2017 Eddy Merckx EM525 Disc Performance first look

The latest race rocket worthy of the Merckx name

There will always be a lot to say about Eddy Merckx. He is regarded as the greatest road cyclist in history. With that type of pedigree, racing bikes with his name on the them are held to the highest standards. Here's the latest road race machine to bear the Cannibal's moniker, the EM525 Disc Performance.

There are two EM525 Discs available: Performance and Endurance. In addition to the differing geometries, the weight, stiffness and compliance also differ slightly.

No matter what angle you view it, the EM525 is a striking machine

For the Performance series, Merckx designs its bikes with four guiding principles. In order they are: geometry, it has to be an aerodynamic position; stiffness, for power transfer and handling; lightweight, for acceleration and climbing; and system integration, for clean lines.

With that name on the down tube, this race bike has a lot to live up to
With that name on the down tube, this race bike has a lot to live up to

The EM525 Disc will be offered as frameset and with three build kits: Ultegra, Ultegra Di2, and Dura-Ace Di2.

2017 Eddy Merckx EM525 Disc Performance highlights

  • Highest stiffness to weight
  • Constant stiffness for each frame size 
  • 900gr/380gr (frame/fork) 
  • Monocoque front triangle
  • Monocoque fork 
  • Integration of fork and seatpost
  • Powerbox, asymmetric chainstays
  • Kink compliance seatstays 
  • Syntace 12mm thru-axles  
  • Seven frame sizes 
  • 20mm offset seatpost
  • Internal cable routing for mechanical and electronic 
  • Internal disc brake cable routing 
  • Flat mount disc
  • Tapered 1.5 inch integrated headset 
  • BB86 
  • Integrated seatpost clamp 
  • Clearance for 30mm tires

Belgian Design Engineering, look closely
Belgian Design Engineering, look closely

Oversize and aero

Upon first glance, the EM525's head tube looks massive. The frame and fork junction are beautifully and seamlessly integrated, but it did have me questioning if another new head tube "standard" was about to be unveiled. Luckily no, the mammoth front end is used to run the cables internally, right from the start of the frame under the stem, and the fork is still a standard 1.5in taper. 

Clean from the start, cables and hoses run through the head tube
Clean from the start, cables and hoses run through the head tube

Moving down the bike, a seriously large diameter carbon down tube flows into the bottom bracket area. It's a BB86 press fit affair between the cranks, and it's surrounded by plenty of watt-channeling carbon aiming all your power at the chunky chainstays. From there, the kinked seatstays grabbed my attention. They are flat and give a nod at a modicum of compliance out back. 

A wide BB86 bottom bracket and large square chainstays are not so subtle reminders that this is a performance machine
A wide BB86 bottom bracket and large square chainstays are not so subtle reminders that this is a performance machine

Taking a step back, the cleanliness of the design stands out. Beyond just the hidden Di2 wires and hydraulic brake hoses, the aero seatpost features an integrated clamp that's accessed from under the top tube. The top tube itself is curved upwards ever so slightly and arcs gracefully into the seatstays with their distinctive dog leg kink. Even those somewhat abrupt seatstay lines work nicely with the aero seat tube and its cutout for the rear wheel

A bit of aerodynamics from the seat tube
A bit of aerodynamics from the seat tube

Up front, the fork has a bit of curve which tapers elegantly into the aforementioned massive lower head tube. No matter what angle you view it, the EM525 is a striking machine. 

2017 Eddy Merckx EM525 Disc Performance pricing

The frameset retails at US$4,499, Ultegra US$6,999, Ultegra Di2 US$7,999, and Dura-Ace Di2 US$10,999. UK and Australian pricing not available.

There's a little cover for the stem's face plate
There's a little cover for the stem's face plate

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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