Gear News

Merida 2017 road bikes – first look: Scultura Disc, Reacto, Ride and more

We take a look at each and every bike in Merida's 2017 range of road bikes, including the new Scultura Disc

Merida nailed their colours to the mast last spring by introducing the Scultura Disc ahead of Paris-Roubaix – and the super-light machine was one of the few disc-equipped bikes raced at the 2016 Queen of the Classics.

While the UCI’s temporary ban on disc brakes for racing saw the Scultura Disc disappear from the pro peloton, that hasn’t stopped Merida pushing ahead and introducing a full range of Scultura Disc bikes for model year 2017. Disc-equipped race bikes are very much the future, as far as Merida are concerned.

We attended the launch of the Scultura Disc back in April and were impressed by the marriage of comfort and race-winning stiffness served up by the bike.

Now we’ve had a chance to look at the complete line-up of machines you’ll find in bike shops this year, along with the rest of Merida’s 2017 range: the regular Scultura, the Reacto aero bike, the Ride endurance bike and the Cyclo-Cross, erm, cyclo-cross bike.

Disc brakes take centre stage in Merida’s model year 2017 line-up

Merida Scultura Disc

All in all, there are seven models in the Scultura Disc range, based around three frames: the flagship CF4 chassis used by the Lampre-Merida team, the more affordable CF2 frame, which also has a more forgiving industry, and an entry-level alloy setup.

Let’s start with the top-of-the-range C4 chassis – the frame we rode at the launch in the spring. Claimed weight is 900g, which is certainly light for a disc-equipped frame, and it’s based on the regular rim brake model, with its subtly aero-profiled tubes based around a NACA truncated teardrop shape.

The Scultura Disc is the jewel in the crown for Merida in 2017

The geometry is racy, as you’d expect it be, with a 54cm frame having a 560mm toptube, 155mm headtube, 557mm stack and 394mm reach. However, Merida have extended the chainstays by 8mm over the rim brake Scultura to comfortably allow clearance for 28mm tyres – a key feature of the Scultura in its bid to provide a plush ride.

Merida have opted for thru-axles at the front and rear, and have licensed Focus’ excellent RAT system to allow for quick wheel changes. Merida have also employed an innovative ‘disc cooler’ across all models of the carbon Scultura Disc to reduce heat around the rear brake. The aluminium ribs, located on the chainstay, are said to result in a 35 per cent reduction in heat build-up to improve braking performance.

Two bikes are based around the CF4 frame: the Scultura Disc Team with a Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, Fulcrum Racing Disc wheels and Continental Grand Prix 4000S II tyres for £6,500. There’s also the Scultura Disc 7000-E, which gets a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and DT Swiss R23 Spline Disc wheels for £4,000.

Step down a level and you’ll find the mid-range CF2 carbon frame, which still has a claimed weight of less than 1,000g – you’re getting a significant drop in price for a small increase in weight. Otherwise, the frame shares the same features, though neither of the two bikes based around the CF2 chassis get RAT quick release thru-axles.

The carbon Scultura Disc range starts at £2,100 and tops out at £6,500, while the alloy range starts at £850

As we’ve already mentioned, the CF2 frame has a less aggressive geometry than the CF4, making it more relaxed for riders less concerned with head-down racing, but who still want a fast machine which still feels like a race bike. On a 54cm frame, that adds 10mm to the headtube, 5mm to the fork length and 5mm to the wheelbase.

In terms of spec, the Scultura Disc 6000 comes with a Shimano Ultegra groupset, Shimano RS805 hydraulic disc brakes and Fulcrum Racing Expert Disc wheels for £2,400. There’s also the £2,100 Scultura Disc 5000, which swaps the Shimano Ultegra chainset for a non-series Shimano unit, and the Fulcrum wheels for Merida’s own disc hoops.

There’s also now an alloy Scultura Disc, with three bikes based around a 6066-grade, triple-butted frame claimed to weigh less than 1,500g. It may be made from aluminium, but the frame still casts largely a similar shadow as its upscale cousins thanks to the tapered headtube and subtle aero tube profiling.

