I was thrilled when David Cook of Clarence Street Cyclery asked me if I’d like to ride the new Eddy Merckx women’s specific road bike and write a review for my blog. It’s my very first bike review so don’t be expecting any technical talk or voice of experience.
For benchmarking purposes my own current road bike is a 2011 Specialized Amira Expert which has a full carbon frame and the gearing is full Ultegra. I really love my bike but I also jumped at the opportunity to ride a different bike for a week and certainly didn’t regret this decision.
The Eddy Merckx name is synonymous with cycling and racing and they claim that this bike is designed with racing in mind. So they have incorporated ‘Female Race Geometry’ where the angle of the seat tube is kept as close to proper racing angle as possible, the top tube is made shorter and the front head tube is made larger.
The bike which I’ve just returned to Clarence Street Cyclery was an Eddy Merckx EFX-3 women’s specific road bike. It has a full carbon frame and the gearing is Ultegra. If you want all the technical specifications then go to the Eddy Merckx website . It retails for $3,999 which seems to be fairly comparable price in the marketplace.
From what I know this bike is part of a range of new bikes from the Eddy Merckx company in Belgium. While the brand has been around for many years and is obviously closely tied to the great Eddy Merckx this range is a bit of a relaunch particularly here in Australia. In fact they had an official launch at the Tour Down Under in 2012 and had their bikes on display at the Tour Village.
My overall impression of the EFX-3 is that it handled well and was very smooth to ride. I rode about 180 km over the week around suburban streets and roads. I also tested it up some hills and descents and having nothing but praise for it.
As you would expect the Ultegra gearing was smooth and easy to change. The brakes felt good and predictable and didn’t let me down even riding in some light rain. The carbon frame obviously absorbs a lot of the shocks and made for a nice smooth experience. If you move from an alloy frame bike to carbon you’ll certainly notice the difference.
The gearing is 50/34 on the front and 12/23 on the rear. My own bike is similar but has a 11/28 on the rear and I must say I did notice the granny gear on the EFX-3 was a little harder but I still made it up all those hills.
The saddle is a Prologo Nago Evo Dea Ti and it was comfortable and accommodated my sit bones correctly. It wasn’t overly spongy but I think that the shape of the saddle is the key thing rather than spongyness. It also looks pretty ‘fast’ and suited the rest of the bike in both colouring and style.
The EFX-3 is predominantly white with black and red highlights which I personally find an appealing colour scheme. It’s certainly not lairy but also not boring. The white handle bar tape also completes the look and contrary to rumours you may have heard is really not that hard to keep clean as long as you clean it often.
The whole Merckx range seem to be quite similar in appearance and I think they’ve gone for a ‘middle-of-the-road’ look to appeal to the varying tastes of riders. It works for me. I think that women more so than men will match their outfits to the their bike (I actually had a conversation with another female rider this morning and she confessed to the same thing) so a safe colour scheme makes this much easier. I also have a complete aversion to pink cycling gear including bikes so was pleased that none of the three Eddy Merckx women specific bikes had any sign of pink.
I was also impressed with the internal cables that run inside the downtube which makes it look better but also hides them away so they are less susceptible to damage. The Fulcrum 5 wheels handled well and again are similar to my current bike.
Overall I enjoyed the experience. Had this bike been available when I bought my bike a year ago it would certainly have made it to my shortlist. At the time of writing Clarence Street Cyclery which has a dedicated women’s store had plenty of stock of the three sizes available – 40, 43 (the size I rode) and 46 cm.