Eddy Merckx’s eponymous bike brand has a long history of building race-winning road bikes, but what many don’t know is their past successes on the ‘cross course— Zdenek Stybar wore the cyclocross World Champion stripes on bike that was, at the least, painted and labeled as a Merckx.
For 2016, Merckx taps back in to their race heritage with the introduction of the Eeklo cylocross bike, while getting into the growing gravel bike segment of cycling with their Strasbourg line of wide-tired do-it-all bikes.
Cyclocross Magazine caught up with Eddy Merckx Cycles and was able to take a look at two bikes from their 2016 line: the Eeklo 70 and the Strasbourg 71.
Eeklo 70 Cyclocross Bike
Named after the home town of cyclocross specialist extraordinaire Roger De Vlaeminck, the Merckx Eeklo 70 features a carbon monocoque frame featuring internal cable and hydraulic hose routing, together with a matching carbon monocoque fork.
Merckx sticks with a more “traditional” European geometry with the Eeklo 70, with a high bottom bracket, middle of the road headtube angle and shorter-than-average head tube.
Merckx plays it safe with the parts spec on the Eeklo 70, going with the tried-and-true Shimano Ultegra mechanical group, featuring RS685 STI shift levers paired with R785 hydraulic disc calipers to provide stopping power to the Shimano IceTech centerlock rotors.
Ultegra STI shift levers control the Ultegra 6800 mechanical derailleurs front and rear, and the 46/36 chainrings on the Ultegra 6800 crankset pair well with the 11-28 Shimano Ultegra cassette to provide gearing that is sufficient for both the ‘cross course and steep gravel grades.
Shimano’s RX31 disc brake wheels are outfitted with Vittoria Cross XG Pro tires.
A Prologo Zero-II saddle is held tight by a Deda RSX01 seatpost. Merckx goes with Deda to round out the cockpit—equipping the Eekelo with a Zero 100 stem and Zero 100 handlebars.
Strasbourg 71 Gravel Bike
Designed to be Merckx’s interpretation of an all-conditions, gravel and dirt road bike, the Strasbourg 71, named after Merckx’s win in the 1971 Tour de France win on a gravel finish, features an 6069 aluminum alloy frame complete with thru axle, paired with a Merckx 15mm thru axle monocoque carbon fork.
If you’re looking for a full-tilt road or cyclocross race machine, look elsewhere—the Strasbourg errs on the stable side of the geometry spectrum, with a low 69mm bottom bracket height, and a middle-of-the-road 72-degree head tube angle on the medium-sized frame.
With the goal of maximum bang for your buck in mind, the Strasbourg 71 is equipped with a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake group—built around RS505 STI shift levers paired with RS505 hydraulc disc calipers.
A Shimano 105 5800-series crankset sports 50/34 chainrings, which will be too tall for ‘cross racing, but in the wheelhouse for the Strasbourg 71’s intent as an all-road bike. An 11-28 Shimano 105 cassette also leans towards the road end of the component spectrum.
The Fulcrum Racing 5 Disc wheels are shod with Continental Ultra Sport II tires in 32mm width—those who desire to venture onto the trails may look to add a tire with more traction.
Deda provides the cockpit, with a Zero RHM handlebar, Zero seatpost and stem. Prologo provides the saddle.
Use the arrows below for a closer look at the Merckx Eeklo 70 cyclocross bike, and the Strasbourg 71 gravel bike. For more information, visit, eddymerckx.com.