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Is LOOK geometry & ride comparable to Merckx?(13 posts)

Is LOOK geometry & ride comparable to Merckx?tarwheel
Sep 20, 2002 4:22 AM
I am about to throw in the towel in my long search for a used Merckx steel frame. The US distributor no longer imports Merckx steel frames and I haven't been able to find a decent one in my size (56). The last straw was when I finally located a nice Corsa frame, and then the seller decided to keep the frame after negotiating via emails for the past 6 weeks (basically I was just waiting on him to send me some decent photos). The Merckx distributor tells me they can special order steel frames, but it would take 4-5 months and the cost would be comparable to a custom -- so why bother?

Anyway, I am tired of all this searching and have noticed recently that the LOOK frames have geometries very similar to Merckx -- that is, relaxed seat tube angles and relatively short top tubes. The LOOKs also come in 1 cm increments, which addresses one of my pet peeves with US bike makers that seem to think 2 cm increments are fine. Not! My only real problem with the LOOK frame is that I dislike threadless forks/stems and wouldn't have a choice about that. But a LOOK would probably weigh close to 2 pounds less than a Merckx steel. My main concerns are comfort and fit, however, and the LOOKs seem to have a good reputation in those areas. Can anyone offer me any advice here?
re: Is LOOK geometry & ride comparable to Merckx?crabeedough
Sep 20, 2002 4:51 AM
If reading the gush posted below doesnt convince you, let me add to it. I have a 2001 KG281 which I bought used from an Ad on RBR's classifieds. It was terribly cheap (900 for frame fork headset ergopost). Filtersweep is right, Looks are "overlooked" hahaha. But the ride is fabulous. I previously thought my Selle Italia Flite was too hard and was going to switch, but now it feels great. The drops are just as comfortable as anywhere else. If you havent tried carbon fiber do it! THe Look combo of CF tubes and AL lugs really maintains the best of Lugged Steel and CF (that wonderful wonderful material). Unfourtunatly I have never ridden a Merckx, but best of luck to you with search.

Sep 20, 2002 5:40 AM
I won't do your homework for you, you can look up geometry easily enough at the respective websites... the Look seems to have more in common with other Euro geometries than it does a Trek, for example- it certainly fits me better.

I've never ridden a Merckx either, but have ridden steel. I fully agree with Crabby, and have thought the same thing, that the Look seems to have the ride of a cross between carbon and steel. That probably doesn't make much sense, but it doesn't have that eerie feeling of an OCLV- it gives you enough road feedback to know the wheels are on the pavement without all the unwanted elements of an aluminum ride (in my book it has the ideal "signal to noise ratio"). It also feels "solid" like steel... and this is where comparison gets weird- it is a light frameset (not the lightest carbon you can find, but it is light enough), yet it rides like a heavier frameset with that solid feeling, yet it also doesn't flex like some frame materials (or at least feel like it). I've wondered if the tube shape and lugging contribute to the ride... it is a very tight frame.

The price is right for the Look as well- I had mine built with mostly DA for the price of a 5200 (minus the wheels that I already had)... and it is a few lbs. lighter than a stock 5200. Test ride one... the only way you will be disappointed is if you regret not buying the Merckx. My only complaint is that my mileage has significantly increased, and I don't feel I have enough time to ride it ;)
re: Is LOOK geometry & ride comparable to Merckx?jaybird
Sep 20, 2002 5:35 AM
If you are still looking for a Merckx steel frame, you should send Gary at GVHbikes an email. I went through the same scenario a while ago. I was looking at the MX Leader but I ended up buying the KG381i. The geometry is almost identical but they have different ride characteristics. The look feels a little bit more responsive but the MK Leader was more forgiving. I had a really hard time deciding and the deciding factor for me was that I was able to get the Look for a couple hundred less than the Merckx. (A friend made me an offer I couldn't refuse.) The Merckx was a little heavier but I didnt notice it in the ride. As for the stem issue, you should be able to get the same position since you can go up to 30mm of stack height on the Look forks. Also dont forget that by flipping your stem you can get an even greater rise. (that's what she said anyway)

