Merida has launched the Scultura V Team. The fifth generation of the brand’s lightweight racing platform has been redesigned to place greater emphasis on aerodynamics while retaining a featherweight 822g claimed frame weight and increasing tyre clearance to 30mm.
This is the new lightweight Merida we first spotted being raced at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June. It’s a machine aimed at top-level racers looking for a flyweight climbing bike with a smattering of aero features, or those of us who like a fast, aggressive ride while still maintaining decent comfort levels.
Merida is hoping this latest version of the Scultura race bike design will further distinguish the Scultura Team from the Scultura Endurance launched back in July 2020. Where the Scultura Endurance is a wide-tyred, gravel-lite bike, the Scultura Team has racing in its sights.
In fact, the bike has already been ridden to WorldTour wins, taking two stages at this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné under Team Bahrain Victorious riders Mark Padun and Dylan Teuns, as well as the mountainous stage nine at this year’s Vuelta a España under Damiano Caruso.
Aero vs weight
Introducing aero shapes usually means increases in weight over standard round tubes. However, despite getting more aero profiles into the frame design, Merida has reduced the new Scultura Team’s frame weight by 38g over the outgoing model.
The old frame, the Scultura IV, weighed an impressively light 860g with its CF4 carbon frame. The new Scultura tips the scales at an even lighter 822g (for a medium frame), according to Merida.
To get this reduction, Merida has redesigned the frame’s carbon layup and introduced more high-modulus (and more expensive) fibres.
Merida tells us the new bike can easily reach the UCI’s 6.8kg limit without needing to resort to expensive or exotic parts.
Even with the weight reduction, Merida has kept plenty of its signature details, such as fluted disc brake coolers and the machined alloy direct-mount rear derailleur arrangement that impressed us when the Merida Reacto V4 launched.
The new Scultura draws heavily on the aero-optimised Reacto (you can read our Merida Reacto 6000 review), with an adaptation of the aero bike’s reduced frontal area. Meanwhile, the all-new, one-piece Merida Team SL 1P cockpit brings fully integrated cable routing to the Scultura Team for the first time.
We’ve seen the convergence of lightweight bikes and aero bikes in recent years, and other aero-influenced features here include a new hidden seat clamp and the dropping of the rear seatstays further down the seat tube, which brings the Scultura Team’s silhouette in line with bikes like the Cannondale SuperSix EVO and Specialized Tarmac SL7.
The result, according to Merida, is a “significant” drag reduction over the outgoing Scultura Team IV. We’ve included Merida’s aero data below but, in short and according to the brand’s testing, drag at 45kph drops from 234.5 watts with the Scultura IV to 224.5 watts with the Scultura V (albeit with 40mm-deep wheels on the former and 45mm-deep on the latter).
That can be reduced further, to 217.7 watts, if you fit a set of 60mm deep-section aero wheels, which apparently puts it within 10 watts of the Reacto in terms of aero efficiency.
|||Rim profile||Weight (kg)||Drag@45kph||Saving (%)||Saving (W)|
|Reacto IV (tubular tyres)||60mm||7.5||207.2||-3%||-6.4|
Merida Team SL 1P integrated cockpit
The Merida Team SL 1P cockpit has been designed to integrate with the Scultura’s ‘Wireport’ headset, which allows all the cables to run directly through the headset itself.
The cockpit has a claimed weight of 320g and the cable integration is said to be mechanic-friendly because it comes complete with full internal liners to allow for the easy passage of cables and wires.
The bar is available in widths from 40cm to 44cm, and stem lengths from 90mm to 120mm. The clamping mechanism is called the ‘Force diffuser’ and is designed to avoid fork steerer fatigue by wrapping around the steerer and evenly distributing clamping loads.
It has been tested by Merida for more than 200,000 load cycles (far beyond industry standards, according to Merida) and post-testing apparently shows no signs of marking or indentations.
Merida Scultura V Team geometry
Merida has designed the Scultura Team in tandem with the Reacto for its team riders. As a result, it’s kept the positioning of the contact points identical to the Reacto across all sizes, to offer the option to naturally switch bikes between stages or races.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74||74||73.5||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.5||72||72.5||73.5||73.5||74|
|Seat tube (mm)||435||458||481||501||521||550|
|Top tube (mm)||520||535||545||560||575||590|
|Head tube (mm)||105||112||128||140||155||176|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||70||70||66||66||66||66|
|Fork length (mm)||385||385||385||385||385||385|
More volume for more comfort
Improvements to comfort come as a result of making the frame more compatible with larger volume road tyres.
The new Team is designed to work with tyres up to 30mm-wide and the bikes will ship with Continental Grand Prix 5000 Tubeless tyres in a generous 28mm width.
Merida tells us the new carbon chassis has improved vibration damping over the previous model, but we’ll have to reserve judgement on that until our test bike arrives. Ultimately, tyre size plays a big part in any road bike’s comfort and that’s the focus here.
Merida Scultura Team CF5 Dura-Ace Di2
Merida has so far only released details on the range-topping Scultura Team CF5 Dura-Ace Di2 bike and, as you can imagine, priced at £7,750 / €9,999, it’s a bike befitting a WorldTour rider.
The CF5 frame (822g) and CF5 fork (389g) are matched to the new Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 12-speed Di2 groupset, which includes a new power meter.