Eddie Merckx Mourenx 69 Black Anthracite Red ReviewMay 2, 2016
- Stiffest, most responsive in group
- Outstanding value for electronic shifting
- Corners like an Indy car
- Considerably heavier than others
- Poor design for integrated seatpost clamp
- Asymmetrical rims susceptible to crosswinds
Eddy Merckx's entry in the Endurance Road category is the Mourenx69, named after Merckx's legendary solo victory in the 1969 Tour de France that finished in Mourenx. Itsgeometry is firmly in the endurance category, but the Bottom Bracket and head tube junctions are noticeably stiffer than the others. Whether all-out sprinting, standing up and grinding a steep grade, or diving into a corner faster than you might be comfortable with, the Mourenx handles it beautifully. It’s still noticeably smoother than more racy geometries, but it lacked a bit of the “float” feel of the others, especially on really rough terrain. And with the cost savings, Ultegra makes this bike an amazing value, especially for the more speed-needy.
According to its geometry, the Eddie Merckx Mourenx69 is a typical Endurance Road bike—with a longer head tube and slacker angle, plus longer wheelbase and/or chainstays, and it definitely offers a smoother ride and more comfortable position than classic race bikes. However the stiffness in the front end and Bottom Bracket (BB), plus the uber-stiff seatpost, make this bike a bit less compliant than the others in the group, meaning you’ll feel more vibration on rough surfaces and more of a shock over big bumps. For those seeking the smoothest ride and most upright position, this is not the best choice. But if you don’t want to sacrifice that snappy race bike feel, it is ideal.
Because of its higher weight—over two pounds heavier than the lightest in the test—the ratio here suffers. However it is also stiffer in the key BB and head tube junction areas, making power transfer more efficient than the others. The Eddie Merckx Mourenx69 simply jets forward under pedal pressure with no noticeable flex underfoot. The front end also stays absolutely rigid when torqueing the bars for max power. It’s difficult to assess how much wattage is wasted to the extra weight, but that’s certainly a factor—not as much on shorter bursts as during extended efforts or sustained climbing.
As mentioned above, weight is an issue on the Eddie Merckx Mourenx69 compared to the others in this test. While not a heavy bike by any means, at this price level most disc bikes will be well below 18 pounds—this is a smaller frame than the others and still comes in slightly over 18. This will be much more apparent on sustained climbs and higher grades where the added weight makes it tougher to maintain a rhythm. Also the position isn’t quite as comfortable on sustained climbs because of the lower stack height. Short power climbs however are not an issue thanks to the outstanding stiffness and responsiveness.
It’s rare to feel such a tangible difference in bikes at this level, but the Eddie Merckx Mourenx69 is utterly stable and unwavering through turns, regardless of how low you dive in. The bike immediately sets its edge and arcs effortlessly while many other bikes are super quick turners and can feel “twitchy” where just a slight touch on the wheel redirects the bike. This one strikes an ideal balance between twitchy and sluggish turners. It’s among the best handling bikes we’ve ridden in any category.
Components: Drivetrain, Shifting and Brakes
Usually I have a fairly easy time differentiating between similar groupsets like Dura Ace and Ultegra, but in the case of the latest iteration of Di2, the difference is all but unnoticeable. Except in the wallet. The weight difference is negligible for all but the most serious gram counters—around 200 grams extra on the Ultegra. And the performance is even closer: Ultegra shares the incredibly smooth, quiet shifting and game-changing brake performance. While modulation was a tad better on DA, the Ultegra set on the Eddie Merckx Mourenx69 features Shimano’s IceTech calipers which help shed heat (both have the same IceTech rotors). There’s precious little difference in shifter levers too, both sharing ergo carbon levers with convenient reach adjustments. All this for around $1000 less.
The Fulcrum 5 DB wheelset (23mm wide; max tire width 32mm rear, 28mm front due to fork) is a solid choice, helping keep costs down while promising excellent durability. They’re certainly not the lightest in the group, at 1715g—but Fulcrum have proven strong and reliable over the years, and a great value. The hubs feature higher flanges on the torque sides, and are asymmetrical, with a straight rim profile on the higher-torque disc and drive sides respectively, said to maintain stiffness despite the added torque (the other side tapers in like an aero rim). While we experienced no noticeable flex, we did notice the front rim was quite susceptible to cross winds causing some swerving in what should be manageable winds.
We’re very careful when discussing value in these reviews—it’s not just cost, but how much comes for that number. With the Eddie Merckx Mourenx69 it’s a lot. If you’re not highly concerned with weight, and the name on the groupset is of less importance than the performance, this is clearly the best value in the bunch. At around $1,000 less than most of the others, you’re getting the most responsive and best handling bike and really only sacrificing weight and a little compliance—there’s almost no perceptible performance difference between DA and Ultegra Di2. However, for folks who spend much of their time climbing, you may want to spend the extra on a lighter rig.