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Merckx Race frameset(12 posts)

Merckx Race framesetBonked
Nov 25, 2003 11:09 AM
I have the opportunity to purchase a Merckx Race frameset for a pretty good price (the last in the shop and it happens to be my size), but can't find much info on these on the web; Competitive Cyclist has a good write-up, but there aren't any user reviews on this site. I was just wondering if anyone had ridden one of these and, if so, what they thought.

Also, this frame will be for a second bike to be used mainly in crits, so I would want something that could stand up to crappy roads, crashes, etc. without breaking right away. I have heard that Merckx builds is frames a little heavier so that they last longer, but was wondering if this is true in general or true for this frame specifically.

Not really a crit bike...gtx
Nov 25, 2003 11:24 AM
All his frames now have his "Century" geometry, which is a bit more laid back, with a slacker seat tube angles, longer c-stays, etc. It also has a lower bb that namny bikes, which is not ideal for crits if you plan to pedal through corners. I'd also be hesitant to buy a frame with a proprietary carbon fork if I was racing (his forks have quite a bit more rake than other frames, so you can't just swap on another fork if you damage the one that comes with it). Anyway, I don't know much about that frame in particular, but would be skeptical of anyone who claims they could feel any dramatic difference between any of his newer AL offerings.
Rake...Rusty Coggs
Nov 25, 2003 1:21 PM
My MXL has a pretty normal 43mm rake, as well as a 26.6 bb height.
Nov 25, 2003 1:44 PM
Well, I just did a search, and the Race is listed with a 45mm rake, so I guess I'm wrong. I couldn't find anything on bb height. Maybe these numbers have changed since mine was built 12+ years ago, but mine easily has 50mm+ rake and a very low bb.
Nov 25, 2003 2:11 PM
My 03 Team Sc has a normal 43 mm rake. I think the advent of carbon forks necessitated a more 'normal' rake for Merckx ... not too many carbon forks with 50mm rake.
re: Merckx Race framesetJS Haiku Shop
Nov 25, 2003 11:24 AM
the race and my elite are basically the same frame with a slightly different type of AL (race = slightly lighter due to 7000 al vs 7020 on the elite). other difference is the race has a carbon rear.

I have a lugged steel strada from 2001 and an elite from 2002. both are evidently "overbuilt", most evinced by frame weight, among other observations. i've ridden the strada on a couple of double centuries with no complaints. i however would not dream of riding the elite on much more than 70-100 miles.

the elite climbs and descends like a dream, and corners like a racecar. it is very stiff and not as forgiving as a carbon fiber monococque or steel frame (lugged or otherwise), but that's not what you're looking for, right?

there is no question that merckx bikes are superior in design and cosmetics, and the ride is ideal, at least for my own intended purpose of each frame. however i would echo many posters on this site, and from personal experience and that of friends, and recommend a cannondale frame with 105 or ultegra-level components, if for a backup/crit frame.

check GVH ( for a buncha caad3-caad5 NOS frames from the last couple years' c'dale ranges. i've had a couple c'dales in the last few years, and find them quite stiff and respnsive, in a "less courteous" way; i'm not sure how else to put it. additionally, they are easy to come by, and the price is right.

this is where i'd go and what i'd get, faced with your objective. primarily for price, but also because i wouldn't mind thrashing the hell out of a $1200 crit bike.


Merckx RaceTig
Nov 25, 2003 4:13 PM
I have the Race's predecessor, the Fuga, but the geometry is the same. The Race is a little more refined in its construction but the ride doesn't feel that much different than the Fuga. I have 11 teammates who have raced the '03 Race this year and all have had positive experiences. Most have the standard geometry and 3 use the compact geometry. 4 racers from a different team we sponsor are on the Team SC and they absolutely love them. One guy cracked his fork in a very nasty crash that also broke his clavicle in a few places as well as a thumb.

Since I am a mechanic at the LBS that sold the Merckx frames to them, I've built up or worked on most of the bikes. The only real problem I've seen is with Merckx using Italian threaded bottom bracket shells. The bottom brackets tend to back out if not properly torqued (plus a little more torque!). We use a quick release to hold the bottom bracket tool into the bottom bracket to keep it from slipping when tightening. I'm not a big fan of integrated headsets, but haven't had the slightest problem with the Campy Record Hiddenset these frames use.

A few people I ride with have both the Team SC and the Race and compare them like this: The compact Team SC is a pure race machine. Light, crisp handling, a little rough but more comfortable than a CADD 5 or 6, and it explodes out of corners like a scalded cat. The Race is a little heavier, a little more sluggish out of corners, but the choice for longer rides since it is much more comfortable.

As for racing crit's, I wouldn't worry about the century geometry. These bikes are quite nimble, but without the typical nervous tendency American race geometries can have. Blasting through quick corners is easy. Just "tell" it where to go and it sticks to its path.

One word of caution on frame fit. Due to the relatively tall head tube, these frames tend to run larger than you might expect. 3 different teammates switched to a 2 cm smaller frame than they thought would work (compared to their Cannondale's).
Merckx RaceBonked
Nov 25, 2003 5:27 PM
Thanks for your detailed feedback! I kind of agree on the crit geometry...I have a Colnago that I rode in a few crits this last year (and managed not to crash it, thank God!) with a laid back geometry and didn't have any problems. Sometimes I wonder if the number of crashes that happen in crits isn't partly due to everyone riding twitchy bikes!

thanks again!
Any idea where I can get a good Merckx geometry chart?Bonked
Nov 25, 2003 7:02 PM
I have been looking again and the Merckx does seem a just a little bigger than my 'Nago (I ride a 59cm), but it is hard to tell. Ironically, the geometry charts from the man known to carry his tape measure to the start line only list a few dimensions! It seems like the top tube is just a little longer, but it is hard to tell much else.

Thanks again!
competitive cyclist(click on the blinky ad)...Spunout
Nov 26, 2003 4:48 AM
Looks like the TT is 1 to 1.5 cm longer on the Merckx compared to a Colnago, not quite making up the difference for the slacker seat-tube. Draw your own conclusions!
re: Merckx Race framesetAFred
Nov 26, 2003 8:53 AM
I own the predecesor to the Race, the Fuga, as well as the Team SC. The SC is all about going fast, very fast. The Fuga is more comfortable and a bit more stable. I find that I ride the Fuga much more. It's a great all around bike. You shouldn't have any problem with crits on the Race, there should be enough clearance between the road and the bb, and it corners solidly, if a hair slow. The fit and finish on the Merckx frames are excellent and deserving of some protection. You may want to think twice about spending $$ for the Race if you plan on throwing it around in crits. Compare your LBS price with GVH's.
Thanks for the feedback...Bonked
Nov 26, 2003 11:23 AM
It was definitely helpfull, although I still have to make a decision! Thanks again!