The £2,400 Merida Scultura Disc 6000 comes with Shimano Ultegra – and very nice it looks, too

The Scultura Disc 500 is the most expensive bike in the alloy range at £1,500, and comes with a Shimano Ultegra groupset (save for the non-series chainset), Shimano RS805 hydraulic disc brakes and Merida wheels for £1,500.

Step down a level and you’ll find the Scultura Disc 400 for £1,350. For your money you get a Shimano 105 groupset, Shimano RS505 hydro disc brakes and Merida wheels. Finally, the Disc 200 is the entry-level machine, based around the same frame but with a Shimano Sora groupset, Promax mechanical disc brakes and Merida hoops for a Cycle to Work scheme-friendly £850.

Merida Scultura Team Disc (Shimano Dura-Ace) – £6,500
Merida Scultura 7000-E Disc (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £4,000
Merida Scultura 6000 Disc (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,400
Merida Scultura 5000 Disc (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,100
Merida Scultura 500 Disc (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,500
Merida Scultura 400 Disc (Shimano 105) – £1,300
Merida Scultura 200 Disc (Shimano Sora) – £850

Merida Scultura

The regular Scultura remains a significant part of the range for 2017, with four bikes based around the CF4 and CF2 rim brake frames launched last May.

The Scultura Team is the top-of-the-range machine and combines the 800g CF4 frame with a Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 groupset (though Merida have swapped in a Rotor 3D30 chainset), Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels and Continental Grand Prix 4000S II tyres for £6,000.

The Scultura is still available with disc brakes, of course

Then it’s the Scultura 7000-E, with the same CF4 frame, a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and DT Swiss Spline R23 wheels for £3,600.

The Scultura 6000 uses the more affordable CF2 frame, which bumps the weight up a little. Just like with the Scultura Disc, the CF2’s geometry is also less aggressive than the CF4. That aside, the Scultura 6000 is dressed in a Shimano Ultegra groupset with Fulcrum Racing Expert wheels for £2,000.

Merida use a number of grades of carbon fibre across the range

Finally, the Scultura 5000 completes the range and for £1,300 you get a CF2 frame, Shimano Ultegra groupset (with a non-series Shimano chainset swapped in to help keep the price down) and Merida own-brand wheels.

Merida Scultura Team (Shimano Dura-Ace) – £6,000
Merida Scultura 7000-E (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £3,600
Merida Scultura 5600 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,000
Merida Scultura 5000 (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,700

Merida Reacto

While the Scultura focuses on low weight, with a nod to aerodynamics and both rim and disc brake versions, the Reacto is Merida’s unbridled aero race machine with rim brakes only.

The current iteration of the Reacto was launched in 2013 but, if you’re not familiar, the frame uses Merida’s Fastback truncated tube profiles, based around a NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) 0028 airfoil.

Other wind-cheating features include the aero-profiled seatpost (which on all carbon models uses Merida’s S-Flex tech to improve comfort), low-slung seatstays and direct mount brakes (with the rear brake hidden behind the bottom bracket).

The Merida Reacto certainly looks fast

The final thing to mention before we get stuck into the spec is that there are two versions of the frame: the carbon CF3 and an aluminium edition, which uses a 6066 triple-butted tubeset. Merida’s aren’t offering the team-level CF5 frame in the UK for 2017.

As a result, the Reacto Dura-Ace Ltd tops the range at £3,700 and wears Shimano Dura-Ace shifting components (with a Rotor 2D noQ chainset and Shimano Ultegra brakes) and Vision Metron carbon wheels.

The Merida Reacto Dura-Ace Ltd is dressed in Shimano’s new Dura-Ace R9100 groupset

Otherwise, there are four more bikes based around the same frame: the Reacto 7000-E (Shimano Ultegra Di2, £3,200), Reacto 6000 (Shimano Ultegra, £2,350), Reacto 5000 (Shimano Ultegra, £2,000) and Reacto 4000 (Shimano £1,750).

