Could our latest test bike, the Merida Reacto Disc 6000, be what you are looking for if you want a relaxed aero machine?

Hold on, we hear you cry, how can you have a relaxed aero bike? Isn’t that a contradiction of terms? Yes, we suppose it is, and yet if there was one, the Merida Reacto Disc 6000 might be it.

- Merida launch ‘lighter, more aerodynamic, more comfortable’ Reacto for 2018 -

You see, when Merida launched the newly updated Reacto family of bikes last year, it not only announced there would be rim and disc brake versions, but it also stuck to its philosophy of supplying two geometry options, just like the Scultura lightweight bike before it.

Is the Merida Reacto 6000 Disc the relaxed aero bike you're looking for?

This means you can have the pro race CF4 frame you’ll see Bahrain-Merida riding this year, or the CF2 design that receives a taller headtube (20mm taller in the M/L size on test), naturally bringing the entire cockpit up towards the rider.

That headtube, and the downtube and seattube, are distinctively truncated in a NACA Fastback profile, while you’ll spot a lowered seatstay-seattube junction to hide the rear triangle from the wind. This spawns narrow seatstays which flare outwards markedly to accommodate the Reacto’s disc rotors.

"Time will tell what the Reacto is like to live with, but at the time of writing we’ve already taken it for a 107km ride around the Wiltshire countryside and have been impressed"

All in, Merida claims the updated frame has achieved aero improvements of up to eight per cent in the wind tunnel over the existing model, and the truncated shapes should minimise disruption in crosswinds.

As well as a slightly more relaxed geometry, the CF2 frameset is made from a less advanced (and heavier) carbon fibre than the CF4, with claimed frame weights of 1,150g and 1,030g respectively. The Reacto Disc 6000 with Shimano Ultegra comes in at 8.36kg for the complete build - that’s not especially light, but aero efficiency is the name of the game here, and means it can hit a more competitive price point: the 6000 is a round £3,000.

For that, you get a full Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain including the excellent Ultegra-spec calipers. Those are flat mount, of course, while Merida has also fitted the left fork and chainstay with the bespoke cooling fins that we first saw appear on the Scultura Disc. The 160mm rotors are attached to Fulcrum Racing 400 alloy hoops.

The seatpost is also a proprietary model and uses Merida’s S-Flex design, which is there to help mete out vibrations and harshness from the road. Time will tell what it’s like live with, but at the time of writing we’ve already taken the Reacto Disc 6000 for a 107km ride around the Wiltshire countryside and have been impressed.

Merida Reacto Disc 6000 test ride

A similar story applies to the initial handling sensations from the cockpit, which if you buy a CF2 frame is a standard bar-stem arrangement, as opposed to the integrated Vision Metron 5D setup we saw on the CF4 at the launch. Nevertheless, there’s some aero tapering in the handlebar tops and in the spacers, so some thought has gone into maintaining simultaneously clean and ergonomic lines.

That’s all for now. We’re looking forward to clocking some quick, if relatively relaxed, miles on the Reacto Disc 6000. Stay tuned for more.

Price: £3,000

Website: Merida Bikes