3D printed inserts and a custom chain catcher: Fred Wright's Merida Reacto

From a distance, the aero race bike looks like a standard affair, but up close and personal, we found it was anything but

Fred Wright's Merida Reacto race bike
(Image credit: Future)

As a member of the Bahrain Victorious WorldTour team, Fred Wright has the choice of two Merida race bikes: the Scultura and the Reacto.

For the World Championships men's road race the Englishman opted for the latter, a dedicated aero bike, rather than choosing the former, a lightweight all-rounder that's typically used by the Bahrain riders for mountainous stages and hilly one-day races.

A cursory glance at Wright's World Champs race bike might suggest that this Reacto is a pretty standard affair. But we managed to get up close with his bike ahead of the race in Glasgow and found a few interesting tweaks. Let's dive in...

Fred Wright's Merida Reacto aero race bike

(Image credit: Future)

From the front it is a pretty standard affair. Wright positions his Shimano Dura-Ace shifters a little inwards to help promote a narrow, tucked in position on the hoods but it's far from extreme. 

This angle affords a good view of both the Reacto's X-Taper head tube and the aero properties of the carbon Vision Metron 5D ACR bars. 

Detail of Vision Metron cockpit fitted to Fred Wright's Merida Reacto race bike

(Image credit: Future)

From the side we also get a view of the matching Vision Metron stem. It's fully integrated as we've come to expect from modern race bikes with significant aero properties. Wright opts to run his stem with no spacers to help obtain as low a position on the bike as possible.

Also note the shape of that head tube; when it was time to update the Reacto Merida, like several manufacturers, took advantage of the relaxing of UCI regulations to add depth to its tube shapes for aerodynamic gains.

Detail of the Merida Reacto chain stays on Fred Wright's race bike

(Image credit: Future)

While there's a certain homogenous quality to today's aero race bikes, the Reacto's seat stays give it a little added character. Super low, angular but thin, they presumably help add a little compliance to a what's a stiff bike overall. Here you can also see Wright's name alongside the Union Jack.

Detail of Fred Wright's Merida Reacto race bike showing a custom chain catcher fitted to the rear drop out

(Image credit: Future)

Here's where things start to get interesting. Wright's running a 12-speed Dura-Ace Di2 rear mech and corresponding cassette but it's the adornments that catch the eye.

The inside of Wright's rear drop out is fitted with what looks like a custom metal chain catcher (it's the small metal plate located outside the chain), designed to stop the chain dropping off the 11t sprocket. Or perhaps it's just to protect the dropout itself? Either way It's not something we've seen before. And the customisation doesn't stop there.

Detail of Fred Wright's Merida Reacto race bike

(Image credit: Future)

The rear mech hanger is fitted with what looks like a 3D printed insert, complete with rubber band, that helps to better protect the Di2 cable from any interference, presumably from the chain and during any mid-race wheel changes. Again, it's new to us.

Detail of Fred Wright's number holder fitted to his Merida Reacto race bike

(Image credit: Future)

UCI regulations require all those racing to display a number tag on their bike. As such, we continue to see a variety of approaches to how best do this. Wright opted for a custom carbon fibre holder that's been neatly bonded to the Reacto's aero seat post. 

Fred Wright's Prologo saddle fitted to his Merida Reacto race bike

(Image credit: Future)

The reigning British National road race champion is one of many riders in the professional peloton who trust Prologo saddles to keep them comfortable during a race. Wright's preferred model is the Scratch M5 that uses individual panels to allow for better unity between the rider's movements during the pedal stroke and the saddle itself. 

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider.