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BIKE OF THE YEAR 2022 PERFORMANCE WINNER!

  • 23 May 2022
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The Merida Scultura Team is the latest addition to Merida's lightweight integrated road bike platform. It's a WorldTour-level bike that offers great ride and handling, better aero, and a great price. Therefore, Scultura Team won the title of "Best High-Performance Road Bike" in the BikeRadar 2022 Bike of the Year Awards.

Like other brands that sponsor WorldTour teams, Merida has also embarked on the path of adding aerodynamic design to its lightweight road bikes, but at the same time is as close as possible to the magic number of 6.8Kg.

All in all, Merida has created a road bike that can rival other top-of-the-line models such as the Specialized Tarmac SL7, Cannondale SuperSix EVO, Giant TCR Advanced SL, and Trek Emonda SLR.

But most importantly, it does so at a price well below that of other top-of-the-line road bikes, making the Scultura Team the most affordable high-performance road bike available today.

While the previous Scultura IV featured a small amount of Kamm-tail tubes on the down tube and seat tube, the new model features a more comprehensive aerodynamic design. Merida claims that the aerodynamic design of this car reduces drag by 4.2% compared to the previous model (about 20W at 45Km/H).

Impressively, the increase in overall performance has not lost the Scultura's weight advantage, with Merida claiming a 38g reduction compared to the previous generation (the M frame has an official weight of 822g). A quintessential WorldTour bike, the aerodynamics, long, low geometry, dropped seatstays and one-piece handlebar give it all the makings of a top road bike.

At the front of the car, the new one-piece handlebar design is in keeping with the current trend, hiding all the oil pipes and wires, making the car look very clean from the front.

The new Scultura's front and rear tires are compatible with a maximum tire width of 30mm, which is more than enough for the use of paved road racing.

In road testing, the Scultura delivered on its promise of agile handling. This generation of the Scultura has the same geometry as one of the best aero road bikes on the market, the Merida Reacto. That means the bike needs to be driven with an aggressive, stretched riding position. The head tube and seat tube angle of this car is relatively large, reaching 73.5 degrees.

Compared to the Cervélo R5 Disc in size 56, the Scultura in size M has 6mm more reach, 15mm less stack height and 3mm shorter wheelbase.

The design of these details makes you feel more direct and more flexible. The lightweight design of the front half of the bike and the Vision Metron 45 SL Disc wheelset (more on this later) further improve the flexibility and response of the handling. Despite the Scultura's relatively slender tube design, it feels excellent rigidity whether it's seated pedaling or rocking.

Foreign media are often told that a dedicated D-shaped seatpost provides better comfort than a traditional round seatpost.

The 27.2mm Merida Tean SL carbon fiber seatpost used on the Scultura, the slender seat fork with a sinking design, and the 700x28c Continental GP5000 clincher tires provide a guarantee for the comfort of the rear half of the bike.

If the seat post needs to be replaced or upgraded, you can easily find the right option on the market.

Just as not everyone likes the all-inner cable design, not everyone likes a one-piece handle. Intuitively, it makes perfect sense to use on a bike that’s designed for peak performance, and alone, the Merida Team SL 1P’s one-piece handlebars can’t be faulted. This integrated handlebar has a great look, great stiffness when rocking, and has an aerodynamic design for a great grip on hills.

Generally speaking, the whole bike will be equipped with a stem and handlebar that matches the size. The length of the stem and the width of the handlebar will increase with the increase of the frame size.

Merida says the Team SL 1P one-piece handlebars can be purchased separately from dealers. There are 15 sizes in the aftermarket, with a stem length of 90-140mm and a handlebar width of 400-440mm. The retail price is 399 euros (about 2828 yuan).

This size range should cover the needs of most riders (though not narrow-handlebar enthusiasts), but it's really a bike upgrade that's a big investment.

But there are more creative solutions to these kinds of problems, like the adjustable-width handlebars on the 2021 Canyon Aeroad, but there’s an even simpler solution that uses a split handlebar.

