I am pleased to announce that I bought my new bike. The Merckx EMX-3.
Following my blog post on the demo ride of the EMX-3 and the two difficult choices faced, I received lots of helpful advice through comments and emails which was really appreciated. People were generally divided into two camps: White Bike v Red Bike.
To recap – the white version of the EMX-3 had Campag Athena groupset, Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels, various other blingy bits of seat post and stem plus “free” shoes and pedals. The red bike had Campag Centaur groupset (one below Athena), Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels (slightly inferior) and slightly less blingy bits of seat post and stem, and no freebies. But it was £400 less.
In the end, I opted for the red bike for the following reasons:
- My original intention was to spend £X and focus on getting the best possible frame to last me for years, where the red bike was £X + £400 and the white bike was £X + £800. I would be happy to settle for lower spec’d wheels and groupset as I could upgrade later when my cycling ability warranted it. A top frame was the number 1 priority.
- I preferred the look of the red bike
- The difference between Campag Athena & Racing 5 wheels to Campag Centaur & Racing 7 wheels did not add up to £400 – therefore the shoes and pedals were clearly not “free”
- Red bikes apparently go faster (according to several people!)
It was not an easy decision, and advice from several people about the short and long-term benefits of Athena over Centaur were noted, but I couldn’t justify the extra spend. Plus I will probably move the Centaur groupset and Fulcrum 7 wheels onto my commuter bike next year when its components wear out and then upgrade to Athena and some decent wheels on the Merckx without raising suspicion from Ms BikeVCar that further big bicycle spending is going on. “Yes, the bike was expensive, but it will now last me for years so it’s an investment”.
With the new bike bought and some rare sunshine blazing down there was only one thing to do – christen the baby! I intended to cycle from Bedminster to Compton Martin, a relatively easy 20km if you can find your way around hilly Dundry. Unfortunately I don’t know Bedminster very well and got into a complete bugger’s muddle trying to find my way out which ended up leaving me with two options:
- Take the long route around Broadoak Hill as intended, but arrive late
- Climb the beast of Broadoak Hill and make it on time
Although this appears to be two options, when riding on a flashy bike with the name “Merckx” emblazoned across it in at least 7 places there was actually only one option. You cannot arrive late on a bike like this! At an average gradient of over 10% for 1.2km, Broadoak Hill is a bit of a bastard, but I got over it at an average speed of 14km/h and spending a good amount of that time out of the saddle. The bike felt light and stiff and it was just about as pleasurable as a killer hill can get.
I enjoyed my first ride on my new bike. The Campag gearing is very different to Shimano that I am used to, but I like the solid feel of it. My ride was fast, but also comfortable. This was an important consideration in choosing this bike.
It is now living inside our flat and making friends with Ms BikeVCar’s Orbea. This was supposedly due to the security concerns of leaving the bikes outside. Personally I just wanted to be able to look at it and smile. I feel I’ve made the right choice.