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Help me decide, please: Colnago C40 or Merlin XLCompact(24 posts)

Help me decide, please: Colnago C40 or Merlin XLCompactkapalua
Jul 11, 2002 10:43 AM
OK folks, I've appreciated your insight on my previous posts on building my dream bike. Now I'm about to order the frame, but still can't quite decide on which of the following two: Colnago C40 or Merlin XLCompact.

I will be doing mostly fast recreational riding / fitness training. I will be moving to Germany soon, and there miles and miles of fantastic country-side roads (bike friendly too!). There are many rolling hills, short steep climbs, as well as long ascents.

The Merlin XL Compact feels great at climbing, both in saddle and out, probably due to the compact geometry. Ti frame feels really good as well.

The Colnago is somewhat lighter, and I think just as stiff as the Merlin. I have not ridden the C40, but used to ride a Kestrel 200EMS which is similar in feel.

I found a great deal on the Merlin, including a free Merlin CF Integrated fork, and a reasonable deal on the Colnago.

I can't quite decide between the two. Any thoughts or comments?

Thanks for your help!
re: Help me decide, please: Colnago C40 or Merlin XLCompacteschelon
Jul 11, 2002 10:49 AM
I personally love my ti rig...but the erection I get just thinking of the opportunity to own my very own Colnago C40 is too much to bear. I'd the C40 is the way to go...maybe the Oscar Freire World Champion Edition with that cool paint scheme!
pretty different bikesColnagoFE
Jul 11, 2002 11:19 AM
you sure the colnago geometry is gonna work for you if the merlin does?
what size???C-40
Jul 11, 2002 4:35 PM
Without knowing what size is in question, it's hard to comment on the geometry difference. The Merlin is pretty limited in available sizes compared to the Colnago.
what size???legs
Jul 11, 2002 4:51 PM
Merlin can custom size...
so can colango (nm)C-40
Jul 11, 2002 6:40 PM
so can colango (nm)legs
Jul 11, 2002 6:43 PM
c-40 's are amazing bikes..
beyond critcism in my book...
re: Help me decide, please: Colnago C40 or Merlin XLCompactlegs
Jul 11, 2002 12:48 PM
I test rode both of these bikes extensively and chose the xl compact... and not because its a better bike..
they are different but not as different as you might think..
the c-4o felt to me like the most perfectly responsive steel frame ever.. what a fantastic feeling... and the sensation of the carbon is really stunning.. .. the main difference in feeling between the two is the sense of a low center of gravity that one gets while riding the merlin..... i found them to be kind of similar through the seat tube and both have great front ends...different front ends .. but both great...

I chose the merlin because it is made in the usa and i felt that everyone there is fairly accessible...
and i trust titanium more than i do carbon...(for a bike i would like to get five or six years out of).. when i contacted merlin they responded instantly...

the negative with the xl compact is the sizing.. compact frames fit differently... and I still feel slightly at odds with the sizing.. i am still deciding what to do about this...
I may still return it for a custom... i just dont know yet.. on paper it fits me.. but after so many years of riding standard frames i am still adjusting.. i fall right in between the small and the medium...

on the plus side i find that compact frames are amazingly responsive and stiff.. and it feels like the bike loses three pounds when you are out f the saddle... (the whole bike wieghs in at just under 16.5 with cages...)
the concept of compact frames feels tailor made for titanium...

regardless.. both of these bikes are sensational and i still would make the same choice...

I hope you can get some time on both frames to help you decide.
why not just get the standard Merlin XL then? (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 11, 2002 12:52 PM
why not just get the standard Merlin XL then? (nm)legs
Jul 11, 2002 1:10 PM
I like the xl compact more... i found it to be better handling and more responsive.. the low COG is addicting.. and even though it is a tiny bit heavier than the extralight.. i think it is a better climbing bike...

I am a pain in the ass about fit.. and i am sure it will work out.. its always a process for me...
and as for Seven.. I chose the Merlin over the Seven for two reasons.. 1) in my contact with the guys at Seven I found them to be too full of rhetoric and slow to respond..and 2) if i were to build up an Axiom i would try and emulate the XL compact...

hell, in France Merlin is a nickname for a bunch of low end discount stores... they laught at you there on one..

i will work out the fit details (and they are just that.. minute details).. either buy swapping frames.. tweaking stem length or going custom.. it just is not a big deal...

if i were a heavy guy or a bigger guy i would have gone with Seven because i feel that they have the ability to make a stiffer titanium frame tham Merlin.. but at my size.. i am unable to find any flex in the frame...

so..I made a highly informed choice...
Why consider a Merlin when you can get the real thing in a 7?128
Jul 11, 2002 12:52 PM
Seriously. Now I know, I could be like way wrong as this level of bike is a bit above my current experience level. BUT! My buddy from way back built Merlins when it was the cool little shop in Brighton MA, later to be bought out by some big bad company. As I understand it, the happening nucleus of the start up Merlin crew (designer and torch guys included) moved over to Watertown and started Seven.

