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Merckx Fuga review (long)(11 posts)

Merckx Fuga review (long)Tig
Mar 22, 2002 8:05 PM
After riding my new Merckx Fuga for the last 2 1/2 weeks, I'll go ahead and post an early review. I've put almost 350 miles on it so far, thanks to being layed off during a slow economy. At least I'm taking advantage of the time to find some springtime form! I don't have any pictures of it yet so I'll just use the stock one below.

The frame is a 52 cm c/c with a 53.8 cm top tube. I transferred most of my old parts from a Trek 2200 to it. I upgraded the handlebars to Deda Elementi 215's (short reach/drop), Ultegra bottom bracket, Thompson Elite stem and seat post, and of course a new chain and new cables. Merckx is using the Campy Record hidden set as their choice of integrated headsets. It was easy to install and the steerer tube plug works better than the standard star nut types on the carbon steerer.

The frame and fork: The frame is made of custom shaped 7005 aluminum. If welds could be judged purely by their appearance, these would be among the very best available. The silver and white fade paintwork is subtle and not flashy. I wish I could say the same about the decals, in particular, the "Eddy Merckx" ones that are plastered on every tube. Not including the seat post clamp collar engraving, there are 12 "Eddy Merckx" decals on the bike! I guess that's what you get when you buy his racing frames. They are under a clear coat, so removal isn't wise. Otherwise the finish and attention to detail is superb. The graphics are cool. The fork is nude carbon fiber aero bladed. It has a little more fore/aft flex than I like, but that is only noticed under deep braking. I also feel a little more road vibration up front than I'm used to (the old quill stem was smoother?). The 1 1/8" carbon steerer tube doesn't feel flexy though. The Columbus Carve seat stay is well built and the attachment points to the frame are extremely solid and inspire confidence. At least with the Merckx, this is not an area to fear failure at.

The ride: Most of the time when we get a new bike we think it is the best we've owned so that we can justify the purchase. This is not the best riding bike I've ever ridden, but it is damned close. The smoothest ride still goes to my old Tommasini Diamante with an OCLV a close second, and the lightest is still an older Cannondale with Record/Chorus. This bike is a race bike and has all the features I was looking for. The bottom bracket is extremely stiff with only a slight snap to it. The rear triangle is also stiff thanks to the CF seat stays. Even applying mild pressure on the pedals coming out of a turn makes the bike get up and go. Sprinting and climbing feel positively explosive. I'd swear the chain stays were shorter! The relaxed seat tube geometry and the long chain stays combined with a slightly low bottom bracket provide a level of stability I'm not used to. Whether hammering a tight paceline, easy cruising, or carving a tight or long turn, the bike just sticks to the line you give it. This is one of the features I like the most. It is not at all twitchy like most American geometries I've ridden.

The carbon fiber seat stay: There has been plenty of positive and negative talk about CF seat stays. Most of it has been from those who have never ridden a bike equipped with one! 350 miles doesn't make me an expert, but I can comment on the 2 obvious effects on this particular bike at least.

First is the increased stiffness it provides. It does not have any noticeable vertical or lateral flex. Aluminum, Ti, or even steel alone can perform this function well, but at the cost of a harsh ride for aluminum, or weight for Ti and steel. The CF stay accomplishes this out of how the fabric is layed up. Longer chain stays can be used without adding too much rear triangle flex.

The second, and more impressive effect is the vibration dampening (or is it "damping"?). Remember, the stay doesn't flex vertically. It DOES however mute out some of the higher amplitude and fre
Mar 22, 2002 8:10 PM
(I think I went over the limit of characters and the last part got cut off)

The second, and more impressive effect is the vibration dampening (or is it "damping"?). Remember, the stay doesn't flex vertically. It DOES however mute out some of the higher amplitude and frequency vibrations felt in many large diameter tubed aluminum frames. It doesn't absorb vibrations in the same way a CF fork does, but that's because of the stiffening effect of the rear triangle. Most people have said a rider wouldn't know the difference between similar bikes with and without a CF stay, but I now know better. The vibration muting is pleasantly noticeable. I'm used to riding several local roads on Cannondales, Trek aluminum and OCLV, and other bikes over certain rough sections. Instead of feeling vibrations in the saddle, it now feels like the pointed peaks of the waves have been rounded off. That is the best way to describe the difference. The only bike that felt smoother was the OCLV, naturally. The main difference between the comfort of it and the Merckx is the pedal and handlebar vibrations are muted more with the OCLV. The vibrations felt in the saddle are almost the same on both bikes. That impressed me.

