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Check out Cofidis’ supercool De Rosa Merak road bike

Lightweight option from this prestigious Italian brand is among the best-looking bikes in the pro peloton

France’s Team Cofidis races in the WorldTour on bikes from De Rosa, including this very chic Merak road bike.

De Rosa is, of course, an Italian brand with a headquarters in Milan, and found fame in the 1960s and 1970s when it provided bikes for the likes of the Faema and Molteni teams. It didn’t hurt that Eddy Merckx was in the saddle for many years.

While the De Rosa SK is designed with aerodynamics in mind, the Merak is the lightweight option in the lineup. The frame is made from 65% T800, carbon 25% M46JB carbon, 5% ultra-high-strength woven carbon, and 5% high impact 3K woven carbon. De Rosa claims weights of 800g for the frame (54cm model) and 370g for the fork.

The top tube is horizontal and, like most in the pro peloton, the seatstays are dropped (they join the seat tube much lower than the top tube junction), the idea being to allow a little more flex to smooth the ride.

The head tube takes 1-1/2in headset bearings at both the top and the bottom. That larger than normal upper bearing is to allow the use of Vision/FSA’s ACR (Aero Cable Routing) system where all cables, wires, and hoses are routed internally. The cables run through the Vision Metron combined handlebar and stem, then through the headset and into the frame. This allows the use of a round profile (rather than D-shaped) fork steerer that’s free of drilling to preserve strength and stiffness.

The Merak is a disc brake-only platform – there’s no rim brake option – with 12mm thru-axles front and rear to keep the wheels securely in the correct position.

The proprietary seatpost is held in place by a wedge-style clamp that sits in the top tube/seat tube junction.

Team Cofidis uses Campagnolo’s Super Record EPS 12-speed groupset with electronic shifting. This groupset was last updated in 2019 so it’s not overdue for a revamp, although SRAM offers wireless shifting and Shimano’s top-levels are semi-wireless (the shifters communicate wirelessly while the battery and derailleurs are all wired together). Super Record is still fully wired so the Italian brand is lagging behind its key rivals in this respect.

Campagnolo doesn’t currently make a power meter although it has patents that lead us to believe that it has done development work in this area and could be planning to release one, probably next time it updates Super Record.

Is a Campagnolo power meter on the way? 

For now, Cofidis riders use power meters from SRM with strain gauges mounted inside the spider of the chainset. The head units are from SRM too.

2022 De Rosa Merak Cofidis - 1

French brand Corima provides a whole range of wheels. Those in the main picture at the top of the pace look like WS Black 32s with 20 J-bend spokes. The drive side is built with 12 spokes in a three-cross pattern and the disc brake side is built with eight spokes in a two-cross pattern, the design intended to improve the overall strength.

Rather than being hollow, the cavity of the 32mm-deep rim is filled with what Corima calls an ‘aerospace foam’ that is said to improve stiffness and also reduce noise.

The tyres are Michelin Power tubulars.

You can’t buy Cofidis’ De Rosa Merak as a stock build, although a De Rosa Merak is available in a Campagnolo Super Record EPS build for £9,999.99. Let’s call it 10 grand, then. This model comes with Fulcrum Wind 400 wheels – the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) version of the Fulcrum Wind 40 that we reviewed a couple of years ago.

Check out our review of the Fulcrum Wind 40 disc brake wheels 

This is the top-end Merak offered by i-ride, De Rosa’s UK distributor. Various other builds are available. The least expensive Merak comes with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and is priced at £5,699.99.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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