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2002 Pro Bikes

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Paul Martin's West Virginia Merlin Cyrene

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The new kids on the U.S. pro team block, West Virginia, get to play with some really nice toys. After winning the pro race in the Four Bridges of Elgin, race winner Paul Martin let Mark Zalewski drool at the trusty steed that he rode to his solo victory, the Merlin Cyrene.

Chattanooga-based Merlin Metalworks provides both the pro and elite teams with frames and forks this season. Most of the pro team use the flagship Extralight frame with the elite team on the Cyrene model, although Martin was using the Cyrene at the time.

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Photo ©: Mark Zalewski

Both model frames feature a large 1 3/8" downtube, tapered and butted 7/8" V-bend chain stays and hourglass-shaped seat stays. Merlin's own carbon fork accompanies the sleek titanium-colored frame. The drivetrain and related components are mostly Shimano Dura-Ace - though a few team bikes sported the very nice and light Full Speed Ahead carbon cranks.

Saddles are provided by Fi'zi:k, with Martin opting for the Poggio model. Bars, stem and seatpost are ITM's Four series, with the bars made from ITM's latest NAG (New Alloy Generation) alloy. Speedplay Zeros are the pedals of choice for the team.

Colour coordinated
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski

North Carolina based Cane Creek, not too far away from the state of West Virginia, provides headsets as well as some very sweet and drool-worthy wheels. On Martin's ride at Elgin were a set of Aros-Team Ti wheels, complete with color coordinated team decals - available in red, orange, yellow or blue to match your team kit!. According to Cane Creek, these carbon rim deep-dish aero wheels tip the scales at a scant 1436g for the pair.

The spokes, 18 up front and 28 in the rear, are blue-colored titanium and connect to aluminum hubs. Martin's teammates rode the SuperLight version of the Aros, with its low-profile carbon rim reducing the overall weight to a mere 1312g.

New for 2004

Cyclingnews managed to grab a few insider comments on the changes to Merlin's road range for 2004 from West Coast Sales and Customer Service representative, Chris Brown.

"The biggest change in terms of frame geometry relates to the Cielo, Magia, Extralight and Agilis models; each of these four bikes will feature Tom Kellogg's new oversized chainstays, which are 1" in diameter at the bottom bracket shell and taper to ¾" at the dropout," says Brown. Merlin claims that torsional stiffness will be improved by 24 per cent as a result of this change to the rear triangle.

Two new models will also be introduced next year: the Lunaris, a semi-compact frame with carbon seat stays that features a shorter top tube with a taller head-tube, allowing for a more upright riding position; and the Camena, a female-specific 3AL/2.5V frame that uses a shorter top tube and increased standover height that will give women riders easier reach to the brake/shift levers, coupled with a slacker seat angle to accomodate a female cyclist's longer femur length.


Images by Mark Zalewski/http://www.showchoir.net

Full specification

Frame: Merlin Cyrene Titanium, MTS 3AL/2.5V tubing
Fork: Merlin carbon
Colour: Polished titanium

Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace

Wheels: Cane Creek Aros - Team Ti
Spokes: Cane Creek titanium
Rim: Cane Creek carbon

Stem: ITM Four
Headset: Cane Creek
Bar: ITM Four

Pedals: Speedplay Zero, titanium spindles
Seat post: ITM Four
Saddle: Fi'zi:k Poggio