Following the news about Eddy Merckx Holding tapping new sources of funds to the tune of 7.4 million euros, we hear that the R&D department has also been busy. Apparently Eddy Merckx Cycles plans to explore new materials and improved cycle aerodynamics. Its inspiration in this effort will be Lexus automobiles.
Work has already started on a first experimental project: the development of a prototype time trial bicycle. Called the ETT, the new bike is the star of a youtube video filmed in a wind tunnel belonging to TMG, the Cologne-based motorsport division of Toyota. The video is a tantalizing hint of things to come and shows how the engineers at Eddy Merckx Cycles see how the advanced technology used by Lexus could be applied to racing bikes.
In the future Eddy Merckx hopes to distinguish itself from its rivals by investing in carbon technology and by optimizing the aerodynamics of its bikes. To do this the company is seeking inspiration from Lexus, which shares a number of important brand values with Merckx such as high performance, innovation and environmental care.
Lexus has an enviable reputation for its powerful engines and carbon technology. This reputation is embodied in its supercar, the LFA, with a chassis and body largely made from advanced Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), which provides a light, incredibly strong structure with high impact strength. The 4.8 litre engine delivers 560 hp, enough to power the car to 325 km an hour.
Much can be learned about aerodynamics from the Lexus LFA. The virtually flat underbody and the active spoiler ensure impressive downforce at high speed.
Real-life testing of the new ETT (Eddy Merckx Time Trial) will start in the spring, when professional cycling teams (Topsport Vlaanderen/Mercator and Wallonie-Bruxelles/CrÃ©dit Agricole) sponsored by Merckx will take it on the roads. For those of you who just can’t wait though, check out the video below to see the new bike in the Lexus wind tunnel.
Kurt Moons, CEO at Eddy Merckx Cycles, â€œI’m really looking forward to working with Lexus. I’m sure that this is a huge opportunity for us to learn from their expertise in materials science and aerodynamicsâ€.
Jozef Vandecruys, General Manager Marketing Communications & Network Development Lexus Europe, â€œWe are all excited by the prospect of working with Eddy Merckx Cycles. It’s a famous name with a history that speaks to our imagination.â€
ABOUT EDDY MERCKX CYCLES
Everything Eddy Merckx Cycles does is a tribute to the man who was the greatest cyclist of all time. What better motivation could there be for making the best and most attractive racing bikes in the world and getting as many cycling enthusiasts as possible to ride them? The firm takes the legend of man and bike and links them fluently and innovatively to the promising future of the Eddy Merckx brand.
Started by Eddy Merckx himself in 1980 and still based in Belgium, Eddy Merckx Cycles distributes high-end racing bikes in over 18 countries via 15 partner distributors. In the Benelux the brand is distributed by 80 or so official Eddy Merckx cycle dealers.
Eddy Merckx Cycles currently sponsors two professional cycle teams, Topsport Vlaanderen/Mercator and Wallonie-Bruxelles/CrÃ©dit Agricole.
For more information go to www.eddymerckx.com
Launched in 1989, Lexus is known throughout the world for its pursuit of perfection, the outstanding quality and technological superiority of its cars, and its unique approach to all-in customer service.
The unique market position of Lexus is also the result of the L-Finesse design philosophy which builds on and highlights the unequalled quality, luxurious interiors and state-of-the-art technology of Lexus products.
Lexus continues to the first and only ranking car maker that offers an extensive full hybrid range, comprising the RX 450h, GS 450h, LS 600h and the new CT 200h models. In Europe, models equipped with the Lexus Hybrid Drive already represent 60% of all Lexus sales.
Worldwide Lexus sold 404,000 cars in 2011, including 43,637 in Europe.