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Merlin Empire Featured Road Bike

Sale $7,124.25 $9,499.00 25% off

Item # MLN000I

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  • Race Matte Black/White, 50cm ($7,124.25)
  • Race Matte Black/White, 51cm ($7,124.25)
  • Race Matte Black/White, 52cm ($7,124.25)
  • Race Matte Black/White, 54cm ($7,124.25)
  • Race Matte Black/White, 55cm ($7,124.25)
  • Race Matte Black/White, 57cm ($7,124.25)
  • Race Matte Black/White, 58cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 50cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 51cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 52cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 54cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 55cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 57cm ($7,124.25)
  • Black/Black, 58cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 50cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 51cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 52cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 54cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 55cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 57cm ($7,124.25)
  • Matte Black/Outline, 58cm ($7,124.25)
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Item # MLN000I

Merlin's next chapter has arrived.

It's common for any new project's name to evolve with the development process, with the final selection organically arising near final production. So when you have a label known as much for its manufacturing material of choice as its actual machines, it's crucial that any departure from the norm wears a title to match. That said, enter the Empire. Standing as Merlin's maiden voyage into the carbon realm, it comes fully armed with the engineering prowess revered by so many, along with a platform that's been built from the ground up by a team of cyclists and composite experts determined to deliver the best carbon road machine on the planet.

The new design pays homage to Empire Pass, one of the most difficult climbs in North America, which served as prime testing grounds for the new this UCI-approved, EN-certified frameset. Coming from the world of titanium, Merlin knew that the root of any sound frame design begins not only with material selection, but also tube shape. So, for its inaugural carbon fiber endeavor, Merlin's US design team partnered with a group of Italy's top carbon engineers at for the handmade construction of the Empire.

First glance reveals that, while not titanium, the Empire's sleek tubes flow in a manner reminiscent of metal. Absent are the aggressive swoops and curves commonplace on so many of today's road bikes, which, to Merlin, are seen as unnecessary to the overall function of the machine. Starting with the most obvious in appearance, the Empire's pencil-thin seatstays draw inspiration from those of the Extralight, but carry a modern ovalized curvature. These have been paired with chainstays that flow from the dropouts into stout, box-section tubes as they move into the bottom bracket junction, resulting in a rear triangle that provides the tuned-compliance necessary for hours in the saddle, along with incredible torsional rigidity.

The bottom bracket itself wears an oversized BB86 profile, contributing to an ultra-stiff platform that directs pedaling forces directly to the rear wheel. From this junction, the Empire's large down tube moves up to the tapered, 1 1/2 to 1 1/8in head tube, which is responsible for its rock-solid tracking and stability at speed. Supplementing this razor-sharp handling is ENVE's Road 2.0 fork, which has been given a custom graphic treatment to perfectly match the Empire's stealthy matte-carbon finish.

Continuing with the Merlin tradition is the iconic metal head badge, but the Empire gets the royal treatment in that every one is handmade in Pennsylvania. The details continue, complete with a Thomson seatpost collar, replaceable hanger with ultra-rigid sandwiched construction, internal cable routing, and clean graphics throughout.

The build kit is equally impressive, as Merlin paired the Empire with ENVE's proven ultra-light Smart System 3.4 Carbon Road Wheelset, road handlebar, seatpost, and stem, along with the previously mentioned 2.0 fork. For the drivetrain, Shimano's Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed Di2 received the nod, complete with a compact (50/34t) crankset paired with an 11-25t cassette out back. The machine rolls on Michelin Pro4 Service Course Tires, and Fi'zi:k's Aliante rounds out the package.

The Merlin Empire Featured Road Bike is available in sizes 50 to 58cm and in the colors Black/black, Matte Black/outline, and Race Matte Black/White.

