Updated: 3rd May 2018
Tried and tested on stages of the world’s most prestigious races, the Reacto is Merida’s aero road bike. Faster, lighter and comfier, the Merida Reacto range of bikes that we review here has been completely redesigned for 2018. Lighter and more aerodynamically efficient, the new Reacto is 8w more efficient than last years bikes.
We also see the introduction of disc equipped models for the first time. These are also incredibly efficient and are only very slightly less slippery that the calliper brake models. The new Reacto is also more comfortable, for an aero race bike, making it easier to rack up the miles. Merida claim that the new Reacto is 8W more efficient than the previous models.
The bikes in the Reacto range feature two different geometries; the pure race CF4, and the slightly more relaxed CF2. At the top of the range the Reacto Team-E and the 9000-E get the CF4 geometry. This is the same that has been ridden to victory by pro riders like Vincenzo Nibali. The handling of these bikes is very quick which is great for pro riders, but mere mortals may find the handling unsettling. For this reason, Merida offer the rest of the Reacto range with the more relaxed CF2 geometry. With more stable handling, every day riders will find much these bikes much easier to live with.
All the bikes in the range are lighter than the previous versions as well as being more aerodynamically efficient. The Reacto 400 is the only bike in the range with an alloy frame. The 6066 frame tubes are triple butted and hydroformed with the same aero NACA fastback tube shapes as the other bikes. The rest of the Reactos are built around a high-quality carbon frame. This has had the grams shaved off and weighs in at just 1,200g in the medium size. The disc equipped bikes get thru axles, to cope with the higher braking forces, and are about 100g heavier. Every bike in the range gets a full carbon fork with a tapered steerer and improved aerodynamics.
The Reacto has steadily evolved since it was first introduced in 2011. In that time, the overall profile of the bike hasn’t changed much, but Merida has been able to improve its performance in all of the key areas. Cyclingtips
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the S-Flex seatpost is a marketing gimmick. That would be my initial instinct but the Reacto is comfortable, especially for an aero road bike. road.cc
For the fist time the Reacto is available with disc brakes, so you can control you speed with confidence in all weather conditions. Disc brakes are harder to hide from the wind than callipers, but the difference is negligible. With the Reacto there is only a 1W difference between the two bikes. True to the fasted paced potential of this aero race bike every model gets a sub-compact 52-36t chainset with an11-28t cassette. Starting with Shimano 105 on the 400 and 4,000 you move up to Ultegra and Ultegra Di2 on the rest of the CF2 bikes. As you would expect from a pro level machine the CF4 bikes get Dura Ace Di2 or SRAM Red eTap.
Improving comfort, without effecting speed or efficiency, all the carbon framed Reactos feature the new S-Flex seatpost. The layup of the carbon seatpost leaves a notch at the top that is filled with silicone rubber. This allows the saddle to move a little vertically and does a great job of smoothing out rough road surfaces.
The wheels on the first four bikes in the Reacto range are fitted with Merida’s own Expert CW wheels with their distinctive spoke pattern. The rest of the CF2 bikes get Fulcrum Racing wheels. As full-on aero race wheels cost as much as whole bike you only see these on the CF4 bikes with Vision Metron 55s and DT Swiss PRC 1400s.
It is great to see that Merida haven’t skimped on the tyres, with Continental Grand Sport Race tyres fitted to most of the bikes in the range. All the tyres are 25mm wide, but you have to option to fit wider tyres on the CF2 bikes. These models have enough tyre clearance for tyres up to 28mm.
The Reacto, already a very good bike, has taken a significant step forward here. road.cc
Built for speed, the Merida Reacto is best for riders who love fast paced cycling. At the top of the range, the CF4 bikes offer true pro level performance for the pure racers. Not everyone has the lightning quick reactions of a professional road racer however. This is why most of the Reactos feature CF2 geometry. These bikes are more stable especially when cornering and in cross winds, so are much better suited to the average rider. Not everyone can spend all-day every-day in the saddle honing their bike handling skills.
As with all Merida’s you get a lot of bike for your money. While the Reacto may not be as flashy as some aero race machines, you will be hard pushed to find a better performing bike to fit your budget.