Models such as the Specialized Tarmac SL7, Cannondale SystemSix and Orbea Orca Aero have found a balance in this regard with their split handlebar construction and aero handlebars.

If you can't find the right size in this range, the aero gain from the smooth stem and handlebar interface isn't worth the compromises on comfort and overall aerodynamics, knowing that the body is the biggest source of wind resistance , a suitable riding position can also greatly reduce the wind resistance.

details. The Scultura comes with a 1 1/8" circular washer and can be paired with the same FSA ACR one-piece handlebar or SMR stem found on lower grade Scultura or Reacto models (such as the Reacto 6000), as well as use whatever you want 31.8mm road stem to use.

Merida Scultura Team Configuration

A few special concerns aside, it is undeniable that the Scultura Team is very good in the selection and matching of accessories.

The Vision Metron 45 SL Disc wheelset is ideal for this type of lightweight integrated road bike, with a 45mm rim height and a 31mm outer rim for better aerodynamics than a lower rim height, while still adequate Lightweight (the official weight of the wheel set is 1372g), it can provide a lighter riding feeling when climbing. It can be said that the price is very high.

The wheels use Vison's own PRS hubs, 21/24 straight-pull aero spokes, and a 2:1 weave. At the same time, high-quality ABS self-locking spoke nipples are used, which means that accurate tension can be guaranteed for a longer period of time during use.

The wheels are paired with excellent 700x28c Continental GP5000 TR tires. This high-performance combination makes the overall performance attractive enough.

For 2022, the Scultura will be available with the new Continental GP5000S TR tubeless tires, meaning riders looking to go tubeless can simply add a few vacuum nozzles and some self-refilling fluid.

The media found that the front wheel occasionally deflected slightly due to sudden gusts of wind. Still, he enjoys using the wheels in all weather conditions, because the speed increase is so overwhelming.

Like most high-profile wheelsets, you need to be careful when riding in a storm.

The Prologo Scratch M5 Nack saddle isn't the media's favorite shape. Personal preference aside, though, it's a high-quality, lightweight saddle that shouldn't need to be replaced if it's the right width.

For someone like a Western journalist who weighs 64kg and doesn't live in the mountains, the front and rear 160mm Shimano MT900 chainrings used on the Scultura are a bit overkill. Like other Merida road bikes, you also get caliper radiators. This is said to provide additional heat dissipation to the brakes to ensure braking effectiveness. But it won't reduce the performance of the car in any way (the design has been modified from the previous version, the previous version may scratch your heels), so foreign media do not want to remove them.

One of the highlights of this car is undoubtedly the use of the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 groupset. As one would expect, the new semi-wireless kit is excellent in all respects and deserves to be used on a WorldTour vehicle. The rear derailleur is just as quick and precise as before, while the front derailleur is arguably the best of the bunch. Whether it's easier to switch to a smaller cassette or a more compact cassette construction than the 11S, stepping into the 12S isn't a game-changer in the transmission market, but it's nice to have an extra cassette when you need it.

It's also surprising that Merida is able to offer the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9200-P bilateral power meter at this price without compromising anywhere else.

That means it's so cost-effective that even a direct brand like Canyon can't match it. For example, the Canyon Ultimate CFR costs £8,249/£8,499 (approximately RMB 69,446/RMB 71,551), excluding the power meter.

The Merida Scultura Team is an attractive option for anyone looking to get their hands on a lightweight competition-grade all-round road bike. It excels on all terrains and provides a satisfying ride quality that also supports your faster and harder rides. Its price is lower than many competitors, which will also increase its competitiveness in the market. The only glaring downside is that there are fewer size options for the one-piece handlebars. It's perfectly fine if the existing size fits your needs, but if it doesn't, you may need to be prepared to make an additional investment.

Still, given the price difference between the Scultura and most WorldTour-level road bikes, it's entirely possible that you'll have a budget left when you're done.

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