Merida’s Silex+ 6000 is the cheaper of its two carbon ‘+’ denominated 650b-wheeled bikes. Merida’s Silex range also features a 700c carbon model.
All three models share the same frame and fork: the Silex CF2. The frame has an integrated headset, a press-fit bottom bracket and 12mm thru-axles for maximum frame stiffness. There are three bottle mounts with a choice of two positions on the top of the down tube.
Near-standard direct luggage mounts adorn the fork and there are integrated mudguard mounts front and rear. The internal seat clamp is tightened via an Allen bolt, and the rear brake mount has cooling fins to improve braking performance.
The 11-speed cassette is an 11-42 matched with a tiny 38t chainring on stiff 172.5mm cranks. Brakes are SRAM’s Force 1 hydraulics with 160mm rotors and a matching Force derailleur.
Merida Silex+ 6000 geometry
This bike is a good example of why you should try before you buy. At 400mm the reach is almost the equivalent of two sizes larger than usual for the ‘medium’ bikes we get to test. Similarly, the 626mm stack is akin to what we typically see on the biggest of bikes.
It fits with a mountain-bike style geometry, so when paired with its short stem (80mm), a slack 71-degree head angle and a relatively steep 74-degree seat angle, it may seem unfamiliar, but nothing too shocking.
The 430mm chainstays are a little longer than some in this class, which helps with stability. It also has 75mm of bottom-bracket drop – more than most. The lower the bottom bracket drop, the better the handling because the rider’s centre of gravity is lowered and creates a more stable platform at all speeds.
A 1,061mm wheelbase is on the longer side and reaffirms its off-road credentials.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74||74||74||74|
|Head angle (degrees)||71||71||71||71|
|Seat tube (cm)||47||50||53||56|
|Top tube (cm)||56.4||58||60||62|
|Head tube (cm)||18||20||22||24|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||7.5||7.5||7.5||7.5|
Merida Silex+ 6000 ride impressions
On the road, the Silex feels like many of its fellow gravel bikes – sturdy but less responsive than a road bike. The handling is lively, thanks to that short stem, but the long wheelbase and big tyres mean it’s not a twitchy handful.
It’s not as quick off the mark as a bike with narrower, slicker tyres at higher pressure, but it’s still no slouch and tarmac links between off-road sections are extremely comfortable. Get it up to speed and it will stay there, making covering road distance a doddle.
On hardpacked bridleways, gravel trails and grassy byways, the Silex excels. The laterally stiff rear end and fast-rolling off-road tyres allow accelerations as hard as you are willing to go, but there’s plenty of vertical compliance.
The fork has a good amount of this too, but it’s still stiff enough to be muscled around aggressively to hold or change a line, meaning you can ride way beyond your usual ‘gravel’, such as on bedrock-riddled bridleways.
When the going is muddy, there’s plenty of clearance for thick gloop and the tyres do surprisingly well to hold a line on slicker, off-camber sections.
Twisty singletrack is taken in the Silex’s stride, the short stem helping to flick the bike this way and that and it ably picks up speed between turns, which encourages you to push harder. It’s also quite the mild companion cruising towpaths in search of less hair-raising adventure.
The drivetrain performs with SRAM’s usual solid feel, maintaining good, crisp shifts. The significant knuckle of the hydraulic reservoir on the shifter lends useful extra security when the trail becomes rough. Braking is also done in a typically direct, confidence-inspiring manner, although gives rise to my only real criticism of this bike.
Low speed, easing-to-a-stop braking on almost any surface causes a subtle yet visible fork flutter. It’s manageable but slightly disconcerting and prevents me from giving the bike a higher rating.
Merida Silex+ 6000 bottom line
The Silex+ 6000 is far more versatile than its looks alone suggest. It will take on tougher terrain than an endurance-focused road bike while offering improved comfort, and can still operate at a reasonable level on the road too.
It isn’t a replacement for a mountain bike, but for a rider who wants the option to go off-road more than most drop-bar bikes will allow, this is a great choice.
|Price||AUD $3999.00GBP £2650.00|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Headset||Merida Silex Neck|
|Tyres||Kenda Flintridge Pro 45c|
|Shifter||SRAM Force 1|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Force 1|
|Frame||Merida Silex CF2 carbon|
|Fork||Merida Silex CF2 carbon|
|Cranks||SRAM Force 1|
|Brakes||SRAM Force 1|