Merckx Sallanches 64 review

More polite dinner party guest than cannibal

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £1,799.00 RRP | AUD $2,865.00 | USD $2,499.00

Our review

The Sallanches is a relaxed ride with an entirely pleasant character
Buy if, You want a stylish machine for big distance days
Pros: Refined character, cool frame design
Cons: Weight, awkward headset top cap
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Eddy Merckx is widely considered to be the greatest cyclist of all time. His bike brand caters to all your road bike needs, with the Sallanches fulfilling the role of a big-mile endurance machine. The name comes from the town in France that hosted the 1964 UCI Road World Championships, where Merckx took the amateur title at just 19. His winning time (185.5km in four hours, 39 minutes, 10 seconds) is emblazoned on the down-tube.

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The Sallanche 64’s frame is a gorgeous thing that melds organic curves with butch, industrial design cues. A slim round seatpost excepted, the main tubes are big and angular, promising stiffness, but the endurance bike clues are there – the seatpost is skinny, the fork blades comparatively dainty, and the seatstays have a pronounced flat section around the brake calliper that should add vertical flex to the rear.

If ever a bike looked European, this is it; the funky proprietary seat clamp sits flush with the top-tube in a way that’s reminiscent of the last generation Orbea Orca, while the visual kink in the top-tube is Look-esque. Tying it all together Merckx has applied some eye-catching fluorescent orange highlights — it’s a good-looking machine.

The bike weighs in at 8.6kg, but the Sallanches is built on a frame that’s claimed to come in at a reasonable 990g, with a feathery 360g fork.

The seat clamp sitting flush with the top-tube has an air of the old Orbea Orca
David Caudery / Immediate Media

While the Sallanches could be called a race bike, its persona on the road is less that of ‘the cannibal’ Eddy Merckx (a nickname used by the media in his glory days) and more that of a dinner party guest far too polite to feast on human flesh. It’s a smooth and composed ride that’s best suited to big miles at a steady pace, but that’s not to say it isn’t a fun bike to ride — it’s fairly stiff and its unruffled nature on speedy downhill sections inspires daring behaviour.

It just doesn’t have the edginess of some of the competition out there, partly because it’s that bit heavier, and also because the comparatively upright position favours a more relaxed outlook. (Our medium bike has a reach [horizontal distance between the centre of the frame’s bottom bracket and head-tube] and stack [vertical distance from the bottom bracket to the middle of the head-tube] of 376mm and 562mm respectively, numbers that are very much in the ‘sportive’ ballpark.) Tyre clearances are decent — it’s only meant to take 25s, but we’re confident you could squeeze 28mm rubber in for an even plusher ride.

The Sallanches wouldn’t be our first choice for bagging KOMs, but it’s a lovely place to spend the day. There are no real misses on the spec front, which includes a Shimano 105 groupset and RS010 wheels, with the minor exception of the curious Deda headset top cap which conceals the preload bolt — on our test bike it managed to weld itself in place.

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Finishing kit is basic but attractive and while you could sharpen the ride up with a change of wheels, the bike is entirely competent out of the box, if not exceptional value for money.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Sallanches 64
Brand Eddy Merckx Bikes

Available Sizes S M L
Rear Wheel Weight 1930
Wheelbase (cm) 98.5
Top Tube (cm) 54
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 46
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 28
Wheelset Shimano RS010
Weight (kg) 8.62
Trail 6.8
Stem Deda Zero 2 100mm
Shifters Shimano 105
Seatpost Deda Zero 27.2mm
Seat Angle 73.5
Saddle Prologo K3 STN
Rear Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II 700x25mm
Bottom Bracket Press-fit
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105
Headset Type FSA
Head Angle 72
Handlebar Deda RHM Zero 42cm
Front Wheel Weight 1350
Front Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II 700x25mm
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Frame Material Sallanches 64 carbon
Fork Offset 4
Fork Sallanches 64 carbon
Cranks Shimano 105 172.5mm, 50/34
Chain Shimano
Cassette Shimano CS-5800 11-28
Brakes Shimano 105
Frame size tested M