Flemish cycling mastery
Two-time world champion Freddy Maertens once said, “It’s the cycle that helps you win, so you must treat it lovingly”. The link between the cyclist and his “working tool” doesn’t get any clearer than this. A high-performance bicycle with the best equipment gives the cyclist that little bit extra, both physically and mentally. There can be no Flandriens without good bicycles, it would seem. Flanders has a strong reputation in that regard.
This is how Ridley Bikes, which was born in Beringen in 1997 as a brand name and quickly became a Flemish market leader for racing bikes, has come to enjoy international renown. The partnership with professional teams, like Lotto-Belisol, plays an important role in the development of its products. The newest gem in the range is the Helium SL. “Form follows function,” is the Ridley philosophy. The choices of tubing shapes, frame construction and geometry are always made with a good compromise between a high level of rigidity and high level of vibration absorbency in mind. The medium-sized Helium SL weighs a mere 750 grams, with the fork weighing 300 grams. Naturally, the lightest components group, the SRAM Red, belongs on this featherweight frame. The internal cabling is suited for changing the gears both mechanically and electronically. The cycle is also equipped with Ritchey WCS Evo Curve carbon handlebars and stem, a Lightweight Standard tyre set, a Schmolke seat post, Speedplay Zero pedals and a Tune bidon holder. This all adds up to 5.860 kg, the lightest Ridley ever.
An equally famous cycle manufacturer is of course Eddy Merckx Cycles in Brussels. The champion is still very much involved in the design and production processes and he always tests each new model himself. Posture and fit are extremely important to him. This natural feel for how a cycle should be, which is the result of talent and years of experience, are key to the design of each Eddy Merckx cycle. Each cycle is extremely comfortable to ride and offers a perfect feel for the road.
The newest gem is the EMX-525. Weight isn’t a priority for Merckx; however, stability is. In order to optimise this, they created an asymmetrically constructed bike. What makes it remarkable is the “kink” in both the chain stays and seat stays. The EMX-525’s frame weighs 1,840 grams, including the head tube. The cycle is available in red and white carbon or black and white carbon and is fitted with an electronic gear system and accompanying wheel set – Campagnolo Record EPS, Campagnolo Athena EPS or Shimano Ultegra Di2, respectively.
Unfortunately, you cannot visit either company. However, most Ridley and/or Eddy Merckx dealers do have an extensive range of cycles in their shops. You can find their addresses on the websites www.ridley-bikes.com and www.eddymerckx.be.
Come to Flanders without a bike and return with a beauty