With a nickname that means one that eats the flesh of its own kind, it's safe to say that you're dealing with something that shouldn't be taken lightly. Such is the case with The Cannibal himself, Mr. Merckx, who, over the course of his storied cycling career, amassed 525 victories. And so, as with every bicycle that wears the Eddy Merckx signature, the EMX-3/Shimano Ultegra Complete Road Bike - 2012 was built on a competition-consuming, race-oriented platform that blends low weight, stiffness, and speed into a complete package. Starting with the frame itself, Merckx's EMX-3 was constructed using a full Carbon Laminate + layup. Essentially, this technique involves layering the carbon fiber sheets together in ways that maximize the strength and rigidity of the frame. This layup is combined with Merckx's Optimized Structural Reinforcement (OSR), which, as the name suggests, places high modular (30HM) stiffness fibers in strategic areas for added reinforcement. These fibers are used in conjunction with high-strength fibers at force-load-heavy zones, such as the bottom bracket and head tube junctions. By using these techniques together, Merckx engineers were able to add material where it's needed for increased rigidity, while removing material at less flex-prone areas to keep the overall weight as low as possible. This is the same technique used for all of Merckx's top-end carbon road frames, as it yields the ideal combination of stiffness, low weight, and vertical compliance. With a slightly relaxed geometry, the EMX-3 provides a comfortable ride, yet it still possesses the race-tuned characteristics necessary that are for competitive road racing. Aside from the frame's optimized layup schedule, the fork has also been designed to deliver maximum stability and speed. The blades flare to a wide shape toward the 1-1/4 to 1-1/8in steerer, which works to both cut aerodynamic drag and to provide precise handling up front. Similarly, at the rear end of the frame, bot...