Merlin Extralight Road Bike Frame $3,500.00
A star reborn.
We understand that the bird of prey for which Merlin is named translates more to the aggressiveness of carbon fiber than the romanticism of titanium, but like every bike racer, we have fond memories of the first bike we really pined after. And for us, that bike was the Merlin Extralight Road Bike Frame.
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 down tube'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. Given its strength, durability, and eternal good looks, Merlin has created a timeless ride that will long outpace the zeitgeist, quite possibly making it the last bike that you'll ever need.
The Merlin Extralight Road Bike Frame is available in the color Brushed Titanium and in the sizes 50, 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. Each Extralight frameset ships with the following: an ENVE Composites Carbon 2.0 tapered road fork, a Chris King Inset 7 headset, and a Thomson seatpost collar.
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|
What community has to say
Any chance of a Merlin Extralight Disc in...
Any chance of a Merlin Extralight Disc in the future? I'm riding a 1995 Extralight 61cm and still LOVE IT!
We don't have a ton of specifics on it just yet, but to answer your question, yes. You will be seeing a disc road bike coming out later on this year. It'll be named the Crusher after a great race here in Utah called the Crusher in the Tushar.
Keep checking in and we'll have info out soon.
Let us know if you need anything else.
Are you sure the measured "stack" is correct...
Are you sure the measured "stack" is correct in the geometry chart? From what I understand, stack is the *vertical* distance from the middle of the BB to the horizontal at the head-tube top middle (where effective top-tube is measured from). The measurements displayed here seem to be center-to-center measurements instead.
Chewie, the stack appears to be correct for all of these. The smaller sizes are actually longer than the Seat tube CT measurement and then decreases to less in the larger sizes- sense the headtube doesn't grow as fast as the seatutbe on this model.
This isn't Fred's Serotta.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I reviewed the Merlin in depth here: http://wordpress.localsarepainting.com/?p=1172
Incredible power transfer, stiffness, ride quality, beautiful finishing touches, durability and made in-country appeal round out the package. Long story short? A magnificent frame reminiscent of the Pinarello Dogma, but lacking a bit when it comes to aesthetics/brand presence and electronic routing.
Truly, one of the few titanium bikes that the go-fast racerboys of my generation can get behind. In short? This isn't grandpa's Seven. This is a bike built to race, but still ride all day without complaint.