Bicycling (South Africa)
EDDY MERCKX LIEGE 75
Certain bikes speak to you. The Eddy Merckx Liege 75 screamed at me. Even though Merckx’s feats were way before my time – I was only three in 1975, when he won his fifth Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the race this bike was named after – I know enough about history that the Molteni orange paint stirred something inside me. Throw in the Campagnolo Potenza drivetrain and Deda Zero components, and you have a pretty unique bike.
I’ve ridden a number of finely tuned custom and semi-custom steel frames from boutique builders, so my bar is high. I worried that what seemed so exciting on paper wouldn’t live up to my expectations on the road. That definitely wasn’t the case.
The Liege impressed me with its combination of smoothness and sporty, agile handling that made it comfortable on longer rides and quick during spirited shorter ones, as well as easy to throw around corners. It’s a bit stiffer, particularly in the front triangle, and a little less lively compared with the best steel bikes (whose frames cost as much or more than this whole bike), but the Liege’s TIGwelded Columbus Zona frame still rides exceptionally well. Straight-line stability is good too, although the 35mm-deep Campagnolo Scirocco wheels seemed to be affected by crosswind more than similardepth carbon wheels I’ve used recently.
While I’m in awe of the Cannibal’s racing feats, I’m not a hardcore fan. I know that superheroes put on their spandex – or in Eddy’s case, wool – one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. I’m not a Campy devotee either, but on this bike the Potenza just looks and feels right. The Liege 75 packs a little nostalgia and a lot of distinct style into a funto-ride package that few if any bikes in this price range pull off.