Merlins are as good if not better than the previous Merlins. He claims to have considered having other companies build his frames at the time of Merlin's sale, but after evaluating everyone's work he decided to stay with Merlin.
Oct 26, 2001 3:46 AM
...Tom Kellogg does rave about Merlin, but perhaps Merlin is more careful with the frames that get sent to Spectrum. On Spectrum's website, there are three photos of a headtube - toptube junction and you have to guess which company welded which example. If I recall correctly, "A" is Independent Fabrication, "B" is Massachusetts Merlin and "C" is Tennessee Merlin. The photos are at: The problems I had with the Merlin frames could be isolated incidents, but I do not think so. I test rode a 2001 Merlin in Jacksonville, FL this past summer and that bike was flawless.
If you're concerned about BB stiffness.....cioccman
Oct 25, 2001 10:01 AM
why go Ti at all? Go aluminum. Ultimate stiffness and feel.
re: Merlin Extralight info wanted!!cman
Oct 25, 2001 11:51 AM
I ride a 53 cm 2000 Extralight and love it. I truly can't think of anything wrong with this bike (except price!). It's extremely smooth, climbs very well and corners unbelievably. I thought my steel DeRosa was nice, until I bought this. I was going to hang on to the DeRosa, but after riding this bike for a couple of weeks, I couldn't see the point in keeping it, I would never ride it. If you are set on buying Ti, you can't go wrong with this bike, although I would also consider Seven and Serotta.
Extralight or Classic?ColnagoFE
Oct 26, 2001 7:26 AM
Those are your only two choices? Definately the Merlin. No contest.