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Merlin Empire Ultegra 6800 Featured Road Bike - 2015

Sale $3,749.25 $4,999.00 25% off

Item # MLN000M

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  • Black/White, 50cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/White, 51cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/White, 52cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/White, 54cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/White, 55cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/White, 57cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/White, 58cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 50cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 51cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 52cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 54cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 55cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 57cm ($3,749.25)
  • Black/Black, 58cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 50cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 51cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 52cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 54cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 55cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 57cm ($3,749.25)
  • Matte Black, 58cm ($3,749.25)
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Item # MLN000M

Imperial.

Riding the strength of its status as one of the cornerstones of high-altitude punishment in Utah's weeklong stage race, Empire Pass has become something of a legend in North America. It's appropriate, then, that it's the namesake for legendary manufacturer Merlin's initial foray into carbon fiber. The Merlin Empire's ride lives up to its name, and — in addition to the standard ENVE fork — we've spec'd this build with a full Shimano drivetrain and a pair of HED wheels. The only way the ride could be any more enjoyable is if it climbed mountains for you.

Merlin knows that the root of any sound frame design may begin with material selection, but it can very easily derail with improper geometry, layup, and tube shaping. That's why the titanium experts of Merlin's US design team opted to partner with a group of Italy's top carbon engineers for the handmade construction of the Empire, a partnership that's first evident in the frame's elegant lines.

The Empire forgoes the aggressive swoops and ostentatious curves commonplace on so many of today's road bikes. Instead, frame elements like the rear triangle are a study of clean aesthetics and simple, flowing shapes. The pencil-thin seatstays draw inspiration from the titanium Extralight, but with a modern ovalized curvature; the chainstays begin with a box-section at the bottom bracket junction, gradually tapering into the rear dropout. These smooth lines result in a rear triangle that provides the tuned-compliance necessary for hours in the saddle, incredible torsional rigidity, and a subtle beauty that makes it almost as enjoyable to look at as ride.

The bottom bracket is an oversized BB86 model, contributing to an ultra-stiff platform that transfers power directly to the rear wheel where the HED Ardennes Plus rim's generous 25mm width all but eliminates lateral flex. This is especially appropriate because less lateral flex means more efficient climbing, so you'll appreciate the inclusion of the Ardennes wheels if you ever find yourself confronting Empire Pass. The tapered, 1 1/2 to 1 1/8in head tube gives the frame rock-solid tracking and stability at speed, which comes into play on the other side of the summit.

While Merlin knows frame design, we know components. Still, spec'ing the Empire with suitable kit was no small task. For this build, we opt for a full Shimano Ultegra 6800 group, which combines functionality and aesthetics better than virtually any groupset on the market. Though we've mentioned them above, the HED Ardennes Plus LT wheels deserve to be highlighted again for their plush ride, low rolling resistance, and confident cornering while you're taking advantage of the Empire's penchant for speedy descents.

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
carbon fiber
Fork:
ENVE Road 2.0
Fork Material:
carbon fiber
Headset:
1-1/2 - 1-1/8 in Cane Creek tapered
Shifters:
Shimano Ultegra 6800
Front Derailleur:
Shimano Ultegra 6800
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano Ultegra 6800
Crankset:
50 / 34 t Shimano Ultegra 6800
Bottom Bracket:
PF86
Crank Arm Length:
[sizes 50-52] 170 mm, [sizes 54-55] 172.5 mm, [sizes 57-58] 175 mm
Cassette:
11 - 25 t Shimano Ultegra 6800
Chain:
Shimano CN-HG600
Brakeset:
Shimano Ultegra 6800
Brake Type:
rim
Handlebar:
Zipp Service Course
Handlebar Width:
44 cm
Stem:
Zipp Service Course
Stem Length:
100 mm
Saddle:
Fizik Aliante
Seatpost:
Zipp Service Course SL
Seat Collar:
Thomson
Wheelset:
HED Ardennes Plus LT
Tires:
Michelin Pro4
Tire Size:
700 c x 25 mm
Pedals:
not included
Recommended Use:
road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty:
limited lifetime on frame
Actual Weight:
Black/White, 58cm: 7360g

sizing chart

Bike size by rider height

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Geometry chart

Merlin

Geometry Chart

 

