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New Merida Scultura V Team details announced

Joseph Delves
1 Sep 2021

Lighter, more aerodynamic, extra compliant, and already race-winning, we take a look at Merida’s new Scultura V Team

We can’t exactly say that the fifth generation of Merida’s Scultura racing bike has broken cover. Few cycling fans will have missed it this summer, winning as it has two stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné underneath Mark Padun, one in the Tour de France courtesy of Dylan Teuns, and one carrying Damiano Caruso to victory in the Vuelta a España.

However, we do now have the final details of the bike, along with a release date. Always the leaner of the brand’s two main road platforms, the first Scultura was hewn from a raw hunk of carbon back in 2006.

Sitting alongside the more aggressively aerodynamic Reacto, this latest version is supposedly more slippery than its forbears while managing to be lighter, comfier, more versatile, and, in our subjective opinion, even more handsome than before.

As seen on TV this summer

Designed to hit the UCI’s 6.8kg racing weight limit, like many a modern climbing platform, the new Scultura has had wind tunnel-informed makeover.

Resulting in a squarer and more chiselled profile than its previous sinuous form, it’s also pinched many attributes from the firm’s blade-like Reacto. In fact, seeing it on TV, I think many cycling journalists may have mistaken the two.

The Reacto’s radically dropped seatstays that look somewhat like the tailfins on an American hotrod are now familiar to both bikes. At the same time, the frontal area of the Scultura has also been reduced, while its previously retro conventional bar and stem have been switched for a specially designed one-piece cockpit.

Backed by a unique Wireport headset, this now enables all cables to enter the frame through the headset without otherwise modifying the frame. The redesign has also seen the bike’s seatpost clamp disappear, allowing both brake and gear lines to come in from the cold.

A better bike for hanging yourself in the wind

Resulting in a claimed saving of just over 10 watts at 45kmh, aerodynamics has been far from the only quality Merida has looked to improve. Take the bike’s integrated seat clamp. Now leaving one less thing for the wind to catch against, the 40mm of extra seatpost above it also allows for a greater degree of movement and, therefore, comfort.

It does look somewhat boxier in its more aerodynamic guise, but the aerodynamic tubes on the new Scultura combine to create a frame that, at only 822g, is now 38g lighter.

Versatility has likewise been improved. Similar to most bikes in this category, discs and through-axles have long been standard across the range. However, the frame and fork have also now been adapted to fit tyres up to 30c wide.

Small details have also benefited from significant attention. These include the creation of integrated spacers designed to work with the one-piece cockpit. Ready to be run above or below the stem, these allow the rider to tailor the bars’ position without committing to cutting the steerer.

Able to be fitted or removed around the bike’s cabling, they work alongside a Force Diffuser that wraps the steerer tube to reduce fatigue inflicted upon the fork via the stem.

The firm’s familiar finned aluminium Disc Cooler also make an appearance bolted to the brake callipers with the claimed benefit of reducing the working temperature of the brake system by around 35%.

Full test incoming

Maybe it’s the halo effect of being associated with some incredible wins. Still, the Scultura has been among the bikes in the pro peloton most frequently responsible for having me considering an upgrade to my somewhat gangly racer.

It could be the total lack of visible cabling, the narrow front end or the square profile of the tubes, but either way it looks every bit the modern racing bike. Of course, in taking many traits from its more aero sibling while increasing integration and bumping up the tyre clearance, Merida isn’t exactly ploughing a lonely design furrow.

Still, billed as the firm’s most rounded racing bike to date, it does appear to fit that listing. Also, as one of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers, Merida bikes are consistently excellent value.

Currently romping its way around the suitably hilly Vuelta, the Scultura V Team will be immediately set loose on the general public as of today, with the RRP to follow pronto. It's also under review, so keep an eye out for a full write-up of the bike in issue 119 of Cyclist, available on 6th October.

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