Read our Review

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
carbon fiber
ENVE Road 2.0
Fork Material:
carbon fiber
Cane Creek tapered
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9000
Front Derailleur:
Shimano Dura-Ace FD-9000
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070
Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000 50 / 34 t
Bottom Bracket:
Shimano BB86
Crank Arm Length:
170 - 175 mm
Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000 11 - 25 t
Shimano CN-9000
Handlebar Width:
40 - 44 cm
Bar Tape:
Cinelli Cork
Fi'zi:k Aliante
Seat Collar:
ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Clincher
DT Swiss 240
Michelin Pro4
Tire Size:
700 c x 23 mm
Actual Weight:
Race Matte Black/White, 54cm: 6520g
Recommended Use:
road race
Manufacturer Warranty:
2 years

sizing chart

Bike size by rider height


Geometry chart


Geometry Chart



Seat Tube


Effective Top Tube






Stand Over

Head Tube


Head Tube Angle


Seat Tube Angle


Bottom Bracket Drop




50cm 45.5cm 50.4cm 50cm 37.7cm 49.8cm 11cm 70o 74.4o 67mm 40.2cm 97.9cm
51cm 48cm 51.5cm 51cm 38.4cm 51cm 11.5cm 70.5o 74.4o 72mm 40.4cm 98.5cm
52cm 51.5cm 52.5cm 51.7cm 38.5cm 51.7cm 12cm 71.4o 74o 72mm 40.4cm 98cm
54cm 54.5cm 54.5cm 54cm 39.5cm 53.9cm 13.9cm 72.5o 73.7o 72mm 40.4cm 98.7cm
55cm 56.5cm 55.7cm 55.8cm 39.9cm 55.8cm 15.8cm 72.8o 73.4o 72mm 40.6cm 99.6cm
57cm 59cm 57.5cm 58.2cm 40.6cm 58.2cm 17.9cm 73.7o 73o 72mm 40.7cm 100.3cm
58cm 61cm 58.7cm 61cm 40.6cm 61cm 21.5cm 73.4o 72.4o 67mm 40.7cm 101.6cm

Reviews & Community


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Will this frame accommodate 25's? what about 28's?


Best Answer

The frame won't take 28's but 25's work just fine. if you are looking at purchasing one contact me directly at kylebrown@backcountry.com. I have ridden this bike extensively and can help you with any questions and help you out with pricing as well. kylebrown@backcountry.com


  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Had the first Trek carbon, the usps edition, Specialized SL2 with Zipp; This bike is far superior! It is stiff but without the road chatter. It is the smoothest ride ever. NOT soft, NOT cush....SMOOTH as hugs the road. Does not get bounced around (less fatigue). Di2 is fantatstic! The hoods are not quite as comfy as my old dura ace. That is the only knock. The ENVE's are awesome. Better combo and better ride then Zipps. They go THROUGH all the small stones, they don't get bounced by them. I do not ride for fitness, don't track HR or watts. I ride for the pure joy of riding and can't wait to get on this bike every day.

The new top dogma... I mean dog

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I could go on and on about this bike but it would bore you to tears since it's already been written about this bike in previous reviews. What they have written is true, it is the best production bike available, and I've ridden about everything out there. One thing to mention for racers is that I would forgo the compact crankset that comes standard on this bike unless you want to get dropped in the descents opt for a standard 53/39 or mid 52/36.

Can the D-A Di2 shifter and rear derailleur...

Can the D-A Di2 shifter and rear derailleur components be swapped with the non-Di2 D-A components at a lower price? Thanks.

Best Answer


My name is Enrico and I have to say good choice on bike, this hing is an amazing ride very comfortable, and powerful in the climbs and flats. It want to Go!!!!! But to answer your question yes we can swap out components on this bike to accomodate you. I would be more then happy to help you with this and get you the best price possible.

My email is ececala@backcountry.com and my extension is xt4613. I look forward to talking with you in the future.



Ridiculously Awesome

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

With most bikes, you're sure to make some compromises - descending for climbing, climbing for instability, stiffness for comfort, etc.. This is not the case with the Merlin Empire, however. It climbs better than the BH Ultralight and descends with confidence, not far off of the TMR01. In other words, it's sprightly up the mountain and fast as hell coming down.

