“I’ve read quite a few bike reviews in the past. They often harp on about how this latest carbon layup makes the left chain stay 120% stiffer or the unique moulding of the seat tube gives you extra vertical compliance and various other bits of information that translate to diddly squat to the average consumer. I also have rather limited experience of different CX bikes. I raced my first season on a singlespeed On-One Pompino, as fun as this was it certainly had its limitations. Following that was a Trek Crockett, a very different and very welcome ride.
And then came my Mercredi’s.
We went through the usual fitting process with Tony at Torke and obviously at this point things started getting interesting. Firstly we found my strongest pedalling position, then we started to play with the fit to turn it into a nimble, and extremely racy CX specific position. These are the sorts of tweeks you just can’t accommodate off the shelf: a tiny head tube to accommodate the low racing position, the shortened wheelbase for more ‘flickability’, the geometry adjustments that provide more leverage on the bars based on my individual anatomy. I left Torke with a sense of anticipation as the numbers and angles were left with Adeline to turn into a bike.
After what felt like an eternity (but was actually more like a couple of months) and worryingly close to the first race of the season, two frames arrived freshly painted in the team colours from Colourburn ready to be built up, NBD! All built up courtesy of SRAM and Zipp and they were ready to ride and they looked, well, tiny! Looks can obviously be deceiving and after throwing a leg over the bike and taking the first pedal strokes I was immediately taken back to that feeling I had on the fitting jig with Tony. It just felt right. There wasn’t really anything that I could put my finger on in particular, nothing that was so different that it bowled me over, it just felt like the bike that I should be riding. Reassuring and efficient.
Taking it off-road was where the real fun started. The geometry that we’d designed and built the bikes to meant that they handled unlike anything I’d ridden before. The steering was sharp and reactive, it turned on a dime, the sort of response that you need in those technical cyclocross situations. The compact nature of the frame resulted in a spritely and agile ride, it really felt like I could just chuck the bike about anywhere I wanted it to go, like riding a bmx with drop bars, and a jet engine. You could argue that the use of steel lacks the out-and-out stiffness that you could achieve with an alloy or carbon frame and that it may carry a minor weight penalty (the bikes fully built with pedals come in at about 8.8kg), but in my opinion these factors pale into insignificance when weighed up against the ride quality you can achieve with a bike that is not just designed around you but also designed and built around the way you ride.
Following the first full season of abuse from be trained and raced hard on the CX circuit I threw on some slicks and it turns out that the bike makes the perfect winter trainer too. I still get excited every time I jump on board my Mercredi, its just a fun bike to ride, plain and simple. It does the job, it does it well and it does it looking absolute fucking fantastic!” – Steve
The paint was developed with Rob from Colourburn Studio to be long lasting and LOUD. A powder coated base colour is brought to life with wet paint logos and clear-coat, while the forks are painted in batches. The pattern is applied at random, creating a unique design for each fork, all whilst cutting down workload for Rob.
All the team bikes have been built using a mix of Columbus tubing, Life and Zona, for a the perfect balance of clearance, weight saving and acceleration.
Tube set– Columbus Life/Zona
Forks – Columbus Futura Gravel
Groupset – SRAM Force 1
Bearings – Chris King
Finishing Kit, Wheels – Zipp
Steve coaches Team Good Vibes Only all year long – read his tips here