The name might not be as familiar as some, but Mekk is a British bike brand you should be seeing more of as the manufacturer raises its game and expands its range.
The Primo is Mekk’s flagship road machine and it’s a real racer’s bike. The steep 73.5-degree head angle and super-short (for a 59cm bike) 98.3cm wheelbase make for a bike that’s easy to flick about. The way it reacts instantly to steering inputs is truly impressive for a steed that feels so well composed, even when you’re just turning the pedals and not on the attack.
Highs: Racy position, quality components
Lows: Handling might be too fast for some
Though the Primo isn’t an aero bike, Mekk has taken aerodynamics into account: the fork is deeply bladed yet narrow from the front, its crown blending into the bulb-shaped tapered head-tube. Aero touches continue through the teardrop-shaped down tube and seat tube, and a dedicated aero seatpost is held in place with a wedge clamp integrated into the top tube. Aero seatposts can be prone to slipping but we encountered no problems with this cleverly designed wedge, though the bolt itself isn’t that easy to access with anything but a ball-ended L-shaped Allen key.
The seatpost is neat but access to the bolt is awkward: Robert Smith
The seatpost is neat but access to the bolt is awkward
On the back of Mekk’s UK distribution partnership with Paligap, the Primo has a smattering of Paligap-distroed products, including Ritchey’s brilliant WCS 260 stem, so-called as the clamp area wraps a generous 260 degrees of the bar diameter. The claimed benefits are a more secure connection than a traditional stem and one that’s less likely to score or damage expensive carbon handlebars.
It’s certainly a perfect companion to the excellent Logic Curve bar, whose compact drop starts with a tight curve before opening out, giving excellent handholds in the hooks when you’re covering the brakes or down on the flats in a more aero position. Although the ride is firm the superb cockpit and San Marco Aspide saddle keep vibration to a minimum.
Mekk has chosen a race-orientated yet sportive-friendly drivetrain gearing combination of 52/36 chainset and 12-28 cassette, giving you plenty of range to climb well while still hitting high speeds on the flat. All Shimano 105, the shifting is crisp and smooth and braking as good as it gets at this price.
The gearing is versatile with a pro-compact 52/36 chainset and 12-28 cassette: Robert Smith
The gearing is versatile with a pro-compact 52/36 chainset and 12-28 cassette
The same is true of the wheel choice. If you asked us what wheelset we would expect to find on a bike of this price then our default would be Mavic’s Aksium Race – well built, hardwearing and not weighty. The Primo arguably deserves a lighter wheelset, but for a solid, everyday-use wheel the Aksium is one of the best around. Rather than going the all-Mavic route (Aksium wheels with Aksion boots) Mekk has shod the hoops in Continental’s mid-range Grand Sport Race – a hardwearing quality set of rubber with plenty of all-weather grip and good puncture resistance. It’s good to see Mekk go for 25mm too, the extra width better for poor surfaces.
The Primo is a racing thoroughbred with a flat-backed riding position, yet it has enough concessions to endurance riding. Add to that it’s well equipped and fun to ride, and it makes the Primo one to add to your shortlist if you’re in the market.