In the tradition of illustrious compatriots such as Eddy Merckx, Belgian road legend Johan Museeuw has taken the plunge into bicycle manufacturing and produced an intriguing and altogether pleasing combination of ancient material and cutting-edge technology.
Potatoes. Coal. Sugar beet. Iron ore. Flax. All primal building blocks of European societies and economies over the centuries, and now you can experience a little of that heritage with the ﬂax/carbon-framed MF-5.
Combining a velvety ride with stable handling that betrays its cobbled road origins, this is one machine you could happily team up with for an all-day assault on Franco-Belgian pavés, or any other venerable stretches found in this weary and long-fought-over crossroads of northern Europe.
Ride & handling: rock steady ride which soaks up the bumps
Climbing was impressive despite the MF-5’s somewhat portly weight of 1499g, although it was set in its ways when attempting to get it to swing when standing.
It actually had us going back for extra portions of our cobbled section, just to conﬁrm our conclusion that this is by a fair margin one of the most comfortable frames money can buy, short of getting your hands on Museeuw’s full-suspension Bianchi used in his legendary 1994 Paris-Roubaix attempt.
Frame and fork: unusual and plenty comfortable, eco-friendly ﬂax carbon
The MF-5 is a carbon-lugged affair comprising shaped tubes with an 80/20 ﬂax to carbon ratio, curvy fork blades and chainstays with a propensity for heel rub.
Featuring a long wheelbase of 99.8cm and generous portions of trail and shock absorbency, this bike will gobble the cobbles.
Equipment: pick’n’mix as you like it, with plenty from the carbon bin
Sold primarily as framesets, produced in Europe by reputable and experienced builder Billato and designer IPA, ours came equipped with a mixed bag of high and low brow.
Campagnolo Record Carbon 10-speed performed to its amazing and benchmark standard, while ﬁnishing kit consisted of Museeuw badged carbon elements of anonymous character with a rudimentary saddle of padded vinyl on chromoly rails – though the unusual 29.4mm thin-walled carbon post worked well as an additional shock absorbing element.
Wheels were our choice, so a set of Mavic Ksyrium Elites identical to the Giant’s seemed most appropriate, the all-black tech look working nicely with the dark, lustrous surfaces of the attractive frame.
|Name||MF-5 Frame & Fork (09)|
|Description||€3550 (£2800) f+f+s/post|
|Rear Tyre Size||700x25C|
|Rear Tyre||Pro Race 3|
|Front Tyre Size||700x25|
|Front Tyre||Pro Race 3|
|Available Sizes||50cm 52 54 56 58 60 cm 62cm|
|Top Tube (cm)||56|
|Standover Height (cm)||79|
|Seat Tube (cm)||50.5|
|Bottom Bracket Height (cm)||26.5|
|Shifters||Record Carbon 10 spd QS|
|Seatpost||Museeuw carbon 29.5mm dia 280mm length|
|Saddle||SX Force - Chromoly rails|
|Rear Hub||Forged alloy|
|Rear Derailleur||10 Record Carbon medium cage|
|Handlebar||SX Force Carbon bar - OS 42cm c-c|
|Front Hub||Forged alloy|
|Front Derailleur||braze-on carbon cage|
|Frame Material||Carbon ax shaped tubes with carbon lugs - alloy dropouts and inserts.|
|Fork||Full carbon blades crown and 1 1/8in steerer with alloy dropouts|
|Cranks||Record Carbon compact- two piece ultra-torque 172.5mm arms coated alloy rings|
|Cassette||Campagnolo Record 10 speed 11-25|