The construction is flawless, and the possibilities of making this into a weight weenie bike is super high, considering that this featured bike build 14.30 pounds without pedals or cages (size 52cm). Seriously, do yourself a favor and check this one out ? it's carbon with soul.

Read my full review here:


Avg. ride time: 4h 19m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Climb, Baby Climb!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

One of the best perks of working in this industry, is being able to test all kinds of bikes. I was lucky enough to give this noble steed a go for just over a week. Lets just say, it was very hard to bring it back to the office.

This bike is a climber's dream. Absolutely as smooth as can be, propelling with grace and ease up the steepest of grades and wasting no energy in doing so. Most impressive was how quickly this bike responded to the slightest increase in cadence, position or power. With the frame, smooth DA drivetrain and stealthy ENVE Smart System 3.4 wheels this machine seemed to just float up the climbs. It was the most fun I'd ever had on our local climbs around the Salt Lake Valley.

Though responsive to your every move, I certainly would not consider it "touchy". Enve cockpit, wheels and a truly unique carbon layup on the frame made this the smoothest character around. Descending was almost as fun as the climb; stable, smooth and very fast with a deeper dish rim that still handled any cross winds admirably. This bike was no doubt fast, but still one the most comfortable bikes I've ever been on.

The Empire is very appropriately named; after the famed Empire Pass climb beginning in Midway, Utah. It's a climb I know well, as the foot of the climb is literally at my family's front door in Midway. Can't think of a better bike to conquer 20% switchbacks along such a grueling climb. Just a beautiful bike and a perfect name.

Climb, Baby Climb!

One of the best!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been waiting patiently for the Merlin Empire to go live on the website so I could have the chance to rave about the bike. Quite simply, its one the best best riding and handling bikes I have ever been on. So many companies claim "laterally stiff, vertically compliant" but few actually back that up in a way that you can feel on the road. This bike does it though.

I'm a heavier guy and prefer bikes that are stiff and can handle my weight and power. The Empire stiff and very responsive. I've never been on bike that responded so quickly to rider input. With every pedal stroke I could feel the bike accelerate. When climbing out of the saddle, the Empire felt planted. In a sprint it felt like a rocket ship. The bike turned when and where I wanted it to without hesitation

While this is no comfort bike, the ride is smooth. The Enve wheels are stiff and aero and match the bike perfectly. The same is true for the Enve cockpit. I've never been on a carbon bar/stem combo that felt as stiff but comfortable as the Enve set up.

The Empire is the real deal. Aero tubing, fancy nomenclatures and other industry buzzwords don't apply here, just an incredible bike that you can truly feel a difference riding.

One of the best!
Avg. ride time: 1h 2m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Is that a zero degree setback post? Comes...

Is that a zero degree setback post? Comes standard?

The bike's spec can be tweeked for sure. If you need a set back seat post, we can swap this one out. Hit me up with questions. btowery@backcountry.com

Avg. ride time: 7h 54m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Hi, Where is the Di2 battery kept on...


Where is the Di2 battery kept on this? In the seat post?

Also, can a 53-39 be supplied in lieu of the 50-34 at no charge?

Thank you.

Yes, the battery is installed in the seatpost. We can tweek the spec on this bike for sure. If you want different gearing, that's an easy swap. Hit me up with any more questions. btowery@backcountry.com

Avg. ride time: 58m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Never need to ride another!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

When I pick a bike I always want something that will offer me something new. New components, drive-train, carbon advancements, etc. New is fun and watching the bike industry make changes is exciting like watching new F1 or Rally Car advancements. But, there are some things that shouldn't change.

A bike should still ride like a bike; Climbing, descending, cornering, accelerating. It may seem cliche to say it, but there is a formula that works and it should be predictable.

I took my first ride on the Empire on 'The Empire Pass,' where most grades range from 15-20%. The Empire exceeded my expectations on climbing/comfort and was like on a train-on-rails descending a road I should probably go slower on.

Empire Strava Segment - Tour of Utah Stage


Avg. ride time: 58m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Test Day

Test Day