So, I do wonder; if one is considering the quality and build of the Merlin bike/reputation, why not go with Seven as the real thing?? Something about Seven undesireable in relation to Merlin? I'd buy a Seven on the name alone. Merlin's a dumb bike name. oh, yeah: imo.
Why consider a Merlin when you can get the real thing in a 7?legs
Jul 11, 2002 1:12 PM
um, I am unable to respond to this intelligently...
what is "the real thing"?ColnagoFE
Jul 11, 2002 1:20 PM
The 'real thing' is shorthand for:128
Jul 12, 2002 3:58 AM
a frame built by a particular group talented people. Not that Merlin isn't. I wouldn't know. But I do believe the currentt Seven team made Merlin what it is or at least was.

If the very persons who hand built and created the
Merlin quality and reputation now build a frame with a different name, why not buy from them? What'a so damn hard to understand about that? As I said there may be reasons one would want a Merlin of which I am unaware(materials, price, geometry etc), but the people who made Merlin what it is in terms of reputation, now build Sevens. Is Merlin quality still as good or better? Are they mass produced and cheaper? I'm simply suggesting; if one is in a high end bike purchase quandry which includes Merlin, why not complicate the issue and consider buying from the original source of the Merlin magic, i.e a Seven. Am I speaking ubee dubee here or what?
The 'real thing' is shorthand for:legs
Jul 12, 2002 7:21 AM
The constant thread in Merlin has been tom kellogg's work as a designer.. Rob V at seven is pretty good but certainly not a welder.. that is a misnomer..
the only thing that i know for fact is that as i type this i am sitting about three feet away from an xl compact.. and the wrokmanship on the frame is flawless...
the builders of seven's work to a similar standard.. there is more than one good welder in the world...

I think the current merlins are better than the originals..
the' original source of merlins magi'c is a phrase that means nothing when considering the real world attributes of a frame... diferent people pass through every framemakers doors...

sevens are great.. merlins are great.. c-40's are great..
the logic or methodology that you are using to arrive at your question is really not so great..
so yes.. you are speaking ubee dubeee.
See. You can respond intelligently, Smugly.128
Jul 12, 2002 8:14 AM
Go for the Merlinol
Jul 11, 2002 5:07 PM
I was in the same boat as you were 1 month ago, trying to decide between the two. I eneded up going for the Merlin and did not regret my decision once. If the majority of your riding is purely recreational, you will find the comfort factor of the merlin appropriate. The biggest factor that made me chose the Merlin was longevity and bombproof nature of the bike, it does not rust or scratch. It's a sort of bike that will still look the same 5 years down the track regardless how much you punish it.
Great deal on the Merlin at Excel right nowNiwot
Jul 11, 2002 5:44 PM
$500 off the "list price" on the frame, plus a free fork. That might be as good a "sale" as you'll get on that.
Go for the Merlinlegs
Jul 11, 2002 6:01 PM
I just want to point out the misnomer that merlins arent for racing as much as for recreation.. i race my merlin.. it is as pure bred a racing bike as i have ever ridden...
(regarding the xl compact)..
it seems to me to be entirely a racing bike...
Great comments all...Thank you, really!...kapalua
Jul 12, 2002 4:37 AM
Your feedback on these two frames was exactly what I was looking for, since your factors for deciding one over the other are the same for me: feel, fit, weight, durability...

I decided NOT to go with Seven, even though it was my first choice when I began this process. I agree with 'legs' regarding the responsiveness of Merlin over Seven; Merlin was on the ball and answered my questions in a sound, technical manner. Seven's answer was more like: "yeah, we can do that..."

The Seven Alta (compact frame) has a limited range for stiffness rating. If I wanted to make it stiffer, then it would have exceeded the weight of the Merlin (comparable size). Also, I heard that the Seven's external butting of the tubes to make it light was too severe and compromised the strength of the tube.

Merlin, as you know, is owned by a large cycling conglomerate: this large company has the economy of scales to access a wider and better selection of Ti tubing than Seven can as a smaller company.

Well, the real issue is here is trying to decide between the C40 and Merlin. So again, thanks for your valuable input. I'll be sure to post the results!!! :)

Happy & safe riding!
Slightly off topic but....Tim Field
Jul 12, 2002 5:22 AM
How does the Litespeed range compare to the Merlins etc. I was of the opinion that they were more advanced. They also claim to make the worlds lightest frame. Any comments. (I'm a racing newbie and just interested.

Thanks, Tim
Slightly off topic but....legs
Jul 12, 2002 7:30 AM
they just have different beliefs.. they pray to a different god.. merlin believes that round tubes function better.. whie litespeed shaped/coldworks their tubes..
merlin uses double pass puddle welding.. litespeed uses single pass..
litespeeeds tubes are formed and shaped from a flat sheet (on some models) tthe tubes are seamed and welded along the length (some say the seam is stronger than a seamless tube and most say a seamless tube is better)

merlin manufactures around 5o frames on a good day.. litespeed makes closer to 700...

neither of these facts are a statement of quality...
but for me.. these things led me to merlin... it was personal preference...

both make great frames... so i would just go with what you like...
depending on size, get an agilusCKS
Jul 12, 2002 12:13 PM
I bought a small Agilus instead of the XL Compact, and since it was a size small, only 40g heavier- no other difference. Climbs well, and descends like nothing I've ever ridden, it's simply remarkable.
depending on size, get an agiluslegs
Jul 12, 2002 5:07 PM
how tall are you?
(wondering about size)
do you know what size you ride in a standard frame (including TT)?