While it might sound like a fable, Merida bikes was in fact created because its founder Tseng, while on a trip to the USA, was disappointed to find a bike shop that wouldn’t fix bikes from Taiwan due to “poor quality”.
That was back in 1972, and in 2013 the brand celebrated its 25th anniversary and today boasts three different types of road bike as well as a cycle cross and a gravel range. The brand is also the title sponsor of the WorldTour racing team Bahrain-Merida which currently employs big name stars such as Vincenzo Nibali.
Here in the UK, Merida bikes are mostly sold via online retailers or in local stores with the brand mostly avoiding the major high street retailers. In 2018, Merida expanded its range with the introduction of disc brakes.
Merida bikes: the Merida Reacto range
The bike was developed in the wind tunnel and for that reason it boasts improved aerodynamics over the last model. In similar moves to what we’re seeing from other major bike brands, Merida also looked to make the frame far less complex. In doing so it was able to reduce weight by a claimed 17 per cent, but also make the bike far easier to live with day in, day out.
Just from looking at it, it’s clear that the Reacto has all the makings of a bonafide aero bike. The higher end models feature a CF4 frame have an integrated Vision Metron cockpit that hides the Di2 junction box and the frame has the complex shapes that ear mark it as a whippet in the wind.
Merida uses two different geometry styles across its carbon fibre Reacto bikes. At a lower level, the frames are labelled CF2 which is the brand’s more relaxed geometry while the Reacto 900o-E and the Team-E benefit from the CF4 frames which have Merida’s racing geometry.
In total, the brand offers 10 different Reacto models, starting with the Reacto 300 then 400, 500 and then the carbon fibre 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000-E, 8000-E, 9000-E and Reacto Team-E. It then duplicates the Reacto 5000, 6000, 7000-E, 8000-E, 9000-E and Reacto Team-E by offering these models with disc brakes.
The Merida Reacto 300 is the entry-level option for the range, and for that reason it comes with a hydro formed triple butted aluminium frame that’s put together with double pass welding. It’s complete with a carbon fork and NACA Fastback Profile on its tubing. This truncated design is more aerodynamic and helps save weight.
The Merida Reactos above this point (4000 through to the Team editions) feature more sophisticated technology because of their carbon layups, including Anti Wrinkle Technology (more on this further down the page). The differentiating factors at this point are the quality of the components, and as you might expect, those bikes with E following the names are equipped either with Di2 or SRAM eTap.
Merida bikes: The Merida Scultura Range
With the Merida Scultura, the brand has truly embraced disc brakes, duplicating all of the Scultura models by adding disc brakes. Helpfully, though, the Scultura uses the same frame categorisation as the Reacto.
So, for example, the 100, 200, 300 and 400 all have a hydro-formed, aluminium triple butted frames paired with a carbon fork. These also share Merida’s ‘smooth welding’ technology and have the capability to accommodate internal cable routing.
The carbon fibre frames kick off with the Scultura 4000, and the CF2 frames – the name that the brand gives to its more relaxed geometry – are also present on the Scutlura 5000, 6000 and 7000-E as well as the disc brake versions of all of those.
Above this point, starting with the 8000-E, the frames get Merida’s CF4 geometry which is more aggressive and race ready. The 8000-E, 9000-E and the Team-E editions also get the ‘Flex Stay’ technology, the same as the higher end disc brake models.
Both the CF2 and CF4 carbon fibre frames also come with NACA truncated tube designs, so the higher end bikes get a nice aerodynamic touch.
Wider 28mm tyres compared to 25mm ones and Rat 12mm through axles make up the marginal differences between the Scultura disc and the Scultura rim brake.
Merida bikes: The Merida Silex range
The Silex is the brand’s new adventure and gravel bike, designed to add a bit of spice to your life and indulge your adventurous whims.
Merida says the key thing about the Silex is its geometry, which leans far closer to mountain biking than road cycling. That means a longer head tube, low stand-over-height and longer reach coupled with a shorter stem.
According to Merida, the decision to extend the head tube is to make the need for spacers obsolete and to make descending on the drops safer and more comfortable.
True to mountain biking form, the brand has also adopted 1x drivechains for simplicity, with 35mm tyres and can also accommodate a 2.2″ on a 650b wheel.
As an adventure bike, the Silex is designed to be loaded with luggage and accessories, with the bike having a unique quick-mount mudguard setup. All of the range use Merida’s ‘Smart Entry’ technology, which clamps the cables in place to stop them rattling around.
The Silex range is less expansive than its Scultura sibling, but it still manages to offer both aluminium and carbon models. To be specific, the Silex 200, 300 and 600 have the ‘Silex Lite’ frame which is a hydro-formed, triple butted aluminium frame with smooth welding partnered with a carbon fork up front. The 200 model is the only one with a double ring setup, all the rest are one-by.
The Silex 6000 and 9000 come with the Merida’s CF2 frames and SRAM groupsets. The former with SRAM Apex, while the later has SRAM Force One.
Merida bikes: The Cyclo Cross range
Merida has a comprehensive range of cyclocross bikes, featuring four aluminium guises and three carbon models. In terms of technology, the aluminium Cyclo Cross 100, 300, 400 and 600 all have the same technology as we find on other aluminium Merida bikes. That means hydro-formed, triple butted aluminium frames with smooth welding, partnered to a carbon fork.
Of course, the specifications change across the models and at the lowest level you get a SRAM Apex 1 drive chain, equipped with a single ring up front. The 300 then receives Shimano Tiagra, the 400 Shimano 105 and the 600 SRAM Apex 11 speed. Only the 600 model receives hydraulic brakes, with the rest having mechanical disc brakes instead.
The three carbon cyclocross models all feature Merida’s CF3 frames, and use the same carbon technology as found on all of Merida’s other bikes. The Cyclo Cross 6000 has a SRAM Apex 1 drive chain, the 7000 has SRAM Rival 11 speed and the 9000 has SRAM Force CX1.
Merida bikes: The Warp
Merida produces just one time trial/triathlon bike; the Merida Warp. It still looks classically like a Merida with its dropped stays but has a very complex frame shape and comes complete with Vision finishing kit.
Merida bikes’ technologies
Merida has plenty of bike technology at play across its model range, and we’ve touched upon a lot of them throughout this piece but we’ll expand a little bit on some of the key focus’, especially to do with frame design.
Carbon fibre – Anti-Wrinkle System and Nano particles
Merida uses its Nano Matrix Carbon and carbon Anti-Wrinkle System across nearly all of its carbon fibre bikes, and both of these help increase the stiffness of the frame. With the former, Merida enriches its epoxy resin with nanoparticles which it says makes the finished product 40 per cent stronger. Meanwhile, the Anti-Wrinkle System does exactly what it says on the tin – it stops the inside of the frame wrinkling, which Merida says helps increase durability and improve stiffness.
All of the models explained here have an X-Tapered head tube, which is 1.5″ at the bottom and a weight saving 11/8 at the top, which helps reduce weight whilst maintaining stiffness.
Aluminium – hydro-forming and triple butted
Merida also has an extensive list of aluminium technologies that are worth dipping into at this point as a lot of them are found on the bikes described above. For starters, pretty much every Aluminium bike found here has been made using hydro-forming, which is a cost effective way of forming metal into complex shapes that retain stiffness, light weight and durability.
Merida also uses triple butted Aluminium on its Prolite 66 frames. Effectively, this is just tapering of the material, with more being used at junctions where reinforcement is needed.
Merida also has Racelite 61 aluminium that, as you might tell, is lighter but also stiffer thanks to additional heat treatment. On its aluminium frames Merida also uses ‘smooth welding’, which is more aesthetic than anything else but tidies up the junction areas of the tubing nicely.