Finally, I get the lightness, the positive road feedback, and rocket acceleration of an aluminum bike, but without the usual harshness in the saddle. A few more long rides will prove or disprove the design for all day comfort. I'll be able to say more later. If it turns out that the bike is a pain to ride a century on, I'll admit it! You have my promise.
good reviewgtx
Mar 22, 2002 9:24 PM
someone else raised the flex issue with the fork on the Merckx Team SC. Wonder what's up with that. And I've always attributed the comfort of my quite stiff steel Merckx to the relaxed geometry and those 41.5 cm c-stays. Anyway, enjoy!
Thanks. Great objective descriptions. nmLen J
Mar 23, 2002 7:47 AM
Eddy Merckx FugaFormula91
Jul 21, 2002 3:47 AM
What can I say after 4 weeks of intensive riding cum pre-race training. This frameset simply ROCKS!

For people who are looking for a carbon seatstay and alu frame combo, this one is a very credible bet.

Now bring on the miles! You will not be disappointed with the ride.


PS: Recently added Michelin Axial Pro Tour de France tyres to match.
You gonna ride that thinggrandemamou
Mar 23, 2002 4:44 AM
She shure is purty. I like the paint on Merckx not too boring and not too garish.

I was just kidding about not riding it. Pound her into submission!!!!
great lust factor just got bigger! thanks!(nm)merckx56
Mar 23, 2002 5:52 AM
Good reviewMe Dot Org
Mar 23, 2002 8:32 AM
Your descriptions show a lot of concern and attention.

I'd agree with you about carbon fiber seat stays. I have a steel bike with CF stays, and vibration is noticeably more "damped" than with regular stays. I could live without them, but they are a pleasant addition, and I would imagine more so on an aluminum frame. (Although I hear Merckx frames ride suprisingly smooth...)

Anyway, thanks again for your comments...
re: Merckx Fuga review (long)Cactus1
Mar 23, 2002 8:33 AM
What size frame are your other bikes (OCLV, Tommasini etc.)?

In fact while you're at it, could you tell us your general physical dimensions, just so we know where you are coming from?


other bikesTig
Mar 23, 2002 10:44 AM
The 54 cm (center to top of collar, which is close to a 51 or 52 C/C) OCLV and 2200 shared similar geometries. The Trek top tubes were nice and long, but the seat posts were steeper. I currently have a 120 -5 degree stem, but will switch to a 130 -10 to get the handlebars low enough. The Merckx has a 5 cm taller head tube than the Treks did and I've got the stem as low as possible.

The Tommasini was a 54 cm C/T with a 54.5 cm top tube. The Cannondales were 53 C/T with 54 top tubes. Thanks to the vertically ovalized top tube a 51 cm Merckx would fit better for stand over height, but the top tube would have been too short even with the relaxed seat tube angle.

I'm 5' 7", 135 lbs, with fairly powerful legs. I like to spin, but can handle bigger gears as long as the speed is high. I'm a 39 year old retired cat 4 road/cat 3 track racer who is getting back into racing.
Eddy Merckx FugaFormula91
Jun 11, 2002 6:38 AM
Hi there,

I have just collected my Domo White Fuga yesterday. Looks really slick and those downtubes look so aerodynamic!

I bought a 50cm C-C stock frame and still have yet to try out the bike. Hopefully, the weather holds and I can get some quality riding time and to get familiar with it.

I will be putting up some feedback later on as I ride more. Wish me luck!