My first ride on the EMX 1 was a race. Nothing serious, just the local crit. But as we all know, a race is different to riding because you need to be more in tune with your bike. The nature of the EMX 1 is such that I felt right at home from the first lap. The EMX 1 knew just where to sit and which wheels to follow. The predictable handling made me feel confident and the stiffness gave me favor out of the saddle when closing gaps. My first thought about the EMX 1 was, Eddy knows bikes and there is a lot of benefit to riding a bike designed by the true king of modern cycling.
The Shimano 105 EMX 1 bike is not exactly a hardcore race bike. The wheels would need to be upgraded and some weight would have to be shed before it could be considered race ready. Yet as is, the bike rides beautifully and without any changes, it could satisfy a fast group ride or centaury.
Characteristics: The superb handling is the most pronounced ride characteristic of the EMX 1. It is both comfortable and stiff, but it’s real strength is the feeling of confidence it inspires around corners and how true it seems to ride in a group. On the EMX 1, I felt at home and never at odds with the machine.
Weight: There is nothing light on the EMX 1 so there is plenty of room for improvement if you wanted to get the overall weight down. The frame is made from 24HM UD carbon and the tubing quite thick with a lot of shaping for stiffness and I am sure some style so it’s never going to build into a sub 16 lb climbing machine. Out the box the size 45cm(53.4cm TT) was 18lbs. I am 5’10” and the bike looks a little small for me but rides great set up as seen in the pics.
Shimano 105 Group: Don’t be fooled, it still rides beautifully and at this point in the game there is a lot of attention given to newer product. But, Shimano 105 still remains a top performer for the money. Shifting is always smooth and the uniform alloy finish is very classy on the EMX1. I liked the fact that the group is not at all compromised. No substitutions. No weird name chain etc.
Components: The Eddy house brand bars and stem were a nice surprise - very functional, well finished and quite light. The Eddy branded Prologo saddle is fantastic, no need for an expensive upgrade here. The dye did wear off the lettering after only the first ride, but a few weeks in and its was worn to the point it did not matter any more. The seat post is heavy alloy covered in carbon and not great for adjusting. I could live with it for starters, but would change out right after I got some race wheels for this bike.
Wheels: Shimano make some great wheels and the RS20’s are perfect for training or everyday riding, but I was itching to feel the EMX1’s performance with something else. As expected, the bike took on a whole new character with some fast carbon wheels (which by the way cost as much as the bike).
The finish raises expectations: The EMX1 finish is a step above other bikes in it’s class. This got me thinking about the price of the bike and my expectations of it. It’s an Eddy Merckx, so I'm expecting it to perform like it’s world class. It looks like a top tier bike because of the finish, which has me expecting it to be in the weight category of bikes twice as costly. So when I get back to the price I have to remind myself to grade the bike at it’s price tag.
Final score, A for the EMX1.