Merida’s Ride series was new for 2013, marrying the construction of the Scultura race bikes to taller, longer ‘endurance geometry’. The Ride Carbon 95 is a sportive bike that we feel is built for comfort over outright speed.
Ride and handling: solid but weighty
On the road, the Merida is as solid as it looks, with a direct feel under power that flatters your efforts. But comfort is good thanks to a combination of frame construction, 27.2mm carbon post and 25mm tyres.
It’s significantly heavier than other carbon bikes in its class, which holds it back on sustained climbs. Some of that weight is in the frame, which there isn’t much you can do about, but a future move to lighter wheels would add a bit more zip.
Even by sportive bike standards, the Ride Carbon has a very long head-tube. While this gives you a good view and is comfortable on the flat, on hills (both up and down) we found ourselves wishing for a lower bar than is possible. Getting a bit lower would help to put the power down going up, and unless you really hunker down over the front on descents it can feel slightly wandery.
There’s no shortage of chassis stiffness up front, it’s just hard to get enough weight over the front wheel for committed cornering. Many riders may not have any issue with it, but we’d like to be able to make the most out of the lively and responsive frame.
Frame and equipment: decent for the price
The Merida Ride Carbon 95 a distinctive-looking frame, with a massive tapered head-tube, trapezoidal down-tube, flattened top-tube and dropped seatstays. Inside there are stiffening ribs splitting the main tubes into chambers, and layers of flax fibre in the layup designed to damp vibrations.
The Ride Carbon frame is also ready for a Di2 transmission, with the internal cable routing supplemented by an extra cable port near the front mech and bosses for a battery under the left-hand chainstay. The front cable ports are in the head-tube, which does lead to some slightly awkward cable curves in standard spec.
Headline spec is Shimano Ultegra, which is impressive on a £2,000 carbon bike. We’re not surprised that you don’t get a full group, though – STI units and mechs are Ultegra, while the chainset and brakes are non-series Shimano. The solid crank arms are heavier than Ultegra’s hollow units, but the brakes are a cut above the Tektros often seen at this price.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.