The Reacto is Merida’s aero road platform and the frame you’ll see the Lampre-Merida team riding.
In fact, apart from the cobbled Classics, when the team will switch to the Ride ‘endurance’ bike, which we’ll cover next, the Reacto is the squad’s bike of choice for almost every other race.
While the majority of bike sponsors give their teams the option of at least two road bikes, one normally focused on aerodynamics and the other on weight, off-season tests conducted by Lampre-Merida between the 2013 and 2014 campaigns reportedly showed that aerodynamics have a far greater impact on efficiency than weight, and the team switched en-masse to the Reacto for this season.
The Reacto is based around a truncated airfoil tube profile developed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and dubbed ‘Fastback’ by Merida. The truncated shape is said to keep airflow stable, flowing as if the full airfoil was there, but while keeping the weight low and maintaining stiffness, as well as meeting UCI regulations.
Three versions of the Reacto frame are available to the public: the flagship, 905g Carbon Team ridden by Lampre-Merida, the mid-range, 1,180g Carbon Pro, and, new for 2015, the entry-level Reacto Aluminium.
We’ll start with the Reacto Aluminium, which is made from triple-butted (three different wall thicknesses are used, thicker at the ends to give greater stiffness and strength, and thinner in the middle to reduce weight) 6066 aluminium alloy, the highest grade used in bicycling manufacturing. The frame has a tapered headtube, like the Reacto Carbon Team and Carbon Pro, and is paired with a 438g full-carbon fork.
Merida say the Reacto Aluminium brings aero “to the masses” and three models are available. The Reacto 300 (£1,300) is based around a Shimano Tiagra groupset, the Reacto 400 (£1,150) gets Shimano 105 and the Reacto 500 (£1,300) upgrades to Shimano Ultegra.
Meanwhile, three builds are also available based around the mid-range Reacto Carbon Pro frame: the £1,750 Reacto 4000 (Shimano 105), the £2,000 Reacto 5000 (Shimano Ultegra) and the £3,500 Reacto Dura-Ace (Shimano Dura-Ace).
On to the Reacto Carbon Team, and the flagship machine, dubbed the Reacto Team-E, gets a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and 50mm-deep Fulcrum Red Wind wheels for £7,000.