Ingezonden

Merida’s aim with a Scultura was to emanate a light, unbending yet still gentle support (Robin Wilmott/Bikeradar)

With 11 universe championship wins and an Olympic bullion award underneath a belts of a Multivan cross-country team, Merida are often viewed as a mountain bike brand. But a Taiwanese company have their eyes resolutely on a ProTour
and top-level highway racing with their latest Scultura highway bike.

Merida have never been ones to bashful divided from innovation. The prior generation Scultura Evo boasted double-chamber flare legs, an integrated front mech mountain and an 875g support weight (56cm size), while a 2010 Reacto was one of a initial aero highway bikes, before a judgment went mainstream with a likes of a Specialized Venge and Scott Foil

Examining
their competitors in a high-end highway bike market, Merida concluded that nonetheless ultra light weight
frames are achievable, their performance – particularly stiffness, and therefore
efficiency – suffers. Their aim was to emanate a light, unbending yet still gentle frame, and crucially one that doesn’t cost a earth. 

That’s not to contend a Scultura is heavy – a claimed frame-only weight of 844g is still light adequate to build a bike with clincher tyres and SRAM Red that weighs around 6kg (13lb). Not
wanting to furnish a support that focused on avocation to a ostracism of form, Merida’s product designer
Martin Stuetz drew on his credentials in industrial pattern and sculpture.

The name Scultura means sculpture in Italian, hinting during Merida’s importance on form as good as function 

There are 3 Scultura models for 2012: a SL Team, Pro and Comp. The range-topping SL comes with a new SRAM Red groupset and uses FSA’s BB386 Evo bottom joint system. The additional aspect area supposing by a 86mm far-reaching bottom joint bombard allows Merida to use a super-fat down tube and low uneven chainstays to boost stiffness. A CO overpass during a bottom of a chair tube serve strengthens this vicious area. The pattern accepts all vast hole axles (eg. BB30) and with an adaptor can take smaller ones, too.

Merida imbue a Scultura with some startle damping comfort regulating their FLEX-STAY technology. A covering of flax is combined between a CO sheets on a tip aspect of a seatstays and a tip and bottom of a chainstays. This material has good rigidity and startle interesting properties, and a 40-50g it adds to a support weight is a price Merida are peaceful to pay. 

The left-hand chainstay is propitious as customary with an underslung electric shifting
battery mount, alongside a wheel. The inner routing can be altered to accommodate possibly automatic or electrical cables via a complement of plugged inserts, that helps future-proof the
frame. A neat hold that shows Stuetz’s multiple of pattern and aesthetics is a span of ridges using along a down tube; these do double avocation as inner wire channels and stiffening structures.

The Scultura’s BB386 Evo oversize bottom joint setup keeps things unbending underfoot

Most
modern highway bikes have a chainstay length of around 410mm, yet a Scultura’s
is 405mm, earnest assertive doing for a supplement in a hurry. Wanting to
test out all of a headlines, we embarked on a float in unseasonal (for Mallorca) winds and
light snow. Our medium/large SL Team exam bike with Time pedals, bottle cage, clinchers
and a covering of mud weighed in during 6.57kg (14.48lb), that is underneath a UCI limit. 

The
first thing that becomes immediately apparent is how plain a bike feels. There’s no feeling of pedalling in ovals due to flex, and any parallel bottom
bracket deflection isn’t conspicuous by a small mortal. When we mount on the
pedals a Scultura kicks forward. Allied to a slim and enormously stiff
head tube area, we had to somewhat change a sprinting and climbing character to
account for a miss of flex.

Mallorca’s roads are mostly really well-spoken yet after acid out the
rough pieces we found a Scultura to be organisation yet never harsh,
presumably due to a flax fibres doing their job. The
bottom joint reduction gives a drivetrain an additional gear, and we had no
problems rolling adult smaller hills in a large ring when we’d routinely be
reaching for a front shifter. Front finish fortitude is strong considerable and
unflappable – very calming on a quick 180-degree downhill hook when turning
across a blowing wind.

The inner wire routing is concordant with both electronic and automatic transmissions

The
Scultura’s cables enter behind a conduct tube during around 45
degrees to a frame. When doing an unladen bike this feels like it could
slow a steering since a cables aren’t really flexible, yet in a saddle it wasn’t an issue. If anything, a wire position
works like a check for a steering, preventing any remarkable flicks when
unloaded, such as when roving no-handed. We attempted it even during delayed speeds and have no problems to report.

Although we hung on to 4 members of a Merida race group for many of a exam ride, we have no illusions: a Scultura was merely graceful us with
delusions of fitness. Most of us will never strech a boundary of what this bike
is able of, yet a beauty of owning a bike like this is meaningful that it’ll never
disappoint.

The SL Team is strictly a 2013 bike yet it should be accessible in a UK around July/August for £5,500 (US readers might be unhappy to hear that Merida don’t now list any North American distributors on their website). The Scultura Pro uses
the same cover yet a reduce modulus CO fibre, ensuing in
around 130g of additional weight. It does keep a BB386 bottom joint though, and costs significantly less – £1,500, with Shimano 105.

The sub-£1,000 (exact cost TBC) Scultura Comp uses a opposite cover and
different CO twine construction, with no flax. It also has to make do with a customary 68mm bottom joint shell. However, it still gets a full-carbon flare with slim steerer and a same wire routing. Claimed support weight is 1,200g, and an increasing chainstay length of 410mm allows use of tyres adult to
25mm wide.

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