Few riders come close to Eddy Merckx, and the bikes that bear his name have arguably made his the most successful signature brand in cycling. The EMX-5 takes some beating in terms of surefooted, high confidence, high velocity performance.
The frameset costs £2,799 and the long experience of Merckx in making bikes is shown in the level of detailing. The EMX-5 might not have the aero tubes or integrated seat mast of the flagship EMX-7, but grooves along down tube and top tube to stiffen the carbon skin are something we’ve not seen before. Together with the tapered head tube and double curve taper on the aero bladed fork, they create a front end that immediately feels locked into the road.
The slack head angle adds even more stability to the steering, and when the descents dropped fast and turned tight on our test rides, this was the bike we all wanted to be on. The downside is that this resolute security, and the sturdy construction that gives the relatively high frame weight, mask the more dynamic capabilities of the Merckx at first.
Kick power through the silky smooth ceramic bearing Campagnolo cranks and there’s no doubt the heavily shaped chainstays are properly pro-proof pieces that won’t wilt at any wattage. This translates to a building surge from the second and third pedal strokes rather than a sudden snap acceleration from the first kick, but keep that power on and the Merckx muscles up a crescendo of speed Eddy would be proud of.
While they don’t add any aero edge, the Fulcrum wheels underline the ride, feeling tight and responsive, their ultra-smooth-rolling ceramic bearings keeping them spinning once up to speed. The Campagnolo/FSA-based build offsets the weight of the frame and keeps the EMX-5 competitive.
Its practicality extends further than the conventional seatpost too: while fractionally sharper bikes rapidly become too harsh for most recreational riders, the Merckx loves nothing more than to extend the day’s campaign into a series of battles. Gapping the pack on a descent or charging the final few metres to the top of a long lung buster, the EMX-5 is always more than ready for a rumble.