Good luck, you won't go wrong with either option.
re: GVHtarwheel
Sep 20, 2002 5:55 AM
I checked with GVH. The distributor has only one steel Merckx in my size, a green MX Leader for $1300. I'm not crazy about the color and for that price I could buy a custom. One reason (in addition to the fit) why I was looking for a Merckx is that I wouldn't have to spend a lot of extra cash on parts. I already have a full Ultegra group on another frame with Italian BB and threaded stem, headset, seat post, etc. -- which would all transfer to the Merckx frame. With a LOOK, I would have to buy a new English BB, threadless headset, and a 25 seatpost. That's still less than the price of a new MX Leader, though, since you can buy LOOK 361s for about $900 now.
re: GVHflying
Sep 20, 2002 7:16 AM
Well I love my new look so much I am selling a steel frame with the same MXL initials as the bike your looking for;-)

It has a BB & a Headset so your set ;-)
Actually it seems it wont hit the reserve so I will probably repost it here in the classifieds for a bit less.
merckx: it's a sickness, i tell you!JS Haiku Shop
Sep 20, 2002 7:28 AM
check with cbike (773-445-0811). they carry merckx and might have a steel frame or two. another to check with would be the bike pedlar in nashville, tn--they are also a merckx dealer, and if i recall, had some steel frames in the shop recently., 615-329-BIKE (615-329-2453). don't expect a bargain.

other than those, i'd suggest asking gitabike for a list of their retailers that might still have a steel frame in stock. they're quite approachable.

another suggestion is to watch ebay.

merckx: the sickness. of course, i purchased and have been riding last year's steel (columbus brain) strada, as is ol' Spirito. both of us purchased through GVH. it's a most excellent ride, without question. i would LOVE to find a corsa team molteni replica, but the money is not readily available at this time. in fact, i'm currently working on the kit for an elite frame, which is already bought and paid for. da-rool!
sickness?? .... if there is a cure - i dont wan't itSpirito
Sep 20, 2002 7:51 AM
id rather be forced into the fringes of society with crackheads, pimps, ho's and dirty cops than be cured enough to give away my steel merckx way of life.

ride eddy - be zen :-)


(p.s. haiku baby, gita have moletni repro decals - so one day if far off in the future you decide to repaint the "faema" and reincarnate it as a molteni its pretty straight forward)
must be sickness ...tarwheel
Sep 20, 2002 8:42 AM
It must be incurable. The Corsa I was gonna buy, the owner was all ready to pack it up and ship it to me and changed his mind. I was gonna pay his full asking price and shipping. He had even advertised it for sale, and I had been communicating with him for weeks. ... I'm shattered.
if lovin' you is wrong...merckx56
Sep 20, 2002 9:12 AM
I don't wanna be right! my molteni bike is now a molteni fixed gear!
as for the comparison portion of the program, i have a merkx corsa 0.1 and a look ac353. both are steel and have dura-ace stuff on them (well the merckx used to!)
the geometry is very similar. they both have relaxed seat angles (@72.5) and longish top tubes. the merckx is a more muted ride, simply because the tubing is a lot thicker than the foco tubing that the look is made out of. on the other hand, the look is the better race rig, as it's more stiff and responsive. the key is to set the bike up the same and then do a comparison. mine have the same bars and stem and the same components.
I will never sell the merckx! It may be a fixed gear now, but it will always be with me. I'll probably be pushing a shopping cart with a molteni merckx frame in it one day!
here's the Look...(nm)merckx56
Sep 20, 2002 9:16 AM
oooh. hey, baby! nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 20, 2002 9:24 AM
re: molteni repro decalsJS Haiku Shop
Sep 20, 2002 9:21 AM
vely intelesting.

I have that steel frame from's bare...would look too cool burnt orange and blue. i've been collecting pics here and there of molteni replicas...wonder if spectrum in CO would do a good mock-up.

of course, i'd have to add a flame job.