The Reacto is also one of the few full-on aero bikes on the market available with an alloy frame, opening aerodynamics up to an even bigger audience of riders. You get all the same aero tube profiles and there are three bikes to choose from: the Reacto 500 (£1,300, Shimano Ultegra), Reacto 400 (£1,100, Shimano 105) and Reacto 300 (£950, Shimano Ultegra).

Merida Reacto Dura-Ace Ltd Ed (Shimano Dura-Ace) – £3,700
Merida Reacto 7000-E (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £3,200
Merida Reacto 6000 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,350
Merida Reacto 5000 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,000
Merida Reacto 4000 (Shimano 105) – £1,750
Merida Reacto 500 (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,300
Merida Reacto 400 (Shimano 105) – £1,100
Merida Reacto 300 (Shimano Tiagra) – £950


Merida Ride

Everything we’ve featured so far has been fairly racy, but the Ride is Merida’s endurance bike. That most obviously manifests itself in the geometry, which places the rider in a more upright position thanks to a longer headtube and shorter toptube. Merida also say their ‘Flexstay’ technology allows the seatstays and chainstays to soak up more of the vibrations kicked up by the road.

All in all, there are seven bikes in the range: three with a carbon fibre frame and four with an aluminium frame. All bikes comes with a full carbon fork, which slots into the tapered headtube.

The Ride is Merida’s endurance bike and has a relaxed geometry to provide a more upright riding position

The Ride 5000 tops the range at £2,400 and gets a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Fulcrum Racing 3 groupset, while the Ride 5000 (£1,900) also uses an Ultegra groupset but swaps in a non-series chainset and Fulcrum Racing Expert wheels, and the Ride 4000 is based around a Shimano 105 groupset and Shimano RS10 wheels for £1,500.

As for the aluminium range, the line-up goes like this: the Ride 500 (Shimano Ultegra, £1,150), Ride 400 (Shimano 105, £1,000), Ride 300 (Shimano Tiagra, £850) and Ride 100 (Shimano Claris, £650).

Merida Ride 7000 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,300
Merida Ride 5000 (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,900
Merida Ride 4000 (Shimano 105) – £1,500
Merida Ride 500 (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,150
Merida Ride 400 (Shimano 105) – £1,000
Merida Ride 300 (Shimano Tiagra) – £850
Merida Ride 100 (Shimano Claris) – £650

Merida Cyclo-Cross

That’s the road range covered, so let’s finish up by looking at Merida’s Cyclo-Cross range. Versatility is key, as far as Merida are concerned, and whether you opt for a carbon fibre or aluminium frame, you’ll find mudguard mounts.

There are two carbon fibre bikes in the range, employing Merida’s ‘Nano matrix’ tech to reportedly add stretch, while you’ll also find 15mm/12mm thru-axles at the front and rear, and a full carbon tapered fork.

Merida’s cyclo-cross bike is called… the Cyclo-Cross

The Cyclo-Cross 6000 is the flagship machine and for £2,600 you get a Shimano Ultegra groupset (non-series chainset), Shimano RS685 hydraulic disc brakes and DT Swiss R4 Spline wheelset. Step down a level and the Cyclo-Cross 5000 wears a SRAM Apex 1x groupset and hydro disc brakes for £2,150.

On to the alloy bikes and the Cyclo-Cross 500 gets a full carbon fork, with a 15mm thru-axle at the front and quick release at the rear, and a Shimano 105 groupset paired with Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes for £1,000.

Finally, the Cyclo-Cross 300 props up the range, with an aluminium fork, Shimano Tiagra parts and Tektro Spyre mechanics stoppers for £800.

Merida Cyclo-Cross 6000 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,600
Merida Cyclo-Cross 5000 (SRAM Apex 1) – £2,150
Merida Cyclo-Cross 500 (Shimano 105) – £1,000
Merida Cyclo-Cross 300 (Shimano Tiagra) – £800

Website: Merida

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