Merida’s disc-equipped Scultura is the lightweight choice for Team Bahrain, but while the pros ride the slammed and long CF4 frame design, it also offers this CF2 version.
The essential design remains the same for the CF2, but the stack height is increased and the reach shortened making it more of an endurance flavoured bike with a more upright ride position and a less flattened back.
- The Merida Scultura 4000 Disc is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.
That means my XL test bike gets a tall 619mm stack with a reach that is still a decent length at 401mm. This combination of tall yet not too short makes for a great ride position.
When you’re up on the tops it’s as comfortable a position as you’ll find, but when you get down into the drops it’s still got plenty of room to move around without feeling cramped. The result was that I found myself enjoying and staying down in the drops more often than usual and for much longer too.
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The Scultura is a very nicely proportioned bike and, while it may not have the advanced aero-design of its Reacto stablemate, there is a lot of detail in the chassis’ curvaceous lines.
Both of the bikes’ main tubes — the down and seat — use a take on a Kammtail shape. These truncated aerofoils blend into the flattened top tube and the head tube junction is substantial and holds a straight, bladed and tapering, full-carbon fork. The seatstays start round at the dropouts before flattening their shape and blending into another Kammtail-like shape before meeting the flattened top tube.
This design is there to offer stiffness at the dropout, while the flattened section can flex to offer a little comfort.
Merida Scultura 4000 Disc ride impressions
The 4000 feels nicely punchy under pedalling inputs, which is no surprise when you see the substantial (BB86) bottom bracket shell and squared off asymmetric chainstays.
The drivetrain performance from 105 is quite brilliant too, and the feel through the STI shifters is so close to Ultegra that you’d be forgiven for confusing the two.
Braking is top notch as well, with heaps of feel and progressive power, though I did find that the basic Shimano rotors (rather than Icetech units) were a little more prone to noise, even after bedding them in.
Head up hill on the 4000 and it’s a nice place to be. The upright, commanding ride position is best suited to seated climbing where you’re concentrating on keeping your cadence.
Weight wise, the 8.75kg is lighter than most for this sort of money and the minimal SL Expert wheels certainly help with the light and lively feel the 4000 has on the hills.
The Continental tyres are compliant and grippy, and the 25mm width helps keep the wheels riding light — although I’d be interested to see what the 4000 feels like running on 28c tyres for the extra comfort they would bring.
The Scultura isn’t quite the full-on endurance experience of say the Defy or Synapse, and though it does have that oh-so-comfortable ride position you can still feel that at its heart it’s very much still a race bike.
The light, stiff chassis doesn’t have quite the same level of compliance of a dedicated sportive machine, but despite that I’m quite the fan of the 4000’s more eager nature when you stamp down on the pedals.
The handling when you point it downhill is all assured stability, it’s a bike more suited to sweeping corners and smooth lines rather than darting from kerb to kerb and flicking the bike into tight turns. The steering is smooth and slow rather than twitchy, which is ideal for this style of bike and very different to its CF2 framed cousins.
The finishing kit, besides the wheels and drivetrain, is all solid if unremarkable Merida branded components. The alloy bar and stem are plenty stiff enough and the bars’ compact drop shape is good — very reminiscent of FSA’s compact shaping and wrapped in nice quality EVA bar tape, which is a fine match for the slender and long, but well-padded saddle.
Merida Scultura 4000 Disc overall
Overall, the 4000 disc is a fine machine, it does everything asked of it very, very well. The ride has a bit of go to it even if it is quite an understated bike with its many shades of grey livery and all black components.
Merida Scultura 4000 Disc specifications
- Sizes (*tested): XXS, XS, S, S/M, M/L, L, XL*
- Weight: 8.75kg
- Frame: CF2 carbon
- Fork: CF2 carbon
- Chainset: Shimano
- Cassette: Shimano 105
- Derailleurs: Shimano 105
- Shifters: Shimano 105
- Wheelset: Merida Expert SL
- Tyres: Continental UltraSport 25mm
- Stem: Merida Expert CC
- Bar: Merida Comp SL
- Saddle: Merida Comp SL
- Seatpost: Merida Expert CC
- Brakes: Shimano 105 disc
Merida Scultura 4000 Disc geometry
- Seat angle: 73 degrees
- Head angle: 73.5 degrees
- Chainstay: 40.8cm
- Seat tube: 59cm
- Top tube: 59cm
- Head tube: 21.5cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 6.6cm
- Wheelbase: 1,014mm
- Stack: 61.9cm
- Reach: 40.1cm
- Price: £2,150