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Merlin Extralight/SRAM Force Complete Bike $0.00
Made in America. We love the sound of those three words together, and when it comes to the truly venerable American frame builders, none match the storied history of Merlin. As seen with its Extralight, Merlin's trendsetting hallmarks of perfectly executed geometry, sophisticated materials, and unparalleled craftsmanship quickly set it apart from the pack. And if you're anything like us, you were disappointed to see the Extralight go away. However, like a phoenix from the ashes, Merlin is back, and instead of dwelling on the past, it brought the Extralight ahead of the curve and into the future with the Extralight/SRAM Force Complete Bike.
The Extralight features the same double-butted 3Al-2.5V titanium (3-2.5) tubing of yesteryear. But, to refresh your memory, we'll shed some light on this designation. Simply put, it refers to the percentages of the material composition, with the 'three' being 3% aluminum, the '2.5' being 2.5% vanadium, and the remaining 94.5% being that of titanium. In its original application, 3-2.5 was used throughout the aerospace industry for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and high resistance to corrosion. Today, however, you'll find its primary application in the high pressure hydraulic lines of airplanes, and of course, in the Merlin Extralight.
Still, strength and low weight considered, the question begs to be asked, why 3-2.5 titanium? Well, it all comes down to its ride quality. In comparison to other alloys, you'll find that 3-2.5 features a higher strength-to-weight ratio, lower sidewall density, and a higher elastic modulus, all in exponential figures. But, in layman's terms, this means that the Extralight is lighter, stiffer, and stronger than other alloys -- even the exotics like scandium and magnesium. However, we feel that these terms are simply thrown around far too often, so let us explain how these actually translate to ride quality.
3-2.5 expresses less deformity under stress than aluminum, but more so than carbon fiber. This characteristic translates to a highly responsive and direct feel under load. However, unlike carbon fiber, which strategically redirects shock energy throughout the frame, 3-2.5's elastic modulus creates a natural dampening of vibration and shock. The Extralight benefits from less abrasive handling without diminishing any of its natural stiffness.
And this brings us onto the subject of engineered-in rigidity. Merlin brought the Extralight into the modern age by increasing the diameter of the tubing to 1.375in at the top and seat tubes and 0.875in at the seatstays. You'll also find that this generation features a 44mm oversized head tube that's been mated with a full carbon Enve Composites fork. Additionally, Merlin designed the bike around a PressFit 30 bottom bracket. This allows for the use of a contemporary drivetrain, which will guarantee efficient power transfer along the S-bend chainstays to the rear wheel. Merlin also took the liberty of varying the downtube's diameter to correspond with frame size. As a result, the smaller frames feature a 1.5in diameter down tube, while you'll find 1.75in tubes on the larger frames. The head and seat tube angles are likewise size-specific. Essentially, this tunes the characteristics to each frame size, creating a seemingly custom feel. And just as importantly, the aforementioned updates make the Extralight stiffer, increasingly responsive, and more compliant than any iteration before.
But, of course, we can't discuss the topic of Merlin without mentioning its uncompromising level of craftsmanship. Every Extralight features American sourced titanium tubing and is hand-built in the USA. And just to keep the Old Glory Train running, each frame includes a Chris King Inset 7 headset and a Thomson seatpost collar. Of course, the Extralight's welds are seamless, and due to 3-2.5's natural resistance to corrosion, its beautiful, brushed finish will never rust -- even for those living seaside.
Furthering the build, Merlin has equipped the bike with a complete SRAM Force group with compact, 50-34 tooth chainrings. At the rear, you'll find the climber's theme continued with a 12-25 tooth, SRAM PG-1050 cassette. The bike rolls on a Reynolds Solitude clincher wheelset that's been cased with Vittoria Zaffiro tires. Rounding out the build is a Zipp Service Course cockpit, Arundel cork handlebar tape, and a Selle Italia SL Kit Carbonio saddle.
The Merlin Extralight/SRAM Force Complete Bike is available in the color Brushed Titanium and in the sizes 51, 52, 54, 55, 57, and 58cm. Please note that the sizing numeral references the top tube length of the frame. To be certain on fit, please reference our size chart.
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Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Drop
|35.8cm||74.4cm||11.2cm||70.0 deg||74.5 deg||7.45cm||40.8cm|
|36.9cm||75.4cm||11.7cm||70.5 deg||74.5 deg||7.45cm||40.8cm|
|52||52.5cm||52.5cm||52.7cm||37.2cm||76.3cm||12.5cm||71.5 deg||74.0 deg||7.45cm||40.8cm|
|54||55.0cm||54.5cm||54.5cm||38.3cm||78.1cm||14.0cm||72.5 deg||73.5 deg||7.45cm||41.0cm|
|55||57.5cm||55.7cm||56.5cm||38.9cm||80.5cm||16.0cm||72.75 deg||73.5 deg||7.45cm||41.0cm|
|58||62.5cm||58.7cm||60.6cm||39.7cm||84.1cm||18.8cm||73.5 deg||72.5 deg||7.45cm||41.4cm|