Merida are the biggest bike brand you’ve probably never heard of. While they have a succession of world championships under their belt from the world of cross-country mountain bike racing, the company haven’t had the same impact when it comes to riding on tarmac. Their top-flight Reacto 907 should help change that though.
The previous flagship of the company’s road range was the impeccable Scultura Evo. That featured Merida’s innovative tube design, the ‘double chamber’, for the first time. Simply put, the carbon tubes have a central internal ‘spine’ separating the tube, and the stiffness and strength of the tubes can be controlled by the orientation of this spine.
The Reacto 907 shares the Scultura’s design but in an aerodynamic frameset, with a sculpted top tube and down tube created to condition the air to flow smoothly along until it meets the deeply bladed seat tube. It also has a clever faux integrated seatmast, which is actually a dual-clamped aero post that matches the dimensions of the seat tube perfectly at the join between the top tube and seat tube.
Our large test bike is described as 56cm but with its 57.5cm top tube the reality is that it’s closer to a 57 or 58cm sized bike. That makes it ideal for riders creeping over the 6ft mark. While the Reacto is manufactured in Taiwan the design work was actually done in Germany. That’s had a huge influence on the way the bike rides.
The parallel 73-degree head tube and seat tube angles, long wheelbase and 45mm fork offset all combine to give the Reacto greater stability at higher speeds – it’s a bike that blurs the lines between time trial potential and full-on racing. The ride feel has all the traits of a high quality German bike too.
The rigidity of the frame, fork and, in particular, the taut rear end make for a bike with brutal efficiency. The Reacto revels at hard, fast, flat, in-the-saddle efforts. It also responds to pedal input as well as anything we’ve ridden in recent months, and is no slouch when the road starts to rise.
For something so burly, the big aero frame is remarkably light at the 1kg mark. You can add into the mix Shimano Ultegra, the excellent FSA SL-K Light chainset with compact gearing, and matching SL-K bar and stem. It also has brilliant quality middleweight DT Swiss R 1700 wheels which, though weighty, are super-smooth and have proved tough and resilient.
Unfortunately, the Vittoria Diamante tyres let down the ride somewhat. The diamond patterned tread dulls the cornering on the limit and you get a squirming feeling during harder lean angles. Despite this, the overall package is no-nonsense and sensibly svelte, and a change in tyres would make the 907’s spec hard to fault.
While we were impressed with the Reacto’s pace and handling, it’s very much a racing machine. You could ride big distances aboard it, as we have, and you’d no doubt enjoy it, but if your bread and butter riding is sportive-type distances then there are better comfort options around, including Merida’s own Scultura range. However, if your riding is more race-focused with the occasional ride against the clock then we’d have no qualms in wholeheartedly recommending the Reacto.
An aluminium insert protects the carbon chainstay: an aluminium insert protects the carbon chainstay www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk