Merida's climbing specialist in a more affordable setup
Launched just ahead of the Giro d’Italia, the ultra light Merida Scultura has already claimed Grand Tour wins. The previous model was released in 2012, and the new Scultura is huge step forward in several key areas. In fact it’s such a huge step forward that we’ve chosen it as the best lightweight climbing bike in the 2016 Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year awards.
The frameset on this £2300 Merida Scultura 6000 bike is the same as found on the Lampre-Merida team bikes. It features carbon drop outs, is hand made from 400 individual pieces, taking roughly 14 hours and going through 30 different hands. The Team Edition frame weighs roughly 800g for a size 56cm.
By working closely with Lampre-Merida pro riders, the geometry has been refined to make the new Scultura more aggressive, with a lower front end and longer top tube. The fit geometry is actually very similar to that of the Merida Reacto, the company’s aero option. The previous model’s geometry resulted in pro riders opting for a size smaller, but this is no longer the case and consequently handling is not compromised through the use of a ridiculously long stem.
Components on the Merida Scultura 6000 are predominantly Shimano Ultegra, with own brand brakes, an FSA Gossamer chainset, and Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels. The wheels meet the demands of training but certainly don’t live up to the full potential of this superb frame.
However this is not necessarily a negative, with Merida unashamedly keeping the price down by equipping an entry-level wheel set. What you are investing in is a premium quality frame fit for a pro.
Hop on it and you will instantly want to take to the hills. Get out of the saddle and the Merida Scultura 6000 darts like an Alpine Ibex up sharp gradients, but is equally proficient tearing down them. The superb handling results from a shorter wheelbase and lowered centre of gravity – the bottom bracket that is 5mm lower than the Reacto.
Despite being supremely stiff and light, comfort is not sacrificed. The bottom bracket direct-mount rear brake, is situated primarily for improved comfort, as it allows the chain stays to flex in two directions. The Scultura comes with 25mm tyres, but can accommodate 28mm easily, further bolstering comfort. You can comfortably ride this bike all day.
This package is all about the frame. If you were to buy Specialized S-Works Tarmac, the frameset alone retails at £2900, considerably more than this complete bike. In fact, we prefer the Scultura frame and it is significantly lighter (S-Works Tarmac ~966g for a 56c,). For the price, you will struggle to find a complete bike, with a frame this good. If you can afford to upgrade the wheels and maybe the brakes a little down the line, then the potential is there to turn the Merida Scultura 6000 into a pro-level bike in all respects.
The Merida Scultura 6000 is an exceptional bike for those with hills on the doorstep. The pro-level frame excels whether going uphill or downhill, and the choice of spec helps to make it relatively affordable too.