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$0.72-per-mile report: Merckx Strada(12 posts)

$0.72-per-mile report: Merckx StradaJS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 4:43 AM
finally purchased in april/may (arrived may 2002) from Gary Hobbs at gvhbikes.com. my second bike from Gary. nothin' but good stuff to say about him.

the bike:

57cm (c-c) eddy merckx strada os
* columbus brain, beautifully lugged frame 4.5 pound frame, 1.5 pound chromed fork, internal cable routing
* campy chorus 10, 172.5 mm cranks, 13-29 cassette
* ttt forma bar/stem black open pro 32-spoke rims w/chorus hubs
* san marco regal ti saddle
* look pp296 pedals
* elite ciussi alloy cages
* michelin axial kevlar 700x23 tires
* cateye mity 3
* just under 22 pounds as shown

the ride:

inaugural ride was 5/16. surprised at the agile (twitchy) handling, happy with the feel, happy with the weight (same or lighter than my aluminum/105 bianchi). ride of the chromed fork is plush. initially ordered with conti 700x23 gatorskins, experienced a catastropic sidewall blowout and swapped 'em with the old standard axial kevlars. the "cockpit" is intentionally setup short (brief stem) to accommodate aerobars for longer rides--i guessed at the numbers and got it right the first time.

the frame:

paint is beautifully hand-accomplished, lugs are artwork, and little things along the frame make the whole package. those include pantographed "EM" symbols on the fork crown (both sides), on the rear brake bridge, and under the bottom bracket. red lettering is edged gold.

contrary to popular belief, i was and still am pleased to just stare at it after long rides...given it's only been a few months, but it's still the most beautiful frame i've seen yet (IMO).

the kit:

open pros are nice (have them also on two other road bikes). i find chorus far more enjoyable than ultegra, in my experience, but only in a tactile sense. i'm not convinced as to the performance of one over the other, but chorus does seem to be in a higher class than ultegra (take it as it's read, please). i've not ridden DA or Record. i have ridden 105 (and i'll say both chorus and ultegra put 105 to bed, but 105 is still quite ride-able).

the miles:

forgiving over long distances, springy and responsive over short distances, and generally nice to ride AND to look at. mucho stiff when out of the saddle or mashing. since may i've put around 2500 miles on this bike, mostly 20-50 milers, with three centuries, a double metric, and two double centuries, and have found it to be even more comfortable every ride. a real pleasure to ride...like going from washing dishes in the sink to using a dishwasher, or something like that. and, it was love at first sight. :)
front shotJS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 4:44 AM
seat tube/rear brake bridgeJS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 4:45 AM
head tube/crown fork pantograph (this is the last pic)JS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 4:47 AM
sorry for the blur...
A modern classic!Tig
Oct 24, 2002 2:50 PM
You have a can't-fail bike that is simply beautiful. That is one of my favorite classic paint schemes, too. As much as I like modern technology, I just can't get over how much a joy it is to ride a well made lugged steel frame. Enjoy!!!
Love the stem! nmscottfree
Oct 24, 2002 5:05 AM
Well that is fine but what would you change? What don't you likeMB1
Oct 24, 2002 5:08 AM
tell all now.
double/tripleJS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 5:30 AM
if i didn't have another bike setup specifically for long, hilly rides (or mountain centuries), i'd say "a triple". however, the 53/39-13/29 has been plenty of gears for the rides i've done on it so far. other than that, i wouldn't change a thing...if there were things lacking, i'd have taken care of them already.

i've been considering ultegra, chorus, or record on the merckx elite i'm building up at present...money not the main concern, since the difference between chorus and record is a matter of time and patience (record means saving longer and getting the bike later). since all i've read is that the difference is a little weight savings and the apparent ooh/ahh factor in gawking at record (it is a fur bit purtier), i'm apt to stick with this same kit for the elite...bars (fork is threadless on that one, so different stem), cages, pedals, wheelset, saddle...

during extended saddle-time, i tried the mr. flitie saddle cover at do(u)g's urging, and found it to be a true arse-saver. however, i had to lube the inside/underside of the cover to get it over the regal, and the cover is pulling at its seams. i'll get the "mr. softie", a version of same cover for larger ("non-racing") saddles.

-J
re: a few questionstarwheel
Oct 24, 2002 5:08 AM
JS -- I've been looking for a 56 Merckx for a while, but can't seem to locate one. However, I keep finding good deals on 57s. Would you mind telling me your vital stats -- eg. height, inseam (w/ cycling shoes), weight, etc.? Some of the people I have talked to seem to think I might fit better on a 57 anyway. I've been looking for a 56 since that's the size of my Gios, but due to recent comments from a person skilled in fitting, it sounds like I might be better off on a 57. BTW, I am 5'11" with 33" inseam in cycling shoes, 185-190 lbs.
re: a few questionsJS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 5:42 AM
6'2"

195-200 #

33.5" inseam in cycling shoes & bike shorts

turn ons: sunsets in sedona, malt liquor in 40oz bottles

turn offs: the smell of canti brake pads burning

I also ride a 56 cm surly steamroller and a 56 cm surly cross-check. the steamroller is a tad bit small, but the next size up was a wee bit too large. the cross-check has a higher bb (than standard), and seems taller--more like an actual 57. the strada is more like a 57.5+, since it's measured 57 c-c. i think the top tube is 56.8 c-c.

in the past i've ridden a 58 cm specialized allez (measured c-c, with a long top tube, a smidge large), and a 56 cm bianchi giro (measured c-t/seat tube, actually more like a 55.5, a hint small, overall).

the strada seems just right. i'll build up the elite with a 1-2cm longer stem, since i don't intend to fit it with aero bars.
oh yeah ... beautiful biketarwheel
Oct 24, 2002 6:01 AM
The more I "learn" about fit, the more confused I get. I would think someone your size would be on larger frames, but if the shoes fits ... BTW, your Merckx looks great. I found a frame just like yours on eBay last summer, in my size too, but the auction ended while I was on road during vacation so I couldn't bid on it. Darn thing ended up selling for $280 too!
oh yeah ... beautiful bikeJS Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2002 7:39 AM
$280 is an absolute crime.

re: larger bikes, longer top tubes make me feel too stretched out. i like to have a little standover, too.

re: fit...methinks too much fuss is made about fit. seems to me that you can take a shot at the size you want, and adjust to make it just perfect...risers under the stem, seatpost adjustment, saddle placement, stem length, etc.

i'm no expert, but i am comfy, not having problems, putting in plenty of miles, and many of those with long times in the saddle. what works for me is not really running the numbers, but tweakin' stuff until it feels comfy.

:)

-J