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/Crédit Agricole) sponsored by Merckx will take it on the roads. For those of you who just can’t wait though, check out the new bike in the Lexus wind tunnel.