Just in: Mekk 3G Potenza SL5.5
Well-specced carbon-fibre bike from UK brand
Performance usually comes with a high price but Mekk are trying to challenge that. Their 3G Potenza SL5.5 packs a full carbon fibre frame and fork, Shimano Ultegra groupset and Ritchey components for an astonishing £1,699.99.
They call it 'Affordable Performance' and that's the driving force behind the company's range of bikes, which all look to offer really quite decent value. Of course, 'affordable' is always going to be relative and £1,700 is a lot of cash, but look at what you get here...
Mekk recognise the frame and fork is the heart and soul of a bicycle and place emphasis on making sure they're well designed. And it shows. Designed in Italy, the SL5.5 we have here has a smart looking frame with smooth flowing lines and understated looks courtesy of matte black decals on a gloss black paint finish. 3K carbon fibre is used in the frame with a monocoque design. Forks are also made from the same carbon fibre with a tapered steerer tube, so you're getting a nice stiff front-end for responsive handling.
A slender top tube tapers in from the large head tube giving good knee clearance. The seat stays continue the small diameter trend with slim ovalised tubes, which bodes well for comfort, while the chainstays, in contrast, are deeply flared. The rear brake cable is routed internally through the top tube while the gear cables run under the down tube after passing through head tube mounted cable stops.
With a lot of money clearly tied up in the carbon frame and fork, it's impressive that Mekk have found enough spare cash to fit a Shimano Ultegra 10-speed groupset. Mekk offer the choice of a compact of standard chainset - we have the former on this bike. It pairs with an 11-25t cassette with a high quality KMC Silver chain tying the drivetrain together.
Okay, so the wheels aren't the top of the range, but the ICE hubs have sealed bearings and Mavic CXP 22 rims are bombproof. Continental 700X23C Ultra Sport complete the rolling package. The Ritchey stem, handlebars and post give the Mekk a boost of credibility.
To get Ultegra at this price something has to give, and it's the brakes; ICE brake callipers don't look a patch on Shimano's - but we'll see how they perform when we get this bike out on the road.
Mekk offer six sizes. This is the 56cm. The head tube measures a rangy 20cm, which raises the handlebar height a lot, so if you don't like to crouch too low on your bike then you're well catered for. I usually have to swap stems on test bikes - they're generally too short - so it's nice to see a 120mm option fitted to the Mekk
The Mekk isn't the lightest of bikes. With a 18.62lb (8.45kg) weight, it's giving away 2lb to a similar specced bike like the Pearson Hammerandtongs that we have in on test at the moment, We'll find out how this impacts on the performance when we take it out on the roads very soon.
Check out www.mekkbicycles.com for more info.