De Rosa Merak

A name from 20 years ago on a bike that’s very now

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - Matthew Pioro re­viewed by

A name from 20 years ago on a bike that’s very now

“Is that a De Rosa?” shouted John. He’s the fa­ther of my daugh­ter’s class­mate. He and I had only chat­ted a hand­ful of times, but has he saw me walk­ing with my kid and the bike, he couldn’t help but blast his ques­tion from his porch while he was in the mid­dle get­ting his chil­dren ready for school and day­care. Even at a dis­tance, the De Rosa Merak is eye-catch­ing.

What struck me about the Merak when I first took it in was how reg­u­lar the tube shapes looked. The Idol I tested four years ago had what seemed like trim on its down tube. The SK Pin­in­fa­rina I rode in 2017 had its no­tice­able fair­ing be­tween the seat tube and the top of the seat­stays. The Merak, how­ever, looks like a mod­ern, stan­dard car­bon-fi­bre bike. But of course, you can’t re­ally call a De Rosa stan­dard. Stan­dard bikes don’t elicit shouts from front porches.

In the De Rosa lineup, there’s the Pro­tos. With its tubes that sug­gest wind-cheat­ing abil­i­ties, the Pro­tos re­mains the com­pany’s flag­ship rac­ing frame. The King, De Rosa’s bike for climbers, seems to re­sem­ble the Merak the most, ex­cept at the rear tri­an­gle. The Merak has lower seat­stays. “It has a com­pact geom­e­try, which De Rosa hasn’t re­ally done,” says Brian Quessy from Log­ica Sport, the Mon­treal-based com­pany that brings De Rosa to Canada. “De Rosa usu­ally goes low and long with the wheelbase. Now, they have this poppy bike with steeper an­gles.”

I could feel that pop on my rides. The Merak frame is stiff, pro­vid­ing speedy ac­cel­er­a­tions and zippy turns. It felt lively on my lo­cal hills, too. De Rosa says the frame, a size 54, weighs 800 g. I imag­ine that by steering away from novel tube shapes, the com­pany was able to keep some weight off of the Merak. A com­plete bike with ped­als and bot­tle cages weighs 7.54 kg.

The Shi­mano Dura-ace me­chan­i­cal group with hy­draulic disc brakes is a good match for the frame. Both the shift­ing and the stop­ping are smooth, like the Merak. The Vi­sion acr Metron in­te­grated bar and stem keeps all the ca­bles hid­den. The bar/stem setup can limit your fit op­tions: there are only seven acr Metron mod­els that range from a 100-mm-long stem with a 40-cm-wide bar to 130-mm by 44-cm. Matched with the Vi­sion Metron 55 SL Disc wheels, the bar/stem unit adds aero­dy­namic touches that don’t nec­es­sar­ily match the frame. The Merak is not an aero bike. Still, dress­ing the bike with parts that can slice through the air doesn’t hurt.

The 2020 Merak de­buted is past sum­mer. The name, how­ever, calls back to a 20-year-old mile­stone. “For the De Rosa fam­ily, Merak evokes the year 2000 when it won the world cham­pi­onship in Plouay, France, with Romāns Vainšteins,” said Danilo De Rosa, the com­pany’s man­ag­ing part­ner. The cham­pion from Latvia rode an alu­minum frame. “The Merak is a key prod­uct for the De Rosa frame line and, for this rea­son, in a retro-fu­tur­ism per­spec­tive, we de­cided to name Merak our next top-of-the-range prod­uct.”

The name may be retro, but ev­ery­thing else is quite mod­ern. You can see that at a dis­tance.

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