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Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 review

25 Apr 2016
Verdict:

The Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 is a British-born, disc-braked distance machine.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£2,000
For 
Disc brakes are excellent
Against 
Budget tyres should be replaced

British firm Mekk has given its Poggio range of carbon road bikes a makeover for 2016. Leading the changes aimed at improving its performance are beefed-up chainstays and a new ‘compliance fork’, which is claimed to better resist torsional forces under hard steering. Very thin seatstays at the rear aim to dampen vibrations from the road before they reach your backside. The DS 2.6 has gone the way of disc braking, so, as Morrissey once asked, what difference does it make?

Frameset

Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 frame

The overhaul of the Poggio frame to add more potential for big licks might seem at odds with an endurance bike’s raison d’être, but the capacity to put out big efforts when required is an integral element of sportive riding. The disc-braked model also benefits from losing the brake mount bridge from the seatstays in its quest for rear-end compliance. The tapered head tube and hexagonal-profile down tube are fairly short for a bike of this frame size, creating a responsive platform, and the chainstays are flared widely enough to give a mere 15mm clearance for the cranks at their closest point. Cabling is three-quarters internally routed, with a barrel adjuster for the rear mech at the cockpit end, although the external routing for the front disc-brake hose along the fork could be neater.

Groupset

Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 groupset

Shimano’s Ultegra hydraulic levers are a little taller than the mechanical version, but it’s barely noticeable in use. They’re dependable and the rest of the build is solid 105 equipment, which sums up most of the groupset. The brakes themselves are truly excellent thanks the amount of power and feel they supply, especially on grimy back roads.

Finishing kit

Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 disc brakes

A set of 42cm compact-drop handlebars paired with a 120mm alloy stem is perfect for the frame size we tested. There’s a fair amount of flex in the drops themselves, making out-of-the-saddle sprints a little less direct than we’d like, but overall the bar shape, and vibe-reducing capacity, shone through on more sedate rides. San Marco’s saddle is a letdown though – we found it too spongy to offer any real feel for the road.

Wheels

Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 seatstays

The Mekk’s Saturae RX50 disc-specific wheels tip our scales at 3.24kg, including tyres, quick-releases and the 140mm rotors, so they hold their own in this company. The Mekk Poggio might be considered a little old-school with its 23c tyres. We’ve eulogised on the benefits of wider tyres before, but a 25 or even a 28 tyre – for which Mekk says the frame has ample clearance – would help to soak up more unwanted jarring from pitted tarmac.

The ride

Being a frame size bigger than the Look 765, our initial impression of the Mekk was of a slightly lazier rate of turn-in but oodles of stability. Weaving downhill, all is calm; the Poggio follows a line willingly. However, it still has enough zing to power out of the high-speed descent and into a false flat through a village at escape velocity.

This is one comfortable bike, make no mistake. The lack of seatstay bridge aids rear-end compliance, while the cockpit feels like the kind of place we could rest our hands for hours on end. The bike’s eagerness to turn up the wick on rolling roads is not only surprising but also a bonus. It combines long-range comfort with speed almost as well as the Look. The wheels take time to get up to speed, but do hold on to it well once you’re north of 30kmh.

Mekk Poggio DS 2.6 review

The Poggio doesn’t suffer for its lack of 32-tooth rear cog when it comes to climbing, simply because it does a very good job of minimising losses in power getting to the rear wheel. Yes, there’s a fair amount of rotational mass here, but the stiffness of the front end and the expansive bottom bracket area are putting every last bit of your effort to good use. If you’re serious about tackling some sizeable climbs either at home or abroad, with the money you save over a bike like the Specialized, which costs £500 more, you could treat yourself to something like Hunt’s £459 Aero Light disc wheelset.

Although the DS 2.6 doesn’t boast the sharpest geometry, its 72.7° head angle provides you with an assured ride. A wheelbase approaching one metre in length adds to the feeling of stability, and tracking sweeping bends is as easy as tipping in and looking where you want to end up. Mekk’s in-house wheelset performs admirably, too; although not ideal for long ascents, it’s on a par with the big-name wheels featured in this test. One benefit of 23c tyres is that at least you do get a better feel for how a frame is performing.

The highlight of the Mekk’s ride is braking performance. There’s no question that the degree of modulation available from the Poggio’s hydraulic set-up is peerless among these four bikes. Yes, the dual-pivot Ultegra brakes of the BMC are great, but we’d feel much better feathering the Mekk’s front brake on a descent. As with the other two bikes to feature Conti Ultra Sport tyres, a trip to your local bike shop will net you something grippier for no more than £40 a set.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 565mm 565mm
Seat Tube (ST) 510mm 515mm
Down Tube (DT) 635mm
Fork Length (FL) 374mm
Head Tube (HT) 160mm 160mm
Head Angle (HA) 72 72.7
Seat Angle (SA) 73 73.3
Wheelbase (WB) 989mm 998mm
BB drop (BB) 68mm 68mm

Spec

Mekk Poggio DS 2.6
Frame T800 high-modulus carbon 
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano RS685
Chainset Shimano 105, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Saturae HB-3038TB, alloy
Stem Saturae DA-274, alloy
Seatpost Saturae SP-2003 27.2mm, alloy
Wheels Saturae RX50
Saddle San Marco Era Start Power
Weight 8.54kg
Contact paligap.cc

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