Empire
 Size

Seat Tube

(c-t)

Effective Top Tube

(eTT)

Stack

(S)

Reach

(R)

Stand Over

Head Tube

(HT)

Head Tube Angle

(HTo)

Seat Tube Angle

(STo)

Bottom Bracket Drop

(BBD)

Chainstay

(CS)

Wheelbase
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

REVIEWS

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Wow! Smooth, Responsive, Perfect!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

The Bike
The weather cooperated today and I finally got a chance to ride my Merlin after a few weeks of riding the rollers. It blew me away! This bike is so smooth and responsive that you think its riding above the pavement. My last bike was a 2010 Wilier Izoard Ultegra. I never found any major weaknesses in it and loved the way that it climbed. I thought Wilier had the carbon frame pretty dialed in...until today. Now I know what a true pro bike feels like. The Merlin rides like it's on rails! It soaks up cracks in the road so well you don't even notice them. When you add the power it responds instantly and when you get out of the saddle to climb it snaps into action. I had mine custom built with Kryserium SLS wheels and a full Ultegra 11 Speed drive-train. The 11 speed Ultegra compact 11-25 is a major step forward from the 10 speed. It shifts beautifully and provides a nice range for flats and climbing. When I put the bike back on the stand it looks like a work of art. The matte black frame is stunning, understated like titanium with a modern twist. The pictures on the website don't do it justice. The sample bike in the review is not painted the same. In the production version the carbon doesn't show through the paint. It is not like any other carbon frame I have seen. No fancy neon, no overdone aero...more like a stealth bomber. Quite honestly I can't find anything that I would critique on the bike. If you are looking for a premium performance, totally unique ride that exemplifies simple beauty and style. The Empire is it. I never thought I would look at a carbon bike and see the raw beauty of the titanium classics. I thought wrong. Before you jump to an opinion or worry about whether Merlins should be silver...open your mind to an evolved idea. Kudos to Competitive for keeping a classic name alive in a fitting way.
My Experience with Competitive
When I visited the Competitive website in late December I was looking at a classic titanium Merlin. (My Izoard just suffered a terrible roof rack incident) I was set on titanium, the kind of bike I have been wanting for years... After a brief web chat online the bike manager Wes Branham called me at home to answer my questions. After listening to my riding style and preferences he thought I might be interested in trying the Empire because the geometry more closely suited my riding and previous bike. Wes spent over 1.5 hours helping me spec out my dream bike. After the purchase he called and emailed several times with updates and stepped me through some fitting details to make sure everything was perfect. When the bike arrived the reach was a bit long. Without any question Competitive swapped out the stem. No questions asked, no hassles. This was the best customer service experience I have ever had with a website. These guys are real cyclists, not a call center. When you call on the phone, email or chat they know the products and take the time to make it right. I am still amazed that this was a major national website. After years of Performance and Nashbar for general bike supplies, Competitive has permanently earned my business.

Great review Matt! Was a pleasure working with you as well. This bike is definitely the sleeper of all of the bikes we carry. Very high end without the high end price. If anyone has questions with this bike feel free to reach out to me direct.

Wes branham
Account Manager-Bike
801-736-6396 x 4074
wbranham@competitivecyclist.com

Best road bike on planet Earth!

  • 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 the best best riding and handling bike 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.

I'm a heavier guy and prefer bikes that are stiff and can handle my weight and power. The Empire is 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 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.

Unanswered Question

well more of a comment. I see how the der hanger sandwiches the carbon drop out. That is awesome! or more like straordinario magnificamente. I don't actually speak Italian, but I am Catholic.

I'm set on road bikes for now, but wow, that is a nice and interesting offer from Merlin.