Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eddy Merckx Cycles RIP

I spent last night at a rather bizarre function at the Belgian consul-general's residence on the Peak. This was supposedly to celebrate Eddy Merckx Cycles coming to China but seemed to be more of a knees up for random Belgian people to hang out in, speak flemish and eat Dim Sum looking out onto one of the greatest views of Hong Kong available. I met management consultants and lawyers etc. most of whom were very surprised to hear that it is possible to cycle in Hong Kong... Actually the most interesting conversation I had was with an Architect I know who told a story about a guy building a plane on the 15th storey of a flat in Discovery Bay who had to take the windows out and have it craned out when he moved out of the flat.

All of which leads me to the rather sad state of Eddy Merckx Cycles. Since Eddy left the company some guy has taken it over with more 'commercial interests' than Eddy. Last night seemed to opitimise that. But for general commercial lameness, just check out their above flagship bike. A number of points of interest- the new logo and paint scheme are just sh*t, it's equipped with carbon clinchers & ShimaNO (Eddy would turn in his grave if he was dead) and worst of all, it just looks like a rebranded Specialized. The CEO last night was talking about taking on the market at the highest end. Appropriately enough, Merckx taking over from Specialized in their sponsership of QuickStep for 2010 would seem to opitimise that- Eddy Merckx Cycles is now just a wannabe Specialized, but without the value for money, the range of bikes, or the R&D etc etc. I wish they could think outside the box a little and take note of companies like Cervelo and Ridely who have carved out niches at the highest level based on the fact they are immediately recognisable as their own brand, not just another Specialized.