Offering the speed and handling you would expect from a World Tour road race machine, the Merida Scultura is a bike for those who like to ride fast as they rack up the miles. The Scultura has aero features to help you slice through the air more efficiently. However, the ride is much more comfortable ride than you would expect. We review the whole Scultura range that includes affordable alloy framed bikes all the way up to the carbon bling of the Team replica bikes.
Both disc and rim brake bikes are available across the range, so you can choose your stopping preferences. The Scultura Juliet bikes feature women’s specific geometry and components.
There are 20 unisex and 4 women’s specific models in the Scultura range. Merida are one of very few bike brands that manufacture their own bikes. They actually make bikes for many other top brands too. For this reason, Merida are able to make their frames to a higher-quality for any given price point. The Scultura 100 to 400 bikes are all built around lightweight triple butted 6066 aluminium alloy frames. These offer the best performance you can get from an alloy frame. Every bike in the range gets a full carbon fork for precise steering with a smoother ride feel.
The Scultura 4000 to 7000 all get a CF2 carbon fibre frame. The tubes are shaped to offer an aero advantage. Merida call this NSCA Fastback truncated teardrop profiling, and it is designed to reduce drag. On the comfort side, the rear stays are slim helping to absorb road vibrations for a smoother ride. Each bike in the range features a relaxed, but race focused, geometry. The top-of-the range Team bikes get a more aggressive pro level geometry.
Even when you're riding on rough, pockmarked roads – and let's face it, that's likely to be a lot of the time – the Scultura delivers a smooth ride without the buzz often associated with bikes of this kind.
The advantage [of disc brakes] over rim brakes isn't massive in dry conditions but it's significant in the wet when it's far easier to judge exactly how they'll respond to any given pressure at the lever.
All the Scultura models get a compact chainset with a wide range 11-28t cassette. This means you get the same wide range of usable gears on every bike in the range. The alloy framed bikes start with a Shimano Claris 8-speed cassette on the 100 and move up to 9, 10 and then 11-speed on the 400. This means that you get a smaller step between each gear with the increased number of cogs on the cassette. The carbon framed bikes all get an 11-speed cassette. The shifting precision improves as you move through the range, from 105 on the 4000 all the way up to Dura-Ace on the team bikes.
Most models have both a disc and rim brake version. In the dry the braking performance is similar but in the wet the disc brake versions really shine. With disc brakes there is very little difference between the performance in wet and dry conditions. This means you can slow down with more confidence knowing that your brakes will be there as soon as you pull the lever. The Scultura 200 disc uses mechanical disc brakes. Every other bike gets the improved performance of hydraulic disc brakes.
Like their frames, Merida build their wheels in-house wheels and these are fitted to the majority of bikes in the Scultura range. These wheels offer excellent performance for the price, in disc and rims brake options. The entry level models get Merida Comp wheels, and as the range moves up, then wheels go up to the Comp SL and then to the Expert SL for the Scultura 5000.
Fulcrum Racing wheels cover the models from the 6000 and up, with the Team and Team Disc getting Fulcrum Racing Carbon wheelsets. The odd model out is the 7000-E, which gets a DT Swiss R23 Spline wheelset. Tyres are all 25c in size, and start with the Maxxis Dolomites tyres on the entry models, moving onto Continentals for the rest of the models. The sticky Grand Prix 4000S are reserved for the Team models, but grippy Ultra Sport II and Grand Sport Race tyres are fitted to the rest of the range.
The Scultura feels planted when you head downhill, without any of that skittish behaviour that you sometimes get. Bikes occasionally get knocked off line by small lumps and bumps and leave you fighting for control, but things are remarkably serene here.
The Merida Scultura is a great road bike for the budget of every road rider. The entry level models are perfect for those looking to get into road riding, wanting a more performance focused bike without breaking the bank. The performance of the bikes increases as you go through the range, and the extra price of the higher-end models is money well spent.
The alloy and CF2 frames offer a more comfortable body position on the bike, making them ideal for every day road riders. For aspiring pro riders, the 7000-E and team models offer a racier, aggressive geometry, with the CF4 frames. These bikes are the bikes for those who want competitive road racing bike to aim for the podium.
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